Why is the millennium necessary when the Second Coming seems to have brought all things to an end?
1) It is recovery time for the righteous. While there will be no conversions in heaven, there will be an ongoing need for personal and relational growth. Rev. 22:2 speaks of the leaves of the tree of life being for the healing of the nations. The choice of “nations” suggest societal and emotional healing more than physical. There may be people in heaven you didn’t like on earth or didn’t expect to see in heaven. Others you expected to see are missing. The thousand years will provide a safe space to learn and grow and transition into eternity.
2) It is examination time for the righteous. The redeemed will be free to explore the “books of heaven” getting answers to questions about God, about those we loved who are not there, and about issues in the Great Controversy. We will be able to explore a detailed biography of our own lives that will transcend anything we or anyone else could have done here on earth. We will share our biographies with each other in group healing sessions. There will be many questions and plenty of time to answer them.
3) Demonstration time for Satan and his followers. At the close of the millennium, Satan will be allowed totally free reign outside the City to run this earth the way he wants to (the text gives us on idea how long this period will be). Together, Satan and his followers will demonstrate one final time the destructive nature of their characters and the destructive nature of Satan’s form of government. This final demonstration will help to secure the redeemed and the unfallen universe in loyalty to God throughout eternity.
What ultimately is the purpose of the Book of Revelation?
The purpose of prophecy is not to satisfy our curiosity about the future, it is to teach us how to live today. The study of Revelation should motivate us to right living and to the avoidance of choices that are ultimately self-destructive and harmful to others. It helps to know that the little battles we face each day are just a microcosm of a much bigger war. Everything we think and everything we do truly matters in the ultimate sense of things. Revelation was designed to prepare people for the challenges of the end and in the process has brought hope, meaning and purpose to millions ever since it was written and will continue to do so until the conclusion of earth’s history (Rev. 1:3).