Mystery shrouds both the life and death of Jeffrey Epstein. In life “he lied about the identities of his clients, his wealth, his financial prowess, his personal achievements.” In death, questions and conspiracy theories abound. Did Epstein commit suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell, or was he murdered by strangulation to keep him from talking to the authorities about the elicit behavior of some of the world’s most powerful and influential personalities? And what about the federal government’s charges of sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of minors? Did Epstein create “a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit, often on a daily basis,” as the U.S. Attorney General’s office has claimed? And most importantly, did his sudden death kill any chance of rendering judgment and securing justice for his victims?
More than a decade ago, Jeffrey Epstein was accused by the FBI of molesting 36 young girls at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, but witnesses testified in civil court that there were hundreds of victims. “Long before #MeToo became the catalyst for a women’s movement about sexual assault—and a decade before the fall of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and U.S. Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar—there was Jeffrey Edward Epstein,” writes the Miami Herald. “Epstein, a multimillionaire hedge fund manager whose friends included a constellation of entertainers, politicians, business titans and royalty, for years lured teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion as part of a cult-like sex pyramid scheme, police in the town of Palm Beach found.”
Girls as young as 14 were told they would be paid to provide an old man—Jeffrey Epstein—a massage and that he might ask them to undress. “But what began as a massage often led to masturbation, oral sex, intercourse, and other sex acts, police and court records show.” Eventually, this attracted the attention of the FBI, resulting in a 53-page sealed indictment that could have resulted in a 20-year prison sentence.
Despite ample evidence and witness testimony, Epstein secured a sweetheart deal that bent justice beyond its breaking point. He pleaded guilty to only two counts of soliciting prostitution from a minor in exchange for immunization from federal charges and the closing of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into his alleged crimes and those close to him. As punishment, Epstein was registered as a sex offender and served 13 months in a low-security prison where he was allowed to spend 12 hours a day, six days a week, at an office as part of his work-release privileges.
The New York Times Editorial Board observes, “The evidence against Mr. Epstein was overwhelming, even more than a decade ago. But he evaded serious punishment then, thanks to a plea deal with federal prosecutors who later suggested they were too intimidated by Epstein’s legal team to seek more appropriate sanctions.” For all intents and purposes, it appeared as though Jeffrey Epstein had largely evaded justice. Then on July 6, 2019, the hope of justice was restored when Epstein was arrested by the FBI-NYPD public corruption unit and Crimes Against Children Task Force and charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. However, Epstein’s sudden death as a result of “serious irregularities” at the facility where he was incarcerated spared him his long overdue legal reckoning—but it did not spare him from justice.
In life Jeffrey Epstein was a successful businessman who was surrounded by luxury, beautiful women, and many of the world’s most famous and influential personalities. However, he had a very dark secret sin, and try as we might, nobody can successfully hide their sins from the Lord (Num. 32:23). Jesus warns in Luke 12:2–3, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”
The revealing of Epstein’s sin destroyed all that he had accomplished. His powerful friends distanced themselves as his reputation was thoroughly destroyed; he lost his power and influence; he lost his freedom; he lost his peace, and he ultimately lost his life. The fruit of his actions produced nothing short of complete death and destruction, stealing away from him all that he cherished, just as John 10:10 warns, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Certainly, a temporal judgment has been rendered upon Jeffrey Epstein. He has reaped the fruit of his destructive behavior. But there still remains a final and eternal judgment. Epstein may have avoided a lengthy trial here on earth, but he will not escape God’s heavenly court. A time is still coming when “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed” (Ecc. 3:17). Indeed, God declares, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Heb. 10:30; Rom. 12:19).
Unfortunately for Jeffrey Epstein, we know what the divine verdict will be. First Corinthians 6:9–10 warns, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Likewise, Revelation 21:8 declares, “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
The story of Jeffrey Epstein is a reminder that true and final justice cannot be avoided. God is a God of justice (Isa. 30:18) who loves justice (Isa. 61:8) and has promised to bring justice to the nations (Isa. 51:4–5). Some may be able to avert justice for a season, but eventually all must give account: “We will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us will given an account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:10–12).
Are you prepared to give an account?
1. Stewart, James, Matthew Goldstein and Jessica Silver-Greenberg. “Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race with His DNA.” Business. New York Times, July 31, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/31/business/jeffrey-epstein-eugenics.html.
2. “Jeffrey Epstein: How Conspiracy Theories Spread after Financier’s Death.” US & Canada. BBC, August 12, 2019. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49312746.
3. Leary, Alex. “Conspiracy Theories Fly Online in Wake of Epstein Death.” US. Wall Street Journal, n.d. Last updated August 11, 2019, 6:41 p.m., ET. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/10/jeffrey-epstein-death-conspiracy-theories-1456309.
4. Harris, John. “Epstein Death Brings Birth of Mainstream Conspiracy Theories.” Analysis. Politico, August 10, 2019, 7:17 p.m., EDT. https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/10/jeffrey-epstein-death-conspiracy-theories-1456309.
5. Watkins, Ali and Michael Gold. “Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Results Show He Hanged Himself in Suicide.” New York. New York Times, August 16, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-autopsy-results.html.
6. Leonnig, Carol and Aaron Davis. “Autopsy Finds Broken Bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s Neck, Deepening Questions around His Death.” Politics. New York Times, August 15, 2019. https://beta.washingtonpost.com/politics/autopsy-finds-broken-bones-in-jeffrey-epsteins-neck-deepening-questions-around-his-death/2019/08/14/d09ac934-bdd9-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html.
7. Winter, Tom and Erik Ortiz. “Jeffrey Epstein Charged with Sex Trafficking Victims as Young as 14.” US News. NBC News, July 8, 2019, 9:59 a.m., EDT. Last updated July 8, 2019, 7:16 p.m., EDT. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jeffrey-epstein-charged-sex-trafficking-molesting-underage-girls-n1027356.
8. Danner, Chas, Matt Stieb and Adam Raymond. “Everything We Know about the Sex Crimes Case against Jeffrey Epstein.” Intelligencer. New York Magazine, July 8, 2019. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/07/all-we-know-about-the-new-case-against-jeffrey-epstein.html.
9. Brown, Julie. “For Years, Jeffrey Epstein Abused Teen Girls, Police Say. A Timeline of His Case.” News. Miami Herald, November 28, 2018. Brown, Julie. “Cops Worked to Put Serial Sex Abuser in Prison. Prosecutors Worked to Cut Him a Break.” News. Miami Herald, November 28, 2018. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article214210674.html.
10. Brown, Julie. “Cops Worked to Put Serial Sex Abuser in Prison. Prosecutors Worked to Cut Him a Break.” News. Miami Herald, November 28, 2018. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article214210674.html.
13. Sarnoff, Conchita. “Jeffrey Epstein, Billionaire Pedophile, Goes Free.” Daily Beast, July 20, 2010, 7:05 p.m., ET. Last updated August 19, 2019, 2:49 p.m., ET. https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeffrey-epstein-billionaire-pedophile-goes-free.
14. New York Times Editorial Board. “Jeffrey Epstein Is Dead. His Victims Still Deserve Justice.” Opinion. New York Times, July 8, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/10/opinion/jeffrey-epstein-suicide.html.
16. Cohen, Michael. “Epstein Case Highlights America’s Two Justice Systems.” Opinion. Boston Globe, July 9, 2019, 2:57 p.m. https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/07/09/epstein-case-highlights-america-two-justice-systems/ERriuA4ISIU6PFKV0vDv0K/story.html.
17. Danner, “Everything We Know about the Sex Crimes Case against Jeffrey Epstein.”
18. New York Times Editorial Board, “Jeffrey Epstein Is Dead. His Victims Still Deserve Justice.”
19. Shallwani, Pervaiz, Kate Briquelet and Harry Siegel. “Jeffrey Epstein Arrested for Sex Trafficking of Minors.” Daily Beast, July 7, 2019, 7:53 p.m., ET. Last updated August 19, 2019, 2:33 p.m., ET. https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeffrey-epstein-arrested-for-sex-trafficking-of-minors-source?source=twitter&via=desktop.
20. Chalfant, Morgan. “Barr Criticizes Prison’s ‘Serious Irregularities’ after Epstein Death.” The Hill, August 8, 2019, 11:24 a.m., EDT. https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/457095-barr-promises-thorough-investigation-of-epstein-death-warns.
21. Dickson, EJ. “Accused Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s Political Connections: A Guide.” Rolling Stone, July 9, 2019, 8:17 a.m., ET. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-lists/jeffrey-epstein-political-connections-sex-trafficker-856642/mort-zuckerman-856680/.
22. Stewart, “Jeffrey Epstein Hoped to Seed Human Race with His DNA.”
23. Brown, Julie and Aaron Albright. “Sex Abuser Jeffrey Epstein was Surrounded by Powerful People. Here’s a Sampling.” News. Miami Herald, November 28, 2018. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article221897990.html.