LEWISVILLE, TX: The business world woke up Saturday morning August 10, 2019, to the news that Jeffrey Epstein was dead. Epstein, facing charges of sex-trafficking, mysterious money manipulating and pedophilia was found dead of an apparent suicide by hanging in a federal prison cell. Epstein was facing an investigation into his role in child sex trafficking in his home in Manhatten, on his plane, the Lolita Express and on his island, Little Jeffs.
Past Indictment in Florida
An FBI investigation in 2008 returned a 53-page indictment against Epstein for abusing underage girls. Instead of taking the case to federal court, however, Epstein’s lawyers negotiated a plea deal with the then United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida R. Alexander Acosta.
The agreement required Epstein to plead guilty to state child prostitution charges leading to a 13-month, slap-on-the-wrist jail sentence. Furthermore, the deal offered immunity to Epstein and “any potential co-conspirators” from federal charges in the Southern District of Florida. Acosta was later forced to leave his position as Secretary of Labor for his involvement in the lenient plea deal.
Accusations against Epstein did include forcing underage females into sexual encounters with him and his wealthy, often powerful associates. To make the man even more wicked, was his belief that such behavior was sometimes acceptable.
New York Times journalist James Stewart in an interview with Epstein noted: (The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People)
“He [Epstein] said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable.”
Does Epstein’s death mean no justice for victims?
Apart from the very questionable circumstances of Epstein’s apparent suicide, the outcry, especially from the victims, is regret. Regret that Epstein has avoided justice for his abhorrent behavior.
The assumption that once a person dies, and especially by suicide, his troubles are over. There can be no justice, no further punishment.
However, there is one note of comfort. We can rest assured he will never assault another girl.
AG Barr vows to continue investigations
Attorney General William Barr insists the investigation of Epstein’s alleged criminal activities will continue. Barr was unambiguous in a speech in New Orleans,
“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.”
No doubt Barr’s promise of justice will take years but, perhaps, that will satisfy the victims. Epstein’s death seems to have robbed society of justice.
However, does death end the story?
Has Jeffery Epstein escaped justice and avoided his “just desserts” or is he now facing the ultimate justice from the Great Judge?
News media and the public in general often believe justice demands harsh judgments for the kinds of anti-social crimes Epstein is alleged to have perpetrated.
Anything short of severe punishment is an injustice. That is why many are disappointed with the death of Epstein, thinking he somehow escaped punishment.
Epstein’s final judgment
Epstein, like every human being, will face justice from an all-knowing God—whether wrongdoing is Epstein-like or as more common faults like telling falsehoods, cheating on income tax returns or moral stumbling.
When it comes down to accountability of wrongdoing in general, most rely on God’s mercy or love and believe it is undeserved. Perhaps taking into account all the “good” things they do.
The Scriptures insist that final justice will come to all.
“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…. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12,15)
On the other hand, it is said that those in the book of life shall have eternal life.
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last days.” (John 6:40)
The use of words like a lake of fire, hell or damnation seem too harsh in our modern, sophisticated society for a loving God. We do not like to think this is the final destiny of ordinary sinful folks. We use the term “hell” or “damn” as glib expletives to make a forceful point during a conversation.
The Bible does not explain the full nature of the place called “hell.”
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain) reminds us that the Bible uses three images to describe the concept of hell:
- Everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46),
- The destruction of both body and soul (Matthew 10:28),
- Banishment into darkness (Matthew 8:12).
None of the images conjure up pleasant thoughts. However, neither do they describe torture as medieval art often depicts. They are metaphors describing the reality of falling into the hands of a betrayed God.
Some will see the harshness of God’s judgment as too severe, except perhaps, for men like Epstein.
However, for “good people” who violate God’s principles of honesty and morality, the question is how could a God of love condemn one to such severe judgment?
God’s love includes justice and mercy. How can two seemingly contradictory characteristics be resolved? The answer lies in God’s plan for the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, who in his death and resurrection made it possible for God to exercise both justice and mercy.
It was God Himself who made the sacrifice, who bore the punishment and consequences for sin on the cross. Rather than being crushed by God’s justice, those who accept Jesus’s death as a payment for their sin are set free by His mercy.
“For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Jeffery Epstein has not escaped justice. In this life, his name will forever mean the most heinous acts. He will also face the God of justice who will see him for who he was.
There is an important lesson from the fall of the millionaire, Jeffery Epstein:
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.” (Proverbs 22:1-2)
Dante’s Hell – Gustave Doré’s depiction of Minos judging sinners at the start of Canto V Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80297