Reconciling Isaiah 65:20 with “No more death”

I have had a really hard time trying to understand Isaiah 65.20, because the way it reads it flatly contradicts Revelation 21:4’s “no more death”.  The King James reads:

Isaiah 65:20 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.

The problem I have understanding this verse has to do with death for the righteous existing after the resurrection. The context of Isaiah 65:20 is after the resurrection, for it is in the context of the new earth.  Verse 17 says, “Isaiah 65:17 ¶For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”  Well, we know that when Jesus returns, He will restore all things (Acts 3:21), raise the dead (1Th 4:16), and make all things new (Rev 21:5).  Since the time of no death is in the time of the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1, 4), then the righteous cannot die in the time of the new heavens and the new earth, but Isaiah says they will.  In contract Revelation 21:4 plainly says, “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away”.  How does one reconcile “the child shall die an hundred years old” with “there shall be no more death”?  The various modern translations are of no help.  All of the modern translations of Isaiah 65:20 read pretty much the same.  Here are some examples:

NIV: he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth
ASV: for the child shall die a hundred years old
NASU: For the youth will die at the age of one hundred
YLT: For the youth a hundred years old dieth
WEB: for the child shall die one hundred years old

Of course there are many more versions, but I have not found one that circumvents the problem of having death at a time when the Bible plainly says there will be none.  This has been an insurmountable problem for me.  I even looked at online translations of the Greek Septuagint in hopes that the ancient Greek version might help.  No luck.  It is pretty much the same.  It wasn’t until I found a translation of Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho (Chapter LXXXI) that I finally found a solution to the problem.  Justin Martyr was born around the end of the First Century and wrote from about AD 160. He is about the earliest Christian apologist whose writings have survived down to our time.  In his Dialog with Trypho he quoted extensively from Isaiah 65 and included verse 20.  Those early Christians used the Septuagint as their Bible, and Justin Martyr’s Bible at Isaiah 65:20 read:
“And there shall be no more there a person of immature years, or an old man who shall not fulfil his days. For the young man shall be an hundred years old; but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, he shall be accursed.”

Justin Martyr’s Bible did not have the young man dying at a hundred.  To paraphrase it, his Bible said of the time when the new heavens and the new earth have come that a 100 year old man would be considered young.  It says nothing about that youth dying when he was 100.

Justin Martyr’s translation helps, but it just peels back the onion one more layer, because the next phrase reads, “but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, he shall be accursed”.  “Death” still appears in that phrase.  How can we harmonize the sinner dying at 100 with the promise of no more death in the time of the new heavens and the earth?

My explanation of Justin Martyr’s version is that Isaiah is contrasting the state of the sinner with the state of the righteous in the new heavens and the new earth.  The righteous people that are born in the new earth and have lived 100 years will be considered young, a mere youth.  In contrast, the sinner that lived to the ripe old age of 100 during this life and was seemingly blessed by having had a long life, will find the situation dramatically changed in the new earth.  The righteous will live forever, but the long-lived wicked will experience the second death (Rev 21:8).  So, even though the wicked man may have prospered on this earth for 100 years, he being 100 years old will suffer the second death in the world to come.  While the righteous live forever, the wicked will suffer the second death where “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” (Rev 14:11) in full view of all at Jerusalem that choose to see it (Isa 66:22-24).

If you compare Justin Martyr’s version of Isaiah 65:20 with the modern versions, you will find the world “thanatos” (death) has migrated to a new location in the text.  In the modern text “death” is associated with the “youth”

NIV: he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth
Justin Martyr: For the young man shall be an hundred years old;

But the modern text does not have “death” in the next phrase:

NIV: he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
Justin Martyr: but the sinner who dies an hundred years old, he shall be accursed.

It is clear that a textual problem has crept into the text that causes “death” to be associated with the wrong phrase.  Justin Martyr’s reading can be harmonized with the rest of the scriptures, but the modern reading of Isaiah 65:20 results in a direct contradiction.  My vote is for the First Century reading in Justin Martyr’s Bible.

One might ask how such an egregious error crept into the text at such a late date as after the time of Justin Martyr (i.e. the Second Century).  Justin Martyr’s Bible was the Septuagint, and it was translated from Hebrew between 300-200 BC. By the time of Justin Martyr, the Greek OT text of the Septuagint had been around for over 400 years and was well established.  One solution is suggested by the early church fathers. Justin Martyr, again in Dialog With Trypho (LXXI-LXXIII), accused the Jewish leaders of deliberately cutting passages out of the Bible as an underhanded means of fighting Christian evangelism.  Also Tertullian (c. AD 198) wrote, “[The Book of Enoch] may now seem to have been rejected by the Jews for that very reason—just like nearly all the other portions [of Scripture] that speak of Christ.  Nor, of course, is this fact surprising:  that they did not receive some Scriptures that spoke of Him whom they did not receive.  For they did not receive Him even when He was here in person, speaking in their presence.” Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol 4:16.

By the end of the First Century the Jews were hardened against Christ.  A consequence of this was a series of rancorous conferences from AD 90-125 at the Jewish academy at Jaffa in Israel.  During this series of conferences the Jews excised various scriptures from their collection of accepted writings (they never had a formal canon before then) and mutilated some works that they retained.  Isaiah 65:20 may well have come under the scribal knife during those conferences in order to make Isaiah appear completely incompatible with the Christian book of Revelation that appeared about AD 96.

I believe the text in Isaiah 65:20 was deliberately altered to make it contradict Revelation 21:4’s “no more death”.  I believe the problem with the text lies with the Jews that desired to eradicate support for Jesus being the Christ from their sacred writings.  Justin Martyr shows how the text read before the Jews tampered with it, and the original reading is harmonious with the rest of the scriptures.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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22 Responses to Reconciling Isaiah 65:20 with “No more death”

  1. Renee Roll says:

    Thank you so much for your research and for your eternal-thought-provoking article. I too wrestled to reconcile this verse with the surrounding paragraph and Revelation’s description of the new heavens and new earth. Revelation explicitly states that death will be nonexistant in the new heavens and new earth, and it also says “No longer will there be any curse” (22:3) which also seemingly contradicts the last clause Isaiah 65:20. I think the reason you propose for this seeing discrepancy has a lot of explanatory power and is very plausible, but a few questions came to mind, maybe you could help answer them. If the Jews deliberately altered 65:20 to do damage to the eschatalogical parallels with John’s recent writing in Revelation, why did they not do the same with the Messianic prophecies that so stunningly paint a picture of Christ such as Isaiah 52:13-53? The Dead Sea Scrolls date back much further than the first century AD, actually they’re pre-Christ, and thus precede the Jaffa canonical conferences you described, and they align extremely closely with the Masoretic text our Bibles are interpreted from. Do the Dead Sea scrolls agree with the standard modern translations or with the Justin Martyr and the Early Church’s version?

    • Renee, from what I have found, I think the Jews eliminated as much as they could that had strong Messianic content. The books of Enoch, 2 Esdras, 2 Baruch, the Ascension of Isaiah, and Testimony of the Twelve Patriarchs in my opinion were deleted from the informal Jewish canon during the time from 90 AD to 120 AD. I think they altered only a little of Isaiah in what they thought were relatively unimportant pieces to Judaism. They could not delete Isaiah without cause a major furor. They could delete some of the secret books that were available mainly to the rabbis. I have not made a study of the DSS regarding this verse. Some of the DSS scrolls align closely with the Masoretic text and some align with the Septuagint. You have a good suggestion to check Isaiah 65:20 with the DSS.

      • Marcos says:

        I’m 100% for everything you said, until you brought up The Books of Enoch, 2Estras, 2 Baruch, The Ascension of Isaiah, and the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs.

        These books are filled with errors, and were written by Hellenistic Jews, who taught in the Beliar Myth (a superhuman man possessing all the power of the devil, that moves mountains), and this is wehre many of the Catholic Jesuit Futurist views come from. Futurism originates from these psuedepigraphal books of trash, and is an outright onslaught against the God-ordained Historicist Hermeneutic of the Reformers.

        The early fathers were very influenced by some these books, which caused them to wrongly disconnected the 70th week of Daniel 9:24-27, and kick it into the future like a football across the stadium, and destroy a very powerful Messianic Prophecy which points to the Messiah being cut off in the midst of the 70th week, and having the 70 weeks be terminated at the stoning of Stephen.

        But these books are very fictitious, and that is where we get the Left Behind Series from. Those false books.

        But you are right about Isaiah 65.

        • DayStar says:

          I think the evidence in the Dead Sea Scrolls points to the genuineness of the non-canonicals, for they existed at least 200-300 years before Christ, and they were accepted by the Jews at the time as evidenced by the large number of copies that were found preserved with copies of the Old Testament. You have to read the non-canonicals and decide for yourself. Your criticism of the non-canonicals is non-specific and in its present form is just opinion to which everyone is entitled. There were Christians that taught Gnosticism (e.g. 1 Jn 1:7-9), but that does not make the Bible fictitious. The fact that the early church fathers accepted the non-canonicals ought to give us serious pause as to their genuineness. After all, Jude 1:14-15 quote directly from Enoch 1:9. The Left Behind series certainly does not follow Enoch as I believe Enoch 90 teaches that Enoch and Elijah come back as the two witnesses and remain until Jesus’ Second Coming.

          I wonder why you cut the 70th week at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7:58? The covenant continued to be with Israel only (Acts 11:19) until the acceptance of the household of Cornelius in Acts 10 at which time God opened the kingdom to all people, both Jews and Gentiles.

  2. Nadine Ward says:

    The more spiritual we become by asking The Holy Spirit to “Come” through an invitation of prayer before we read, we then receive spiritual understanding.
    As a spiritual understanding it makes more sense.
    The babes in Christ will no longer die when a few days old.

    • Since Augustine in the Fourth Century the “spiritual understanding” approach to interpreting scripture has been the majority view. Unfortunately, it differs only in scope from the mystical approach used in paganism. “Spiritual understanding” (mysticism limited to the genre of Christianity) makes man the arbiter of truth since the “understanding” proffered cannot be objectively verified. “Spiritual understanding” is arbitrary and capricious, because two believers adopting this methodology often arrive at wildly different conclusions regarding the same scripture.
      Like any text we read, the Bible should be taken at face value unless it clearly indicates the text is a symbol (for example, the 7 stars in Revelation 1:20) or a parable (for example, the fig tree in Matthew 24:32). If the text tells us something in the text is a symbol or a parable, then we must find the interpretation of the symbol or parable in the scriptures and not just make up something. For example, the Bible interprets the 7 stars in Revelation 1:16 as the angels of the seven churches of Asia. There are commentaries on Revelation that apply “spiritual understanding” to the inspired meaning of the seven stars (they are the angels of the seven churches, Rev 1:20) and make the angels of the churches into symbols that actually mean something else! If we are willing to hear, we objectively know what is the meaning of the seven stars, because the Bible says so. It is the same with the “great red dragon” (Rev 12:3). We know the dragon is a symbol because the Bible says the dragon is the Devil and Satan (Rev 12:9).
      In the same way we know the meaning of symbols we know the parabolic meaning of the fig tree in the parable of the fig tree is “the nation of Israel”, because the Bible tells us it is in Joel 1:7. If God is going to tell us something, the words must be governed by rules of rational grammar, otherwise, we have an uncertain trumpet (1 Cor 14:8), and nobody will have any confidence that anything it says is as it appears. Scriptures will become a minefield of uncertainty with “meaning” that appears and disappears like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.
      Disagreement among believers is common on unfulfilled scripture, because prophecy is often intentionally vague in order that the enemy may not know what God plans to do, but, like it was in the case of Christ’s resurrection, the meaning will be evident after the event happens. Because God intends for some things in the scripture to be vague, we should leave it at that, and let it be vague (1 Co 14:38) unless we get more revelation, and then we must be prepared to back up the revelation with evidence more than just “this is what I think” (compare Mark 16:20). If we can’t confirm what we think about a text with a second witness, then we should either say we don’t know or remain silent, because the “spiritual understanding/mysticism” approach destroys God’s meaning and denies us true understanding. Just because a text defies logic or common sense the way it literally appears does not give us license to reject the literal meaning. God can work miracles, and new technology can make possible things that were once impossible. What is considered impossible now may be very possible in 20 years thus making things like fire breathing horses (Rev 9:17-18) a literal reality. The “necessity” generated by our inability to imagine that a statement could ever be literal can be overcome by events where God or advanced technology make the impossible possible and prove our “need” to spiritualize text to be unnecessary and false.

    • Char says:

      Scripture tells us to study to show ourselves approved. The Spirit gives revelation through the Word. Too many people have heard messages preached or read commentaries and accepted the answers blindly, praying and believing that God says that’s the answer and that’s what Jesus meant by the Spirit guiding us, and indeed the Spirit does guide us. But not because we read one verse and pray and believe what we may have heard from others, but because we study the Scriptures, ALL Scriptures which are God Breathed, so our eyes can be opened to the truth.

      This verse is one I’m currently researching and did not know about this Justin Martyr dialog but intend to look into it further and study other Scriptures that may provide further insight until I reach a conclusion I feel is truth on the matter. Study is a lifetime commitment.

  3. Ashley says:

    Theres a reason why is says people will die, i worked out how it should go late in revelation and my ideas agree identically to Isaiah (which i found after i worked out how things should go). The reason it seemed to come together for me might have been divine inspiration but it all seems so simple to me now.

    So people dying is correct for a reason, i wont go in to it here as its way to a long a subject to do online.

    Many Thanks

    • Ashley, your comment requires one to to accept a statement to make the Bible contradict itself while you claim to have worked out a possibly inspired answer, but it is way too complicated to present. Why did you bother to make this comment? It adds nothing.


  4. mary says:

    Wow, this is a great conversation. James, that text in Isaiah was getting to me too. It makes no sense with Math 24 either. the sheep and goat passage. Also 2 Peter 1 v 20 no prophesy of scripture is of any private interpretation. Good word

    • Mary, thanks for the comment, but I wonder if you would care to expand on how Isaiah 65:20 contradicts Matthew 25:32 about the sheep and the goats? The goats are cast into the lake of fire, so there is a second death in that passage (Mt 25:46, Rev 21:8), but 1) that second death happens at the Judgment which is before the time of the New Earth and 2) the context of Isaiah 65:20 speaks of people living in the New Earth (“they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them”), not the Judgment.

  5. Kay Dongell says:

    Thank you so much for your research! What a relief to see Justin Martyr’s quote. Although I don’t believe the Jews would allow anyone to add or subtract from Scripture with all the warnings; Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6. I can see translator bias could have made this subtle change thinking they were clarifying their perspective.

    • You could be right about the translator bias, but we have direct evidence that the Jews changed God’s law. Jesus accused them of changing God’s word (Mk 7:11-14). Jesus said they changed God’s law by making what was said of no effect. The Jews hated Jesus so much that they murdered Him in direct violation of Exodus 20:13. It is a small step from murder in violation of God’s law to changing God’s word to suit their doctrine.

  6. Hello
    I have been following this discussion. Could someone comment on the following points.
    (1) James (Johnson) says;- ‘– the righteous people that are born in the new earth’.
    (2) Matthew 22:30;- At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels of heaven.

    • Johnny, thanks for the comment, and you make a good point. I have no authority except what the Bible says, what can be gleaned from reading from the scriptures (Acts 17:2), and what can be deduced from observation (e.g. the earth exists, therefore, something started it, cp. Gen 1:1).

      I think your point is that the idea of reproduction in the age to come seems to contradict Matthew 22:30 about men not marrying after the resurrection. I have adapted here in this response to your question a rather lengthy discourse from an article I wrote earlier regarding reproduction in the new heavens and the new earth, and I added an argument regarding the restitution of all things as is found in Acts 3:21 and Rom 8:21-23.

      Today, most Christians, if they had any opinion regarding people being born after the Second Coming and the Resurrection, would reply that Jesus told us, “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven” (Mk 12:25). From Jesus’ answer, expositors conclude that there is no reproduction after the resurrection. Does the Bible support a conclusion that there is no reproduction in the world to come?

      In answering the question regarding reproduction in the world to come, let us first notice passages that allude to reproduction in the world to come. Then we will consider harmonizing the passages on reproduction with the passage stating there is no marriage in the world to come.

      Notice the first commandment given to humans: “God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Gen 1:28). He gave a similar commandment “to every living creature that moves” in Genesis 1:22 to “be fruitful, and multiply”. That is the way it was in the beginning. Then we had sin and the creation fell from its pristine state to its state now where it remains groaning and travailing in childbirth until the birth of the sons of God at the resurrection from the dead. The birth/adoption of the children of God (Rom 8:21-23) happens at the resurrection, and the resurrection happens when Jesus comes and restores all things (Rom 8:17-23). Peter also speaks of this restoration of all things in Acts 3:21. He says that Jesus must remain in heaven until the restitution (restoration) of all things. If Jesus is going to come and restore all things to the way they were when they were very good (Gen 1:31), as Peter says He must, then that is the state where men reproduced and multiplied and replenished the earth, and the earth therefore will be returned to that state.

      Jesus said men will not marry in the resurrection (Mt 22:30) but will be as the angels in heaven. Since angels are supposed to be sexless, they cannot reproduce, and therefore, men will not reproduce in the world to come. The objection raised regarding angels marrying and being given in marriage is supposed to mitigate against any possibility of reproduction in the age to come and has been raised at least since the days of Adam Clarke in the 1600s. That belief probably originated with the Rationalists in Germany in the 1600s, as it certainly was not the view of the Christians in the first three centuries of the church. The earliest Christians believed, as do I, that the Deluge was a result of angels (sons of God are an order of angels in Job 1:6, 38:7) leaving their first estate in heaven (Jude 1:6) and coming to earth where they cohabited with women (2 Pe 2:4, Gen 6:1) and begat children who became giants (Gen 6:4). The early Christians had no conceptual difficulty with believing both Mark 12:25 and Enoch 7:1 (angels took human women as companions).

      The Bible also speaks directly of reproduction in the world to come. For example, Isaiah 11:6 speaks of a young lion, a young sheep (lamb), a young bull (calf), stall fattened beef (fatling), and a small, pre-adolescent child (little child) that are mentioned in the context of the time that the stem of Jesse (Jesus) will come with a rod (Isaiah 11:1), and we know that event happens when Jesus comes the second time with the rod of iron to rule the nations (Rev 19:5, 12:5, Ps 110:2). In Isaiah 60:20-22 the prophet foresees a day when mourning will be over completely and all of the people will be righteous and they then possess the land for ever. These righteous people will reproduce. “The smallest one will become a clan, And the least one a mighty nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time” (Isaiah 60:22). Isaiah clearly says people in the new earth will reproduce. In Isaiah 65:25 the wolf and the young sheep will feed peacefully together, showing that the animals will reproduce and live together in peace in the age to come.

      There are other scriptural indicators of reproduction in the world to come. Isaiah 9:7 speaks of the increase of Christ’s government and of peace in the world to come. If you have a static population that is at peace, how does peace increase? It cannot. The only way peace can increase is for there to be an increasing number of peaceful people. It is the same for government. If you have a static population, how does government increase? It cannot. The only way government can increase is when the population to be governed increases and Christ and His brothers make their sons princes over the increased population (Ps 45:16, 1 Jn 3:2). Enoch, who Jude quotes as a prophet in Jude 1:14-15, likewise speaks of reproduction in the age to come. Enoch 10:16-22 speaks of the age to come and says:

      Destroy all wrong from the face of the earth and let every evil work come to an end: and let the plant of righteousness and truth appear: and it shall prove a blessing; the works of righteousness and truth shall be planted in truth and joy for evermore.
      17 And then shall all the righteous escape,
      And shall live till they beget thousands of children,
      And all the days of their youth and their old age
      Shall they complete in peace.
      18 And then shall the whole earth be tilled in righteousness, and shall all be planted with trees and 19 be full of blessing. And all desirable trees shall be planted on it, and they shall plant vines on it: and the vine which they plant thereon shall yield wine in abundance, and as for all the seed which is sown thereon each measure (of it) shall bear a thousand, and each measure of olives shall yield 20 ten presses of oil. And cleanse thou the earth from all oppression, and from all unrighteousness, and from all sin, and from all godlessness: and all the uncleanness that is wrought upon the earth 21 destroy from off the earth. And all the children of men shall become righteous, and all nations 22 shall offer adoration and shall praise Me, and all shall worship Me. And the earth shall be cleansed from all defilement, and from all sin, and from all punishment, and from all torment, and I will never again send (them) upon it from generation to generation and for ever.

      Now unless we are going to throw out these passages that speak of reproduction in the age to come and observe the passover on them, we have to harmonize Jesus’ statement regarding no marriage with the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21), i.e. the earth’s return to a condition where God said, “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Gen 1:28), with the cessation of marriage (Mk 12:25).

      I believe the Lord’s statement in Mark 12:25 (KJV) where He says, “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” There is no getting around the fact that in the age to come there is no marriage, except the Church to the Lamb (Eph 5:25-33; Rev 21:2, 9-10). The relation between the Bride and Christ is an eternal oneness that will never be abrogated. There will, however, still be male and female, because Jesus will restore all things back to the way they were at the beginning (Acts 3:21, Ro 8:21-23), and Mark 10:6b says, From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”

      The assumption made on Mark 12:25, Matthew 22:10 and Luke 20:35 is that there is no lawful means to reproduce without marriage, therefore, there is no reproduction in the age to come. The logic behind concluding there is no reproduction in the world to come based on Mark 12:25 is only as good as the truthfulness of the premises (garbage in, garbage out). Marriage will not be practiced in the age to come, but Jesus’ statement does not prohibit concubinage. Men’s objection to reproduction in the world to come does not consider concubinage, and that has been a lawful means of reproduction at least from the days of Abraham (Gen 22:24). Another assumption made is that the law we have now will be the same in the future, and the argument assumes that exactly what the expositors believe regarding marriage now will be the law in the world to come. However, Hebrews 12:22 draws a contrast between Mt Sinai and Mt Zion, and speaks of another general assembly such as there was at Sinai when the Law was given to Israel. Thus, Hebrews 12:22 suggests an analog of the giving of the Law in the future at a general assembly when the eternal law is to be given (cp. Rev 5:13). Jesus only promised the Old Law would persist until it was all fulfilled (Mt 5:18). After all of it is fulfilled, the prophets can accommodate the giving of a new law to all creation at Mt Zion in Jerusalem.

      Even if the Law remains the same in the world to come, consider this question: Is it true even now that there is no lawful way to reproduce without marriage? Even a casual reading of the scriptures shows that concubinage is an age old method of lawful reproduction that is not marriage. Even in the New Testament the text in 1 Corinthians 7:2 translated “wife” actually literally says “woman” (gune) without regard to whether there was a formal marriage contract or not. From the days of Abraham 500 years after the Flood to the end of the kings of Judah (Esther 2:14), the kings had concubines, and God never ONCE complained about that. King David, a type of Christ (Acts 2:34), had at least ten concubines (2 Sam 15:16), and God said if all the women David had, had not been enough, God would have given him more (2 Sam 12:18). The Law even made provision for a man having multiple women if he could afford them (Dt 21:15), and Psalms 45:9 speaks of King Jesus having multiple honorable women (yaqar) and a consort (shegal) in the world to come. A shegal was a woman without a marriage contract.

      Psalms 45 is a psalm of the coming Messiah at the time of the new heavens and the new earth (Rev 21:1-2, the “for ever and ever” kingdom Ps 45:6). Hebrews 1:8 quotes Psalms 45:6-7 and says the King in the psalm is the Son that we know is the Messiah, Jesus (Jn 4:25-26). If we follow “the King” from verses 6-8 through the rest of the chapter, we find Him standing with His concubines in v 9 (shegal, “consort”), but being very desirous (Ps 45:11) of the daughter of another king (Ps 45:9, Note that Jesus’ brothers rule with Him, 2 Tim 2:12 and the daughter here can be explained to be the child of one of the elect kings ruling with Christ, cp. kings of Rev 21:24). This desired elect king’s daughter will come unto the King (v14) in the King’s palace (v15) where the scene discretely shifts into the results of the daughter coming unto the king, that is, their children (v16). The sons of the King that come from the union of the King and the elect king’s daughter, the King makes into princes to govern the growing population on earth (v16).

      Having concubines among the kings of Israel and Judah seems to have been the norm rather than the exception. King David had at least ten concubines in addition to multiple wives (2 Sa 15:16), and yet in God’s recap of David’s life, God explicitly said, (1 Kings 15:5, KJV) “Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.” Though our Puritan heritage discretely demurs from acknowledging these things, clearly God does not have a problem with concubines and multiple women as long as one is not a whoremonger, that is, having sex with women without incurring any obligation to them. Having multiple women in a levirate marriage was even commanded (Dt 25:5-10). However, a concubine though she bore lawful offspring (e.g. Ishmael and the children of Keturah, Gen 25:6), did not have the protection of a contract and served at the pleasure of her lord, as did Hagar until Abraham sent her away (Gen 21:14). After Sarah died Abraham had a concubine named Keturah (piylegesh, a concubine, paramour, 1 Chr 1:32). Jacob (Israel) had two concubines and four of the tribes of Israel had their origin, not from wives with contracts, but from concubines (Gen 30:7, 12). There are many passages in the early history of Israel that speak of concubines, and the prophets never brought a complaint from God against Israel regarding this practice, as they did regarding idolatry (Acts 7:43), Sabbath breaking (Lev 26:34), and neglecting the tithe (Mal 3:8-10). It is clear from these passages and others that concubinage is a lawful means to bear children and even to pass a blessing (Gen 17:20, 25:6).

      The question that precipitated Jesus’ remark about marriage in Mark 12:25 was specifically about marriage: (Mk 12:23, KJV) “In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.” Jesus responded with a specific answer to the question: There will not be marriage in the resurrection. However, His answer does not mean there will be no reproduction after the resurrection, for the Bible clearly teaches there will be (Ps 45:16, Isa 9:7, 11:6, 8), but because of our Puritan heritage regarding marriage, “no reproduction” is what everyone assumes. The assumption is simply wrong, for angels desired human women and had children by them (Gen 6:4, Jude 1:6).

      Clearly angels can reproduce (Gen 6:1, 4), but do not marry. Reproduction can be accomplished after the resurrection via concubines who do not have an eternal contract, even as the law currently stands. Apparently, they can at some point move on and become another man’s woman, even as the kings’ women did (2 Sa 12:8). So, having considered that objection to people being born after the resurrection we conclude there is no conflict between the passages requiring reproduction in the age to come and Jesus’ statement saying that there is not to be marriage in the new heavens and the new earth.

  7. mothusi says:

    What did Jesus say about life after death

    • John 5:28  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
      29  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

  8. Scott says:

    This was a very good read, thanks for shedding light on the Isaiah verses. Also important to remember, when Christ appeared to us, he brought revelation that even the ancients longed to hear. Jesus said in / Matthew 13:17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. / So while you explained this verse pretty well, also remember that Christ came to make things even more clear.

  9. Harold Ward says:

    I appreciate very much your research and explanation regarding this matter. I am a lowly Life Group leader who has the privilege of teaching Isaiah 55: 17-25 in a little more than a week from now. My freedom to teach this lesson would have been greatly restricted had I not possessed a plausible explanation for verse 20. In this regard, you have been a blessing to me.

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