Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 15:11
"Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord, how much more the hearts of men."
This is a clear reference to the afterlife. There are many questions we can ask about the afterlife – its purpose, its requirements, its entrance codes, its economy, its nature.
The Lord Jesus gives an extensive account of Sheol in Luke 16. He describes a person in the upper compartment of Sheol called Abraham’s bosom and a person in the lower compartment of Sheol called hell. This fascinating account gives us deep glimpses into the nature of the afterlife for those who are counted righteous by the Lord and those who, through their selfishness, need to be quarantined. For a fuller treatment of these ideas, please see my book, Why There Has to Be a Hell.
The writer uses two different words to describe the negative aspects of the afterlife: Sheol and Abaddon.
Sheol is a transliteration of the Hebrew word meaning the grave, the place of the dead in total. Abaddon is also a transliterated Hebrew word meaning a particular part of the abode of the dead.
It has been understood in the past that Abaddon is the place of the bottomless pit which is a part of the whole of Sheol. It is the name of the strong angel who is released from the bottomless pit in Revelation 9:11. Many believe that the angel takes his name from his work as well as the place where he is incarcerated until he is released by God again.
It is interesting that the beings in the abyss have a ruler who is ruling them even in the abyss. They still have a chain of command and direction and an economy. One can never understand the need for and existence of hell until you see that it is an economy built on selfishness and evil.
It is also possible that Sheol is the place and Abaddon is the ruler of the place until the Devil comes to replace him as the supremely selfish one.