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Where are the dead? Review of Chapter 6 of the “What does the Bible really teach” Book by John Tancock.

bible teach

(Apologies everyone, somehow we missed out chapter 6. Here is the belated review. Thanks to all who are visiting.)

Summary of key points.

  • 1. Most religions teach that something survives death. This is impossible.
  • 2.Nothing survives death unless it is in the memory of Jehovah. When a person dies they cease to exist.
  • 3.Death is ‘sleep’  nothing happens, no consciousness.
  • 4. People die because Adams sinful condition and death is passed on to us.
  • 5. The dead  cannot harm us  we cannot speak to them .
  • 6. Saying that people go to a place of fiery torment dishonours God it is a lie. God would never make this happen.


It is important to note that some contentious subjects are now put in the appendix. There are two sections of the appendix  that are  relevant.   1. Soul and Spirit what do these terms mean? and  2. What are Sheol and Hades. Possibly a third is relevant Judgment day-What is it?   I think though we should address these when we come to them in our analysis of this book.

Once again SOME of what they say in this chapter reflects broadly the  biblical revelation  one example would be that we need not fear the dead and we shouldn’t seek to contact them.  There is  however much  misapplication of the bible and false logic.

The use of Ecc 9v5  ‘the dead are conscious of nothing at all’  is a misapplied verse. The dead do not know of what is happening here  ‘under the sun’  is the context. Also many scholars fee that the despairing tone of Ecclesiastes and of the gloomy observations of the ‘man under the sun’ are what is relevant here not the wisdom of God.

On p38 the book addresses the idea that part of us ‘lives on’ after death. It asks ‘how can this be’? Does it provide a biblical explanation ? No , it simply says that the brain dies so it is impossible for anything to continue!!  This is really strange logic.  They go on to use the biblical metaphor for ‘sleep’ showing that the dead cease to be.  ‘Sleep’ simply shows that there is no interaction with this world, in ‘sleep’ life continues it doesn’t cease!!   They deftly ignore many indications scattered throughout the Bible of life after death. The appearance of Moses and Elijah on the mount of transfiguration,  the ‘saints under the altar’ in Rev 6, Pauls talk of being ‘absent from the body’   (how on earth is that possible if nothings survives death!) and plenty more.

The evidence being provided here is really feeble and anyone with any knowledge of the bible  would pick up on how weak it is. The chapter goes on to say that any punishment after death  is incompatible with Jehovah a God of Love. This is coming from an organisation that has produced many books  pictures and descriptions of Jehovah punishing men, women and children because they did not enter the Ark of God’s spirit directed organisation and the organisation of which  many  its members often doubt their  own ability to survive Jehovah’s day of judgment because they are not worthy enough. However difficult any of the biblical material will be it cannot be ignored or side stepped. Mthw 10v28  is relevant  but look at 2 Pete 2v9 ‘God knows how to deliver the godly  from  trial and how to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.’  THAT verse cannot be fitted into the Watchtower scheme and it shows that between now and judgment day  the unrighteous are under punishment.

The use of the story of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 would involve some biblical gymnastics by the Watchtower to ‘get around’ as would many passages n the rest of the scriptures.  We know for certain that those trusting in Jesus Christ on death go to be with him Php 1v23 and  2 Cor 5v8.   To await future resurrection and to come with him from heaven at his return. to receive bodies ‘just like his’  The fate of those who do not know God is to go to the common  resting place of mankind Sheol/Hades   to wait until the day of judgement.

As this book builds its case, it only can do so relying on the lack of knowledge of its readers and the wholesale sidestepping of much teaching in the scriptures on the subjects in hand. That however as we know is the Watchtower Way!

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.


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