[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?
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. 🙂