A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.

Crime Scene:Please Cross at Will

The Zodiac killer was a serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s. His identity still remains unknown to this day. The eccentric personality coined his name in a series of taunting letters he sent to the press. His letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers), three of which have yet to be solved. Through a series of cryptic letters he sent to the press and others, he disclosed the insanity which motivated the killings, offered clues to future murder plots and adopted the name Zodiac.

The Zodiac is known to have taken responsibility for murdering as many as 37 people, but police investigators confirmed that seven people were attacked by the Zodiac of which five died. Ironically he included information in his cryptograms and letters which proved he was present during the murders and a message that his identity was hidden inside the ciphers.

The expression “total depravity” describes the condition of man as he is now in sin, as a result of the “fall” in Adam. It does not mean that every man is as evil as he possibly could be. It does not mean that man like the Zodiac is incapable of things considered good and noble from a human viewpoint. No! Basically it means that sin has affected every aspect of a man’s being. It means that in and of himself, man in the state of sin is unable to do anything which is spiritually good or which will contribute toward his return to and reconciliation with God.

The mind of man is darkened with respect to spiritual things:

“…darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Ephesians 4:18

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Rom 8:5

The Bible asserts that every person born into the world is morally corrupt, enslaved to sin and is, apart from the grace of God, utterly unable to choose to follow God or choose to turn to Christ in faith for salvation.

John Calvin (10 July 1509 – 27 May 1564) the French expositor said:

“…our nature is not only destitute of all good, but is so fertile in all evils that it cannot remain inactive. Those who have called it concupiscence have used an expression not improper, if it were only added, which is far from being conceded by most persons, that everything in man, the understanding and will, the soul and body, is polluted and engrossed by this concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that man is of himself nothing else but concupiscence.”

Man is exceedingly wicked and corrupt in his heart and is hostile toward God and is incapable of pleasing God. Man is unwilling to see himself in his state. This spiritual sleep in sin is the potent tranquiliser that was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature is conveyed to all his posterity, descending from the original generation.

It is very easy to look at the legacy of the mass murderers and genocide perpetrators or serial rapists and lean back self righteously say-“I am a better man than him.” But in the eyes of God we don’t realise we are enemies of God through our wicked works. Our merit badges and boy scout honesty awards fall short of God’s standards of moral perfection.

Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty. – John Calvin

On Aug. 1, 1969, the Vallejo newspaper and two San Francisco dailies got letters from the Zodiac killer, each with a note and one third of a cryptogram–an odd series of letters and signs offering no easy interpretation. The killer signed himself with a circle divided by a cross, his symbol for the zodiac.

The Christian symbol of the cross is a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Did the Zodiac know that the cross depicts a purposefully painful and gruesome method of public execution. A method so inhumane and vile. A device so twisted and perverted to wring life out of the human frame with as little dignity and respect as conceivable that it was abolished in the year 337 AD from the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine. I wonder if the Zodiac knew that the Son of God came to earth and guess what God allowed him to be hang on that grubby perverted device.

Valle de Los Caidos-The highest cross on earth

God’s cryptogram in the cross can only be deciphered by the one to whom He wills. He chose to provide a Saviour for a totally depraved mankind. I wish the Zodiac got to hear that onto Jesus Christ, God imputed all our sins (plus those depraved perversions of the Zodiac) and for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John2:2

Salvation only occurs through a work of God. It means that in and of himself, man in the state of sin is unable to do anything which is spiritually good or which will contribute toward his return to and reconciliation with God. Despite all the evangelistic efforts the earnest prayer for every sinner is that:

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Tim 2: 25-26

A man born depraved just like the Zodiac was Charles Wesley (1707-1788). He came to a realisation that God offers redemtion by Grace through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Mr Wesley later became the prolific hymn writer who penned the words of the song And Can It Be That I Should Gain.  This was his poetic expression of that divine transaction between an infinite God and a totally depraved being:

And can it be that I should gain

An interest in the Savior’s blood!

Died he for me, who caused his pain!

For me? who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be

That thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

The identity of the Zodiac is the trivia of urban legend till today. As a cold case the murders may never perhaps be solved. While newspapers printed Zodiac‘s taunting letters and promises of more violence, police pressed their hunt for a possible mental case. It took days to crack some of the Zodiac‘s cryptograms. The codes provided no clues to his identity but they did tell with outstanding accuracy something of Zodiac‘s bizarre motivation. His “total depravity”.

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