Let’s read Isaiah 65:17-20 from the New King James Version: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.  No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.” Now let’s read Revelation 21:1 &4, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea….And God  will wipe away every tear from their eyes; THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

There SEEMS to be a contradiction between the “new heaven and new earth” viewed by Isaiah and by the Apostle John, for as you said Isaiah “speaks of death and sin” in verse 20, yet John states emphatically that “there shall be no more death.” How do we reconcile this SEEMING contradiction? There are two prominent views that seek to explain this:

1) Some commentators, such as William MacDonald, teach that the “new heavens and the new earth in Isaiah refer to CHRIST’S KINGDOM ON EARTH, but in Revelation 21 they refer to THE ETERNAL STATE. In Isaiah’s new heavens and new earth there is still sin and death; in Revelation 21, these have passed away.” In this view the new heavens and the new earth in Isaiah 65:17 speak of the wonderful transformation that will take place on earth during Christ’s 1,000- year kingdom (see Revelation 20:1-6) where the earth itself will undergo a wonderful transformation (see Isaiah 11:1-9; 35:1-2; 65:25). It includes the thought of “infant mortality and premature death being eradicated,” as we see in verse 20 of our portion. Yet at the end of the Millennium, this “new heaven and new earth” will pass away and be replaced by another “new heaven and new earth” that shall never pass away (Revelation 21:1) and where all the effects of sin are gone forever (Revelation 21:4).

2) Other commentators, such as W. E. Vine, believe that the blessing and joy of the Millennial Kingdom (described in verses 18-25) “is preceded by the declaration of what is to be brought about AFTER THE MILLENNIAL PERIOD IS OVER. For it is only when God creates the new heavens and the new earth that alloyed and perfect blessedness will be granted, and ‘the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.’” They do agree with commentators who espouse view #1 that there will be great changes in the earth during the Millennium (as seen in verses 18-25 and the other references alluded to), but that this should not referred to as the “new heavens and a new earth,” for the new heaven and the new earth can only refer to a BRAND NEW CREATION which produces the results in Revelation 21:4.

I will avoid being dogmatic in stating my view, but I do believe that view #2 has more support from Scripture. I agree with Mr. Vine that only an absolutely “new heaven and new earth” as described in Revelation 21:4 could cause Isaiah to say (in verse 17), “the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”  This thought seems to agree nicely with the words in Revelation 21:4 where John says, “the former things have passed away”; that is, the effects of sin…death, sorrow, crying and pain. It is only after ALL THE EFFECTS OF SIN HAVE BEEN REMOVED that “the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” We saw in Isaiah 65:20 that there will still be “the effects of sin,” for there will still be DEATH, so people will still be reminded of sin and the terrible consequences that come from sin.

Another thought which would support the view that both Isaiah and John were speaking of the same “new heaven and new earth” is the word “create” in Isaiah 65:17. It is the Hebrew word BARA which means “to create from nothing.” It is the same word used in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God CREATED the heavens and the earth.” We know God created the original heavens and the earth from nothing! He simply spoke them into existence. “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth…so He spoke, and it was done” (Psalm 33:6 & 9). We saw in Revelation 21:1, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for THE FIRST HEAVEN AND THE FIRST EARTH HAD PASSED AWAY.” This means that the present heaven and earth WILL BE GONE! It is at that time that God will create (out of nothing!) “A new heaven and a new earth.”  (389.5)  (DO)