We pet owners’ desire answers concerning the fate of our dear pets, which we love. As we search the scriptures we find there is no concrete, beyond the shadow of doubt evidence as to what happens to them. But, as we search deeper, we find the clues are there.
We read from I Corinthians 15:39 that all flesh is not the same. We were told there are four different types of flesh: man, animal, fish and birds. Throughout the scriptures it is made clear that God is pleased with, and places great value on, the animals he has created. He says, “For every beast of the forest is mine and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (Psalms 50:10-11)
There are countless animals and birds on this earth, and we discover that records are also being kept of them. Jesus spoke of the insignificant sparrow as having value. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” (Matthew 10:29) and also “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” (Luke 12:6)
God loves and is proud of his creation. We are able to read and more fully understand that admiration in Job 39, where he speaks to Job out of a whirlwind and elaborates on several different animals including goats, donkeys, peacocks, ostriches, horses and hawks and also the dinosaur, if you look closely.
We also read in the book of Numbers how the Lord made Balaam’s donkey to speak with him. It is amazing. A person has to wonder, if all animals could speak what they would have to say. Would many speak of unfair treatment? It is amusing and fascinating that poor Balaam could not see the angel, but the donkey could.
Another donkey which not much thought is usually given to was used to fulfill prophecy. Several hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ the Prophet Zechariah spoke these words, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)
That insignificant colt of an ass, or donkey, played a very significant roll in the life of Jesus Christ. Two miraculous things to consider is the fact that it is not normal for a person to ride a colt which has not been ridden previously and also the instructions of what exact words to use to acquire the donkey from those with whom it belonged. You could say it all appears arranged which it was.
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. (Matthew 21:1-10)
An interesting observation from the Bible is the fact that the animals were created before man was created. In the book of Genesis it reads, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25) It was good.
The vast number of animals that were created is mind boggling. The descriptions are unending. A person has to believe that God had a lot of fun creating the animals. The book of Genesis continues on to explain that, just as with man, the animals were given food to sustain them. “And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:30) We also discover that, just as he did with us humans, God formed the animals from the ground. “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.” Genesis 2:19-20)
We read from the scriptures that the animals were also destroyed along with man during the flood of Noah. “And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7) “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:” (Genesis 7:21)
What is interesting to consider is that the promise, which God made after the flood, was not only to man, but to the animals as well. “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:9-11)
As a gift, the animals were delivered into the hands of man. Man was given dominion over all God’s creation. We read, “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.” (Genesis 9:2) This is also declared in the Psalms. “Thou madest him (man) to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou has put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Psalms 8:6-8) With this gift, we were also given the responsibility to respect the authority given to us over the animals and never to be cruel. “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10)
Another surprising discovery is that animals, as well as man, are to give an account for the shedding of man’s blood. The scripture reads: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:5-6)
Adding to the uniqueness of animals, we read in the book of Jeremiah how the animals appear more able to follow their instincts than man is able to use common sense. “Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7)
An odd situation concerning a lion and a donkey occurred when God had warned a prophet of God who had been sent to King Jeroboam with a message, not to eat bread, or drink water with anyone and to take a different route back then he had come, but the prophet was persuaded by a false prophet to come and eat with him which he did. That prophet of God when he headed back home was killed by a lion. Two strange things happened concerning the donkey and the lion. The donkey did not run as would be the normal action to take and the lion did not eat the prophet or the donkey. It is obvious that God was the influence over them.“And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.” 1st Kings 13:23-24 They waited there until the false prophet came and took the dead body of the prophet of God and buried him.
We discover in the book of Jonah that God even used a fish to bring about his plan. It states that the Lord prepared the fish. “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:16-17) And, when the time was right God spoke to the fish and the fish did as God directed him and vomited out Jonah on dry land. “And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:10)
In the Psalms we are informed that God takes care of the animals as well as man. “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.” (Psalms 36:6)
It is hard to imagine, as we read at the beginning of this writing, that not one bird falls without it being recorded. The birds and animals are also in the books. So what can we conclude happens to the animals? God promises, in the world to come, that the animals will exist and that they will be at peace with man and with each other. It is not easy for us to envision the cows, bears, wolves, leopards and lambs hanging out together, but the scriptures say it is so. In the book of Isaiah it reads: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” (Isaiah 11:6-7) There will be no more carnivores. And, again it is written in Isaiah: “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:25)
The book of Hosea may help shed some light on the fate of the animals. Hosea stipulates that God is going to make a covenant of peace with the animals. For all of us with pets, here is where I believe our confirmation, as far as what happens to our pets, can be found. Hosea writes: “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things on the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.” (Hosea 2:18) If we consider this, it is logical to conclude that this pertains to the animals alive on the earth, then and now. Why make the promise to them if it doesn’t pertain to them?
Paul concludes that all creation has the desire for that day when they will be redeemed. He writes: “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:21-23)
In Psalms 104 Our Fathers speaks tenderly of his love and care for His animals.
He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.
He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. (Psalms 104:10-30)
For all of us who have loved and lost animals we read again, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” (Luke 12:6)
He remembers them. Why remember them if they were just to be tossed and forgotten? Why keep records if there were no future for them?