Questions From Readers
■ Since a brother who continues in armed employment would not be regarded as exemplary, would it be wrong for one of Jehovah’s Witnesses to seek the protection of armed law-enforcement officers?
Jesus stated: “All those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) In line with this principle, mature Christians are admonished to avoid employment that requires them to carry a firearm (the modern equivalent of “the sword”). However, this does not mean that they could not seek and receive the protection of armed police officers. Why do we say so?
Romans 13:1-4, in referring to human governmental “authority” that operates by God’s permission during the present system, says this: “It is God’s minister to you for your good. But if you are doing what is bad, be in fear: for it is not without purpose that it bears the sword; for it is God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad.” So God approves of the arming of such “superior authorities,” that a measure of law and order may be preserved among mankind. However, when Christ as “Prince of Peace” brings in the ‘abundance of endless peace,’ the use of all weapons of violence will be a thing of the past. Consistently with the Scriptures, then, Christians today may accept protection from the “authority,” though they themselves have ‘beaten swords into plowshares’ in anticipation of God’s incoming Kingdom.—Isaiah 2:4; 9:6, 7.
We might compare the situation today with that back in Jeremiah’s time. It was then that Jehovah used the army of “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant” to execute judgment on the apostate kingdom of Judah. Did Jeremiah and Baruch arm themselves for protection in that critical situation? No, for Jehovah himself made Jeremiah “a fortified city and an iron pillar and copper walls against all the land.” And though they did not join the army of Jehovah’s executional “servant,” they accepted deliverance by that “servant” when Jerusalem was destroyed.—Jeremiah 1:17-19; 25:9; 39:11-14.
Likewise today, Jehovah’s Witnesses pursue peace as they proclaim the Kingdom message in a violent world. However, as long as Jehovah permits governmental authorities to bear the “sword” or its modern-day equivalent in preserving order, they may rightly accept the protection of that “sword.”