In the Revelation, we read about Hades, the Abyss, Hell, Paradise, Heaven, and the New Heaven and Earth. Understanding where each of these places are located, what their purposes are, and who is in them is an important part of understanding the Revelation.
Hades (hades; SEC 86*) *The numbers in parentheses are from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
Hades is the realm of the dead and is described as being in the lower regions of the earth and sea where the dead go down to.
And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. Luke 10:15
The Old Testament word for Hades is sheol (SEC 7585), which is often translated as the grave and is described as being in the depths of a pit.
But you are brought down to the realm of the dead (sheol;SEC 7585), to the depths of the pit.
In the story of the Rich Man and the Beggar we learn that, prior to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the unrighteous dead in Hades were separated from the righteous dead by a chasm that could not be crossed.
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” Luke 16:19-26
Today, Hades remains the place where the unrighteous dead remain imprisoned and where those who currently die without Christ are held until the Day of Judgment.
…The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 2 Pet. 2:9
At the Resurrection of the Dead, the unrighteous dead in Hades will be resurrected to be judged.
The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Rev. 20:13
Abyss (abussos; SEC 12,bottomless) (phrear; SEC 5421, well)
The word Abyss comes from the translation of two separate Greek words that describe a bottomless well. The purpose of the Abyss is to serve as a prison for demonic angels until the Day of Judgment. In the Scriptures, both Hades and the Abyss are described as prisons where those who inhabitant them await judgment. The former is the prison of the rebellious dead from mankind, and the latter is the prison of the rebellious angels. Whereas Hades is described as being in the lower regions of the earth and sea; to descend into the Abyss is to pass through Hades into an even deeper and darker chasm with no end. The dreadfulness of the Abyss is made clear by how the demons begged Jesus to not order them to go there.
Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. Luke 8:30-31
And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. Jude 1:6
The Abyss is also where Satan and his angels will be imprisoned during the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ until they are released to deceive the nations when the thousand years are ended.
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. Rev. 20:2-3
Hell (Gehenna; SEC 1067)
Hell is the permanent destination of the disobedient from among mankind and the rebellious angels. Hell, Hades, and the Abyss are not the same place and come from completely different words in the original language of the Bible. Whereas, both Hades and the Abyss serve as temporary prisons where the unrepentant dead and the rebellious angels are held captive until the Day of Judgment, Hell is the eternal destination of them both.
In the New Testament, Hell is described using various words and phrases, the most common being the Lake of Burning Sulfur.
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.
The one constant in all the descriptions of Hell is the presence of fire, which is associated with judgment.
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 into the fire of hell.
The Lake of Burning Sulfur, or Hell, is also described as the Second Death, which is a reference to how the dead in Hades will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment, only to be thrown into the Lake of Burning Sulfur where they will spend eternity.
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Rev. 21:8
In the Second Death, both the body and the soul will be destroyed, leaving only the spirit of the person to be consigned to the Lake of Burning Sulfur.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt. 10:28
Paradise (paradise; SEC 3857)
The Paradise of God is the name given to the dwelling place of God’s people and, as such, follows the creation, fall, redemption, and resurrection of the righteous. The Paradise of God also contains the Tree of Life. Whenever we read about the Tree of Life; we are reading about the Paradise of God.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. Rev. 2:7
The Garden of Eden, where God first placed the man to work, was the original Paradise of God as can be seen by how it contained the Tree of Life.
The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Gen. 2:9
When sin and death entered the world, the righteous dead descended to the lower regions (Hades) when they died, and the Paradise of God descended with them. In Hades, the Paradise of God is described as being by Abraham’s side where those who did good were separated from the unrighteous dead by a chasm that could not be crossed. Following His crucifixion, the Lord also descended into Paradise with the thief on the cross.
Jesus answered him (the thief on the cross), “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43
The Lord’s descent into Paradise was described by the Apostle Paul who stated that the Lord descended into the lower, earthly regions before ascending to Heaven with those who had been held captive by death.
This is why it says: “When he (Christ) ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) Eph. 4:8-10
When the Lord descended down to Paradise, He preached the gospel to the righteous dead and then ascended with them to Heaven, in order that they might live in the spirit according to God’s will.
For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. 1 Pet. 4:6
In Heaven, the place of rest for God’s people is also referred to as being in Paradise. This can be seen in the additional writings of Paul who spoke of being caught up to the third heaven where he saw Paradise.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven… And I know that this man… was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 2 Cor. 2:4
From Paul, we learn that the Paradise of God, which was originally in the Garden of Eden on earth and that was described as being by Abraham’s side under the earth, is now located in Heaven. In Heaven, the Paradise of God is described as being in the Father’s House where there are many rooms.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3
The Fathers House is where the Dead in Christ ascend to today when they die and where they rest until the Resurrection of the Dead. (Ever since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the righteous no longer descend to Hades when they die.) On the Day of Judgment, those who rest in Paradise will come to life to receive their reward, while the dead in Hades will be resurrected to be condemned.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” John 5:28-29
Although Paradise is currently in Heaven, it is not Heaven itself. Following the Day of Judgment, the Paradise of God will descend from Heaven to the New Earth in the form of the New Jerusalem.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband… Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. Rev. 21:1-2, 22:1-2
We know that the New Jerusalem will be the new location of the Paradise of God because it is said to contain the Tree of Life, which we read earlier is located in Paradise. At the creation of the New Heaven and Earth, the Paradise of God will come full circle when it once again becomes the dwelling place of God’s people on earth.
Heaven is the holy dwelling place of God.
“Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deut. 26:15
In the Bible, the sky above the earth is also called the heavens and is translated from the same original Greek word (ouranos; SEC 3772) that is used to describe the Heaven of God’s throne. Even though the same Greek word is used to describe both the Holy Dwelling Place of God and the atmosphere above the earth, they are separate and distinct locations. Paul made a distinction between the heavens of the sky and the Heaven of God’s Throne, when He described being caught up to the third heaven.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven… 2 Cor. 12:2
From Paul’s mention of a third heaven, we get the understanding that the heavens are divided into three parts: 1. The atmosphere that is above the earth, 2. The Middle Heaven, which is the realm of the angels, and 3. The Holy Dwelling Place of God.
The New Heaven and Earth
The New Heaven and Earth will be created after the present heaven and earth are destroyed by fire, at the Return of Christ.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. Rev. 21:1
The New Heaven and Earth will contain the New Jerusalem and the Tree of Life, which was in the original Paradise of God in the Garden of Eden. The New Heaven and Earth is also where God’s people will spend eternity.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. Rev. 22:1
From the above verses, we learn that our life in eternity will not be spent on the clouds of Heaven but, rather, on a new earth that is without curse where we will see God’s face.
Click here for a chapter-by-chapter study of the Revelation: Chapter-by-Chapter study of the Revelation
 Num. 16:30, Eph. 4:7-9
 Isa. 24:21-22, Rev. 20:1-7
 Luke 16:19-26
 Dan. 12:2-3, Acts 7:59-60, 1 Cor. 15:20, 1 Cor. 15:51, 1 Thess. 4:13
 Rev. 2:7