The prospect of living forever is a compelling one that drives Jehovah's Witnesses day after day in their witnessing work. But does the Watchtower teach that a never ending life is attainable? They do for a very select few. Those select few are granted an immortal life.
What is immortality?
The dictionary says that immortality is "not subject to death". The Watchtower's Insight on the Scriptures volume 1 page 1189 agrees by saying that "...Jehovah God, as the Source of all life, is not subject to death, hence, is immortal." If you are mortal you are subject to death. If you are immortal you cannot die. Since Jesus' resurrection the Watchtower says that he has been granted immortality by his father. He will never die again. The Watchtower Society has stated that there will be a limited group of people who will be granted the gift of immortality as well. Where does this leave the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses? They will remain mortal. They will never be granted the gift of immortality. They will never be free from the possibility that they could die.
What about everlasting life?
What about everlasting life that is promised to those who survive the final test at the end of the 1,000 years? Won't they have life without end, without death? Not necessarily because there is a catch. The Watchtower says that everlasting means to time indefinite which is an indeterminate amount of time, so you must continue to be obedient to continue on with life. In the Insight on the Scriptures Volume 2 pages 248-249 the Society says, "So with obedient mankind, when man's last enemy, death, is brought to nothing, there will be no sin working in their bodies to bring death. To time indefinite they will not need to die." The Insight on the Scriptures vol 2, page 1102 gives a revealing look at what time indefinite can mean, "However, the Hebrew expression 'ohlam' does not in itself mean "forever". It often refers to things that have an end, but the period of such things' existence can be said to be 'to time indefinite' because the time of their end is not then specified."
So even after the 1,000 years are over, Jehovah's Witnesses will remain mortal. They will always remain able to die if they are not obedient.
Has Eternal Life become a carrot?
One Jehovah's Witness lady was quite upset when she heard this discussed at a Watchtower meeting. She said "You mean to tell me that after having gone through all of this, I still might end up destroyed after all?" The answer to Jehovah's Witnesses is "yes". The carrot of everlasting life is tied to a string hanging in front of the Witness. It will always remain in front of them, always just around the corner, never quite attainable.
For many Jehovah's Witnesses who have dared to put down their Watchtower material and read the Bible alone, have been surprised by the simple message of faith found in the Bible that the Watchtower does not teach. The emphasis on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and Jesus' ability to completely save those who come to him alone for salvation has given many who formerly trusted in the Watchtower a new assurance of God's love and care for them. They have come to realize that they had been blinded by the teachings of an organization who boldly inserted themselves into the Scriptures as the fulfillment of prophecy and degraded Jesus to a mere created angel.