If there’s one thing I’ve learned about questions, it’s this: If one person has a question, other people probably do too. Therefore, whenever I’m reading the Bible and have a question about something I’ve read, I feel obligated to find the answer. I can’t recall how often I’ve had a question in my life about something and didn’t answer it. Only to have the question come up later and regret not finding the answer the first time. I think understanding this principle can help people become better learners. 

Reading through Isaiah today, I read about the new heaven and earth. 

“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”

Isaiah 65:17 (NIV)

I think I’m familiar with the new heaven and earth. The old heaven and earth will pass away, and God will create new ones. Revelation talks about this.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.

Revelation 21:1 (NIV)

A few verses later, in Isaiah 65, however, he said something that made me pause.

“Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed” (emphasis added).

Isaiah 65:20 (NIV)

Revelation gives us this intelligence about the new heaven and earth.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (emphasis added).

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

Isaiah 65:20 and Revelation 21:4 seem to be at odds with one another. In Isaiah, we are told that people die, while Revelation tells us they’ll be no more death. Is there a contradiction here? If not, what’s going on? 

In Isaiah 65, there’s nothing between Isaiah 65:17 and Isaiah 65:20 to indicate that Isaiah has stopped talking about the new heaven and earth. 

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more (emphasis added).

Isaiah 65:18-19 (NIV)

These verses continue Isaiah’s description of the new heaven and earth and coincide with Revelation 21:2.

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband (emphasis added).

Revelation 21:2 (NIV)

If there’s a new heaven and earth, there will be a new Jerusalem too. 

After reading through Isaiah 65 and comparing it to Revelation 21, I am confident they are talking about the same thing. Some people claim that Isaiah 65:20 is talking about the millennial reign of Christ. In this 1,000-year reign, there will still be some death and some sin, which we are abolished when it’s over. That’s why people are still dying in Isaiah 65:20. However, I don’t see any difference between Isaiah’s description of the new heaven and earth and that found in Revelation. Therefore, that millennial interpretation of these verses must be incorrect because they don’t coincide with Revelation, which says there will be no death in the new heaven and earth. How then might we interpret Isaiah 65:20?

When we examine Isaiah 65:20, we should note that it’s comparing things. Let’s break it down.

1. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days.”

This part of the verse calls us to think about children who die after only living for a few days. It tells us this is never going to happen again.

2. “or an old man who does not live out his years;.”

Compared to the old men who die. We can say this includes both men and women. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t. Therefore, I see this as telling us that people aren’t going to fail to live out their lives. They won’t die. 

3. “the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child;.”

So far, we’ve been comparing how things are now to what they will be like in the new heaven and earth. This continues in this section of the verse. This comparative language we see here in Isaiah 65:20 isn’t literal. It’s figurative. Isaiah deliberately invokes the reader’s thoughts of what things are like now and contrasts them with what things will be like in the new heaven and earth. He’s not saying that anyone is going to die. Rather, he’s saying that compared to how things are now if someone were to die at a hundred years old, they would be considered to be like a very young child in the scope of eternity. 

4. “the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.”

We see this same figurative language here. When people reach 100 years old today, we celebrate their longevity and say, “They must be doing something right!” Things were no different in Isaiah’s time; what he’s saying in this verse is that 100 years is nothing compared to eternity. In fact, if someone were to die at 100 years old, in this new heaven and earth, you’d think they were cursed by God. 

While I’m not a Biblical scholar and haven’t studied the Millennial Reign of Christ, I know only one interpretation of Scripture exists, and I believe the interpretation I’ve presented here for Isaiah 65:20 is correct. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.