I’ve seen many reactions to the death of Osama flying around the web and on Facebook. Some of them are distasteful and some are simply misguided. In the midst of it all, one or two questions popped into my mind. How does God view the death of his enemies, especially the leaders of his enemies? What are we to say and preach about these things?
In relation to the death of God’s enemies, two Messianic Psalms come to mind – Pss 2 and 110. These Psalms present Yahweh as laughing as his human opposition – holding them in derision. These Psalms present Messiah as conquering his enemies – filling his path with corpses. These rulers (fighting against Yahweh and his Christ) are admonished to bow down, kiss, pay homage to the Son, lest he get angry and cause them to perish. Now, I’ve heard a lot of preaching about Jesus, but I have not heard much of THIS Jesus presented. We’re usually presented with a Jesus who wants to save but cannot (unless we let him), and a Jesus who wants to conquer (maybe), but cannot… Oh, but don’t worry, cuz he conquers in the end… somehow. Contrary to so much “Evangelical” limp-wristed portraits of Jesus, Pss 2 and 110 present us with a conquering Messiah.
Now, here’s a twist: we’re all enemies of God by nature. Some of his enemies (indeed, MANY of them) he conquers by converting them:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Rom 5:6-11
Praise God for that unspeakable grace to undeserving sinners, indeed, enemies! But how are we to understand these two things: one the one hand God crushes his enemies and on the other he reconciles them through the blood of Christ. One thing that stands out to me is that both Pss 2 and 110 make reference to the chiefs and rules of the opposition. While Christ will fill his path with the corpses of ALL of his enemies, the leaders of his enemies are singled out as objects of his wrath.
Osama bin Laden should certainly be viewed as a leader of the opposition to Christ, should he not? Not only was his life one of opposition to God, but he was a leader of those opposed to God. As such, he would be pinpointed as one whom Christ threatens specifically.
So, from a Christian point of view, I think we are to rejoice in the death of Osama bin Laden – a high-handed enemy of Jesus Christ. Christ has gloriously triumphed and we should praise him for that. On the other hand we’re to pray for the bin Laden family, desiring their salvation. We should pray for the utter destruction of Islam and for the conversion of its adherents to Christ. Our message is not just salvation through Jesus Christ, but also the complete destruction of his enemies (especially the leaders of his enemies). These are parts of the message we present.