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Animals in Heaven


Many years ago I lost a favorite pit bull pet named Poochie. As much as I want to be reunited with my pal, I decided to study into the subject of animals in Heaven.

Photos of Poochie

Before I jump into this complex topic, first I will say that this study/mini sermon is merely an introduction to the topic of animals and the afterlife. This is by no means as exhaustive a treatment of the subject as a college paper or book on the subject. But, Lord willing, what you will read here will give you enough information to go out and seek out answers on your own. One of the goals of CER Ministries is to excite people with the Word of God so that they go out and discover the Bible for themselves. The Bible is not totally clear if we will see animals in the afterlife, but I think there is enough evidence to lean toward the conclusion that they will be in heaven. A few passages dealing with animals in the afterlife are as follows.

2 Kings 2:11 (NKJV) “Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”

This verse is interesting. Certainly by reading it I am led to believe that animals are in heaven. I doubt anyone reading this passage will think differently. It’s obvious from the verse read in context that Elijah was taken to Heaven in this chariot. The chariot came from Heaven and the horses as well. Both the chariot and the horses were composed of fire, which as you know not a physical substance. But I think there is enough evidence here to conclude that God wants animals in his kingdom. Although it’s true that animals very well may be in Heaven with God, it is a question if animals that previously died will be reborn in the afterlife. I have had many pets that have died over the years, some of which I miss very much, and would love to see them again. In the passages below the context is not exactly Heaven, nor are the animals reborn. But the verses do lead the reader to believe the following.

a) God likes animals.
b) Animals serve God.

If such were the case, then it would make sense that He would have them in Heaven as His pets.

Revelation 5:13 (NKJV) “And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the
earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
‘Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’”

Does the verse above lead the reader to believe that animals can speak? The contrast alone baffles me! Perhaps animals will be able to speak at some time. But then again, perhaps this verse is not to be taken completely literally. I asked my former pastor if animals could one day speak, and in his view they won’t be able to speak in the afterlife, and certainly will not be much different than the way they are today, except that they will live in peace with one another and with man.

 

Isaiah 65:17,25 (NKJV) 17 “‘For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.’”
25 “’The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent's food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,’
Says the Lord.”

In today's creation a wolf and a lamb cannot feed together. The wolf will always feed on the lamb, and the lion will always feed on the ox. I think it’s interesting that some vegetarians have interpreted this passage of scripture (among others) to conclude that vegetarianism is the Lord's will, and in Heaven all of us will be vegetarians. I do not think that this passage is teaching this at all, but that is a subject for another study. Another passage of scripture:

Isaiah 11:6-9 (NKJV) "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.”

In the Messianic Age, there will be much peace and safety. For the former way of things will have passed. God will make things and life totally different. Previously-venomous animals will have no ill effects on humankind in this new age. All will be changed. To me this new age sounds very exciting! I would not mind being able to play with lions and tigers and other harmful creatures. It would also be interesting to actually be attracted to spiders and insects that are usually harmful to humans. I can’t imagine such a time, but God will change the minds of His children so that they will be attracted and not afraid of these animals. Another note on the subject of the restoration of animals in the afterlife and the ones that have died
some claim that the "all things" as mentioned in passages like Acts 3:19-21, Phil 3:20–21, Heb 2:8, and Rev 21:5 include animals. The passage below in Romans 8:18-25 does include animals as part of the creation, but none of the passages above reveals whether or not animals that have died will be reborn.

Romans 8:18-25 (NKJV) “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

Probably the most popular passage of scripture dealing with the eternal fate of animals is Ecc 3:18-22:

Ecclesiastes 3:18-22 (NKJV) “I said in my heart, ‘Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.’ For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?”

Let’s look at the passage in context. First we know that King Solomon wrote this book. He was (next to Christ) the wisest man that ever lived and the wealthiest man that ever lived. In his wealth Solomon experimented with all that the world of his day offered.

Next let’s look at chapter 3, verses 10-11:

“I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

Here we learn that God has put eternity into the hearts of man. This makes a HUGE distinction between man and beast. This is perhaps not a physical distinction, but a spiritual one. I cannot find a passage in scripture that says the same of animals. So the restoration of "all things" as indicated in many different passages, probably does not include the restoration of all the animals that died in the past. As much as I personally want to see my old pets again in Heaven, perhaps what I want will not happen.

Looking at verses 15-17 we learn that judgment is coming for wicked people (not animals). Animals are not held accountable for sin, nor did Christ die for their sins on the cross. There are probably certain groups that may think –

Ecclesiastes 3:15-17 (NKJV) “That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past.
Moreover I saw under the sun:
In the place of judgment,
Wickedness was there;
And in the place of righteousness,
Iniquity was there.
I said in my heart,
‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.’”

The average Jew that read the Bible in those days perhaps thought that Solomon's writings did not apply to them. They thought that their birth gave them salvation. They did not believe in a conversion experience.

The text continues below:

Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 (NKJV) “I said in my heart, ‘Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.’ For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

The Jewish reader is put in his or her place in the passage above. The perspective above is clearly that of a physical comparison to animals. The passage is not saying directly that animals go to heaven when they die, as this is not exactly the entire theme of the book. The theme of the book is mentioned in chapter 12, verses 13-14.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV) “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man's all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”

So where are we left? We really do not know if animals that have died will be returned to us. Perhaps I will never again see my old friend Poochie, and perhaps you will never again see your animal friends that have died. Love your pets as much as you can while they are with you. You will perhaps never see them after they die. Those of us who go to Heaven will learn that God worked out everything according to His perfect plan regarding our pets. I may never understand why He let Poochie die in less than a year, not until I get to Heaven and get to speak with my Lord face to face. Heaven is where I will be completely sanctified and separated from any and all sin. In Heaven I will not mourn Poochie’s death and will probably not even reflect or think about it. But I think that the Lord in His goodness may provide another Poochie for me. It won’t be the original pet, but it will greatly satisfy me and be perfect and without the influence or the curse of sin.

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