Thank you for your good questions.  Let us read the true story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16: 19-26.  The Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”

The Greek word for hell in verse 23 is ‘hades’ which means “the state of departed souls.”  It is not a place but is the condition of a person’s soul after their body dies.  Just as physical death is a condition of a person’s body when their earthly life is over, so hades is the condition of their soul.  The condition of the rich man’s soul was that he was tormented (verse 25).  Since there was “a great gulf fixed” (verse 26) between the rich man and Lazarus, we know the answer to your first question.  An unbeliever’s soul is not in heaven waiting to be judged after their first death.  The answer to your second question is that their soul is in a condition of torment.  However, we are not told in the Scriptures exactly where unsaved souls are located before the Great White Throne judgment.  We only know that it is impossible for souls in torment to get into heaven or souls in heaven to go to the tormented souls (verse 26).  We know that saved souls are in heaven when they die since the Lord told the repentant thief on the cross, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).  The Lord and the thief died that day and so they were in heaven together the moment that they died.

The first occupants of hell, or the lake of fire, that we read of in the Scriptures are the beast and the false prophet.  Revelation 19:20 says, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”  The third occupant of the lake of fire is Satan.  We read in Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Let us now read Revelation 20:11-15.  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

In this passage the unsaved dead are brought to stand before God for judgment.  In verse 14 the Greek word for hell is again hades.  Death and hades are cast into the lake of fire, which shows that hades was not already in the lake of fire.  God cast hades into the lake of fire at this time.  Then we come to a very sad verse in verse 15.  All those not found in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire.  All those who have not trusted in the Lord Jesus as their Savior will spend eternity in the lake of fire.  How incredibly sad!  If you have not yet repented of your sins and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, please do so today!  The Lord Jesus loves you so much that He died for you.  The lake of fire was prepared for “the devil and his angels,” (Matthew 25:41), not for human beings.  However, if you refuse the gift of salvation freely offered to you, then you have chosen your own awful destiny.  As we read in John 3:18, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

To answer your third question, let us look again at Matthew 25:41.  The Lord says in this verse, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”  It is an everlasting fire and it is also an “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).  Those in the lake of fire will be eternally judged.  They will not burn up and be no more.  How sad!  How unnecessary!  If you are a believer, please share the gospel with someone today.  Time is short!  Let us reach out in love to precious souls today.  (213.8)  (DJ)