[Quotes from Watchtower publications, including their New World Translation, are in blue.]
Some unbiblical premises color the Watchtower’s entire teaching on resurrection. One is that death means “annihilation”. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, which the WT also uses for reference, says “death” is used in Scripture of “a) the separation of the soul.. from the body,” and “b) the separation of man from God;” (p 149).
Another unbiblical premise is that there are two classes of believers, the 144,000 (or Little Flock) and the rest, the Great Crowd. This makes the entire WT teaching on the resurrection a convoluted and confusing mess. The WT is forever having to tailor Bible verses to fit their teaching.
Phil. 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Another article, The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, has discussed his glorious body. Our lowly bodies will be “transformed”, (not recreated), to be like his glorious body, this verse tells us.
But the WT will argue that Jesus is a spirit and therefore this has to refer to the 144,000, who alone have spirit bodies. The WT will often argue in this way to make it fit their doctrine. The WT is wrong on all counts here because:
Jesus was raised in his own human body, not as a spirit. (John 2:18-22)
There are no 2 classes of believers; John 10:16 does not support that; this 2-class system is a 1935 invention of the WT.
Therefore all believers will be resurrected in their human bodies, glorified, incorruptible; changed, clothed with the imperishable and the immortal, as it says in 1 Cor. chapter 15; but human nevertheless.
Listen to Phil. 3:20-21 again, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” And what was his body like? Physical, same body.
The WT concludes the 3 articles on resurrection and the after-life in the July 1, 98 WT by reaffirming their stance on the 2-class system: "Anointed Christians rest their hope in a glorious heavenly resurrection... The ‘other sheep’ hope for an everlasting inheritance in the earthly realm of God’s Kingdom,” and for supporting verse they cite John 10:16, which has nothing to do with 2 classes of believers but refers to Jews and Gentiles (compare Eph. 2:11-22).
It is astonishing that the WT has taken a number out of the book of Revelation, 144,000, mentioned only twice in the entire Bible, and fabricated an entire elaborate system which, in effect, robs the majority of believers of what Christ purchased for us by his blood.
Our message to Jehovah’s Witnesses is that the resurrection as presented in the Bible is meant to give assurance to all believers that Jesus Christ is risen indeed and that we who are alive will rise in his likeness to live forever with him in the Kingdom of heaven.
Written by Greta Olsoe