Osama Bin Laden Is Not In Hell
I don’t really have a whole lot to say about the death of Osama Bin Laden. He was an evil man and deserved more than what he got. It has been interesting to watch the various reactions to his death. The international Muslim community, the majority of which we are told are not radical, has been very quiet. Not celebratory at all, this in spite of the fact that Bin Laden killed many Muslims. In our country I have observed the full spectrum from the spontaneous celebrations Sunday night to a Catholic Priest decrying such celebrations stating that no one is qualified to label evil except for God. Did I run out and celebrate with the crowds honking my horn shouting, “USA, USA!”? No. But I enjoyed watching those who did. I felt a great sense of satisfaction when I heard the news delivered by President Obama. In fact, when the story broke I was just about to head to bed. I chose to stay up all the way through the President’s address to the nation. And I slept better Sunday night because of it.
There is something inside all of us, I think, that cries out to see justice. We know evil when we see it. And masterminding the death and destruction of thousands of unsuspecting men, women, and children fits into that category. Nearly ten years was a long time to wait to see justice served. But on Sunday, Osama Bin Laden paid the human price for his evil. Now he is paying the eternal price.
But let me be clear: Osama Bin Laden is not in Hell. Regardless of what the newspaper headlines might proclaim. Oh, to be sure, he is on his way to Hell and his fate has been sealed, but Hell is currently unoccupied. The Bible is clear on this. The first occupants of Hell will be Satan and his angels, along with the anti-Christ and the false prophet at the end of time (Matt. 25:41, Rev. 19:20; 20:10). Following this unholy trinity will be Osama Bin Laden and all those who rejected Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Hell is one of those greatly misunderstood topics in our culture. This is due in part to poor and neglected teaching from the church on the doctrine of Hell. As a result, you get an exchange like this one that was broadcast during Holy Week this year.
So where is Osama Bin Laden right now? He’s in Hades. And lest you fret that eternal justice is delayed, Hades is no picnic. It too is a place of torment and punishment. The flame burns and there is no mercy. Hades is the temporary holding tank, until the day of Final Judgment, for those who have rejected Jesus. On that day Hades and all its occupants will be cast into Hell (Rev. 20:14).
It just so happens that my sermon last Sunday was on the Theology of Hell, including a discussion of Hades, Tartarus, and Sheol. If you’re so inclined you can listen to it here.