What is the afterlife in Jehovah’s Witnesses?

February 19, 2018

JW’s believe that there are three classes of people; the “little flock” which after death will reside in Heaven, the “great crowd” that will reside on Earth and the rest that will be non-existent.


JW’s believe that only 144,000, called the “little flock”, will populate Heaven.  These 144,000 are what the JW’s say are the truly born-again children of God.  They will be God’s spiritual sons.  They will be gods like Jesus Christ is a god.

“The Bible shows that only a limited number of persons, a ‘little flock’, will go to heaven.”  (Watchtower, February 15, 1984, p. 9)

“At the celebration of the memorial of Christ’s death, only those who make up ‘the Israel of God’ should partake of the emblems of bread and wine.”  (Watchtower, March 15, 1983, p.9)

“We are begotten of a divine nature. … Jehovah is thus our father. … We are divine beings – hence all such are Gods. … Now we appear like men, and all die naturally as men, but in the resurrection we will rise in our true character as Gods.”  (Watchtower, December 1881, p. 3 [1919 reprint, p. 301])


Notice that the reward for the few (144,000) is they will be gods like Jesus Christ and the great crowd will serve them as gods.  What was it that Satan said to Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:5)?  “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (emphasis added).  The JW’s hope to be part of the little flock that will be gods, just as Satan promised Eve.  Also note that the JW’s make a big deal about Jesus a little “g” god, yet in the quote above they claim they will be in their true character, which is God with a big ‘G’. 

“The titles, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father … are very appropriate to Our Lord Jesus. … The same titles are applicable to the Church as his body.”  (Watchtower, November 1881, p. 10 [1919 reprint, pp. 297-298])


Those that make up the “great crowd” will live in the “Paradise earth” and serve the 144,000 in Heaven that make up the “little flock”.

“These dedicated, baptized ‘other sheep’ of the ‘great crowd’ have not been begotten to be God’s spiritual sons, with a heavenly inheritance.”  (Holy Spirit, 1976, p. 157)

“The rest of faithful humankind will live on earth as the subjects of these rulers.”  (Watchtower, February 15, 1984, p. 9)

“The vast international company of ‘other sheep’ who do not partake, will enjoy everlasting life on the Paradise earth.”  (Watchtower, March 15, 1983, p.9)


JW’s believe that when a person dies they completely cease to exist.  There is no consciousness at all after death.  Therefore, there cannot be a conscious eternal punishment for the “unbelievers”.  They believe that the “wicked” will be consumed in judgment and annihilated.  They teach that hell is something that Satan made up.

“The real roots of this God-dishonoring doctrine go much deeper.  The fiendish concepts associated with a hell of toment slander God and originate with the chief slander of God (the Devil).”  (Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, p. 175)

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