When we let the Bible speak, we find that Hell, as revealed in the Gospel of Christ, is a New Testament (NT) concept.  The word hell in the Old Testament is translate by the Hebrew sheol and occurs 65 times.  It is the basic equivalent of the Greek (NT) hades.  Although both hades and gehenna are translated as hell in the King James Version, gehenna alone has reference to the place of eternal punishment.  The American Standard Version of 1901 makes the distinction clear by translating gehenna as hell and transliterating hades as Hades.

Not only is Hell a NT concept but it was endorsed by Christ himself.  In Matthew 18:5-11, Jesus is warning about the seriousness of causing a babe in Christ to be offended.  He points out it is better to enter into life halt or maimed than "be cast into everlasting fire" (verse nine).  Jesus also contends in the same verse that it is better to enter into life with one eye than having two and "be cast into hell fire."  Thus the Christian concept of hell, fire, and punishment are tied together by Christ himself. In Christ's great Woe Sermon" (Matthew 23:1ff) he pronounces woe after woe on the scribes and Pharisees who were the religious role models of the day.  He asks, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell (verse 33)?"
John the Baptist also approved of the concept of Hell.  When he observed many Pharisees and Sadducees at his baptism (Matthew 3:4-13), he asked, "O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"  Then, speaking of the coming ministry of Jesus, he pointed out he would baptize with both the Holy Spirit and fire.  He then observed that his "fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (verse 12)." 

However, it is in the book called Revelation that we really begin to smell the brimstone.  Here we have the judgment - the fear of God becomes impressed on our very souls.  We see "the dead, small and great, stand before God." We see the book opened, including the Lamb's book of life, those not found in the book are "cast into the lake of fire."  Then in the next chapter (Revelation 21:8) John tells us, "the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

Now we understand why Jesus, in giving the great commission, said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:15-16).  Upon obeying this we are entered in the Lamb's book of Life.

Dale I. Royal
Elk City OK

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire." "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.