Saturday, July 3, 2021

Letter to our Friends - July 2, 2021

P.O. Box 6458

Leonard V. Johnson

Dear Friends:

Greetings from Spring Hill, Florida.

Hell or No Hell!?

I had mentioned in this last sermon Matthew 25:46 – “’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’” In this ‘Letter to our Friends’ I would like to briefly go over this – just what did our Lord Jesus Christ mean!?

Now, this world’s fundamentalist Christians believe and teach that He was speaking of an eternal hell-fire, as in the 14th-century poem by Dante Alighieri, Inferno (which is truly where this concept of a hell-fire actually derived). Professing Christians believe and teach falsely, “Those who go into eternity without Christ will be confirmed in their wickedness. The hardhearted will be eternally hard-hearted. There will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” in hell (Matthew 25:30), but no repentance. Sinners in hell will be given over to their own nature; they will be sin-infected, evil, immoral, and depraved beings for all of eternity, forever unredeemed and unregenerate. The lake of fire will be a place of eternal rebellion against God.” 1 This world’s Protestant Christendom teaches, “The fact of the reality of Hell is taught throughout the Bible in innumerable passages. … we find in Mark chapter nine as He affirms the fact and reality of Hell.” 2

So, just what is hell!? Is it, as the majority of people are taught, a boiling caldron of eternal fire never quenched!? Or is it something completely different!? Like – “sinners in hell will be given over to their own nature; sin-infected, evil, for all eternity,” which truly teaches the false concept of an “immortal soul.”

Sadly, Satan the devil has completely blinded the majority of humanity on this subject of hell – and for a particular reason.

This world’s Christian religion pictures hell as a place of never-ending torture and torment. Now, I had referenced two sources – but all the sources would pretty much all teach the same. That an eternal inferno of eternal torture where Satan the devil and his demons gleefully roast your unsaved loved ones for all eternity. And, I am aware of how many times I just said “eternal,” they do indeed stress that point – eternal.

But, contrary to this Dr. J. Carl Laney of – along with all the rest – these views of a hell DO NOT come from the living word of God – the Holy Bible! This damnable concept has been foisted upon all of humanity by the living, real, Satan the devil – “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” – Revelation 12:9.

Truly, his sadistic portrayal of Almighty God as an unmerciful monster, who delights in seeing your loved ones suffer unimaginable torture – is NOT what God’s living word teaches at all. Now, Satan has a special reason why he has blinded all mankind with this particular lie.

Multiple billions of people have lived and died believing this satanic concept of a hell-fire – truly horrified by the thought of being flung into a boiling cauldron of fire unquenched to burn eternally.

Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed that this living and very real Satan the devil was “’ a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it’” – John 8:44.

The King James Version of 1611

Another major problem with proper understanding is the 1611 version of God’s living word  – commissioned by King James I. The English word “hell” is translated from three different Greek words. These words are tartaroo, hades, and gehenna. And they all have different meanings. So, it’s virtually impossible to properly understand this concept of hell without truly understanding these Greek words given in the New Testament which was originally written in Greek.

Let us take this first Greek word – tartaroo.
“For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell [here the Greek word is tartaroo, meaning “hold captive in Tartarus; a derivative of the Greek noun ‘Tartarus’] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” – 2 Peter 2:4.
This anointed cherub who covers – the archangel Hêlēl, which is improperly translated in the King James Version as Lucifer – from the base meaning “shining one,” mounted a rebellion against Jesus Christ, and apparently eventually convinced one-third of God’s angels to support this attempted coup against ‘the Most High’ – against God the Father Himself! – Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 12:4.

However, God – the great Elohim – put down this attempted coup and cast Satan the devil along with his angels (now called demons) out of the Third Heaven. As our Lord Jesus Christ said, “’ I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven’” – Luke 10:18. So, this tartaroo – metaphorically – is earth. And Satan the devil along with his demons are, as the apostle Peter says here, on this earth in “chains of darkness reserved for judgment.” In a sense, they are being constrained to this earth and its atmosphere until their judgment. The apostle Jude also speaks of this –
“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness [which basically means “He has kept them in His purpose; that is their sure doom; moreover, as yet, Satan and his demons roam at large on the earth” 3] for the judgment of the great day” – Jude 1:6.
Another misunderstanding – and one in which a good friend of mine had actually believed took place just after our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified – is where the apostle Peter writes –
“[B]y whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison” – 1 Peter 3:19.
Yet, all one needs to do is read the very next verse to properly understand when He came down to “prison” – which for these evil spirits was the earth itself.
“who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, …” – v. 20.
So, these passages of Scripture show us that tartaroo is – that earth is a “prison” in which disobedient and evil angels are kept to await the judgment of the resurrected and immortal saints of God – cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

The apostle Paul asks –
“Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” – 1 Corinthians 6:3.
The angels who sinned were cast down to earth which is their prison – metaphorically. But, nowhere does God’s living word teach that mankind will ever be put into this type of “everlasting chains under darkness.”

This is the only place in the New Testament where this Greek word is used.

Let’s take a look at the second Greek word – hades.

Now, this word occurs 10 times in the New Testament, and is always rendered as “hell” – except in 1 Corinthians 15:55 (KJV) where it is properly translated as “grave.” God’s living word shows us that this Greek word hades has the same meaning as the Hebrew word sheol – which means grave. As in –
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, …” – Hebrews 9:27.

“All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust” – Ecclesiastes 3:20.
Notice this in the Book of Acts –
’ For You will not leave my soul in Hades [the English word used is hell], …’ – Acts 2:27.
The apostle Peter was quoting this from Psalm 16:10, where the Hebrew word sheol was used for hell.

The patriarch Jacob – later named Israel by God – certainly knew that when he died he would “go down into the grave” – Genesis 37:35.

Nowhere does God’s living word refer to tartaroo or hades as a burning inferno of punishment for dead people who somehow really aren’t actually dead, but yet can feel pain.

What about the next word – gehenna!?

Well, God’s living word truly tells us that He does have plans for unrepentant humans –
“His [Jesus Christ's] winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” – Matthew 3:12.
Speaking of a real “lake of fire.” Speaking of two different groups of people here. Those that accept Jesus Christ and are obedient to Him and give themselves to Him, and the chaff – Jesus said, ‘every tree that bringeth forth not good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.’

Our Lord Jesus WARNS us to not ‘fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul [here the Greek word psychē, meaning “life, the immaterial part – hence the “spirit in man” – Job 32:8]. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ He also says that it would be better to actually lose your own physical life than to be cast into this fire! – see Matthew 5:29-30.

The word for hell in these passages is gehenna. And, our Lord Jesus Christ reveals to us the very sobering meaning of this word in His parable of the tares –
’ Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth’ – Matthew 13:40-42.
Now, this “furnace of fire” will be so hot that it will burn unrepentant humans to a crisp – and they will simply cease to exist forever.

He also says in chapter 25 of the Book of Matthew –
’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels … And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life’ – Matthew 25:41, 46.
Now, something to be aware of – notice that He DID NOT say the punishment will last forever. And, He DID NOT say “punishing” but “punishment.” Those put in this ‘lake of fire’ will not be tortured forever, but will be burned up instantly. Thus this punishment will be everlasting.

This Greek word gehenna is a translation of the Hebrew word Gai Hinnom, which means valley of Hinnom. During the time of Jesus Christ and His apostles, the valley of Hinnom had become a city dump where garbage, dead bodies, and dead animals were thrown and burned. The fires there constantly smoldered. Yet, this garbage and dead bodies that were burned there did not continually burn. Jesus Christ used this valley of Hinnom as an example of the coming gehenna – the ‘lake of fire’ – into which Jesus Christ will throw the incorrigibly wicked.

As He tells us in the Book of Revelation –
“Then the beast [who will be a human being] was captured, and with him the false prophet [who will be a human being] who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” – Revelation 19:20.
Why This Satanic Lie!?

Now, will God’s “lake of fire burning with brimstone” cease at the close of His Millennial reign!? 

“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison” – Revelation 20:7.
This freed and very angry rampaging Satan will then “go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth” and will incite them to war against God’s holy city – New Jerusalem. But, fire will come down from God out of heaven [the atmosphere] and will devour his followers – vs. 8-9.

Then what!?
“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet [were cast]. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” – v. 10.
Literally, ‘tormented eternally from ages to ages.’

Now, there are those who believe and teach that angels are not immortal and can be destroyed, and they will often quote 1 Timothy 6:16 in their defense. What one needs to understand is that, unlike other immortal beings who enjoy immortality through the will of the Creator. He derives immortality from His own essence.

Friends, it will be Satan the devil and his wicked angels who shall suffer mental torment ‘from ages to ages’ – forever and ever.

It is Jesus Christ’s clear words that tell us that angels do not die –
“’ But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are [children] of God, …’ – Luke 20:35, 36.
Satan and his demons know full well their ultimate fate – not mankind’s – of being tormented (mentally) after the Millennium.

In conclusion – here are some of this world’s religious concepts of this “hell-fire” -

The World At Large – “HELL as generally understood is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions, where the devil rules supreme, and whither lost or condemned souls to go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment either for wickedness inherited from the sin of Adam, …” 4

Buddhism – “The hells are places in which souls are purged, or punished for evil-doing and violating the laws of the Buddha, to fit them for rebirth in one or other of the six states of existence... After a longer or shorter period (with a minimum of 500 years) every being must leave the hells and pass through other states until it reaches Nirvana, the final extinction of personal existence” 5

Roman Catholic Christianity – “Hell is deemed to be a state of unending punishment for the unrepentant who die without the grace of God as transmitted through the sacraments. … The Roman Catholic concept of purgatory, defined by the councils of Florence (1439) and Trent (1545–1563), envisions an intermediate state after death during which there is an opportunity for the expiation of venial sins and compensatory punishment for mortal sins, thus providing for the ultimate restoration of fellowship with God. This teaching, likely informed by the Jewish notion of Gehenna and the Greek notion of the realm of Hades, is correlative with rituals for the dead (prayers, oblations) intended to assure their full expiation.” 6

Eastern Orthodox Christianity – “Eastern Orthodox Christianity, in sharing the teaching that hell is a destiny of eternal fire and punishment awaiting the cursed and unredeemed following the Last Judgment.” 7

Islam – “We have in store for them heavy fetters and a blazing fire, …” (73:12). “They shall burn in Hell, an evil resting-place.” (38:44). “Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, …” (22:19). 8

Hinduism – “Hell in Hindu mythology is divided into seven regions collectively called Naraka ... for sins of deep turpitude, the torture is severe. The victims ... are given extra acute sensibilities so that they might suffer every refinement of agony to the full.” 9

Sadly, as you can see, a grave delusion is over the eyes of the many in this world!


1) Moudmann, S.M., How is an eternity in hell a just punishment for only a human lifetime of sin?
2) Laney, J.C., Hell: Fact or Fiction – Is it an actual place?
3) Jamieson, R., Fausset, A.R., Brown, D., Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1982, pp 1518.
4) The Encyclopedia Americana Vol XIV, Hell, New York, Chicago, The Encyclopedia American corporation, 1918, pg. 81.
5) A Dictionary of Chinese Mythology, by E.T.C. Werner, Longwood Press, Portland, Maine, 1977.
7) Ibid.
8) Mohammad, The Koran, Penguin Classics Books, 1999, pp. 410, 320, 236.
9) Walker, B., Frederick, A., The Hindu World, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1968).

Suggested Sabbath Day Services

Here is our suggested Sabbath day service for our scattered brethren and friends around the world:

● 2 hymns. (a free printable “Old Time Gospel” hymn site is “The Old Time Gospel”).
● Opening prayer.
● Announcements (if any – a great video for announcements is Deacon Robbie Lamb’s Watchman brief insights of world news in relation to biblical prophecies!).
● Suggested Sermon: “Law and Grace” by Leonard V. Johnson.
● Final hymn.
● Closing prayer.


World News Items

The EU indicated that it does not miss the UK, while Russia is getting ever-closer to the EU (See: The Guardian - Moving on: why the EU is not missing Britain that much’) Including President of Russia – Article by Vladimir Putin “Being Open, Despite the Past”’). Also, the UK’s navy encountered Russia’s military warning for sailing too close to Crimea (See: Fox News - Russian Defense Ministry summons British Defense Attache over Black Sea 'warning shots' dispute’). According to Russia’s President Putin, the US reconnaissance aircraft was also involved (See: AP - Putin says US and UK were behind Black Sea ‘provocation’). Neither Brexit nor poking at the bear will end well for the United Kingdom, or the US for that matter.

The United States of America struck out across the Syrian border after a US military installation was bombed – allegedly from Iranian supporters (See: VOA – US Strikes Back After Rocket Attack In Syria’). As most are aware, we teach and warn that there is soon to come a regional war in the Middle East which is prophesied by God.

Also in Europe, it is continuing to take steps to have its banks hold more physical gold (See: Market Watch - Why Basel III regulations are poised to shake up the gold market’). God’s living word shows us that this final European ‘king of the North’ will indeed accumulate gold (cf. Daniel 11:43), that looks to be expected to back a European pushed currency, that is expected to replace the US dollar as this world’s premier reserve currency.

Concluding Comments

Here are some Scriptures of praise, joy, and thanksgiving to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ:
“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul [my life] within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With the multitude that kept a pilgrim feast” – Psalm 42:14.

“For the LORD will comfort Zion [New Jerusalem], He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody” – Isaiah 51:3.

“The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say:

‘Praise the LORD of hosts, For the LORD is good, For His mercy endures forever’

And of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the LORD” – Jeremiah 33:11.
Let us, friends, be thankful for our calling! We all should be!

In deep gratitude and love, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior,
Leonard V. Johnson

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