Discussing the Rich Man and Lazarus: Why an “After Death” Story?

Rich 19-23In discussing the rich man and Lazarus account with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I recommend that you begin with the Watchtower interpretation. Tell them there are aspects of it you don’t understand and ask them to clarify.

I suggest dividing the account into three segments and addressing the passage topic by topic.

In this post, we’ll discuss the first segment, Luke 16:19-23: Continue reading

The Rich Man and Lazarus: The Watchtower Explanation

Lazarus Watchtower viewThe Watchtower rejects as pagan the teaching that people have souls which have consciousness which survives physical death. It also rejects as pagan and God-dishonoring the teaching that unrepentant people suffer torment and anguish after their deaths.

Because of this, the Watchtower does not accept Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus at face value. It rejects completely the Christian view of the passage which we covered in the previous post.

Instead, the Watchtower inserts its own meanings for all the people and events in Jesus’ account and then proclaims itself the defender of reasonableness and biblical consistency. What it ends up with is a fanciful and self-contradictory interpretation of its own creation.

However, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe what the Watchtower tells them. In order to get through to them, you first need to understand what they believe. Continue reading

The Rich Man and Lazarus: Christian View

Lazarus Christian viewOne of the primary passages that teaches a conscious existence after death and refutes the Watchtower’s annihilation-of-the-wicked doctrine is Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. Here is how that passage reads in the Revised Standard Version: Continue reading

Scriptures that Show Conscious Existence After Death

Rich Life after deathWhen discussing what happens after death, the Watchtower is selective in the texts it examines. Rather than looking at all verses that bear on the matter of conscious existence after death, it ignores passages that don’t support its doctrine. Draw these passages to their attention and ask for their explanation. Continue reading

Anatomy of a Proof Text: Ezekiel 18:4

Rich Ez 18_4Jehovah’s Witnesses often quote Ezekiel 18:4: “Look! All the souls—to me they belong. As the soul of the father so also the soul of the son—to me they belong. The soul who sins is the one who will die.” (Watchtower’s 2013 New World Translation)

To a Jehovah’s Witness, this verse proves that at death, human beings are not conscious of anything; rather, they go out of existence completely unless and until Jehovah decides to resurrect them.

They don’t seem aware that they are making a lot of intermediate assumptions in order to arrive at that conclusion.

Here are some of those assumptions: Continue reading

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