Isaiah 65:20 -
There is a highly controversial verse in the Book of Isaiah that seems to imply that there will be death in the New Heavens and New Earth during the Millennial Reign...
"There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed"
This notion of course would contradict with what we read in Revelation...
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away"
Are we really to assume that there will be death in the New Heavens and New Earth or is this interpretation false?
Many attempts have been made to reconcile these two verses however, most fall short of explaining in simple, concise terms what is actually being described here.
Most Scholars simply assume that death will be a part of the New Heavens and New Earth and thus attempts at explaining this create all kinds of strange and confusing teachings.
An extreme example teaches that there will be in fact TWO versions of the New Heavens and New Earth, one in which people still die and one in which they don't.
The more they try to explain, the more questions are raised and the more absurd their Eschatology becomes.
The answer is actually incredibly simple once One knows how to interpret the verse.
No, there is no death in the New Heavens and New Earth and of course most Christians already know this instinctively.
Let's clear this up once and for all.
The first Key to understanding Isaiah 65:20 is to realize that there are two distinct parts to the verse.
The second Key is to realize that these two parts are CONTRARY or OPPOSITE to one another in order to provide contrast.
In other words, it's contradictory on purpose in order to highlight the absurdity of death in the New Heavens and New Earth.
How does this work?
Let's start with the first part of the verse...
"There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days..."
All that is saying is that in the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be no Babies and no Elderly.
Everyone will be resurrected the same age.
What age this will be is still unclear, but most assume that we will be in the 'prime of life'. A good guess would be thirty three since that's how old Jesus was when he passed away and the Bible says we will be like him.
Now before we examine the second part of the verse, we should meditate on the word 'for'...
This is where a lot of the confusion is happening.
The word 'for' is extremely vague and ambiguous. Thus many readers simply gloss right over it without realizing the mistake they've just made.
That is to say, the word 'for' is mean to shift the focus of the reader to the contrasting part of the verse that follows and prepare them for its opposite meaning.
Therefore, because the word 'for' is open to so many interpretations, it would be in our best interest to clarify it a bit before continuing.
A more comprehensive alternative would be to use the word 'otherwise'...
"for (otherwise) the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed"
Now we can begin to make sense of the verse.
What the second part is saying is that *IF* there were still death in the New Heavens and New Earth, how terribly unfair and problematic that would be!
Not the least of which would be how in the world would God resurrect them again?
Remember, the Second Resurrection is for the unsaved.
We are now given two examples of how these problems would manifest during the Millennial Reign if death still existed.
The first example is of an infant (or even a fetus for that matter) that is only a few days old being resurrected into the same body and will now have to spend the rest of eternity as a fetus or infant.
Imagine all of these babies trying to reign with Christ in this type of body.
See how silly this is?
The verse then goes on to explain that if after a hundred years into the Millennial Reign the baby should die, it would still be a baby and thus would have lived a rather pointless life.
Again, this is meant to be a hypothetical contrast to the first part of the verse in which we are all resurrected the same age.
The second example is of the hundred year old man being resurrected (again into the same body) only to now have to spend eternity as an elderly person.
Imagine how terrible it would be for an elderly person to see all of the younger, more beautiful people running, jumping and playing and reigning with Christ while being stuck in a wheelchair or having to use crutches or even worse, being bed ridden in their infirmities.
What a curse this would be!
See how simple this is?
There is absolutely need to wrest Scripture and twist this verse into something it is not, especially when there is no Second Witness to back it up.
Obviously the notion of people dying after the resurrection is ridiculous given the many verses that teach otherwise...
1 Corinthians 15:54
"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory"
And what about having children?
Jesus specifically taught that there is no marriage after the resurrection...
"But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage"
So how can people have children without being married first? Is this not a sin?
To complicate matters even further, Jesus also taught that there are no more separation of sexes...
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus"
Without Male or Female in Heaven, One would think that child bearing would be just a wee bit difficult.
Now having said all of this, there is still one more verse that we need to cover...
"They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands"
Does this mean people in Heaven will only live as long as a tree?
This verse is actually a very beautiful hint at the Millennial Kingdom…
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years"
The suggestion here is that the life span of a tree is one thousand years and thus this is how long we will reign with Christ before it's time to shift gears into the next phase of the Afterlife in which there is the second resurrection and when Satan is released etc.
We will build houses that no one will ever take away from us and we will plant gardens that no one will steal from.
It will be the life we’ve always dreamed of.