In a recent interview with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes, that aired Sunday, May 8th at 7:00 PM, President Obama stated categorically that the White House will not be releasing the gruesome pictures of Osama bin Laden’s corpse. In his effort to reassure Americans and the world that Osama bin Laden is in fact dead, the President said, “Osama bin Laden will not walk this earth again”. This statement by the most powerful man on earth, though reassuring, isn’t entirely accurate. Indeed, all peace-loving people in the world breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the news that Osama bin Laden is dead! However, an authority higher than the US President says bin Laden will walk this earth again.
By providing Osama bin Laden with an appropriate Muslim funeral and by not releasing the photos of his corpse, President Obama has demonstrated to the world that Americans are cut from a higher moral cloth than the terrorists.
America is fundamentally a Christian nation, and consequently, the Holy Bible is embedded in the foundational fabric of the nation. Unfortunately, most American Christians are unaware of what the Bible teaches on the subject of the fate of the dead. Most automatically assume that those who die in Christ go to Heaven and those who die in their sins are condemned to an ever-burning hell. But the Bible teaches no such thing.
The Bible teaches that the dead are… dead.
The Bible does not teach that the dead go to heaven or to hell. They are simply dead and waiting to be resurrected from the grave. There are, however, different resurrections. Those whom God has called out of the world and given his Holy Spirit will be in the first resurrection. Rev 20:5(b) says….This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.
The Second Resurrection
But what about persons like bin Laden who did not die in Christ? Does the Bible offer any hope to those who died in their sins? What about the victims of 9/11 who died in their sins? What about the billions of Muslims, Hindus, and others who have lived and died without knowing Christ as their personal saviour? Does the Bible condemn them to an ever-burning hell or will they have an opportunity for salvation?
Revelation 20:5 says “the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished.” Notice the clear statement in this passage that after the thousand years were over the people who come up in the second resurrection will LIVE AGAIN. But they will live again in a world where Satan will be locked away and cannot deceive the world any more (Revelation 20:1-4). There will be only one religion in the world and that is the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. During this time the word of God will be opened up to the nations of the world. Notice Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The first set of books here represent the books of the Bible and the second book contains the judgment record. The reason the dead are brought back to life is to know the truth of God and then be judged. The word of God in 2 Peter 3:9 says God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” The Apostle Paul tells us in 1Timothy 2:4 that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” And this is how it will happen.
God’s Plan of Salvation
God is saving the world in a particular order. He is not saving everyone at the same time. 1 Cor 15:22-24 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits ; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (NIV)
Firstfruits are those God calls first.
James 1:18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
The term firstfruits suggests that these are not the only ones to be saved. Other fruits will follow.
God has predestined a few he wants to save now.
Rom 8: 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined , these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Osama bin Laden’s Fate
Osama bin Laden falls into the category of those who will come up in the second resurrection and will be taught the truth of God. Christ died that the world through Him might be saved. Jesus was brutally murdered to pay for bin Laden’s unspeakable sins. At the end of Christ’s millennial rule, bin Laden will be resurrected back to physical life where he will walk the earth once again as a human being and learn the truth about God.
He will be taught from the Bible, not the Quran. He will be taught the way of peace. He will come to know how great the Messiah’s sufferings were in order for him to gain salvation. He will then have a choice. He will either repent and accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour or he will be deemed incorrigible and will be sentenced to eternal death – the penalty of sin without repentance (Rom 6:29).
We pray the families of the victims of Osama bin Laden will gain some comfort and closure knowing this evil man and his evil schemes have finally come to an end. We also pray they will gain comfort in the plan of God knowing that they will see their loved ones again and that the day is coming when Osama bin Laden will face Jesus Christ. He will then have the opportunity to repent of his evil and to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.