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In Isaiah 65:17 there is a picture of a new heaven and new earth. One view (from a Christian perspective) is that this passage paints a picture of the eschatological expectation that Israel held of life after God's final judgement.

The picture that is painted is quite a beautiful picture of the carnivores and herbivores eating together in peace, no more sorrow and tears but instead a time of joy and gladness.

One of the odd things however is that death is still mentioned in verse 20:

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.

Some possibilities I have considered:

  1. Death is a hypothetical, not actually envisioned
  2. The expectation of renewed creation in Isaiah is of extended life but not eternal life
  3. The whole passage is poetic hyperbole referring to the earthly restoration of Israel.

I have heard it argued that this verse is a pre-Christian expectation of the new creation in Revelation 21-22. If this verse is painting a picture of what life will be like after God's final victory, is death just a hypothetical? (i.e. no one will die, but even if they did die at 100 that would be considered an abnormal young death). Because it seems unlikely that death is only for the sinner, for the sinner and the young man are mentioned separately.

So how should death in this passage be understood in it's original context?

1
  • לא יהיה משם עוד
    • shall not from there anymore
  • עול ימים
    • weariness of days
  • וזקן אשר לא ימלא
    • and old who fulfill not
  • את ימיו
    • of his days
  • כי הנער
    • for the youth
  • בן מאה שנה ימות
    • age hundred year shall die
  • והחוטא בן מאה שנה
    • and those short of a hundred years age
  • יקלל
    • will be ridiculed

There are few words that you need to be cautious.

  • חטא
    • separation, gap, shortcoming
  • קלל
    • flimsy, ridicule, taken-lightly
  • עול
    • burden, yoke

חטא

When modern translators translated the Hebrew, two of the "sins" committed were, presuming an absolute tense that is not found in Hebrew, and introducing abstract concepts into an earthy unsophisticated language.

The word [חטא] is found in the reflexive form in Numbers 19 and 31, as [יתחטא].

If [חטא] truly means the abstract term "sin", then the reflexive should certainly mean "sin against oneself". But yet [יתחטא] actually means "to consecrate oneself", i.e. to separate oneself.

Other declensions of [חטא] exists to signify "shortness" or "separation".

"Sin" is an abstract term subjected to circular definition. Biblical Hebrew is an earthy language of farmers, herders and soldiers and did not lend well to abstract terms. "Sin" as an abstract term is found in many religions but not in ancient Israeli culture.

[חטא] in unsophisticated easy-to-comprehend simplistic red-necked ancient israeli Hebrew, simply means separation or shortcoming.

Even the equivalent koine Greek term amartia actually was derived from sports and armament - shortcoming or missing the mark (a-martia) when throwing a spear or shooting an arrow.

קלל

[קלל] is not "placing a druid pagan curse of eternal damnation". It means ridicule, insult, to-take-lightly.

Therefore

I am reading the verse to say,

At/from there, shall be no more burdensome/weariness of days. Nor old who shall not fulfill his days. Dying in youth shall be a hundred years age. That is, if someone dies age 100, he would be dying in his (non-adult) youth. And those who are barely 100 years old will not be taken seriously.

  • Also do not equate [הנער] the-youth to the English "the young people". Rather the state of being young. Those who die 100 years age would be in the state of youth. – Cynthia Avishegnath Sep 29 '16 at 6:47
  • V17: כי הנני בורא -- For henceforth I create a NEW WORLD and Universal ORDER. – Cynthia Avishegnath Sep 29 '16 at 6:51
  • Because "חטא" is a gap, shortness - that is why there is the word [קרב], from which [קורבן qurvan] (arabic qorban) is derived - where [קורבן qurvan] had been erroneously translated as "sacrifice". Where [קרב] means proximity or close encounter, and is used in the Bible for close-encounters in battle or intimacy. So [gap/shortness חטא] being closed-gap by [קורבן qurvan, offering to cause intimacy]. – Cynthia Avishegnath Sep 29 '16 at 7:10

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