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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English

Awake!  |  No. 5 2017

 THE BIBLE’S VIEWPOINT

War

War

In ancient times, the Israelites waged war in the name of their God, Jehovah. Does this mean that God approves of modern warfare?

Why did ancient Israel go to war?

WHAT SOME PEOPLE SAY

 

The Israelites worshipped a bloodthirsty “tribal war god.”

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

 

The nations whom Israel defeated were thoroughly corrupted by violence and depraved practices​—including bestiality, incest, and child sacrifice. After giving them centuries to change their ways, God said: “It is by all these things that the nations that I am driving out from before you have made themselves unclean.”​—Leviticus 18:21-25; Jeremiah 7:31.

“It is because of the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah your God is driving them away from before you.”​—Deuteronomy 9:5.

Does God take sides in war today?

YOU MAY HAVE OBSERVED

 

In many conflicts, religious leaders on both sides claim that God is on their side. “Religion has always played a part in every war that was ever fought,” says the book The Causes of War.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

 

Christians are not authorized to fight against their enemies. The apostle Paul wrote to fellow Christians: “If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves.”​—Romans 12:18, 19.

Instead of sending his followers to war, Jesus told them: “Continue to love your enemies and to pray for those who persecute you, so that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens.” (Matthew 5:44, 45) Even when the nation in which they live goes to war, Christians should remain neutral, “no part of the world.” (John 15:19) If God wants his worshippers in all nations to love their enemies and to remain separate from the world, how could he support either side of a violent conflict today?

“My Kingdom is no part of this world. If my Kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my Kingdom is not from this source.”​—John 18:36.

 Will war ever end?

WHAT SOME PEOPLE SAY

 

War is inevitable. “War has a future,” says the book War and Power in the 21st Century. “There is no danger of universal and perpetual peace breaking out in this century.”

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS

 

Wars will end when no one has the desire to wage war. Consequently, God’s Kingdom​—a real government that rules from heaven—​will soon act to disarm our planet and to teach humans to pursue peace. The Bible assures us that God will “set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. 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.”​—Micah 4:3.

The Bible teaches that under God’s Kingdom there will no longer be national governments competing for their own interests, unjust policies prompting citizens to revolt, or prejudice that fuels ethnic divisions. As a result, war will vanish. “They will not cause any harm or any ruin,” God promises, “because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea.”​—Isaiah 11:9.

“He is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the military wagons with fire.”​—Psalm 46:9.

Learn More

THE WATCHTOWER

God’s View of War in the Ancient Past

Three key factors distinguished wars that God authorized.

BIBLE QUESTIONS ANSWERED

What Is the Battle of Armageddon?

The word Armageddon appears only once in the Bible, but the battle it refers to is discussed throughout the Scriptures.