Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Go to War?

In today’s video, we’re going to visit jw.org and we’re going to look at one specific article in there about why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t go to war or they aren’t allowed to serve in the military and we’re going to see if it stands up to biblical reasoning. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t go to war because:

  1. Obedience to God – The bible says that God’s servants would beat their swords into plowshares and not learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:4 of the New World Translation “He will render judgment among the nations and set matters straight respecting many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation nor will they learn war anymore.” Joel 3:9-10 says “Proclaim this among the nations, prepare for war, stir up the mighty men, let all the soldiers draw near, let them advance, beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning shears into spears, let the weak ones say I am powerful. Come and help all you surrounding nations, assemble together to that place so Jehovah, bring down your powerful ones.” It’s like the exact opposite of Isaiah 2:4 . The first part of Isaiah 2, verses 1-9 is about when the whole of creation is filled with the desire to know God and to learn and be governed by Jesus Christ. I believe this is referring to Jesus’ millennial reign, that this is prophetic, that it hasn’t happened yet. Because God’s peace rests over the whole of earth, men will not have the capacity for war because they’ll have no desire for it at all, which is where we get verse 4 that they’re beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. In Joel 3:9-10, God was declaring his justice on all the nations who had divided his inheritance, the people of Israel. The nations had stolen the people of Israel and they had traded the boys for prostitutes and the girls for wine to drink so they were doing some pretty terrible things to the nation of Israel. So God was declaring his judgment or his justice on those nations by using people, soldiers, the military to deliver his justice on earth.
  2. Obedience to Jesus – The Apostle Peter was told by Jesus “Return your sword to its place for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword”. Then they cite Matthew 26:52 where Jesus showed that his followers would not take up weapons of warfare. Jesus’ disciples obey his command to be no part of the world by remaining strictly neutral in political matters. Then they cite John 17:16. They do not protest against military actions or interfere with those who choose to serve in the armed forces. Luke 22:35-38 “And he said unto them, When I sent you forth without purse, and wallet, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. And he said unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a wallet; and he that hath none, let him sell his cloak, and buy a sword. For I say unto you, that this which is written must be fulfilled in me, And he was reckoned with transgressors: for that which concerneth me hath fulfillment. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” Luke 22:48-53 “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? And when they that were about him saw what would follow, they said, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And a certain one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and struck off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye them thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. And Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and elders, that were come against him, Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched not forth your hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” In Luke 22:36, Jesus basically told his followers to buy swords. I don’t think that if Peter would have lashed out at another point in the ministry that Jesus wouldn’t have allowed him to defend the group. What was happening at that point in time was that Jesus had already predicted “I’m going to be arrested and they’re going to kill me.” It was now the appointed time and he knew that and that’s why he was praying in the garden of gethsemane earlier in the chapter. I don’t think Jesus is against self-defense. (John 7:30 and John 7:44). Jehovah’s Witnesses say they obey Jesus’ command to be no part of the world by remaining strictly neutral in political matters. They do not protest against military actions or interfere with those who choose to serve in the armed forces. They quote John 17:16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  Read all of John 17 and tell me if that has anything to do with being in the military or voting or having nothing to do with the government. What does it mean to be “in” the world but not “of” it? Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Ephesians 4:22-24 says that in reference to your former manner of life, that you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth. When you’re born again, when you have this Holy Spirit inside of you, it’s sanctifying you, it’s changing you every day, you’re becoming more and more in tune with Jesus Christ, you’re in the world but you’re not of the world, you don’t think, you don’t act, you don’t operate like them.