Are Lengthy Imprisonments and Quarantines Godly?
Even though we are very familiar with the concept of lengthy imprisonment, which is being considered as the normal and acceptable way to deal with those who broke the law or who are suspected of having broken it, we might be surprised to learn that this very concept of incarcerating human beings is not biblical at all.
In addition, even though the Bible does speak of quarantine and isolation for those who are suffering from a contagious disease, we will find that this concept is never applied for those who are not sick or who have not manifested any signs of sickness.
Instead, the Bible reveals that God will inflict lengthy imprisonment on wicked spirit beings… but not on humans. And we will discover that in most cases recorded in the Holy Scriptures, imprisonment has been imposed by the wicked rulers of this world on righteous and God-fearing people.
We should take note of the fact that first and foremost, it is the fate of Satan and his demons to be imprisoned or “isolated” so that they cannot deceive mankind anymore.
When Christ returns, He will lead captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8; Psalm 68:18), including Satan and his demons who hold mankind in captivity. They will themselves become captives, and that quite literally. We read in Revelation 20:1-3:
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished…”
When the Millennium is drawing to a close, Satan will be released from his prison of the bottomless pit for a short time (compare verses 7-9), but following that, we read in Revelation 20:10:
“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet [had been cast]. And they [Satan and his demons, compare Matthew 25:41] will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
When the all-encompassing fire has burned up and destroyed everything that is physical (2 Peter 3:10), Satan and his demons will be released from their prison of the lake of fire and brimstone to become “wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13).
But even before they are going to be imprisoned in a quite literal sense, they had already been imprisoned all along in a spiritual way, in that they have been captives of their own evil thoughts and desires. We read in Jude 6:
“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting [spiritual] chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day…”
Likewise, in 2 Peter 2:4: “… God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [“tartarus,” a condition and not a place] and delivered them into [spiritual] chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment…”
In 1 Peter 3:19 we are told that at the time of Noah, Christ “went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared…”
Satan and his demons were not and are not today in a literal prison, as they are still ruling this world as wicked spirits in high places and as they are roaming the earth back and forth, like roaring lions, to see whom they can devour, but their imprisonment is spiritual. And so, they have captured and held captive human beings spiritually (2 Timothy 2:26), and with their twisted and abominable minds, they also want to imprison them literally, and especially those who belong to God.
God has some harsh words about the coming ruler in Europe—the beast—who will stand accused of not opening the doors of his prisoners (Isaiah 14:16-17).
We read Christ’s message to His Church in Smyrna, in Revelation 2:10: “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
In this evil world ruled by Satan the Devil, God’s true servants might end up in prison for the sake of righteousness. In some cases, God supernaturally intervened to free them from prison, as it occurred in regard to Christ’s apostles (Acts 5:17-42). Later, God intervened in the case of Peter when an angel freed him from incarceration (Acts 12:3-11). Still later, God intervened in the case of Paul and Silas when through an earthquake, all the doors of the prison were opened and the chains were loosed with which Paul and Silas were chained (Acts 16:24-26).
At other times, God’s people were imprisoned, and God did not miraculously intervene to free them, at least not immediately. Paul was imprisoned several times for extended periods by God’s enemies (2 Corinthians 11:23), as he himself, before his conversion, would persecute true Christians and imprison them (Acts 22:4; 26:10). But as he had been Satan’s prisoner to do his will, he became, after his conversion, a prisoner of Christ—he became a literal prisoner because of righteousness, but more importantly, a spiritual prisoner of Christ who had purchased and bought him with His own blood (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon 1:9).
We read that Joseph was imprisoned in Egypt because he acted righteously and refused to commit adultery; Jeremiah was imprisoned by evil leaders (Jeremiah 37:21), and so was John the Baptist by wicked King Herod.
Christ prophesied that the rulers of this world would imprison His people (Luke 21:12), and Paul would later say that these were the saints of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:36, 38). Christ emphasized mercy and compassion for our brethren who might be imprisoned (Matthew 25:36). We might also note Psalm 69:33; 79:11; 102:19-20; and 142:7.
God never intended that people would be imprisoned for an extended period of time, even though Christ recognized that in this evil world, prisons were in existence, and He used this fact to drive home a spiritual lesson (Luke 12:57-59).
God allowed only some temporary confinement until a decision could be reached (Leviticus 24:10-12; Numbers 15:32-36). This procedure of temporary custody was also, to an extent, applied in New Testament times by the self-righteous priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees (Acts 4:1-3), except in Christ’s case when this procedure was violated and His “conviction” was rushed through (Isaiah 53:8) to be murdered by the government in violation of the Jewish laws, let alone the Law of God.
We should take note of the fact that Jesus will come to free people from physical and spiritual imprisonment (Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:8-9; 61:1).
Satan knows that he will be imprisoned for his terrible deeds. He wants mankind to suffer the same fate that he will experience, and so he has inspired man to create a system advocating and endorsing imprisonment, which, rightly understood, is cruel and inhumane. This is especially true when it affects people who are innocent. The very concept of placing people of a different ethnic background or race in detention or concentration camps, just because of their heritage, is of Satanic and ungodly origin, and no attempt to justify these ungodly actions can make them godly.
But even if guilty, lengthy imprisonment of violators was never God’s intent. Rather, the Old Testament speaks of monetary restitution or, in capital cases, the death penalty, but the testimony of at least two or three witnesses was required to establish and confirm the crime leading to conviction before any punishment could be rendered. In Christ’s case, that requirement was violated as well.
This brings us to the issue of “self-isolation” and quarantine for people who are sick and for those who are not sick or who are not showing any symptoms of being sick.
The Bible contains provisions for quarantine regarding those who suffer from contagious diseases so that they cannot infect others. The idea to place someone into quarantine to protect him or her from others who might be sick is just turning the biblical commands on their head, by quarantining the sick together with the healthy.
We wrote the following in our Q&A on quarantine:
“The Bible has much to say about quarantine and leprosy which was highly contagious… However, the same principles apply about colds, flu, sore throats and other infectious and contagious diseases which can equally and easily be spread – thus inconveniencing and causing problems to others.”
After quoting passages such as Leviticus 13:4, 45-46 and Luke 17:12, we said that the two lepers in that last passage “stood afar off. They weren’t mixing with everyone else. It was taken for granted, and expected, that they would keep themselves to themselves because of their unfortunate physical condition.”
We continued to say:
“If we take this seriously, we will not want to pass on any contagious sickness or disease to anyone else. We must remember that there are those who may have lower resistance to infection than others. So, by not going to [Church] services when one is suffering from an ‘infectious or contagious’ sickness is not the same as ‘forsaking the assembling of ourselves together’ (Hebrews 10:25) – but having love and concern for the rest of the brethren…
“Of course, there may be times when we are incubating a problem that we do not realize is about to happen… But if we know that we’re feeling less than well and that a cold, flu or some other problem is coming on, then we should just not attend services. We need to use a good deal of wisdom in this area.”
As we pointed out above, the biblical principle of quarantine applies to persons who ARE sick. THEY are to stay in isolation as long as they are suffering from their contagious sickness so as not to infect others. The idea that an entire city, county, country or the entire world must be locked up and that everyone needs to stay in isolation or in house arrest—whether sick or not—is just a Satanic perversion of God’s holy law of quarantine.
This IS Satan’s world, and Satan, the god of this present evil age and the prince of darkness, has deceived the whole world. He is bombarding man constantly with his ungodly ideas, and far too many have become an easy prey for his deceitful devices. But this must not be true for God’s people who are called upon to stand up for what is true and just, while rejecting everything which is evil and wrong.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link