Where is Heaven? Where is Hell? What Does the Bible Say?

by Jack Wellman on July 30, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

Is heaven an actual place?  Is there a literal location for hell?  Can we know for certain where heaven and hell really are from the Bible?  I believe we can.

Where is Heaven?

My first thought is that heaven is any place where God is and hell is anyplace where God is absent.  People loosely use the term, “this is heaven” when they taste delicious foods or have an enjoyable experience, but can anything really compare to what heaven will actually be like?  I believe that heaven can not thoroughly be explained, even by the Scriptures, for it must be too wonderful for words and it must be too indescribable to relate to by word pictures.  Many people have images of us going to heaven and floating on a cloud and playing harps while chubby little cherub angels fly around us.  This is nothing like the heaven that is described in the Bible and to know what and where heaven is, we must rely on the Word of God and not in human imagination.

The Bible actually talks about three heavens.  The first heaven is where the birds fly and the clouds reside.  The second heaven is where the sun, the moon, and the stars abide.  But the third heaven is where the very throne of God resides and where Jesus presently sits at the right hand of the Father.  Heaven is a real place and there are angels there who all day, and all night, 24/7 declare, Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory(Isaiah 6:3).  When Isaiah got a glimpse of heaven, he fell to the ground and felt that he would be struck dead. In Isaiah 6:1-5 he reveals an amazing look that he had at the throne of heaven, I saw the Lord. high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another: ,“holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

These amazing Holy Angels praise God without ceasing.  In Revelation we see that, Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come (Rev 4:8).  Heaven is very real or the Bible is wrong, which we know that it is not.

Where Is Heaven at according to the Bible?

Again, remember that heaven is any place that God is present. That’s what makes heaven, heaven.

The New Jerusalem

Is it true that heaven will come down to earth?  Again, remember that heaven is any place that God is present.  That’s what makes heaven, heaven.  And God’s presence must be heaven anywhere that He is. In Revelation 21:1-7 we read about this New Jerusalem:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And he said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

Here we read that the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven and this is the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus spoke of.  Jesus said that 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 14:3).  Jesus said that heaven was as a place and that He would come back to take us with Him to be where He is.  So heaven is a real place and that place is where we will be and where Jesus will be with us.  At least it will be for those who have placed their trust in Him.

Further, It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev 21:12-14). So this New Jerusalem has walls, gates, and it is called a city.  This is no cloud floating, harp playing place, but an actual, literal location with real, tangible things in it.

And heaven is huge!   How big?  This city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.  Its length and width and height are equal.  He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement (Rev 21:16-17).  This is an immense city that Bible scholar’s estimate will span about 1,300 square miles wide, 1,300 square miles long and 1,300 square miles high.  The square footage is in the billions!   This city has foundations, walls, gates, streets, and a temple but the temple is God Himself (Rev 21:22).

Where is Hell?

In the first place, hell is separation from God and for all time.  That in itself makes it hell.  Since God is light and the absence of God is darkness, then hell must be more than just a mental state of mind and it must be a place of utter darkness as Jesus said that it will be a place of  outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8:12).  The absence of God is the absence of light and the weeping will be tears of regret for eternity for not having believed in Jesus.  The gnashing of teeth will be anger for being in hell as the religious leaders often gnashed there teeth in anger over Jesus.  To Lazarus, heaven was very real just as the rich man knew that hell was a literal place.  In the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, Jesus spoke about hell being a place where no one could escape from.  The story is recorded in Luke 16:19-31:

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.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham, ’he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

We note that it is a place of unending torment, that the rich man couldn’t return to warn others in his family, that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us, so that the rich man could not cross over to Lazarus nor could Lazarus cross over to where the rich man was, that the rich man was thirsty; this means that he had his senses all in tact.  He knew about his unsaved family, he was in torment from flames, he could not quench his unquenchable thirst, and that his lost family only had the Bible to know how to be saved (Moses and the prophets).  There is no mistaking that this place was quite real to the rich man.  The rich man didn’t go to hell because he was rich or because he didn’t take care of the beggar Lazarus, but that he didn’t believe “Moses and the prophets” or the message of salvation found in the Bible.

We really don’t know exactly where hell is but we do know that it is a real place and a place of unending torment.  Does it really matter where it is since we know that it is a place?  You will notice that the rich man was by himself too. It is not like you see pictured where the Devil is poking people with a pitchfork or where there will be others gathered together with each other but it will be utter aloneness.  It will be sheer torment – both physical and mental – as you remember that the rich man had all of his memories still active of his family and of Lazarus.  Those who will be in hell will live with eternal regret that they failed to trust in Jesus, that they ignored all of those who tried to share their faith with them, and they will be forever separated from God with no second chance.  Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven.  Thirteen percent of all of Jesus’ sayings were about a hell fire.

Where Are You Going?

Now that we know that heaven and hell are real places, where do you think you will end up?  If you were to die tonight or if Christ would return today, do you know for sure where you would go?  If you are not sure at this very moment, it is still not too late.  God told Ezekiel to Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’ because God has said (Ezk 33:11).  We know from Scripture that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (I Tim 2:4).  Please remember that The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  So my advice to you is to “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Act 3:19). Why?  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men (Lam 3:33).  God doesn’t send anyone to hell.  People send themselves there by their rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Decide today for tonight or tomorrow, if you were to die, or if Christ would return, you would be lost forever.  No one has any guarantee that they will live beyond tonight or tomorrow.  Tomorrow may be too late.  When you die or when Jesus returns, He will either be your Judge or your Savior (Rev 20).  Decide right now because, “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation(2 Cor. 6:2).

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Fundraisers For Church July 30, 2012 at 5:06 am

I believe that heaven can not thoroughly be explained, even by the Scriptures,bible the bible talk about heaven is a real place and there are angels there who all day, and all night pray of GOD We really don’t know exactly where hell is but we do know that it is a real place and a place of unending torment.
i believe in bible and heaven and hell,
Are you?

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Derek Hill July 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Excellent job again Jack. You articulated this so eloquently. I love your verses on heaven. It reminded me of a wonderful sermon I heard a few years back. Your conclusion was brilliant and reassuring to those who don’t have a relationship with Christ. Well done!

Derek

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Jack Wellman August 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Thanks Derek. Hell is a difficult subject to mention, but the gospel must be told in its full entirety. As always, your “Barnabas-speak” is always edifying brother and I truly thank God for you friend.

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Robert August 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Excellent article Jack,
So often we focus our attention on the things of the world so much that we lose sight of our real destination and our eternal purpose for being here. Thanks again for reminding us of our true destination and our commission of sharing the path to that destination with others. God bless you, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Jack Wellman August 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Thank you Robert. I know that Jesus spoke more on hell than any other single topic so we reveal the realities of hell honestly. The good news means nothing unless we first tell them that bad news of God’s judgment. Thanks friend.

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Chris Martel August 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Sorry Jack, I tried, Lord knows I tried, but the smart aleck just keeps coming out in me! The answer is simple:

HEAVEN is where you want to be

HELL is where you don’t want to be

any questions??? He! He!

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Chris Martel August 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm

P.S.

Heaven is where GOD is
Hell is where GOD isn’t, not to mention it really is hot as hell!!!
I read the book 23 minutes in hell, great wakeup book!! One thing for sure, I DEFINITELY, POSITIVELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT do not want to go to hell, give me Heaven any day!

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Jack Wellman August 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Amen Chris. That was my conclusion. Hell is the absence of God and light and heaven is not so much a place as it is a Person and the Person of God. Thanks brother. Love your sense of humor. Those who have good sense have a good sense of humor.

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Ajayi kayode August 6, 2012 at 4:36 am

Hello jack,thank you for your words about heaven and hell,please is there a bible verse about where hell is it?

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Jack Wellman August 6, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Thank you Ajayi. We have another writer here, Pam who wrote an article that contains Bible verses about hell at the link below. Let me say that we don’t know exactly where hell is but it’s not so much about where but about what it is like that makes hell what it is. It is utter darkness, eternal torment, and sheer and unending horror. See the link below for more on hell.

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-hell-21-eye-opening-scriptures/

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Pamela October 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I believe that heaven is your own personal place of beauty. If you can’t dream of what your heaven is…How do you know it exists?

I was born Christian. At the age of 13 I started having nightmares about the Holocaust. No one in my family was Jewish during World War II, or perished in concenctration camps. I am now 41. I have spent 2/3 of my life having nightmares. MOST people in this world have a choice in regard to viewing, learning, or seeing what happened during the Holocaust. I am not one of those fortunate souls. Are you?

I told no one about my nightmares for years.
At the age of 25…I finally told just one: My fiance.
He was the most wonderful man. And, in many ways he saved me like no other could.

3 months before our wedding, he died of a heart attack.
An hour before his heart attack, he called me like he always did on the telephone. The last thing that he said to me was:

I love you. I will always love you. It matters not if we are in the same dimension or universe…Wherever you are, I will be with you.

In no way was the chemistry in my brain ready for him to stop breathing on me. I have been to shrinks, and on pills for depression throughout my life. This sadness cannot be fixed. And, while I am still breathing and have physically kept going…I will forever feel abandoned.

Is heaven real? Yes, I do believe it is. Are there many mansions and palaces in it? Yes, I do believe there are.
If you were tortured…like those who perished in the Holocaust….I believe those souls went to a very special mansion in heaven….to an untouchable place that our eyes are not allowed to see. We don’t deserve to.

I believe if God is listening…then perhaps in my end–he will answer my only wish:

Give Barry back to me. Bring him back.

When I stop breathing?
I want to have that wedding that I never got to have on earth. I want all of my friends, family, and others who laughed at me…for believing in the theory of love…to be present. THEN they can witness me and say that I am no longer the sad one,
the depressed one,
or the one who stopped believing in the power of true love.

I don’t care about palaces or mansions.
What’s the point…if the person you love is not in it?

I don’t care if I never get to see the most beautiful places up there…It matters not to me.

I believe that if there is a heaven? It’s what you dream it will truly be. I want to have the wedding I never got to have. I want to be with Barry and travel around the universe discovering all of those things that we didn’t get to do together.

My largest fear is that when I stop breathing?
I’m aborted BACK in time….BACK to World War II, and forever stuck there as a jew…being persecuted in a concentration camp.

IF you believe in heaven?
It’s because you knew hell existed…first.

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SATYA SHOBHAN DAS July 10, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Dear Sister in the Lord,

I am from India. My name is SATYA SHOBHAN DAS and I am 68. I read your heart rending thoughts over your lost love. I want to comfort you through these following few lines.
First of all, accept that you are one among the millions who have lost their most loved ones exactly as you have.
Secondly, accept that such love is physical and temporary: it dies away when we are gone from this physical world and we can NOT carry it with us to our next existence because this belongs to this temporal world.
Thirdly, what Barry told you before he departed can NOT be possible because he has no control on himself in his next existence – you too, will not have that in your next existence. I had told to my loving Daddy before he died and he replied, “Son, I will NOT be in my own control in my next existence”, and it is already more than 40 years now, nothing has happened according to my desire or wish.
Fourthly, accept that you can not go to him and he can not come to you.
Fifthly accept that God is in control of everything in his creation and nobody can override His will, rather, we all have to accept His will and this acceptance can only be possible if we know Him, obey Him and love Him. Job is an example: read what he said in Job 1:21 and 2:9,10. Also read Habakkuk 3:17-18.
Sixthly, we can not live with our spouse eternally. This is a hard truth. Recently a “Just Married” happy couple were returning home from the place of marriage, met with an accident on road, the groom died on the spot, but the bride came out unscathed. It was a pretty love marriage, too!
Seventhly, we should not, therefore, be too much attached to such worldly relationships which we only make, but rather we should know the unfailing love of our Creator, Father, who gave Himself in love for us, and love Him more than anything in the world. This love can be carried into our next eternal existence.
Dear Sister, whenever you are in mental trouble please try to sing this song (you can get the complete recorded song from the internet), and I am sure, the Lord will fill your heart with His comfort and peace as He has also given me! May the peace of God be with you – Shalom!

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Sincerely yours,
Satya Shobhan Das
e-mail:satyashobhandas@rediffmail.com
Ph: 91-9937347043.

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Deborah January 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Great read, Does it really matter where Heaven or Hell is? , all that seems to matter is: wow what an opportunity for us Gentiles.

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Tim January 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm

This is awesome. It’s spoken perfectively the way it should. I honestly believe that the time the lord comes is unknown.

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Tim January 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I have a question also about the paranormal. Will the people of God seen in the form of a apparition frighten you?

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Jack Wellman January 2, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Hello Tim. Thank you for your question sir. I am a bit confused by your question which was, ” Will the people of God seen in the form of a apparition frighten you?” Do you mean when or if the people of God (Christians?) see an apparition, will it frighten them? Are you talking about “ghosts” or demons? Not sure what you mean. The paranormal involve fallen angels called demons and they have no power over us and can not make us fearful.

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ola May 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Are you on facebook Jack? Pls reply to this message with your fb Id, love to read more from you thanks.

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Jack Wellman May 16, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Hello Ola. My facebook page is:

https://www.facebook.com/JacksonWellman?ref=tn_nonslim

Also, our website has a Facebook page too at:

https://www.facebook.com/WhatChristiansWantToKnow

Please check u s out as we have many of our articles posted on it and “Like” it if you want to. Thank you Ola.

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muyiwa green June 26, 2013 at 3:31 am

Thank you sir jack wellman..am really impressed with these subjects(heaven and hell)..heaven is a place where God is…but about hell i was told that its in the underworld…please i need an explanation?

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Jack Wellman June 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Hello Muyiwa Green. Please re-read the end of the article with the section called Where is Hell? There is no “underworld” that hell is supposed to be. Please read the end of this article and find out what the Bible says about hell. It doesn’t matter WHERE it is but that it is a place of torment from which there is no escape. Thank you for your question sir.

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Aubrey Padilla May 19, 2014 at 3:48 am

More likely Hell can be located using these biblical verses…

John 8:23 and proverbs 15:24 “The way of life [is] above to the wise, That he may depart from hell beneath.”

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Aubrey Padilla May 19, 2014 at 3:52 am

More likely Hell can be located using these biblical verses…

John 8:23 and proverbs 15:24 “The way of life [is] above to the wise, That he may depart from hell beneath.”

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Robert Anderson December 10, 2013 at 7:36 am

Reading articles like this always make me feel better. I am only 18 years old but since i was about 13/14 years old I have started to become terrified of dying. I have always been a Christian and have accepted Christ as my Saviour, but I still do not feel I am good enough to enter Heaven when I die, I sin, and I know we are all sinners, but I feel that when I do it has been one too many. I always pray at night. For the days He has given me and for giving me the knowledge to know Him, I always ask that he forgive me of my sins too.. But I still have sleepless nights thinking about what if He does not see that I am worthy of entering Heaven? Is there anything that I can do to reassure myself? I know this might sound silly to some but my most important goal in this life is to make it to Heaven and pass this test that is life.

Thank you for posting this article.
Robert Anderson

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Jack Wellman December 10, 2013 at 7:50 am

Mr. Anderson, this is not silly at all and I so respect what you wrote that you feel unworthy to enter heaven. The fact is that not one of us humans who have repented and trusted in Christ are worthy but He makes us worthy (2 Cor 5:21) and that’s why it is called grace. It is free, it is unmerited and it is unearned which none of us deserve. That is the definition of grace. If you pray and read your Bible every night and perhaps focus on the Gospel of John and then the books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, I believe these will make you feel more secure. The very fact that you feel unworthy shows that you see yourself as a sinner and that we can’t possibly make it on our own but it is a matter of trusting God and what Jesus says (i.e. John 6:37, 39 & John 10:28-29). Read John including the books of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John and I believe you will feel better sir and thank you for your concerns sir.

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Marceli January 22, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Heaven can only be in extra dimensions beyond our four of time-space. Currently Science has very little knowledge about it. The general relativity string theory and quantum entanglement phenomena accepting existing of extra dimensions as reality. We need still wait maybe very long time until Science in physics to discover it and this will be reality like anything else which each beyond our senses. Alternatively God will uncover for us heavenly physics by joining heaven and our planet into one common use reality to live in. This fact Jesus promised us on his second coming, which sounds interesting for me.

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