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Heaven as a place of splendor in "The Apotheosis of St. Ignatius" by Giovanni Battista Gaulli (a.k.a. Baciccio), c. 1685, in the National Gallery of Ancient Art in Rome. Public Domain

Michael Youssef dispels misconceptions about heaven

Many Christians have a poor understanding of what heaven will be like, according to evangelist and author Michael Youssef.

In fact, views of heaven are often instilled by romanticized visions like Baciccio’s 1685 work, “The Apotheosis of St. Ignatius,” which hangs in Rome.

“I’ve found there’s so much confusion about the whole concept of heaven,” the pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta told “The Christian Post.” “Even in the church, there are those who don’t want to know about it; they don’t want to talk about it because they think it’s a bad omen. They think they’re going to die or because they really don’t know enough about it. And yet the Bible is very clear; there are so many teachings in the scripture about heaven and the importance of heaven for this life.”

In his new book, “Heaven Awaits: Anticipate Your Future Hope, Your Eternal Home, Your Daily Reality,” Youssef tackles the apprehensions and doubts that many harbor about the afterlife.

“We’re not going to be sitting on the clouds doing nothing; we’re going to be working,” Youssef said. “We’ll be serving Jesus, we’ll be reigning and ruling with him. That is a concept that if people really grasp, they will start working on purifying their lives, because this is a dress rehearsal.

“There are not going to be carnal individuals in heaven; there will be men and women, boys and girls, who love Jesus. I tell people heaven is all about Jesus. And if you reject Jesus here or if you’re not walking with Jesus here, how in the world are you going to be with him face to face for all of eternity?”

At the heart of his book is the biblical idea that heaven is not just a distant future reality but a present-day truth with profound implications for how a believer lives here and now. He challenged the notion that a focus on heaven detracts from earthly living, echoing the sentiments of C.S. Lewis, who famously asserted that those who are most heavenly minded are often the most effective in this life.

“Think about it: My whole motive for living and serving in ministry is that I’m going to be with Jesus and hear from his lips, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant,’” he said. “It couldn’t get any better than that. Heaven should motivate us here and now. Heaven is for our living today. I want that message to go across the Christian church.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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