Maintaining Sanctity for Theocratic Warfare
THEOCRATIC means that which is in line with God rule. The wars being fought by the nations of the world today are not theocratic, for they are not fought by God’s dedicated servants and are not fought at his commands nor according to his rules.a
However, the wars fought by the nation of Israel in times of old were theocratic. That nation owed its existence to God and was organized by him. He gave it its laws and commanded it when to fight and how. Their wars were not wars of conquest or revenge but wars of execution at Jehovah’s commands. Because of these facts Jehovah repeatedly gave them the victory in the face of overwhelming odds.
Today, as Christian witnesses of Jehovah we are also engaged in warfare at God’s commands and therefore in theocratic warfare. As ‘the right kind of soldiers of Jesus Christ we are commanded to take part in suffering evil.’ Distinct, however, from worldly nations, or even from Jehovah’s servants of old, we do not use carnal weapons. No, not even at Armageddon will we do so. We will simply ‘stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah,’ as Christ and his heavenly armies engage Satan and his forces in the final war.—2 Tim. 2:3, NW; 2 Chron. 20:17, AS.
As has ever been true of Christians, “the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things.” Clothed in the “complete suit of armor from God,” we have as our only weapon of offense “the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.”—2 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:11, 17, NW.
In striking contrast with the way pagan soldiers conducted themselves in warfare, the Israelite soldiers had to keep clean in every respect and to keep their camps clean. Because sex relations made one ceremonially unclean according to the law of Moses, the Israelite soldiers could not have sex relations even with their own wives or concubines while engaged in theocratic warfare. The presence of the priests at the front who blew the silver trumpets that gave the signal for the attack, although they themselves took no part in the actual fighting, further emphasized the sanctity of theocratic warfare back there.
As Christian warriors we today must likewise maintain sanctity for theocratic warfare. Having a sanctified position before God by reason of Christ’s sacrifice we must keep clean physically, morally and spiritually. We may not use the fact of our being in theocratic warfare as an excuse for loose conduct. We may not imitate the crusaders of the Dark Ages who justified all manner of loose conduct on the basis of their being engaged in a “holy cause.” As soldiers in Jehovah’s cause we must prove to be holy, for he is holy.
Our warfare being for Jehovah’s glory and vindication, it is a holy warfare, a sacred obligation, a sanctified duty. Satan’s system of things being unclean, we may not touch any part of it, and especially must we be careful not to be swerved aside from our holy warfare in time of the wars of the nations of the world, regardless of how religious and worthy these may seem to be in the eyes of the world, as in the case of the war against godless communism. By keeping our camp clean, by living holily, by maintaining sanctity, Jehovah will always accompany us, assuring us of victory and entrance into his new world of righteousness.
a For details see The Watchtower, November 15, 1954.