Pets are part of the family, and it hurts to lose them, so what does the Bible say; do pets go to heaven after death?
It’s crystal clear to me that many of my friends and family love their pets and treat them like their own children. They are not just part of the family…they are family. You may not have a beloved pet, but most of us do, but the hardest part about having pets is that someday, they’ll die. A slim majority of Christians believe they’ll see their pets again, but what does the Bible say about this? Of course we can find comfort in believing that we’ll see our pets again, but the question of first importance is, will you be there? You’ll never know if your pet goes to heaven if you don’t, so let’s examine the Bible to see if we can find out if pets go to heaven.
Animals in Heaven
The Bible indicates that animals will exist after Jesus return and the beginning of the kingdom. Isaiah writes of a time when “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9). The Word of God declares that animals will exist in the future, after Christ’s reign begins. Ecclesiastes mentions that there is a “spirit” in man but also in animals in (3:19, 21), but this does not necessarily mean that it is an eternal or immortal spirit as we have. We’ll continue to exist after death. Revelation 19:11-14 states that Jesus returns to the earth with His army on white horses, writing, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” This however, is no proof our pets will be in heaven.
What People Think
A recent ABC News poll showed that 47% of pet owners believed their pets will be in heaven while only 35% said no, and this poll was not just for Christians, so almost everyone who has lost a beloved pet believes they’ll go to heaven, even if they’re not sure they will. That’s not surprising because pets quickly become part of the family, and many couples who are childless consider their pets as their own children. To someone who’s lost their husband or wife, pets can bring companionship and love. So what happens to pets after they die? Do the go to heaven? Will we ever see our dearly departed pets again? What is their fate? What does the Bible say about animals after they die? These precious loved animals include dogs, cats, horses, and even a few unorthodox pets that families have grown to love and grieve after they are gone.
Babies to Heaven
This may seem like a trivial question for some people, but for those who have pets, this is a question that’s been asked after the death of their pets. The Bible is clear that babies, young children, infants, or toddlers that die before they are able to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior go directly into the presence of the Lord. Same with someone who is not yet at the age of accountability, and we don’t know what age that precisely is. It may vary with each individual. Anyway, when a parent loses a child, they can be comforted by the fact that the child still lives. Of course, this does not mean that they won’t grieve. I can remember losing family members and pets most of my life and it’s very painful; our family has grieved these who were lost too. It’s like a part of you has died, but the truth is, they are not gone, only not here. They are with Christ if they’ve trusted in Him.
I know of several couples that were unable to have children and so they were especially close to their pets and loved them as they would their very own children. Many elderly couples and those who have had a spouse die are left only with their pets, but their companionship has sustained them through many lonely days and long nights. A pet’s love is so unconditional. They don’t care what your day was like, what went wrong at work, or what your mood is when you get home. They’re just glad to see you. Their sheer joy at seeing me often makes me forget what a difficult day I had. I believe God created them for that very purpose. Randy Alcorn in his book called “Heaven” believes that animals will be present in the Kingdom of Heaven. Famous Christian authors who believe that pets go to heaven include: C. S. Lewis, Peter Kreeft, Sylvia Brown, Niki Behrikis Shanahan, James Herriot, and dozens and dozens of others; the list of Christian pastors, theologians, and clergy that believe the same thing is too long to list here. Suffice it to say; a lot of Christians believe that pets do go to heaven and theirs specifically. Who am I to argue?
Upon examining the scriptures, we just don’t have biblical support to say with certainty that our pets will be in heaven, even though animals will exist in the Kingdom of heaven (Isaiah 11:6-9). Those animals however, do not appear to be pets, but just part of God’s creation. Pets might be in heaven, but the Bible never directly says this. For example, Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 teaches that man’s fate is like that of animal and that “all go to the same place.” Some suggest this means pets go to heaven, but that passage refers to life and death, and not so much the afterlife. Whether our pets will be resurrected or not, we cannot say with certainty. The most important question is, will you be in heaven? It is pointless to ponder the question of whether your pet goes to heaven if you won’t be there. If you haven’t already, you’re your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Then you can have full assurance that you will go to heaven. Now whether Fully or Fido come running to greet you when you get there, I don’t know, but I do know, you will see the Lord Jesus Christ, and that will surpass everything!
May God richly bless you
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