Jehovah’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.
Sometimes Witnesses will persist in ignoring the context of Ecclesiastes 9:5 and insist that “the dead know nothing at all” is truth revealed by God. If that happens, I recommend that you have them look at other passages in Ecclesiastes to see if they express Jehovah’s viewpoint.
When discussing what happens to a person after death, Jehovah’s Witnesses will refer you to Ecclesiastes 9:5: “the dead know nothing at all...” (Watchtower's 2013 New World Translation). Some Witnesses have memorized an earlier version: “the dead… are conscious of nothing at all…” (NWT)... How can we get them to look at that passage in context?
The Watchtower has a video about wrong expectations. It’s told from the point of view of a Jehovah’s Witness who’s now a grandfather. He relates how hard it was for him when his wife died so young but that Jehovah and his fellow Witnesses saw him through it. Then it segues into another test of his faith. He wanted this old system of things to end, and some Witnesses started believing in a particular date (which the video doesn’t specify). Some Witnesses even sold their property and belongings in anticipation. But through his own Bible study and teachings at Watchtower meetings he realized that Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour. When the date came and went, he knew that his dedication was to Jehovah, not to a date. Some Witnesses left, but most remained loyal to Jehovah. But here’s what the video doesn’t tell you.