For those desiring to go a little deeper than the devotional thought I wrote earlier on Heaven and the New Earth, here’s a thought:

If you read Isaiah 65:17-19, you will read about the New Heavens and New Earth. I mentioned (as does the Apostle John in Revelation 21-22) that this is referring to our eternal home (“Heaven”). Yet, if you read the very next verse, Isaiah continues:

“No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.” (Revelation 65:20).

If you’ve had your morning cup of coffee and your brain is awake, you would have read that last verse and scratched your head in bewilderment and said, “What?!” Because, it would seem to say that on the New Earth (“Heaven”), folks will die. In Revelation 21:4 (the chapter that tells us of the New Earth), it says that “death shall be no more.”

So, which is it? Will people die on the New Earth, our eternal home in Heaven? What are we to make of this? Will there be death in Heaven or not?

Well, this is where we need to be thoughtful students of God’s Word and understand how the Old Testament prophets were to be understood by New Testament readers.

Here’s a case in point:

In this morning’s Bible reading, I also read Isaiah 61:1-2. Pay close attention to verse 2:
1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;” 

If you notice, verse 1 and the first part of verse 2 is comforting. It’s very positive. Yet, the middle part of verse 2 changes drastically. It moves from talk of healing and comforting to talk of vengeance.

Fast-forward 800 years to a synagogue in Nazareth. Jesus was given a scroll to read out loud in the worship service. Listen to what happened. He found Isaiah 61 and read only one and a half verses. Observe carefully where He stopped reading. Here’s Luke 4:16-21 – 

16 And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Did you get that? Jesus found Isaiah 61:1-2 and read it. Yet, He stopped reading mid-verse in verse 2! He read all of the positive stuff and didn’t read about the Lord’s vengeance.

Why? 

Because the first time Jesus came to earth, it was to show God’s love and grace. The second time He comes, He is coming in vengeance as the Tribulation Period starts.

You see, God wrote through Isaiah and made clear what would take place. However, for purposes of His own, He mysteriously concealed the time table. Jesus came to proclaim grace, the year of the Lord’s favor (that appears in the first part of Isaiah 61:2). However, there are at least 2,000 years that separate “the year of the Lord’s favor” and the very next phrase: “the day of the vengeance of our God.”

So, we see that when New Testament readers look at the Old Testament, we realize that while information is presented together, the chronology/time frame is sometimes concealed for God’s own mysterious purposes.

Go back to where we began as we talked about the New Earth and whether or not people would die on it.

First, the New Testament (Revelation) speaks clearly that people will not die on the New Earth. That is to be taken at face value. It’s truth with no ambiguity.

Second, we need to read the Isaiah text realizing that in the Old Testament, God sometimes concealed the chronology of events as He spoke through the prophets.

Therefore, it would seem that Isaiah is lumping the Millennial Reign (1,000 years) of Jesus on this earth (Revelation 20:1-6) with the ultimate Reign of Christ on the New Earth (Revelation 21-22). In the Millennial Reign, sinners will still inhabit the earth. People will still die. But, at the end of the Millennial Reign, God will destroy this earth and recreate a brand new one. On that one, there will be no sinners and no one will die.


Hopefully, I’ve explained this sufficiently so that by the time you read this last sentence, you say, “Now, I get it!” rather than “Huh?”