The Darvaza Gas (takes a few minutes to load) Crater in the middle of the Karakum Desert in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan is not a natural phenomenon, but the results of a soviet drilling accident in 1971. The crater has burned with unquenchable fire more than forty years. It is located northwest of Afghanistan and northeast of Iran and is often referred to as the Door to Hell.
Revelation 20:10 says, "And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
When I visited the lakes of burning sulfur in Yellowstone National Park, I thought about what the Bible said. The lakes were clear and beautiful to look at, but boiling hot with unquenchable fire. It reminded me how sin is--so attractive and wonderful at times, yet its pleasures are temporary, the consequences are deadly.
Jesus said these things about hell:
"The subject of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (eternal suffering outside of God's presence) Matthew 8:12 emphasis mine.
"If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire" Matthew 18:8 and "If your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown int the fire of hell." These are figures of speech. God doesn't want us to cut off our limbs or gouge out our eyes. Sin starts in the heart and we have to ask ourselves, "Is there anything in my life that causes me to stumble? If so, we need to surrender it to God.
Many ask, if God is loving, how can there be an eternal hell? Because God said there is. God is righteous, loving and just at the same time. He created us for His pleasure, to worship and adore Him. However, some choose not to love God. Instead, they choose their own ways. I did that for many years, and I am thankful that God heard my cry of despair and loved me. He forgave me for choosing my ways over His and now I only want to do His will.
Jesus said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (that is life with Him).
Eternity is forever. We can choose to accept what Jesus did on the cross for us and live in His presence or die for our own sin and live outside of God's love (in eternal suffering).
Lord Jesus, thank you that you loved me so much that you took my sin to the cross and paid the price for my righteousness. You did not deserve that punishment and I did not deserve your grace. I am awed by your amazing love. Amen.