This question was partially answered during, strangely enough, a confrontation with King David by the prophet Nathan. Not to get too gossipy, but King David had just had an affair with a married woman, Bathsheba, who then got pregnant – and she let him know she was pregnant with his baby.
David then had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, summarily put on the front lines of the latest battle to ensure that he’d die. That way, David figured, no one would ever know about the affair because everyone would assume the baby was Uriah’s.
The Concept of a Pet in the Bible
And Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband, did die in the battle. So David had her brought to his palace and she became his wife (one of three, by the way), and she gave birth to a baby boy. Here’s where the illustration of a beloved family pet comes into play:
2 Samuel 12:1-9 (HCSB):
So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he arrived, he said to David:
“There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up, living with him and his children. It shared his meager food and drank from his cup; it slept in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man could not bring himself to take one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.”
5 David was infuriated with the man and said to Nathan: “As the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 Because he has done this thing and shown no pity, he must pay four lambs for that lamb.”
7 Nathan replied to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel…. 9 Why then have you despised the command of the Lord by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife – you murdered him with the Ammonite’s sword.’”
The illustration is an innocent little lamb who was indeed a family pet, even sleeping in the same bed. The Bible here says the lamb “was like a daughter to him.” King David didn’t say “So what? It’s just a lamb” – he acknowledged the fact that a pet lamb is valuable and must be respected. David said the rich man should die for having the poor man’s pet lamb killed!
Do Animals Go to Heaven Like People?
The lamb illustration here in the Old Testament is told by Nathan similarly to how Jesus told parables in the New Testament. So that’s one of the major illustrations of the importance of a family pet.
Another place in the Bible where it mentions animals and gives us a glimpse into how God cherishes them is also in the Old Testament, in Isaiah:
Isaiah 11:6-12 (KJV):
6 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.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
9 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.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
It seems pretty obvious that this is a preview of Heaven: “My holy mountain.” All of the animals will live together, and no animals will eat each other or attack each other. It also talks about “the root of Jesse,” which is a prophecy of the Jewish Messiah, and it goes on to say the Gentiles will seek him – plus the remnant of His people, the Jewish people, will be “recovered.”
Wow! That’s a lot to unpack – and it all starts with us being taught wonderful lessons about pets and even non-pet animals. The passages before and after these scriptures given here provide an even more all-encompassing perspective of Heaven and God and His love for his creatures and His whole creation.
Hey – maybe even plants and inanimate things are in Heaven, too! Why not? He created them all. It seems the only parts of His creation that are not welcome in Heaven are the humans who selfishly deny Him. Nothing else would dare to even think such a thing as to ignore the Creator.
Will I Be in Heaven with My Pet?
Our culture seems to assume that anyone who isn’t a terrible person by our definition must go to Heaven, but Jesus warned us that more people go to Hell than go to Heaven – it’s our choice!
Matthew 7:13-16 (NIV):
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them.”
So there you go. If you want to see Fluffy and Rover and the bunnies and koala bears and puffins in Heaven, we have to stop living selfishly and instead live a lifestyle and mentality with God in mind at all times.
Unfortunately, our feel-good culture has it all wrong, leading us astray – there are evil forces in this world that say that what you do doesn’t matter, just be “basically a good person” as if we really know what that means. Moses and David were murderers – were they basically good people?
Keep your eyes upon the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, and you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. When we live for our Creator, He shares with us His creation as our reward. And that includes all of our wonderful pets.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven” (Matthew 6:20, CSB).