Today, I woke up this morning to the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead. All the emotions of 9/11 seemed to flood back as I processed the news. A sense of joy began to rise in my heart. Finally, after all these years, justice is finally served. The evil mastermind behind that wicked act was dead. And not just dead, but killed at the hands of US Navy SEALs. We got our man.
Right now as I watch the news, joyous celebrations are erupting all over the country. From the White House to Ground Zero, people are joyously hailing the death of a wicked man. The Wisdom of Yahweh is confirmed once again. “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness” (Proverbs 11:10, ESV).
As I watched, an older lady at ground zero was interviewed and through tears of joy, she said that this was the “dawn of a new day.” Indeed, but not quite.
The victory is not complete. Murderous threats are still being breathed against us. Our security is not perfect or impenetrable or eternal. All this makes me long for the day when that evil snake will be finally cast into hell. Revelation 19 previews the scene:
After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
Once more they cried out,
“Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” And from the throne came a voice saying,
“Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” (Revelation 19:1-5, ESV)
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, andhe will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21, ESV)
I get chills every time I read this. For this will be the dawning of a new day. We will rejoice and sing “Hallelujah” in that day. The victory will finally be complete. The peace, everlasting. Evil utterly destroyed. The reign of Jesus finally consummated. Yes, this will be the dawning of a new day, the dawning of the New Heavens and New Earth.
Many have cautioned on Twitter that God does not delight in the death of the wicked. Neither should we. For the very Gospel we proclaim is that God died on behalf of his enemies! Treacherous rebels were redeemed! So, we should not revel in the fact that bin Laden is suffering eternal justice. But I do feel that many of these cautions may miss the point. While there may be some who rejoicing over the fact that bin Laden is in Hell (New York Daily News Cover), I think that most people are rejoicing over the defeat of evil. Osama bin Laden was the face of evil in America. And his death represents a victory of righteousness over wickedness. Could we not ask for a better context with which to share the gospel? We have witnessed the triumph of good over evil, however temporary. It is a microcosm of what God will do in Jesus Christ in the age to come. Good will triumph over evil, eternally. Evil will be done away with. In the words of J.R.R Tolkien, everything sad will come untrue.
So, let us rejoice! For a typological evil has been defeated. Osama bin Laden was a snake, just like his father. And one day, his father, the Snake, will be destroyed by the head crushing heal of the Son of Man.