Just before leaving theology school, I witnessed a heated argument between a protestant and a Catholic about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs about death.
One argued that they believe in life after death, while the other asserted that they don’t.
From my background in theology, I possessed a comprehensive grasp of their doctrines about death and was, therefore, able to address the contention.
From that encounter, I noted that many others have a similar argument, so I composed this article to tackle the question, “What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe about death?”
According to their teaching, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that when a person dies, their life ends. They claim that when a person dies, they do not exist elsewhere. However, they believe that some people will be resurrected during the day of resurrection and will never die again.
In this article, I will discuss Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teachings about death, Jehovah’s Witness’s opinions about funerals, and how you can comfort a Jehovah’s Witnesses when someone dies.
To know these and more, continue reading.
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses teach about death?
Based on their online resources, Jehovah’s Witness teaches that death was brought because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the garden of Aden.
They say that Adam was not created to die, but when he sinned, he forfeited the power to live eternally.
They also teach that death is the end of one’s life. They say that a person does not continue to exist after they die. They base their argument on Ecclesiastes 9:5-10, in which Solomon implied that the dead have no senses, emotions, or will.
What is Jehovah’s Witness’s opinion on funerals?
Based on their practices during funerals, their opinion is that it is a time of reassuring the family of the great hope of resurrection. They also believe it is a time to comfort the family because of their loss.
Although they understand the family’s mourning, they believe that funeral services should not be overly mournful events because the bereaved are assured of a resurrection.
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in life after death?
According to their teachings, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in life after death. They believe that a person’s life ends when they die.
However, they believe that there will be a day of resurrection when some people will be resurrected.
Additionally, they believe that we live in a time when Jesus is ruling in heaven and that 144,000 people will lead with him in heaven. They claim that some of the 144,000 have already been resurrected in heaven.
What is the afterlife in Jehovah’s Witnesses?
According to Jehovah’s Witness, there is no afterlife because when a person dies, their life ends. However, they believe that people will live again after being resurrected during the day of resurrection, which has not occurred yet.
They believe that a man’s life is mortal and hence ends at death.
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe happens to you when you die?
According to their teachings, they believe that when you die, you enter a state where you have no thought, emotions, feelings, or memory, as described in Ecclesiastes 9:5-10.
In other words, they believe that when a person dies, they do not exist in any other place.
They also describe it as a deep sleep, as Jesus said about Lazurus John 11:11-14: “These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”
They say that in this sleep, one cannot exist in another place.
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses do when someone dies?
Based on their practices, when a person dies, Jehovah’s Witnesses start to prepare for a funeral, which takes place in about seven days.
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that during the funeral preparation period, friends and families should comfort the close family members.
Paul Williams observes that after the preparation period, Jehovah’s Witnesses conduct a funeral that lasts about 30 to 45 minutes in their Kingdom Halls.
He says that they remember the person’s service in preaching the gospel during the funeral. He also says that the Congregation Elder conducting the funeral service reads the scriptures that reassure the family of the resurrection. Finally, the body of the deceased is buried or cremated.
How do you comfort a Jehovah’s Witness when someone dies?
Most people believe that you should comfort a Jehovah’s Witnesses by reassuring them of the resurrection. They also believe that being physically present with them during the mourning and funeral period would give them an easy time.
Paul Williams suggests providing food and flowers to such a person before, during, or after the funeral.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.