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Theocratic Warfare

Jehovah's Witnesses are told that they are in "theocratic warfare" or "spiritual warfare" with the world. This warfare includes the strategy that being misleading, or even lying, is acceptable in situations where such dishonesty furthers the organisation's interests.

"The faithful witness does not commit perjury when testifying. His testimony is not tainted with lies. However, this does not mean that he is under obligation to give full information to those who may want to bring harm to Jehovah's people in some way. The patriarchs Abraham and Isaac withheld facts from some who did not worship Jehovah. (Genesis 12:10-19; 20:1-18; 26:1-10) Rahab of Jericho misdirected the king's men. (Joshua 2:1-7) Jesus Christ himself refrained from divulging total information when doing so would have caused needless harm. (John 7:1-10) He said: "Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine." Why not? So that "they may never . . . turn around and rip you open."—Matthew 7:6." Watchtower 2004 Nov 15 p.28

"Sarai could say that she was Abram’s sister because she really was his half sister. (Genesis 20:12) Furthermore, he was not under obligation to divulge information to people who were not entitled to it. (Matthew 7:6) Faithful servants of God in modern times heed the Bible’s command to be honest. (Hebrews 13:18) They would never, for instance, lie under oath in a court of law. When the physical or spiritual lives of their brothers are at stake, such as in times of persecution or civil distress, however, they heed Jesus’ counsel to be “cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.”" Watchtower 2001 Aug 15 p.20

"Of course, being truthful does not mean that we are obligated to divulge all information to anyone who asks it of us. Do not give what is holy to dogs, neither throw your pearls before swine, that they may never ... turn around and rip you open, warned Jesus, at Matthew 7:6. For example, individuals with wicked intent may have no right to know certain things. Christians understand that they are living in a hostile world. Thus, Jesus advised his disciples to be cautious as serpents while remaining innocent as doves. ( Matthew 10:16; John 15:19) Jesus did not always disclose the full truth, especially when revealing all the facts could have brought unnecessary harm to himself or his disciples. Still, even at such times, he did not lie. Instead, he chose either to say nothing or to divert the conversation in another direction." Awake! 2000 Feb 8 p.21

"Jehovah had the land “vomit” those depraved humans out of their territory, using theocratic warfare to have it done. (Leviticus 18:1-30; Deuteronomy 7:1-6, 24) This justifies the spiritual warfare of the Christian today." Watchtower 1986 Sep 1 p.18

"So when the apostle Peter used his sword against the slave of the high priest, Jesus told him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52, 53; John 18:10, 11) Jesus thus made it plain that theocratic warfare from that time on was not to include the use of carnal weapons." Watchtower 1983 Jul 15 p.19

"AT LAST, in 1473 B.C.E., Israel stood in the land of promise. But some years of theocratic warfare lay ahead, for they must purge the land of its depraved inhabitants. Were those Canaanites really that bad? Indeed they were! Their idolatry and immoral way of life were detestable in Jehovah’s sight and a danger to God’s people. Hence, God had Moses announce that He would use His holy nation, Israel, as His executioner. Thus, Jehovah would have the land 'vomit out’ those unclean nations.—Leviticus 18:1-30; Deuteronomy 12:29-32.
Today, also, we might ask the question, Is this world so bad as to deserve destruction? Well, what of the world’s religious systems? Sadly, these fail to honor the Creator, Jehovah God. People in Christendom have left him, “the source of living water, in order to hew out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that cannot contain the water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) Their sectarian beliefs contain no “water” of truth. They have shown themselves to be part of the world by supporting its wars and politics and by countenancing its sexual mores. As Jesus said, they are to be recognized “by their fruits.” Watchtower 1986 Dec 15 p.15

"This fact cannot be overemphasized: We are in a war with superhuman foes, and we constantly need to be aware of this." Watchtower 1983 Jan 15 p.22

"Likewise, as they entered upon their modern-day theocratic warfare, Jehovah’s witnesses came to appreciate clearly, from God’s Word of prophecy, that Satan had a great organization on this earth, of which false religion formed the most corrupt part, and that all of this visible “seed” of Satan was doomed to early destruction." Watchtower 1969 Oct 1 p.593

"In like manner, Jehovah has made abundant and never-failing provision today, through The Watchtower and other Bible-study helps, as well as through congregational meetings, so that his witnesses, ever “conscious of their spiritual need,” may be constantly stimulated for further theocratic warfare. We do well always to drink deeply of this provision." Watchtower 1967 Feb 15 p.109

"From time to time letters are received asking whether a certain circumstance would justify making an exception to the Christian’s obligation to tell the truth. In reply to these the following is given: God’s Word commands: “Speak truth each of you with his neighbor.” ...
There is one exception, however, that the Christian must ever bear in mind. As a soldier of Christ he is in theocratic warfare and he must exercise added caution when dealing with God’s foes. Thus the Scriptures show that for the purpose of protecting the interests of God’s cause, it is proper to hide the truth from God’s enemies. A Scriptural example of this is that of Rahab the harlot. She hid the Israelite spies because of her faith in their God Jehovah. This she did both by her actions and by her lips. That she had Jehovah’s approval in doing so is seen from James’ commendation of her faith." Watchtower 1960 Jun 1 pp.351,352 Questions From Readers

"We must tell the truth to one who is entitled to know, but if one is not so entitled we may be evasive. ... As a soldier of Christ he is in theocratic warfare and he must exercise added caution when dealing with God's foes. Thus the Scriptures show that for the purpose of protecting the interests of God's cause, it is proper to hide the truth from God's enemies." Watchtower 1960 Jun 1 pp.351-352:

"Today God’s servants are engaged in a warfare, a spiritual, theocratic warfare, a warfare ordered by God against wicked spirit forces and against false teachings. God’s servants are sent forth as sheep among wolves and therefore need to exercise the extreme caution of serpents so as to protect properly the interests of God’s kingdom committed to them. At all times they must be very careful not to divulge any information to the enemy that he could use to hamper the preaching work." Watchtower 1957 May 1 p.286

"Jehovah’s witnesses are engaged in a spiritual fight. It is a spiritual warfare to which they are sanctified, being enlisted in a spiritual army and engaged in a sacred conflict. They must, accordingly, partake of the pure truth, render acceptable worship, practice clean living and keep themselves and their surroundings clean." Watchtower 1955 Aug 15 p.512

"True, the witnesses of ancient times did in many cases fight with the various weapons of ancient warfare, and those witnesses furnished a prophetic picture or type of the Christian witnesses of Jehovah today, in their theocratic warfare against Satan the Devil and his superhuman hosts, the demons that are higher and more powerful than blood and flesh." Watchtower 1954 Nov 15 p.697