Michael Youssef debunks myths about Heaven, illuminates biblical truths about Hell

Michael Youssef
Michael Youssef | Leah Klett/The Christian Post

Evangelist and bestselling author Michael Youssef is dispelling common myths about Heaven and illuminating biblical truths about the afterlife to “wake up” a Church he fears thinks far too little about what happens after death. 

“I’ve found there's so much confusion about the whole concept of Heaven,” the 75-year-old pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, 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.”

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

In his new book, Heaven Awaits: Anticipate Your Future Hope, Your Eternal Home, Your Daily Reality, Youssef dives deep into the often-misunderstood concept of Heaven, tackling head-on the apprehensions and doubts that many harbor about the afterlife. 

Misconceptions about Heaven

“We're not going to be sitting on the clouds doing nothing; we're going to be working,” Youssef, who also leads Leading the Way Ministries, 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. The bestselling author 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."

"For the people outside of the Church who don’t know anything about Heaven or what happens when they die, their message is, ‘Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, be born again.’ But for the Church — and the burden of my heart for the believers — they need to find and understand what Heaven is all about, and that is going to motivate them to be effective for Jesus.”

Youssef’s book comes on the heels of a survey that found the shares of Americans who believe in God, angels, Heaven, Hell and the devil have all fallen to the lowest levels ever recorded over the last two decades.

In his book, Youssef doesn't shy away from the tough questions or the weighty realities of Heaven and Hell. Instead, he offers a comprehensive exploration of Scripture, drawing on biblical teachings to paint a vivid picture of the eternal dwelling place promised to believers.

The reality of Hell

It's impossible to understand the beauty of Heaven without acknowledging the horrors of Hell, Youssef said. The “Hollywood idea” that everyone goes to Heaven when they die is a “lie from the pit of Hell,” he cautioned. 

“Everybody thinks they're good. Who ever says, ‘I'm bad?’ I tell people that in Heaven, there are no good people. There are only bad people in Heaven. The only good person in Heaven is Jesus. But all the others are bad people who have recognized that they are bad, that they are sinners who desperately need the salvation that only Jesus can give them. Redeemed sinners — that's who's going to be in Heaven. These are the concepts that we need to constantly hammer away at people to understand. Heaven is something to look forward to, and work toward, and not be afraid of or apprehensive about or being uncertain.”

Though an unpopular topic, Youssef said he wanted the final chapter in his book to focus on what Jesus says about Hell throughout the New Testament. 

“That is very important,” he said. “Today, nobody wants to talk about Hell. They think that Hell doesn't exist. Nobody's going to Hell. And I said, ‘What? Are you saying Jesus is lying? Because everything we know about Hell is from Jesus.’”

“Those who deliberately go against the Word of God, and think that God is just such a big Santa Claus in Heaven who doesn't care and He winks at sin and doesn't care how you live, then they are the ones going to be in a big shock on that last day or when they die.”

Storing up treasure in Heaven 

Youssef also offers tangible steps for storing up treasures in Heaven, emphasizing the importance of investing time, talent and treasure in Kingdom work. For him, the ultimate measure of success lies not in earthly riches or accolades but in the lives transformed and souls won for Christ.

“Investing in the Kingdom of God, investing in the work of God, investing in opportunities where you can see people coming to Heaven — that's certainly the burden of my heart,” he said. 

"[Jesus says] you should be wise in the investment of your resources now so that in Heaven, people will welcome you. I can't wait to see how many people are going to walk up to us and say, ‘Thank you. Because of your prayer, because of your giving, because of your sacrifice, because of what you've done, I am now here in Heaven.'”

In April, Youssef, who has held evangelistic events all over the globe, brought the Gospel message to 16,480 people in Veracruz, Mexico, as part of the Come & See Veracruz Weekend Celebration, the largest Christian event in the region in over 20 years.

The event, held in a baseball stadium, drew crowds from all walks of life, including hundreds of university students who actively participated in spreading the message of hope throughout the city. Youssef's team, fluent in Spanish, led the congregation in heartfelt praise and worship, creating an atmosphere of spiritual awakening and renewal.

“About 1,500 people came forward and gave their life to Christ. It was a very moving experience for me,” Youssef said. 

"I go where I'm invited," he added. "There might be one person that's going to come to Christ, and one of those events is going to change the world. Who knows. I just do it in obedience.

“I want to take people to Heaven with me,” the evangelist said. “And that is the kind of investment that we need to make into Kingdom work, Kingdom ministries and lives transformed and brought with us to Heaven. 

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles