Does the Watchtower communicate with the dead?

“From the time of the apostle John and on into the Lord’s day, anointed Christians were puzzled as to the identity of the great crowd. It is fitting, then, that one of the 24 elders, representing anointed ones already in heaven, should stir John’s thinking by raising a pertinent question. “And in response one of the elders said to me: ‘These who are dressed in the white robes, who are they and where did they come from?’ So right away I said to him: ‘My lord, you are the one that knows.’” (Revelation 7:13, 14a) Yes, that elder could locate the answer and give it to John. This suggests that resurrected ones of the 24-elders group may be involved in the communicating of divine truths today. For their part, those of the John class on earth got to learn the identity of the great crowd by closely observing what Jehovah was performing in their midst. They were quick to appreciate the dazzling flash of divine light that emblazoned the theocratic firmament in 1935, at Jehovah’s due time.”

Revelation: Its Grand Climax at Hand! p. 124-125

This quote from the Watchtower clearly indicates that Jehovah’s Witnesses who have passed away are “communicating” to persons alive today.  To whom are these “divine truths” being communicated?  What does this communication consist of?  How is it performed?  The Watchtower does not tell us.  However, they have elsewhere disapproved of any form of communication with the dead,

 “This person from the spirit world could not really have been Samuel. Samuel was dead, and the Bible says “as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Eccl. 9:5)

The Watchtower, September 15, 1981 p. 9

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe man has an immaterial soul that is separate from the physical body. The physical elements are all we have. Therefore, when we die, we remain in that unconscious state until we are resurrected. The article continues,

 “Furthermore, while he was alive Samuel had refused to see unfaithful Saul. (1 Sam. 15:35) Surely now, even if he were alive after death, Samuel would not allow a spirit medium to arrange for him to meet Saul. So we can be sure that a spirit medium could not force Jehovah to give Saul a message through dead Samuel.”

-The Watchtower, September 15, 1981 p. 9

But what if Samuel could be contacted by means other than a spirit medium? The answer is provided,

 “But suppose the living could actually talk with dead loved ones, as the people at this séance are trying to do. If they could, surely a God of love would not say in the Bible: “There should not be found in you . . . anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing [so] is something detestable to Jehovah.”—Deut. 18:10-12.

The Watchtower, September 15, 1981 p. 9

Even though the Scriptures may not explicitly and systematically denounce each and every possible means one might attempt to communicate with someone who had died, the Watchtower affirms that Deuteronomy 18:10-12 rules them out.

 “Who, then, was pretending to be Samuel? A wicked spirit person was. Wicked spirits, or demons, are the angels who joined Satan in rebellion against God. To promote the lie that death is only a change to another life, they pretend to be persons who have died. But the truth is, the dead are completely unconscious, awaiting the time when God may remember them in the resurrection. (Acts 24:15) So neither you, nor anybody else, can talk with the dead.”

The Watchtower, September 15, 1981 p. 9

The Watchtower not only presents commands from the Scriptures to prohibit communication with those who have died, but they also present another basis; even if communicating with the dead were allowed, we wouldn’t be able to do so since, “neither you, nor anybody else, can talk with the dead.”

Some Jehovah’s Witnesses may defend the idea that the “anointed” are not dead, but very much alive, since they had be “re-created” as spirit creatures, though their bodies remained dead. But as the September 15, 1981 Watchtower article articulated, there is no biblical basis for someone to communicate with anyone who has died, whether they are consciously dead, or have become some sort of spirit creature.

But where would a Jehovah’s Witness get the idea that the “anointed” (one of the 144,000 who go to heaven) are the exception to those who remain dead until the resurrection? This idea goes back as early as 1917,

 “Although we recognize that the Lord is the great Master and Director of the harvest, yet we recognize that he would privilege the saints beyond the veil to have a part in the work on this side; and thus all the saints, both in heaven and upon earth, are now given the honor of concluding the work on this side, preparatory to the full establishment of the kingdom of glory.”

The Watchtower, Nov. 1, 1917 p. 324, 325

It would be difficult to establish from this quotation alone how the dead anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses are active and especially whether or not they are communicating with those on earth. But another publication affirms precisely what is going on and coincides with what the Revelation book (quoted above) refers to when it speaks of the anointed “communicating divine truths today.”

 “And to the saints—‘We hold that it is a most reasonable inference, and one in perfect harmony with all the Lord’s plan, that in the spring of 1878 all the holy Apostles and other ‘overcomers’ of the Gospel Age who slept in Jesus were raised spirit beings, like unto their Lord and Master.'”

The Finished Mystery, 1918 edition p. 182

Why is it significant that these “overcomers” (also identified as the “anointed” 144,000) were raised as spirit creatures into heaven? After all, isn’t it also the traditional Christian view that all believers enter into heaven upon death? Yes.  The problem is, the Watchtower can’t have it both ways. On the one hand, the September 15, 1981 Watchtower teaches that communicating with anyone who has died is forbidden by the Scriptures. Yet, The Finished Mystery and Revelation: its Grand Climax is at Hand teach that dead, anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been raised as spirit creatures are now communicating divine truths to the Watchtower today.

The Watchtower hasn’t been able to set the record straight on this issue, because in 1934, they declared the following,

 “All at the temple will realize that their spiritual food comes to them from their Teachers, Jehovah and Christ Jesus, and not from any man. No one of the temple company will be so foolish as to conclude that some brother (or brethren) at one time amongst them, and who has died and gone to heaven, is now instructing the saints on earth and directing them as to their work.

The Watchtower, May 1, 1934 p. 131

This is an instance where The Watchtower has provided contradictory answers to important issues such as necromancy and spiritism.  This is not what we would expect from an organization that claims the following,

 “Similarly today, a Governing Body composed of spirit-anointed Christians contributes to the unity of the worldwide congregation. The Governing Body publishes spiritually encouraging literature in many languages. This spiritual food is based on God’s Word. Thus, what is taught is not from men but from Jehovah.—Isa. 54:13.”

The Watchtower September 15, 2010 p. 13

6 thoughts on “Does the Watchtower communicate with the dead?

  1. Jehovah’s Witnesses are an intolerant rigid fundamentalist sect.

    Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are decent folk who are trapped in an oppressive cult like organization the Watchtower society.
    The Watchtower core dogma is Jesus ‘invisible’ return or second coming October 1914,this is a false doctrine.
    Matthew 7:15-16 “Be on the watch for the false prophets,who come to you in sheep’s clothing…..”
    God bless-Danny Haszard FMI dannyhaszard(dot)com
    (cool stuff on JW)

  2. Hello Mike,

    If the anointed are resurrected and alive in heaven, how would that be the dead communicating with the living? They’re not dead, right?


    1. Rotherham,

      I believe this was already addressed in the post:

      “Some Jehovah’s Witnesses may defend the idea that the “anointed” are not dead, but very much alive, since they had be “re-created” as spirit creatures, though their bodies remained dead. But as the September 15, 1981 Watchtower article articulated, there is no biblical basis for someone to communicate with anyone who has died, whether they are consciously dead, or have become some sort of spirit creature.”

      But I do have a follow up to this, if indeed these communications do happen with “living” anointed in heaven:

      1. How does this communication take place?
      2. Is the revealed information from resurrected anointed ones inspired or fallible?
      3. If the anointed are revealing information to the GB, then why do the GB make so many mistakes? Is their hearing poor or are they simply bad scribes? (I mean that in all seriousness)

      1. Hello Mike,

        Keep in mind that we are not saying that we are communicating with them as if we would be asking them for understanding. The scriptural indication, because one of the elders is communicating with John, could be indicating that the anointed have something to do with the process of helping their brothers on earth come to more accurate understandings. Don’t worry, it’s not written in stone, it’s merely something that might be indicated by the Revelation scenario.

        How this exactly takes place would of course be unknown.

        Since we are not living in times of Divine inspiration, Christ’s brothers on earth would not be receiving inspired messages. There is a difference between being inspired and being directed by God’s spirit. Whereas the anointed are directed, they are not inspired.

        How could that happen? It has never been explicitly explained but I believe I have an idea how it could happen without one being directly inspired.

        The holy spirit could prod humans in the right direction, causing them to ask the right questions to properly divide the word of God. Through that prodding, it would be hoped that they would come to a better understanding of certain things. However, the potential for some error would still be there if they did not properly divide the evidence that pertained to the question that would arise.

        For instance, what about you? Are you inspired? Likely you would say not. But, do you feel you are being directed by God’s spirit? If so, would that mean that you would have complete understanding and infallible teachings?

        If not, then what would be your explanation as to how God’s spirit guides yet does not inspire you?


  3. Joseph Rutherford denied to be inspired, but he said (through The Watchtower publications) that the angels were giving messages to the “temple class” since 1918. Accordingly, Rutherford concluded that the Holy Spirit was no more useful as a “helper” (paracletos), because the “temple class” (Rutherford and closer friends) were receiving angelic messages since 1918. So, I don’t see the difference. If you receive messages from the angels you are being inspired by God through his angels, unless you were being receiving messages from demons, who are the angels of Satan.

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