Bloody But Unbowed: Timothy McVeigh and Death Penalty Part 1

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Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
July 3, 2001

Last Updated :
October 19, 2012

NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.

Oklahoma City Bombing, God's Word Is A Centrifugal Force, Nothing Is Hid From The Lord, Personal Accountability, Fear Of The Lord, Invictus, Bloody But Unbowed, Captain Of Our Salvation, Vengeance Is Mine, Did McVeigh Repent?, Who Was The Victor?, McVeigh A Martyr For The Cause?, McVeigh Was A Military Trained Killer, An Eye For An Eye?, Forgiveness And Mercy, Balance The Scriptures, Obey The Powers That Be, The Executors Of The Law, Homosexuality And Lesbianism, Mosaic Law Still In Effect, Salvation Not Based On The Law, All Are Guilty According To The Law, God's Mercy Through Jesus, Paul Was Subject To Man's Laws, Reconciling The Differences, My Personal Opinion, Forgive Each Other, Jesus Forgave To The End

Out of all of the attacks carried out by enraged American citizens against the U.S. Government, the most shocking and deadly one to date occurred just over eighteen years ago, on the morning of April 19, 1995 when a massive truck bomb was detonated outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This massive explosion resulted in the untimely death of one hundred and sixty-eight persons, and hundreds more were wounded. To this day, rumours abound amongst conspiracy theorists, regarding whether or not the accused, Timothy J. McVeigh, who was put to death by lethal injection during the early morning of June 11, 2001 at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, and his accused accomplice, Terry Nichols, who is currently serving a life sentence, really acted alone, or if they might have merely been scapegoats for a much larger conspiracy against the US government. While I personally have not come to any final conclusions regarding this matter, in my view, I think that we would all be wise to not just blindly accept the twisted truths which are often spoon-fed to the American population by the government's propaganda organ, the mass media.

While it would be easy to start pointing the finger here, or pointing the finger there, in order to try to determine who, or what, caused the events of April 19, 1995 to occur in the first place, in the hope, of course, that this would help to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future, as a Christian, I feel that there is really just one core issue here; or perhaps I should say, one central element which was lacking in Timothy McVeigh's life, which ultimately resulted in him doing what he did that tragic morning six years ago.

As many of you will know by now, in the final days prior to his execution, it was revealed by the American press, that while McVeigh was raised Catholic, he later came to identify himself as an agnostic. In short, McVeigh abandoned God, he lost respect for His Word, and he abandoned his faith. I am convinced that whenever a person does this, he is bound to suffer serious trouble in his life sooner or later; because when one renounces his faith in God, he also loosens himself from a kind of centrifugal force, which helps to keep his life in check. This principle is clearly evident in God's Word by such verses as the following:

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word."
Psalm 119:9, KJV

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalm 119:11, KJV

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
Psalm 119:105, KJV

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Romans 10:17, KJV

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
1 Peter 2:2, KJV

As you can see, the Word of God not only cultivates faith, and nurtures spiritual growth, but it also leads us down the right path, by acting as a deterrent to sin by reproving us, and correcting us, when we go astray. Not only that, but it also reminds us that, whether we believe it or not, some day we will each be held accountable for our actions; if not in this life, then most certainly in the Judgment to come; be- cause as I point out in such series as "The Gay and Lesbian Agenda: To The Point!", absolutely nothing is hid from the face of the Lord. Please consider the following verses:

". . . behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out."
Numbers 32:23b, KJV

"For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings."
Job 34:21, KJV

"O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee."
Psalm 69:5, KJV

"The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
Proverbs 15:3, KJV

"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known."
Luke 12:2, KJV

"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Romans 14:12, KJV

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Corinthians 5:10, KJV

"Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead."
1 Peter 4:4-5, KJV

"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
Revelation 20:11-13, KJV

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Hebrews 10:31, KJV

Sadly, this is precisely what many people do not like, and most certainly do not want in their lives. They simply don't want to be held accountable for their actions; and so they do everything within their power to try to point the finger at someone else; from so-called "respectable" politicians, to young children. It seems that we are currently living in the "pass-the-buck" generation. Some people do not want to have any kind of authority over their lives which tells them how to act or how to live; not even God; so by denying His very existence, or at least saying that His existence cannot be proven, they loosen that centrifugal force which He holds on their lives, and they eventually lose their fear of Him as well; and this leaves them open to committing all kinds of anti-social, unethical, and even ungodly acts. The Bible plainly tells us that such people who deny God's existence, who have no fear of Him, and who do such things, are truly unwise:

"And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
Job 28:28, KJV

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever."
Psalm 111:10, KJV

"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."
Proverbs 3:7, KJV

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Proverbs 9:10, KJV

"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."
Proverbs 16:6, KJV

So again, these people want to do as they please. They want to be the master of their own fate. In essence, they want to be their own god. This most certainly seems to have been the case with Timothy J. McVeigh. As his final statement in this life, this deceived young man issued a handwritten copy of a 19th century poem by British editor and poet, William Ernest Henley, entitled "Invictus", which contains the following lines:

----- Begin Quote -----

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

----- End Of Quote -----

While you the reader may not be aware of it, the above lines totally contradict what is written in the Scriptures. There is only one Captain of our soul; there is only one Captain of our Salvation; who bought us with His own Blood; and that is Jesus Christ; as we see by these verses:

"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the CAPTAIN OF THEIR SALVATION perfect through sufferings."
Hebrews 2:10, KJV

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly . . . But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:6, 8, KJV

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;"
1 Timothy 2:5, KJV

If there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain, it is that if Timothy McVeigh truly had a fear of God, if he truly recognized God as the Sovereign Lord of his life, who righteously metes out justice to everyone in His due time, he most certainly would not have done the things which he chose to do; regardless of the negative influences which may have affected his life. It was not McVeigh's place to avenge the 1993 deaths of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, or the 1992 deaths of Randy Weaver's wife, Vicki, and fourteen year old son, Sammy, in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, as he claimed to do. Regardless of how wrong the government agents involved in both assaults may have been, and regardless of how wrong American military involvement in Iraq may be, (as McVeigh strongly believed it was), the Scriptures plainly tell us:

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
Romans 12:19, KJV

Because he did not trust God, or have a fear of God, and in fact denied God's existence, McVeigh took upon himself the role of god, judge and executioner that morning of April 19, 1995; and one hundred and sixty-eight innocent people died needlessly; innocent by the fact that they had nothing to do with the events at Waco or Ruby Ridge, as far as I know. In his pride and delusion, McVeigh apparently thought that he could do without God; and look at how his young life ended so tragically. It was reported by the American mass media, that even in his final, dying moments, he remained proud, stubborn, unyielded to God or man, and cold-hearted. Truly, Timothy McVeigh was the epitome of the unrepentant sinner.

To add a degree of balance to my previous statement, allow me to also mention that in a news report which was released shortly after Mr. McVeigh's execution, the American public, as well as the world, was informed that after already being strapped to the gurney, and with only a few minutes left to live, at the insistence of his lawyer, Robert Nigh, McVeigh agreed to see a Catholic priest, in order to receive the Catholic sacrament known as the Anointing of the Sick. This sacrament includes a confession, and according to Catholic belief, absolution of sins.

Is it possible then, that in those final moments of life, God finally got through to McVeigh? Could it be that reality finally struck home with McVeigh, and he realized that he was about to meet the Maker whom he had long doubted, and so he tried to make things right? I honestly don't know. When McVeigh's lawyer was questioned about a McVeigh confession, he offered a rather indirect, cryptic response by saying "I think it speaks for itself". So, perhaps McVeigh did humble himself after all.

On the other hand, the question does beg to be asked: Was the request for a priest just another McVeigh ploy to add a bit more legitimacy to his cause, by painting himself in a positive light, as the victim of an oppressive government? His scattered supporters will undoubtedly interpret it this way; and McVeigh will be seen as a martyr for their cause; just like the slain Weavers and the Branch Davidians, who all died needlessly at the hands of an overly zealous and brutal government. Even after his death, some people have maintained that Timothy McVeigh was the real victor, due to the fact that he faced down the American government, and stood firm in his convictions to the very end; regardless of how twisted some of those convictions may have been.

While you will not find this in the public press, being as it would reveal too much of the truth, it is the opinion of this writer, that in executing Timothy McVeigh, the American government was simply killing one of its own. Prior to his change of attitude towards the American government, as the American mass media reported, McVeigh was a gunnery sergeant in America's war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq during late February of 1991. In fact, McVeigh was so patriotic, that he had re-enlisted for the primary purpose of hopefully becoming a part of the Army's elite Special Forces, which he failed to do. In other words, he was a trained killing machine like so many other young men who fall under the trance of the spirit of pride and American patriotism, which is promoted by the various branches of the American armed forces. In my view, it would not be unreasonable to assume that Mr. McVeigh used some of his military training to his advantage once he became involved in his campaign against the government. In short, he was a killing machine who went amuck. He was trained to kill a foreign enemy, but then turned on his handlers when they disappointed him; and so he had to be taken out of the way, lest he become a further embarrassment to the powers which had created him.

Please do not misinterpret my previous comments. I am by no means trying to exonerate Timothy McVeigh of guilt, as I am sure that my earlier comments make clear; however, I do not believe that he is the only guilty party in this entire sad affair. This disillusioned young man was the product of a flawed, already-corrupt system. In my mind, the fact that he viewed the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building as a "mission", and the people killed as a result of that act as mere "collateral damage", is sufficient evidence to prove that he had the mind of a military man. His hard stare until the very end, was also clear evidence of his military training. Let's face it; Mr. McVeigh was extremely sincere about what he did, but sadly, he was also extremely deceived.

Before concluding this article, I think that it is important that I address one final issue. From reading this commentary, some people may come to the conclusion that I am in favor of the death penalty. As a Christian, I willingly admit that it is a very difficult issue for me. One of the things which amazed me as I was reading a number of the news reports and personal reactions which were published prior to, and right after Mr. McVeigh's execution, is the fact that while certain people made a reference to the Biblical Law, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth", found in the Old Testament, not a single person made mention of what Jesus taught about this very same thing in the New Testament, under God's New Covenant. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord said such things as the following:

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Matthew 5:38-48, KJV

"But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Matthew 6:15, KJV

"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
Matthew 18:21-22, KJV

"Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword."
Matthew 26:52, KJV

So the question with which we are faced is this: Exactly how far are we supposed to take Jesus' words? Are we supposed to forgive and pardon murderers such as McVeigh, and others who clearly admit their crimes, and yet who show absolutely no sign of remorse? If there is one thing which I have always taught my readers, it is that we all need to learn to search the Scriptures, and to compare Scripture with Scripture, in order to arrive at a balanced understanding of the truth. As the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15, KJV

So let's try to rightly divide the Word of truth, shall we? In addition to the previous things, the Lord also taught the following to those who heard Him:

"Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
Matthew 5:25-26, KJV

Similar to what Jesus taught in the previous verses, in the thirteenth chapter of his Epistle to the Roman brethren, the Apostle Paul also wrote:

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."
Romans 13:1-5, KJV

It is also interesting to note, that in the first chapter of this same Epistle, while discussing the rampant homosexuality and lesbianism which was apparently occurring in Rome, Paul also wrote the following:

"Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
Romans 1:32, KJV

Notice that Paul, a man who had various personal encounters with the Resurrected Christ, is saying in the New Testament, that according to the judgment, or law, of God, people who engage in homosexuality and lesbian, are worthy of death; which is precisely what the Levitical and Mosaic Law teaches as well, as we see here:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."
Leviticus 18:22, KJV

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
Leviticus 20:13, KJV

"There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel."
Deuteronomy 23:17, KJV

In short, Paul appears to be saying that while Jesus did in fact introduce God's Love and Mercy into the New Testament equation, nevertheless, the power and weight of the Mosaic Law was still in effect; not in matters regarding personal Salvation, but rather in matters of personal conduct, and personal accountability; and Jesus seems to have taught the very same thing. He said, "If you do something wrong, and you get thrown in jail, don't expect to come out until you have paid your debt". But returning to Salvation for just a moment, as I point out in other articles where I discuss this subject, this is why Paul also wrote in that very same Epistle to the Romans:

"Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
Romans 7:4, KJV

What Paul is saying here is not that the Mosaic Law is no longer in effect, but rather that we no longer need to depend upon keeping it, in order to obtain Salvation. That is precisely why Jesus had to die on the Cross, as we all know; because none of us can possibly ever keep the entire Mosaic Law. We are human, we are imperfect, and we are all sinners; and as James also wrote:

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
James 2:10, KJV

And because we are guilty, what does the Bible teach us quite plainly? Turning again to Paul's Epistle to the Romans, we read:

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23, KJV

So Jesus did for us what none of us can possibly do for our- selves; He paid the price for our sins; as we saw earlier in this article. Returning to the Apostle Paul, even in his own life, Paul fully realized that he was subject to the laws of worldly men. He didn't just preach this to others, but he also lived it himself as well; even in matters concerning the death penalty. As proof of this, consider the fact that in the Book of Acts, when Paul was brought before Porcius Festus, the Roman Procurator of Judea, he stated in part to him:

"For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar."
Acts 25:11, KJV

Now, we can argue that Paul may have possibly been speaking in a rhetorical sense, because he was sure that he would be found innocent of the charges which had been laid against him; or else we can simply admit that Paul truly was living by his own creed of subjecting himself to the higher powers; precisely as Jesus also seems to have taught in the Gospel of Matthew.

So the final question we have to address is this: How do we reconcile what Jesus taught in the Gospel of Matthew regard- ing being merciful and forgiving one another, with what both He and Paul say regarding expecting to pay the full penalty of the law if we break it? If the Holy Scriptures truly do not contradict each other, as I personally believe, then it seems to me that there must be a way to reconcile what seem to be contrary teachings. Before I answer this question, allow me to make clear that what follows is only my personal opinion concerning this issue. As the Apostle Paul wisely wrote on one occasion:

"But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment."
1 Corinthians 7:6, KJV

"But to the rest speak I, not the Lord . . ."
1 Corinthians 7:12a, KJV

". . . I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful."
1 Corinthians 7:25b, KJV

". . . after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God."
1 Corinthians 7:40b, KJV

It is my opinion then, that if we consider who Jesus was addressing in the Gospel of Matthew, we can conclude that in a general sense, we are all supposed to be merciful, and to forgive each other, as much as lies within us; knowing that God will have the same degree of mercy on us, that we have on others. Again, the Apostle Paul seems to have taught the very same thing when we wrote:

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Ephesians 4:32, KJV

Yet, at the same time, if someone does commit a serious crime, and breaks the law, then he should expect to pay the full penalty of the law for the crime which he committed. The pivotal question here is this: Does this extend all the way to the death penalty? If we consider what Jesus said, there is room for doubt. You will notice that in the example He used, He stated that the person should expect to remain in prison until he had paid his full debt to society, and then he would be released; so Jesus did offer some hope of eventual atonement, and release from prison. Let us also not forget, that when the woman who had committed adultery was brought before Him by His religious enemies, a crime, by the way, which was punishable by death, Jesus in fact forgave her, and simply said "Go, and sin no more"; He did not bring the full weight of the Law down upon her head. We see the very same thing happening during the Lord's final hours on the Cross. He forgave the thief who was next to Him; a man who was clearly worthy of death according to man's laws; and even told him that he would be with Him in Paradise.

Please go to part two for the conclusion of this article.

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