Celebrating over bin Laden’s death AND is he in hell?

Hamid Mir interviewing Osama bin Laden for Dai...
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[EDIT, 5/3/2011: The commentary on this subject that I submitted to the Tomorrow’s World website was accepted and published today. My thanks to our editorial staff who helped make my quickly-noted thoughts even clearer! You can read the commentary here: “Welcome to Hell, bin Laden.”]

The news today that Osama bin Laden is dead has folks celebrating.  Osama bin Laden helped to orchestrate the deaths of almost 3,000 people, and now the penalty for that has, in a very literal sense, been brought back to his very own doorstep, and he has been killed in his own home by special forces from the nation he sought to humiliate.

Still, God says that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11), so I will refrain from the jubilant feelings that have been expressed by many.  He tells us, too, through the wisdom of Solomon: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles,” (Prov. 24:17).  But I can say that I feel a certain satisfaction that some measure of justice has been meted out and that an evil mass murderer is, today, no longer able to murder, and I don’t see how that is wrong — either biblically or logically. Concerning the power wielded by the carnal governments of today, Paul says, “if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Rom. 13:4).  However imperfectly (and man is ever imperfect), wrath was executed this morning on one who practiced evil.

May the day come quickly when He who executes such wrath perfectly and in true righteousness comes to do so.

[EDIT, 5/2/2011: Shmuley Boteach has some related thoughts on this topic.]

In all the morass of news coverage, though, I must add that it was former governor Mike Huckabee who really grabbed my attention with his statement, “Welcome to hell, bin Laden.”

The subject of hell and the recent public spat over the topic held in the evangelical community over popular pastor Rob Bell’s book Love Wins was the topic of the telecast I was going to tape this week.  (“Was” going to tape, past tense, because this swollen left eyelid of mine has delayed the taping until I return to a normal appearance–or at least my personal version of a normal appearance.)  For a sense of the spat, you might check out this article: “Pastor loses job after questioning hell’s existence.”

The fact that many very likely (mistakenly) believe that Osama bin Laden is now suffering eternally as a new resident of the most horrific concentration camp in the cosmos and will do so in agony for billions and billions and billions of years — on through eternity — is interesting to me, not because it is surprising, but because of who would be there with him.  Hitler, of course, but also, say, some 18-year-old young man from a far off country who, as selflessly as he may have tried to live his life, died before a “Christian” missionary could reach him and before he could even be aware he had a Savior to believe in.

The idea that such a person is spending that eternity in agony right alongside the bloody butcher of Al Qaeda is something that should make some think twice about the doctrine of hell and press them to ask hard questions.  And if they do ask those questions, perhaps they will find their way to our booklet, Is This the ONLY Day of Salvation?

[Click for free booklet: "Is This the ONLY Day of Salvation?"

The biblical truth in this booklet meant so much to me when I was first learning the utter greatness of God’s Plan.  There are so many out there who would be comforted by the truth, whose fear for their dead loved ones could be alleviated, and whose view of God could be rescued from the monstrous image created by this world’s “Christianity.”  God is just, but He is not a monster — and the biblical truth shows us that He is not.

Anyway, two not necessarily directly related topics for blogging today, but my thanks to former governor Huckabee for giving me a chance to put them together. 🙂

14 thoughts on “Celebrating over bin Laden’s death AND is he in hell?

  1. Linda Patterson

    You put them together very well. I have often wondered how someone could believe in that kind or hell. And how could they believe the creator is so mean. He is loving and has shown that to us in so many ways through out our entire existance. Oh well, God is perfect and humans are not.

  2. Bruno M. Ayala

    You know, after hearing of his death at the hands of our special forces last night I initially felt a sense of joyful satisfaction…..but that immediately fostered a guilty feeling.

    Today after getting home and scanning some of the news reports I also noticed the many jubilant celebrations for Bin Laden’s killing.

    It seems that many were not celebrating justice as much as another murder…another killing. Our enemy for sure but still…I ended up searching for and found the same scripture that you mentioned in Proverbs 24:17 and others.

    In the end I am grateful for the biblical perspective that you mentioned and in spite of all our national sins in this nation of mine, I am grateful that our leaders conducted themselves with a higher measure of respect and regard for the body of a dead enemy.

    “We” did not drag his body through the streets of Washington D.C. or ground zero.

    In this regard, “We” did not “return evil for evil” on Bin Laden’s body following the example and practice of many of his followers and other Muslim Extremists when kill and lay their hands on the fallen bodies of our soldiers, citizens and allies.

    We must all rise to a higher standard.

    Bruno –

  3. Pingback: Bin Laden is Dead. So Now What? « Beneath the Tin Foil Hat

  4. Steve

    Yeah, guess that I have pretty much the same reaction. A sense of satisfaction over justice being served. But feeling a little bit guilty over that sense of satisfaction? I’m not sure what to think.
    Bin Laden will have an opportunity in the future. We can be sure of that.

  5. Norbert

    During my drive to and back from work on the day after the annoucement of Bin Ladin’s death, the topic about the public reaction towards this event was a rather hot topic on separate radio talk shows, that allowed the general public to phone in with their opinion.

    It seemed equally divided between those who felt that taking pleasure in this was a justifiable response and those who had no place for such a feeling. There were also a few who believed by not capturing him and bringing him before a court of law was the wrong course of action.

    Also it would not be untruthful to understand that there are places on this earth where the opinion is held of Bin Laden as actually being in paradise.

    From my observation, people have their explanations about why they believe in their response and it doesn’t seem one sided. What did seem one sided in all this is each individual view on the subject thought that their response relayed a proper sense of justice.

  6. gary mahon

    After Ted Bundy was executed, there were many who partied, and celebrated, too. Good riddance, but, also a sad feeling, and hope that all the troubled, sick, criminals in this world will have a real chance yet. We, as a nation, are, “the people of My wrath”, that He is sending the Assyrian against soon.Isaiah 10. We are called a hypocritical nation, there, too. I love this land, and our freedoms, but, if God does not correct America, He owes Sodom and Gommorah an apology!

  7. Robert

    We talk about the past: has justice been served; is the President leveraging this for his own gain, could it have been done better, what is the proper reaction for us to have had to an account that has taken 10 years to settle? For sure, he needed to be stopped.

    But imagine the future? What if Bin Laden were given a chance to repent? Imagine what an example he could become.

    I hope someone who has walked so far in the wrong direction will turnaround and begin the journey back, and that we will all be there to see it and help him along.

  8. Michael

    It’s understandable that some people heard the news of Bin Laden’s death with satisfaction, even gratification considering the crimes for which he was responsible. But somehow it’s rather sad people would celebrate his demise in such a gloating and joyful manner. He will one day have the opportunity of hearing the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God the knowledge that God is creating a family of which Jesus Christ is the first of many brethren. Bin Laden is now in a watery grave and not burning in an everlasting fire suffering never-ending excruciating pain and torments. Our God is not cruel and vindictive, but He is merciful and loving and those who haven’t had a first chance of knowning God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ will get that chance in the future. Those who resist God’s way of life and remain obstinate in their sinful ways will suffer the consequences of permanent death and will thus cease to exist.

  9. Have you, by any chance, read what the Qur’an says about its own version of hell? It is found pretty early on and it’s pretty horrific. Dante himself might have been green with envy over the particular kind of torment described for infidels.

    Then there is the Gehenna described in the Babylonian Talmud for the worst of sinners – and guess who are considered the two worst by some citations and to share the same horrific fate? Balaam and Jesus of Nazareth.

    Some people get a truly fiendish delight out of thinking how much they’d like their enemies to suffer. Such thinking gives a very bad name to religion in general and to most if not all “major world religions” in particular. No wonder there are so many unbelievers in the world…

  10. As I recall, Mike Huckabee is a Baptist minister — which explains the comment he made.

    The public reactions in some cities reminded me of a song in The Wizard of Oz: “Ding dong…. the wicked witch is dead.”

    Perhaps it’s a feeling of personal liberation in some small way — as we’re told the angels in heaven rejoice when a sinner repents. That sinner “dies” in the water of baptism, except he/she rises in newness of life.

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