On May 1st, 2011, U.S. forces killed Osama Bin Laden in a 40-minute attack upon a compound in Pakstan. This ended a ten-year hunt for the world's worst terrorist, who masterminded the attack on U.S. soil where the Twin Towers in New York were destroyed and 3,000 people killed. What should the Christian's attitude be about his death?
The Christian response should be two-fold. First, we should be sad that he has died and entered into his eternal condemnation. This judgment is indeed horrible; and as Christians we should be saddened for any unbeliever who has denied the true God as Bin Laden did in his Islamic beliefs. Second, we should rejoice that justice has been carried out.
On the one hand God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
- "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord God. "Therefore, repent and live," (Ezekiel 18:32).
- "Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked . . ." (Ezekiel 33:11).
We clearly see that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. That is, it is not his desire that even the wicked die. Yet, on the other hand we find . . .
- "And it shall come about that as the Lord delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the Lord will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you. . ." (Deut. 28:63).
- The word "delight" here is the word "soos" in Hebrew and it means to exult, rejoice, display joy.
- "If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the Lord desired to put them to death," (1 Sam. 2:25).
- The word "desired" here is the same Hebrew word, "chaphets," used in Ezekiel 18:32 and 33:11 ("pleasure") above. It means "to delight in, take pleasure in, desire, be pleased with."
- Likewise, the word "chaphets" occurs in Isaiah 53:10 where it says, "But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief."
In the above verses you can see that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, yet He delighted in destroying wicked people. Is this a contradiction? No, because God can be saddened by the death of the wicked but also delight in executing His righteous judgment upon them because it is in accordance with the holy Law (do not murder, etc.,), which He himself has given us.
If God executes His righteous judgment upon the wicked, then we have an obligation to follow His lead, to carry out righteousness, to deal with the wicked, and to guard the safety of others. We need to do this carefully, with caution, and only after proper laws have been followed.