Much of the early parts of chapter seven ‘Real hope for your loved ones who have died’ particularly the scriptures quoted are actually very acceptable and would be beneficial. The problem is though ‘How much poison in a cake makes it dangerous’? The answer is of course very little.
Firstly a summary of what THEY say in the chapter.
The importance and description of death as an enemy.
The pain of loss at losing a loved one and a look at the Lazarus story showing the compassion of Jesus in this type of situation. The power of Jehovah (not Jesus) to raise Lazarus.
The dead are not conscious and Lazarus’ ceased to be’ temporarily or he would have told us about heaven or Hell.
The reality of resurrection as ‘re creation’ of an individual from Gods memory.
Jesus will have a role in judging the living and the dead, however Jehovah is the final judge (Acts 10v42)
He will not resurrect those who are wicked and unwilling to change.
Two types of resurrection, one of them is to life as a heavenly spirit creature only one example is given of this and that is Jesus! ‘God resurrected Jesus but not as a human’! (1 Peter 3v18 and 1 Cor 15v3-6)
The linking of the little flock Lk 12v32 with the 144,000 Rev 14v1 explaining that those who die now of the 144,000 are instantly resurrected to heaven.
It is amazing how the organisation can smuggle the craziest ideas that have no biblical foundation into the text of this book when even the prooftexts don’t prove the point they are making! I was genuinely surprised by the ‘niggling’ attempts to downgrade the position of Jesus throughout the chapter in a way which wasn’t prompted by the text and was very selective and presented an incomplete picture. p68 gives us two examples ‘God enabled Jesus’, ‘Jehovah was the source’ on p73 it states ‘Jesus will have a role’!! This is in complete contradiction of the passages which say ‘all judgment is entrusted to the Son’ John 5v22 . We recognise the positions of Father and Son but the WT wreck the key NT point that it is ‘The Father’ that Jesus has come to reveal to us. The insertion of Jehovah into the pages of the NT and into this chapter robs the reader of the truth of Gods fatherhood. They also turn the role of Jesus as ‘the servant’ or ‘the Son’ into some kind of subservience. It’s not good to see.
The Watchtower authors use Ecc 9v5 to control all later information ‘the dead know nothing at all’. The passage there is from the perspective of ‘the one under the sun’ just another human being. The writer there says ‘even the memory of them is forgotten’ which of course is not the case for everyone as many people are remembered from generation to generation. The jaundiced view of the writer of Ecclesiastes is to be supplemented for Christians by later Revelation in the Scriptures. This later revelation is not so easily useable by the Watchtower hence the desire to use the earlier verse to control the later. Ecc 6v6 says ‘do we not all go to the same place in the end’ this statement may have been true back then….but things are different now. Php 1v23 ‘I desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better‘ and 1 Cor 5v8 ‘away from the body and at home with the Lord’ both show that for believers things are most certainly different. (see also Rev 6v9-10)
The emphasis in the chapter of Jehovah recreating people from his memory is a piece of fanciful WT footwork just as the chapter goes on to show that ALL will be resurrected (John 5v28-29) but then goes on to say not all will be resurrected ‘ . Most readers of this chapter simply will not realise what is going on….that the WT s fighting hard to make the scriptures fit their own mold and not letting them speak for themselves.
p73/74 talks of the resurrection of Jesus as a ‘mighty spirit creature’ the only type of resurrection of this ever mentioned they say. He was not resurrected as a human the chapter says quoting 1 Peter 3v18 ‘made alive in the spirit’. The verse simply doesn’t prove what they say it does. Firstly it can man ‘in the Spirit’ see most modern versions. If however it is ‘spirit’ then it refers to the fact that in his spirit Jesus went to the ‘spirits in prison’ as the passage says. No one reading Luke 24v36-43 would get the impression that Jesus was a spirit creature. This and other passages show us he was raised bodily, different, exalted, glorious not JUST like us but so much more but definitely not a ghost or spirit.
The chapter moves on to its conclusions and picks verses from everywhere and sticks them together in typical Watchtower fashion the ‘little flock’ of Luke 12v32 and the 144,000 of Rev 7, are joined together and a whole structure of belief is imposed on those passages. The hope of resurrection is held out to the reader but even those distributing the books …active Jehovah’s Witnesses are not sure if they will survive Armageddon. The reader is invited to read on and loyalty to Jehovah, Jesus his organisation is called for with the certainty that they can never be sure of Eternal Salvation.
How much more attractive and of course biblical is the Christian hope. To be certain that after death presence with Jesus is assured, to know that on his return we will come with him (1 Thess 4v14) and at that time certain resurrection resting on the work that JESUS has completed not MINE!
The Christian understanding of these things presents Justice and Mercy. Not everyone has the same ‘judgment’ as the Watchtower says which is non existence, how un just is that! Eternal life is offered to all now and starts now (John 5v24).
John Tancock has been involved with Apologetics for many years, and has appeared on Revelation TV many times discussing various subjects. You can hear more from him at his blog, Jt’s Blogspot.