Will our pets be in eternity with us?
Who really knows? But consider this....
Someone wrote to The Refiner's Fire to tell us that animals won't be in heaven because they aren't resurrected, and they've never been redeemed. The question is: How do we know? While Scripture doesn't suggest animals will be "resurrected", we ARE told there WILL BE animals in the "new heaven and new earth."
Isaiah said: "The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion eat straw like an ox (but the serpent - its food will be dust). They will not hurt or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain," says ADONAI." (Isaiah 65:25) These events will not take place on the Old Earth or even the Millennium where Y'shua reigns for a thousand years, which will end in rebellion and warfare. Rather, there will be no more sin, death or suffering on the "new earth." (See Revelation 21:24.)
And, by the way, who says animals have to be redeemed? Animals don't sin! They have souls, but they don't sin: Genesis 1:30, Genesis 9:3-4. But if they kill a human being, they WILL suffer the consequences:
Genesis 1:30 And to every wild animal, bird in the air and creature crawling on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I am giving as food every kind of green plant." And that is how it was. (CJB)
Genesis 9:2 "And the fear of you and the dread of you is on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the heavens, on all that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea – into your hand they have been given. 3 Every moving creature that lives is food for you. I have given you all, as I gave the green plants. 4 But do not eat flesh with its life, its blood. 5 But only your blood for your lives I require, from the hand of every beast I require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I require the life of man. 6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood is shed, for in the image of Elohim has He made man. (ISR)
Scripture amply reveals that man is certainly prone to sinning, and that's why we need to be redeemed. As a matter of fact, humankind is in a "fallen world" because we have always sinned ... and, according to Scripture, our actions caused animals to end up in a "fallen world" right alongside of us, being cursed BECAUSE of us!
Let's dig deeper:
Revelation 21: 1. And I saw new heavens and a new earth: for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away: and the sea was no more. 2. And I saw the Set Apart city, the New Urishlim, descending from Elohim out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. 3. And I heard a great voice from heaven, which said: Behold, the tabernacle of Elohim is with men; and he dwells with them: they will be his people; and Elohim will be with them, an Elohim to them. 4. And every tear will be wiped from their eyes; and there will no more be death, nor mourning, nor wailing; nor will pain be any more; because the former things are passed away. 5. And He who sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said: Write; because these are the faithful and true Words of Elohim. (AENT)
Isaiah 11: 6 The wolf will live with the lamb; the leopard lie down with the kid; calf, young lion and fattened lamb together, with a little child to lead them. 7 Cow and bear will feed together, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 An infant will play on a cobra's hole, a toddler put his hand in a viper's nest. 9 They will not hurt or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain, for the earth will be as full of the knowledge of ADONAI as water covering the sea.
Scripture has amply shown that all living things have "life" (chai), "spirit" (ruach) and a "soul" (nephesh). Take a look at just the following few examples:
Genesis 7:20-22 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath (neshamah) of the SPIRIT (ruach) of life (chayyim), died.
Genesis 9:3-4 Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its LIFE (nephesh), that is, its blood.
Genesis 1: 20 God said, "Let the water swarm with swarms of living creatures (nephesh), and let birds fly above the earth in the open dome of the sky." 21 God created the great sea creatures (nephesh) and every living thing that creeps, so that the water swarmed with all kinds of them, and there was every kind of winged bird; and God saw that it was good. 22 Then God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful, multiply and fill the water of the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 So there was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day. 24 God said, "Let the earth bring forth each kind of living creature (nephesh) - each kind of livestock, crawling animal and wild beast"; and that is how it was.
Genesis 9:9-10, 12, 15-16 Now behold, I Myself do establish My Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. (12) And God said, "This is the sign of the Covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living CREATURE (nephesh) that is with you, for all successive generations... (15-16) ...and I will remember My Covenant, which is between Me and you and every living CREATURE (nephesh) of all flesh that is on the earth.
Okay - so, moving on, in Genesis 1:26-30 we find that man is given dominion over the animal kingdom. YHWH created man in His image, man's responsibilities are outlined, man received the gift of dominion which sets us apart from the animals; and we, in return, take on some responsibilities to be fruitful, multiply, to fill and subdue the earth, and rule over the animals. In Genesis 1:29) we see YHWH saying, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you..."
At that point, we have seen NOTHING about meat-eating, and are left wondering why. Nobody knows! We can only surmise that in the Garden of Eden, before the fall of man, there was no death - which meant no meat-eating; no carnivores. There was no disease, no need for carrion beetles, flies feeding on spoiled flesh, and no mold or bacteria to break down dead organic material.
In Genesis 1:30, plants are given to the animals as food. In Genesis 2:16 and 17, note that when God gave man food, He also made some rules. (There were no rules given to the animals; only to man.) Then, in verses 18 through 20 YHWH set out to find a helper for Adam, and creates the animals - but none are suitable as a mate. (The original language actually says none of them "corresponded" to Adam.) The animals are considered as possible "helpers". This means they have that capacity - to be helpers and companions - otherwise, why would they be considered at all?
Moving on to Genesis 3:14, we get to see the part that the Serpent played in Adam's demise ... and, of course, we discover that the Serpent is cursed. BUT - did you ever notice this phrase: "Cursed are you (Serpent) MORE THAN ALL THE CATTLE, AND MORE THAN EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD..."
WHAT? The animals were cursed? Why? Well, because in the first covenant, man is in charge of them, has dominion over them, is responsible for them...and somehow, this tied them into the curse of the serpent. The thing is, when Adam disobeyed, the whole environment changed! Death entered in, affecting not only mankind, but all the animals as well. Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden, where nothing died or decayed. But now, in verses 17-18, we see that even the GROUND is cursed and plants are affected! Death was suddenly a fact of life. The animals did not sin, but as we can clearly see, their fate was tied to man's fate!
Moving on to the next covenant, in Genesis 6:5-8, we discover that the fall brought man to new depths. YHWH was sorry that He created mankind and planned to destroy every living thing (which He repeated in verses 17-19):
Genesis 6: 5 ADONAI saw that the people on earth were very wicked, that all the imaginings of their hearts were always of evil only. 6 ADONAI regretted that he had made humankind on the earth; it grieved his heart. 7 ADONAI said, "I will wipe out humankind, whom I have created, from the whole earth; and not only human beings, but animals, creeping things and birds in the air; for I regret that I ever made them." 8 But Noach found grace in the sight of ADONAI.
Now, pay close attention to this: Most children's stories center around the idea that Noah took two of every animal onto the ark. However, Genesis 7:2-4 reveals that He ordered "two of every kind" of UNCLEAN animal, and "seven of every CLEAN animal!" Why? Well, the answer lies in Genesis 8:17-22. Noah's first act, upon setting foot on dry land, was to sacrifice one of every clean animal. The blood of those CLEAN animals atoned for man's sins. With "clean" animals being sacrificed, it seems that more were needed so that they could survive and reproduce.
In Genesis 9:1-5, we see YHWH making His covenant with Noah, wherein Noah is reminded of the elements of the covenant with Adam - and we discover that this new covenant did not "replace" the old; rather, it augmented it.
But now we also discover the reason why animals suddenly came to FEAR man:
Genesis 9:2 The fear and dread of you will be upon every wild animal, every bird in the air, every creature populating the ground, and all the fish in the sea; they have been handed over to you. 3 Every moving thing that lives will be food for you; just as I gave you green plants before, so now I give you everything - 4 only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you are not to eat. 5 I will certainly demand an accounting for the blood of your lives: I will demand it from every animal and from every human being. I will demand from every human being an accounting for the life of his fellow human being. 6 Whoever sheds human blood, by a human being will his own blood be shed; for God made human beings in his image."
And then we also discover, to our utter amazement, that He established His covenant not just with MAN but also with the animals!
Genesis 9: 9 "As for me - I am herewith establishing my covenant with you, with your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you - the birds, the livestock and every wild animal with you, all going out of the ark, every animal on earth. 11 I will establish my covenant with you that never again will all living beings be destroyed by the waters of a flood, and there will never again be a flood to destroy the earth."
If animals were of no consequence, then WHY would our Creator have bothered to include them in a covenant? He clearly viewed them as living, breathing beings with the ability to THINK and COMPREHEND and UNDERSTAND! Take, for instance, the story about Balaam's donkey in Numbers 22, which certainly seems to suggest that animals are capable of thinking and have a "sense of self."
In this story we are told that the donkey sees an angel while its master, Balaam, does not. While there is no mention of YHWH "opening the eyes of the donkey to see the angel"; the passage says that Balaam did not see the angel until God opened his eyes. Why? Could this be because animals have a different awareness, or spirit? Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows they have some special, uncanny "senses" that sometimes leave us wondering, "How did it KNOW?" ... But, obviously, no one can say for sure - except, of course, for YHWH - who cared enough for the animals that they were allowed to enter the post-flood world AND to, in the future, enter the "new heaven and new earth!"
By the way, note that when YHWH "opened the mouth of the donkey", the donkey didn't speak God's words. Instead, it complained of the ill treatment at the hands of Balaam! The donkey let Balaam know in no uncertain terms that it has always been an obedient donkey, and did not deserve to be mistreated! This would seem to allude to the fact that the donkey had "a sense of self"....
So, returning to the question, "Do animals go to heaven?" We could certainly sit here and play "word games" all day long, insisting that "the Hebrew doesn't support the idea of animals having a soul or spirit," etc. And we could discuss the Biblical references to "salvation" as the means by which beings may enter heaven, or talk about "commending one's spirit" into God's hands - which is something that animals obviously cannot do.
But the bottom line is this: In view of the study here, animals were cursed because of man, and they are redeemed because of man's acceptance of YHWH and His Torah, and of the gift of salvation provided by the death and resurrection of Messiah. THEIR fate has always depended on OUR fate....
So, is it really THAT unreasonable to expect to see again the pets we once loved? Honestly, nothing says our pets will be "resurrected" upon Y'shua's return ... and so, all we can do is to wait and see because, at the same time, nothing says they won't be! The truth is, we will only find the answer to that question once we are out of our "earth suits"....
The principle of YHWH saving a remnant, found in the promise of the rainbow is repeated time and time again in the Bible. The important fact is that through Adam, all were subject to death, including the animals (2 Cor. 5:14-15); and through Noah, the animals were saved alongside the humans. In each covenant, the animals are carried along with what has happened to man.
Therefore, it cannot be denied that humans are indelibly linked to YHWH's other creatures. Our fate has always determined theirs! As such, since Scripture tells us BELIEVERS will enter eternity with YHWH, how can anyone assume that the animals (who have always been with us, since the beginning, in the Garden of Eden) will all be left behind?