24 Jul 2023

Murder: From the Clutter Family Until Today

I have found that one of the best ways to keep track of the progression of Bible Prophecy is to focus on a past date or event and compare it to how things operate today. In the area of mass murder, I have for many years used the killing of the Clutter family as a milestone of evil.

In the United States, for example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines a mass murder event as the killing of four or more people in a single incident, not including the perpetrator. However, this definition can change over time and could vary between different countries and organizations.

In the early morning hours of November 15, 1959, four members of the Clutter family – Herb Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, and their teenage children, Nancy and Kenyon – were murdered in their rural home just outside the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas. Two ex-convicts, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, were found guilty of the murders and sentenced to death. They were both executed on April 14, 1965.

The murders got a huge amount of attention from the national news media. The event was detailed by Truman Capote in his 1966 non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. A year later, a movie was produced based on the book that starred Robert Blake, who portrayed Smith, and Scott Wilson, who portrayed Hickock.

As I’m writing right now, there was a mass murder event in Hampton, Georgia. Authorities identified the suspect as 40-year-old Andre Longmore. Police believe Longmore killed three men and one woman. The victims appear to have been chosen at random. A couple of days later, Longmore was shot dead by police.

A few days prior, Thomas Abreu drove around New York City on a scooter, also shooting people at random. He killed one man and injured four other people. He was quickly caught and charged with murder in the second degree, four counts of attempted murder in the second degree, two counts of assault in the first degree, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, the district attorney’s office said in a news release.

Both of these deadly events quickly disappeared from the headlines. There is so much killing in America, I had some trouble finding the news reports. If the internet was active in 1959, I could just type “Murders” in a search engine, and Clutter family killings would pop right up.

As of October 1, 2022, there were 2,363 death row inmates in the United States. The number of death row inmates changes frequently with new convictions and natural deaths.

Anyone who does not believe in the devil should study our death penalty system. I can only conclude that it’s the workings of some demonic force regarding why things are so gummed up. It only took about five years before Smith and Hickock were executed. Today, the average death row inmate has been behind bars for 27 years.

The longest time any person has been on death row is 47 years. The Supreme Court found the death penalty unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia. On June 29, 1972, the Supreme Court (5-4) decided in Furman v. Georgia, finding that the application of the death penalty was unconstitutional because it violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Everyone on death row was lowered to a life sentence.

Four years later in Gregg v. Georgia (1976), the Court reaffirmed the death penalty as constitutional. If it wasn’t for the 1972 ruling, we could have some people on death row for 50 years or more.

The liberal media has been the greatest tool in delaying justice. They constantly promote the idea that innocent people are being killed for a crime they didn’t commit. The record shows that only 1.6% of death row prisoners have been formally exonerated and released. Many of the people released were guilty, but we are not sure enough to execute them.

Another hold-up is leftist governors who refuse to issue death warrants. California has over 700 people on death row, and Governor Gavin Newsom refuses to take any action. He cites the supposed injustice in the criminal justice system as a key reason for his opposition. Newsom would have to have the mind of Satan to refuse capital punishment for a man who abducted a 12-year-old girl, strangled her, and dismembered her body.

When Jesus said his return would be like the days of Noah, he was pointing to a time of great lawlessness. Like our day, the people before the flood had no idea how evil they had become. I heard a preacher say the other day that there is not a single indication that we are living in the last days. The man had no clue that he was yet another indication of the soon return of the Lord Jesus.

“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).


Daniel’s Doomsday Deluge

Powerful forces are at work beneath the relative tranquility that masks the true state of our nation and the world. Ours is a society that boils with turbulence beneath a profoundly crumbling veneer of sophistication. It is a society mirrored by television soap opera-type fiction and hedonistic movies which have, in turn, mesmerized much of the American public. Life has indeed imitated art, while year after year, morals have degenerated, and the very concept of morality has been turned upside down and inside out.

Those who don’t know Christ for Salvation are a people given a thrill-a-minute fix to satisfy insatiable cravings for instant gratification. All too many among the saved are caught up in the lures of worldly pursuits. America is, for the most part, sadly, a people all the while descending deeper and deeper into depravity.

Gleam and glitter and unparalleled technological gadgetry have procured for the American public hours upon hours of time for pleasure-seeking, and it is more than abundantly obvious for mischief-making. While it is true that the moguls of science provide great benefits for human health, wealth, and achievement within the sphere of human potential, to see the direction in which all of this is truly sweeping us, one has only to consider any given hour-by-hour news. We are not as a society every day and in every way, getting better and better like the New Age evolutionary thinkers would have us believe. Feeding our voracious appetites for more exciting thrills and greater pleasures has served only to generate phenomenal growth in criminal activity.

Those who perceive themselves to be the have-nots ravenously desire those material things which the American propagandists flash before their lusting eyes. Because Big Brother government has, in effect, destroyed work ethic through give-away welfare programs but can in no way give this dependent class the shimmering lifestyle it lusts after, the rip in the fabric of society worsens daily as the ungovernable elements engage in the only occupation they believe can secure for them the thrills and pleasures they seek. As a result, gang members as young as seven years of age live and often die in their unattainable pursuits.

Last-Days Scenarios

Can there be any doubt that conditions and activities which God’s Word predicts will be prevalent while the end-of-the-age approaches are now being played out before our very eyes? The similarities between the biblical descriptions and the reports we witness from newscasts are stunningly evident.

Man’s atrocities against his fellow man are pandemic. Stories of debased human behavior are so numerous that those items which would have formerly been front-page headlines now are relegated to pages farther back because even more heinous stories overshadow them.

Jesus himself prophesied about the generation that would inhabit Planet Earth at the time of His Second Advent: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt: 24:37).

Jesus Christ, who is God himself, gave with that reference based upon Scripture recorded in the past and Scripture He knew was yet to be recorded – an unmistakable characterization of the generation alive at the time of His Second Advent. Jesus said, while discoursing with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, that that generation, like the pre-flood society of Noah’s day, will be “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt. 24:38). Like in Noah’s day, society will be conducting business as usual, having become desensitized to the perversities going on around them and even more desensitized to any consideration of the things of God and the fact that divine judgment was already on the way.

Daniel the prophet said: “And the end of it shall be with a flood” (Dan. 9:26), meaning a flood of incorrigibly wicked behavior and a flood of God’s wrath and judgment poured upon that unrepentant, blasphemous people of the apocalypse. Jesus said that the generation alive at the end of the age will be totally immersed in doing what is right in their own eyes, as were the antediluvians of Noah’s day. The people of that earlier, doomed generation were marrying, partying, and busily engaged in commerce while their perversions, debaucheries, violence, and blasphemies were simply well-accepted, even welcomed ingredients within the cultural and societal mixture of the time. Jesus said that they were carrying on as usual “until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the son of man be” (Matt. 24:38-39).

Jesus was saying that people living at the time of His return will have become so rebellious as to have rejected the notion of a Creator God. Their thinking will have become so reprobate, their consciences so seared, that many will no doubt even forget that such a God was ever said to have existed! Christ’s coming will be so swift and startling that it will be analogous to the horror of that long ago, worldwide deluge that destroyed all but those who were found righteous in God’s eyes. Just prior to that flood, Enoch disappeared, having been translated into the presence of the God with whom he walked righteously (Gen. 5:24). Noah and his family were supernaturally preserved upon the raging sea that engulfed the entire earth (Gen. 8).

Jesus also drew the parallel between the time of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the days that will immediately precede the consummation of the age. “Also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-29).

Peter the apostle wrote about Lot’s days of interaction with the people of Sodom: “For that righteous man [Lot] dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds” (2 Pet. 2:8). Peter then went on to imply the type of behavior which greatly disturbed Lot – the sort of behavior that inevitably brings on Almighty God’s indignation and judgment.

“But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they; self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities…. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not, and shall utterly perish in their own corruption, And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. Spots they are and blemishes, reveling with their own deceiving while they feast with you. Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls; an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children, Who have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray….

These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with the tempest, to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that are just escaping from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Pet. 2:8-19).

God’s Word speaks powerfully of His opinion about the vile activities that were commonplace during Lot’s day, warning all generations that His righteous judgment must and will fall on those who engage in ungodly enterprises.

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. In like manner also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities … these speak evil of those things which they know not; but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain. … Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 7-13).

The Holy Scripture then rolls before the mind’s eye of our imagination the awesome truth contained within the words, “it is a fearful thing to fall in the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).

As the Book of Jude continues:

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These are they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 14-19).

Apologies to Sodom and Gomorrah

Ruth Bell Graham is attributed to have made the statement, in the context of surveying the growing wickedness she observed in her nation, that if God did not judge the United States, He would surely have to apologize to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Many years have passed since Mrs. Graham allegedly made that (in my opinion, very correct) assessment. Does the fact that the United States has not been obliterated by fire and brimstone, all of its population consumed in a thermonuclear holocaust or by supernatural fire from the heavens, mean that we, as a nation of people, are improving in our conduct to the extent the Almighty will not judge like He did those now- extinct, ancient cities? Or does it mean that Mrs. Graham was wrong?

One thing is sure. God is never wrong and thus need never apologize for His actions. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8.) His immutability is perfectly consistent as recorded throughout His Word to His creation called mankind. Thankfully, and praise His holy name, so is His quality of mercy, His slowness to anger and wrath – else the little, though tremendously prideful creature called man would long ago have ceased to exist.

The reason that the God of Heaven has not yet brought about the Removal of His Church –all born-again believers— and hasn’t yet let Daniel’s end-times flood of evil deluge a Judgment-deserving world of rebels is found in the following.

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…” (2 Peter 3:8-10a).

Don’t let that day of God’s Wrath being poured out on a Judgment-deserving world of anti-God rebels be part of your future. Accept Christ this moment and be Assured of being lifted to the Safe Harbor of Heaven for all of Eternity. Here is how to do so.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).