Use Theocratic War Strategy
A WITNESS of Jehovah was going from house to house in Eastern Germany when she met a violent opposer. Knowing at once what to expect she changed her red blouse for a green one in the very next hallway. No sooner had she appeared on the street than a Communist officer asked her if she had seen a woman with a red blouse. No, she replied, and went on her way. Did she tell a lie? No, she did not. She was not a liar. Rather, she was using theocratic war strategy, hiding the truth by action and word for the sake of the ministry.
In this she had good Scriptural precedent. Did not Rahab hide the Israelite spies by both action and word? Did not Abraham, Isaac, David and others likewise hide the truth at times when faced with a hostile enemy? They certainly did, and never do we read a word of censure for their doing so. Rather, we read of their being termed exemplary servants of Jehovah. Their actions were in line with Jesus’ wise counsel: “Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.”—Matt. 10:16, NW.a
Perhaps some will wonder as to where the line is to be drawn between use of theocratic war strategy in hiding the truth and the telling of lies. First of all, let it be noted that whenever one takes an oath to tell the truth he is obligated to do so. By dedicating himself to do God’s will each Christian has taken a vow or made an oath to do God’s will and to be faithful to him. To this oath he certainly must be true. Likewise, when a Christian is placed on a witness stand he is obligated to speak the truth if he speaks at all. At times he may prefer to refuse to speak and suffer the consequences rather than betray his brothers or the interests of God’s work. And, of course, there is no occasion for use of war strategy when dealing with our Christian brothers. In dealing with them we tell the truth or tactfully remind them that what they seek to know does not concern them.
Lies are untruths told for selfish reasons and which work injury to others. Satan told a lie to Eve that worked great harm to her and all the human race. Ananias and Sapphira told lies for selfish reasons. But hiding the truth, which he is not entitled to know, from an enemy does not harm him, especially when he would use such information to harm others who are innocent.
A great work is being done by the witnesses even in lands where their activity is banned. The only way they can fulfill the command to preach the good news of God’s kingdom is by use of theocratic war strategy. By underground methods the literature is brought into the country and distributed. Would it make sense to hide this literature by one’s actions and then reveal its whereabouts by one’s words when queried? Of course not! So in time of spiritual warfare it is proper to misdirect the enemy by hiding the truth. It is done unselfishly; it does not harm anyone; on the contrary, it does much good.
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.
a For details see The Watchtower, February 1, 1956.