Learn From God’s Word
Is There Hope for the Dead?
This article raises questions you may have asked and shows where you can read the answers in your Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses would be pleased to discuss these answers with you.
1. What is the hope for the dead?
When Jesus arrived at Bethany near Jerusalem, his friend Lazarus had been dead for four days. Jesus went to the grave site with Martha and Mary, the sisters of the deceased man. Soon, a crowd gathered. Can you imagine the joy of Martha and Mary when Jesus raised Lazarus back to life?—Read John 11:20-24, 38-44.
Martha believed that the dead would rise. Faithful servants of Jehovah have long known that in the future, God will resurrect the dead to live on earth again.—Read Job 14:14, 15.
2. What is the condition of the dead?
Although a force of life, or “spirit,” keeps humans and animals alive, we are not spirits that merely inhabit a body of flesh. (Ecclesiastes 3:19; Genesis 7:21, 22) We are physical creatures made out of dust. (Genesis 2:7; 3:19) When our brain dies, our thoughts perish. Thus, after being resurrected, Lazarus said nothing of his experience in death because the dead are unconscious.—Read Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.
Clearly, the dead cannot suffer. So the teaching that God torments people after death is false. It slanders God. The idea of tormenting people in fire is disgusting to him.—Read Jeremiah 7:31.
3. Can we speak with the dead?
The dead cannot speak. (Psalm 115:17) But when wicked angels speak to people, they may deceptively claim to be the spirit of a dead person. (2 Peter 2:4) Jehovah forbids attempting to speak with the dead.—Read Deuteronomy 18:10, 11.
4. Who will come back to life?
In the coming new world, millions of people who are in the grave will come back to life. Even some who practiced bad things because they did not know Jehovah will be resurrected.—Read Luke 23:43; Acts 24:15.
Resurrected ones will be able to learn the truth about God and to exercise faith in Jesus by obeying him. (Revelation 20:11-13) Those who come back to life and do good things will be able to enjoy life forever on earth. However, some resurrected ones will continue doing bad things. Their resurrection will turn out to be “a resurrection of judgment.”—Read John 5:28, 29.
5. What does the resurrection tell us about Jehovah?
[Picture on page 16]
Adam was created out of dust