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:
- Death is a hypothetical, not actually envisioned
- The expectation of renewed creation in Isaiah is of extended life but not eternal life
- 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?