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Two months in hell

On August 5, 2010, a mine located deep in the Atacama Desert of Chile, South America, caved in, trapping 33 workers. The buried men, who became known as "Los 33" (The 33), were trapped 2,300 feet underground, about three miles from the mine's entrance. Before being rescued, the mixed crew of experienced miners and less experienced technical support personnel, survived for a record 69 days deep underground. After sixty-nine long, dark days, the trapped miners in Chile begin to emerge from their 2,300 foot deep tomb.


In a letter to his family written while still trapped, one miner spoke of the darkness and heat of his tomb as “hell.” Yet there remain several major differences; this man had hope of leaving his pit of darkness. Those who find themselves in the lake of fire God has created, have no chance of ever leaving. It is everlasting. The heat those miners experienced would be a frozen tundra compared to the heat of God's fire. It is eternal torment (Rev. 20:10; Matt. 25:41).


Those trapped in the mine were able to enjoy the comfort of some lighting. They were not in complete darkness. Imagine trying to survive that experience in utter darkness; and yet those who will be cast into the Devil's Hell will exist in complete darkness for eternity (Matt. 25:30). Why is there no light in hell? Because hell is a place of separation. Those in hell are separated from God and since God is light (1 John 1:5), it is impossible for there to be illumination in that place of eternal torment.


For the first seventeen days the miners had to ration their food and water. How much water did they have? Enough water to give them relief from the heat of their tomb. How comforting it must have been to know they had water on reserve. How refreshing it must have been to have water poured into their dry mouth as they suffered from heat and weariness. These men obviously were able to quench their thirst on a semi-regular basis. In hell the desire for water will never be satisfied. Imagine being so thirsty that you would find joy in having just one drop of water placed on your tongue (Lk. 16:23-24) and yet never receiving any relief.


How desperately lost the miners must have felt for the first 17 days when no one on the surface knew whether they were dead or alive. How jubilant the atmosphere in their tomb must have become when they realized those on the surface learned that they were alive and were working to rescue them. These men were helpless but no longer hopeless. Even though these men had no idea how long they would remain underground, they could see light at the end of their long, dark tunnel. While they could do nothing but wait, they had reason to remain optimistic. They had reason to feel relief while still in their pit of torment.


In the Devil's Hell there is not even a glimmer of hope of ever leaving. Those who are cast into outer darkness will wish that their torment would only last for 69 days, 69 weeks, 69 years, etc. Even if the sentence to hell was for 69 million years, those imprisoned would have reason to be optimistic. But in the Devil's Hell there will be no relief from pain, no light, no comfort, no hope of ever being reunited with loved ones. Hell is for eternity (Jude 1:7; Matt. 18:8; Matt. 25:46). For Christians, life on earth is the closest thing to hell we will experience. For those who die outside of Christ, earth is the closest thing to heaven they will experience.


There are only two paths on which to travel in life (Matt. 7:13-14). One is a path of optimism and hope that leads to eternal happiness with God. The other path leads to eternal pain and torment in the Devil's Hell. The choice is yours.

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