Monday, November 7, 2011

Will There Be Animals / Pets in Heaven? What Do the Scriptures Tell Us?

Our rescue Peanut
I've been in discussions regarding the issue of whether our pets will be with us in Heaven many times.  For those of us who are ardent animal lovers and Bible students, it's an interesting study. The short answer is, God has not chosen to reveal that to us. 

There are, however, many interesting passages in the Bible about animals in Heaven. Any definitive statement about our pets in Heaven,  however, would be purely speculative. All verses I cite below regard (as I understand them) the Millennium reign of Christ, not Heaven per se. I encourage you however, to be Berean, look them up and study on it. There will undoubtedly be others which apply, please leave a comment with additional passages or input you would like to add to the post.

We know that there will be animals in the New Jerusalem, the Millennium reign of Christ on this earth:
Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 11:6-9
6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. 
7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. 
8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 
9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
Illustrating the now dangerous animals still present in the Millennium, yet not causing any harm even to a small child or to other animals. Showing them reverted back to the apparent state in which they lived before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden - vegetarian and harmless.

In Ezekiel 34:25 God says “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods." This shows we will not be surrounded by only the "good" animals, because as we can see in the Isaiah passages above, God specifically says there will be cobras, bears, wolves, etc. But rather that God in His omnipotence will turn harmless the animals we now know as dangerous.

God is the giver of life, He cares even for the smallest creatures. Jesus said in Matt 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. He was speaking about God's omnipotence and omniscience.

Revelation 19:11-14
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 
12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 
13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 
14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.
John is shown Heaven, and in it were horses.

Digging a little deeper, there is Scripture that says that the Lord gives breath to every living being, that includes animals. Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 18 I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.” 19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. 21 Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?
The final verse is a question, not a statement. This verse tells that all die, man and beast, but where the beasts go is a question that's been asked for thousands of years.

In Genesis 7:15 it says So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. The Hebrew word for 'breath' in the original text is 'ruach' which throughout OT Scripture is the word for the breath of life which is the Holy Spirit and is the breath which in the OT was a temporary indwelling rather than a permanent one which was given as a pledge and seal to Christians in the New Covenant. Look up Strong's Concordance H3707 for all instances and uses of it in Scripture.

That same Holy Spirit in 2 Thes 2:7 will be taken out of this world (raptured) before the Anti-Christ is let loose on the 2nd half of the Great Tribulation. That doesn't mean pets will be raptured. Just believe that God takes care of even the sparrows.

Psalm 104 speaks of all God's works and His care for animals, they are His:
24 O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions. 
25 There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great. 
26 There the ships move along, And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it. 
 27 They all wait for You To give them their food in due season. 
28 You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. 
29 You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire And return to their dust. 
30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground.
NOTE: In v. 29 (spirit of animals) as well as in v. 30 (Holy Spirit of God) are the same Hebrew word in the original text. In Genesis 7:15 it says So they went into the ark to Noah, by twos of all flesh in which was the breath of life. It seems to say the animals have within them the same Spirit which we Christians have within us, the Holy Spirit. Both words in Hebrew is רוח = 'ruach', which is the Hebrew word for the Holy Spirit). In the OT was a temporary indwelling rather than a permanent one which was given as a pledge and seal to Christians in the New Covenant. Look up Strong's Concordance H3707 for all instances and uses of it in Scripture.

That doesn't mean animals will be raptured. 2 Thesasalonians 2:6-8: 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; That same Holy Spirit will be taken out of this world (raptured) before the Anti-Christ is let loose on the 2nd half of the Great Tribulation.

Speaking on the resurrection of the human body and the Rapture, the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15
35 But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” .........38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish........50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. He is speaking of course of the human resurrection, not at all about animals - however v.39 makes the distinction of the flesh.

There are undoubtedly many more passages I might add. We MUST test everything thru the lense of Scripture so that we don't get caught up in deception. The anthropomorphic view we can have of animals gives us a warped sense of who they really are, and we can find ourselves thinking that it wouldn't be Heaven without them. It's important to remember:
1. We must not worship our pets, but trust the that the Lord loves all His creatures, as Scripture shows us. Know that His will is perfect and always done in Heaven!
2. Heaven is not a place where God takes us to rest and enjoy ourselves, it's a place of complete and total worship to Him. Man's words cannot explain the wonders of God. John wrote in John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they *were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself *would not contain the books that *would be written.


Finally, as interesting as it is to study on God's Word in this or any other subject which touches your heart, remember NOT let it not be an idol to you beloved. Like you I am an ardent animal lover, I feel they are great blessings to us in THIS world and pray that they will be with us in Heaven, however I trust in God's perfect plan if not.

God wishes that none should perish and go to hell 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance., You might wonder, why then is there a hell? Jesus answered that. A person who has not confessed his sins repented (turned away from those sins) and accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as the one and only salvation of his soul, is choosing to join Satan and his demons in hell: Matthew 25:41-46 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;.......These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

If you are reading this and have not accepted Christ's sacrifice to you, know that Heaven is real, our pets may not go to Heaven, but man has a definite final destination after this life.

1 comment:

  1. Ruach can also mean spirit aswell, it would not make sense to say animals have the indwelling Holy Spirit as Jesus said He sent the Spirit for us and not animals.