Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pets and the rapture

I'm asked more often lately about what will happen to our pets when we're raptured. Some ask about the animals we keep, being a farm community. This place abounds with cows, bulls, buffalo, mules, goats, chickens, pigs and more. An ancillary question is often asked about pets and/or animals in the New Earth. I find the question fascinating, and also encouraging. The question about pets during the rapture has two answers: the literal one and the abstract one

The literal answer would have to refer to the bible. The book of Genesis tells us that we are unique in God's creation, being made in His image and likeness. Also, though we and the animals have the breath of life in us, we were made to have dominion over the animals. It is reasonable to assume that our futures will be different, being of different flesh and having had different roles on earth.

We read in Isaiah 11:6-9 that there will be animals walking the earth during the Millennial Kingdom.

"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. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' 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."

Those verses do not give us any indication one way or another specifically whether any of those animals will be our resurrected pets or whether they will be all newly created animals, or whether they will be animals completely different from any we could conceive of. After all, our normal picture of angels never prepared us for the passages in Ezekiel 10:10-12 with the cherubim of four faces and wheel within wheels. And a word of caution. Remember, a redeemed earth is not a resurrected earth.

After the thousand year reign of Christ on earth concludes and He makes a New Heaven and a New Earth (Rev 21, 22, 2 Peter 3:13, Isaiah 66:22) there is no indication that animals will be present with us. I take comfort in the Genesis flood accounts that He took care to provide for animals of the earth. He didn't make new animals after the flood, and He didn't give Noah only the animals he would eat and sacrifice, but He provided for all the kinds of animals. But the truth is, we simply don't know.

We do know for a fact that we will feel all joy in the new heaven, and the former things will not be remembered nor come to mind. (Revelation 7:16-17). I take that to mean that if our pets are not accompanying us in the eternal state, not only the crushing guilt of our sin will no longer be remembered and not only also our lost family members and friends will not come to mind, but also we will not remember our pets. Everything necessary to our happiness will be in heaven, and that will mean they will either be present or their memory will be absent.

The abstract answer to the question as to what happens to our pets indicates a growing awareness of the real impacts of imminent rapture. Many Christians who ask me this have been Christians for a lifetime, or at least many years. We always hear about the rapture and know it as truth and adhere to it as a doctrine, but peeking into the nuts and bolts of the mechanics of it has largely been absent from our thoughts. This is because until now it has not been obvious that we are the generation spoken of that will experience it. Though the rapture has been imminent for thousands of years, the conditions that immediately follow our departure haven't been.

But those conditions are present now and growing more glaring by the minute. We are the generation, (Mt 24:34) and the veil slips further from our eyes as knowledge increases (Daniel 12:4). Christians are waking up to the fact that the rapture could indeed occur in our lifetime, or next year, or tomorrow. As we gaze around at our world and see the absence of the church, we start picturing what it will exactly look like.

I have two indoor cats. When I'm raptured, whether it occurs when I'm home or at work, it means they will starve. They will be thirsty and alone and lonely and confused. Maybe a tree will fall on the house in one of the terrible storms and disasters prophesied to come upon the earth, and maybe they will be injured or escape defenseless into the world, only to be eaten by a larger predator. Maybe they will not escape the house but in their confusion and grief, turn on each other. I don't know. But it will be bad. The future does not look good for them.

Nor does it look good for the chickens in the pens and the cows needing to be milked and the dogs tied to the pole or inside the car while the master is inside getting coffee. I try not to think about it. It is just one of the many tragedies that will occur during this time. After all, Jesus Himself said "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matt. 24: 21-22). It will be a very bad time, for not only the people but for the animals who suffer under the same corrupted earth that we do. I simply try not to dwell on it.

I take encouragement from something Texas Baptist Pastor Don Fawcett said, "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, , in hope, that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Romans 8:20-21. It seems abundantly clear from this verse that 1) the entire creation was subjected to decay and corruption due to sin, 2) animals and pets are created beings, 3) animals and pets are subject to corruption as part of the fallen world, 4) Christ, in his atonement, undid the sin/death principle for all corrupted creation, 5) at the eschaton, all things that have been effected by sin and corruption unwillingly will be restored. So, my conclusion- animals or pets in heaven? Animals? No doubt. Personal pets? I don’t know but it is certainly within the scope of biblical theology." I would like to agree with this.

I know God is good. His thoughts are above our thoughts and His plans are always working together for the good and His glory. It comes down to trust. I trust His thoughts and I trust His ways. After all, He sent Jesus to us. He sent the Holy Spirit to us. He sent the bible to us. He knows whither a sparrow falls and He knows our emotions and needs. Maybe He will send Fluffy and Scrappy to us! Heaven is perfection, and so, it will be perfect. I trust that with all my soul.


39 comments :

  1. I have been thinking about this for sometime now. My dogs are crated and the thoughts of them starving alone makes me sad. Then I feel guilty because human souls left behind should be dominating my thoughts.

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    1. Ho to youtube and look up animals go to heaven Jack Van Impe. He shares many scriptures and he thinks that animals will be raptured. I keep doing a google search for what animals will be in the tribulation and i cant get a thing to come up. So hopefully as Christ gets us off this earth before the tribulation, I pray he will rescue all the animals as well. Don;t feel bad for people left behind that rejected God. Pray for them now that they may be saved. I have gotten a lot of hate from aethiests, and they tried to destroy my faith and belief in God and Jesus. By God's grace they did not destroy my faith.

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    2. Sorry about my typo meant GO to you tube..meanwhile i found Romans 8:18-22 that talks about creation groaning and waiting for our redemption..that is paraphrased..WHY would creation groan and long for OUR redemption if they the animals were going to just stop existing? I say they wouldn't! In faith I believe that Jesus will redeem them as well! If we being evil can love our animals and animals so much, how much more would a loving God who created them?

      I also found out we are pre tribulation..why else would Jesus say 2 will be working in the field and one will be taken and the other left behind?

      Scripture also says when you see the BEGINNING of these things know your redemption is near.

      Thank you Jesus for your gift of salvation!

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  2. I'm sure you do think about the human souls, too. I know I do. I cry and weep for them at times. I think we feel such pain for our pets because they depend on us for everything. The babies and children will go but the pets are vulnerable and we feel guilty because we will be abandoning them, essentially. I'm counting on my joy at seeing Jesus to overpower guilty thoughts of my loving pets. I know that Jesus sent them to me, and they sure have been good animals.

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  3. Well, anonymous has a good point, too about thinking of human souls.
    One thing I have thought and that I have told my daughter is that surely someone will find our abandoned home and be so thankful for our farm animals. Maybe they'll be thankful that our cats are good mousers too!

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  4. I agree Anonymous has a good point, as do you Mrs Jennifer. I don't think having compassion or our pets and having compassion for people is a mutually exclusive situation though. It isn't one or the other. Just because we mourn pets and animals doesn't mean we don't mourn people and vice versa.

    I was thinking about the farm animals, I hope the starving people will use them well.

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  5. Aaw I really hope animals will be in the new heaven and new earth...I even imagine there might be animals we've never seen on earth before...I'd love to be able to play with all sorts of animals, I really do admire them as God's creatures but if not, like you said, it won't really matter.

    I think animals left behind, if they survive till Armageddon will just be spared...or maybe not....who knows...either way, I think animals, especially smarter animals like dogs will bring some comfort to those left behind and since animals are great at sensing danger...they sadly might do a better job of staying out of harm's way than most people ever could...It's all so weird to think about but God knows and has set every intricate detail and anything that happens will be perfect.

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  6. This thought has been going through my mind as well. So I took it to God and He brought to my mind Ninevah. When Jonah told them to repent the king called a fast for the whole nation children and animals included. So I asked Father what does this mean? And I was impressed with pray for your animals, cover them in the Blood of Christ. So I did. I don't know what will happen but I do know He is a good God maybe the animals belonging to Christian homes will be raptured as well, who knows but this sure does calm my heart knowing that no matter what they will be fine either here or not.

    Thanks for making a post on this tough thought.

    Blessings,
    <><

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    1. Father has put the same thing on my mind. I pray the blood of Jesus over me, my pets, family, home and neighborhood every day.

      Blessings

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    2. I also plead the blood of Jesus on my family, neighborhood, pets, home, employer and employees. God is a good God and I am entrusted to keep and care for these animals. I believe they will be raptured with me and my family.

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    3. The realization of the Rapture actually being true, will certainly cause mass confusion and distress. I wonder just how many things will be left to this corrupt world because they realize it's too late!

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    4. It will be too late to join the Bride during the Age of Grace, the rapture closes that opportunity. However it will not be too late to be saved, as many many join the faith after the rapture. However, they must do so before the great delusion comes upon the whole world and they will be martyred for it, or die of starvation. However their eternity will be glorious. I agree with you that mass confusion and distress are going to be a the highest levels the world has ever seen.

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  7. This is the first anonymous. My husband came up with an idea to help the pets and to witness too. We have the 10 Commandments posted in our yard. He suggested we put up a sign "In case of rapture please free my pets". Seems like a good idea but I don't want to invite riff raff before the rapture.

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  8. I belive that God gives us the desires of our hearts and he will take care of our pets. They are a gift from Him and not appointed to wrath. I believe He will take them to be with us because he knows how much we love them.

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    1. I whole heartily agree!

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  9. Hi Anonymous,

    I hope so! That is a very good thought.

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  10. Thank you for your words of encouragement. They have brought me peace about my little dog this evening. Bless you!

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  11. I think animals will go to heaven, they might be their during the rapture; but I believe we will meet either way. Animals are not much of a worldly thing so why not? Animals help those who need it & they save lives. I will make sure I pray for my pets. So, that is what I believe.

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  12. I, too, have been thinking a lot about my animals. Especially my toy poodle who is like a child to me. Even though I trust God and know His ways are BEST, my secret prayer is that: because He loves us, (Christians--children of Almighty God), He will wisk away what is dear to our heart at that moment. That is my sincere prayer. (sniffle, sniffle)

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    1. Me too, Anonymous., I've been hugging my two indoor cats to me and apologizing to them in advance.

      I listened to John MacArthur's weekly Q&A last night. One Q that was asked was will there be animals in heaven, especially our pets. He gave an uncharacteristically insensitive answer. He said, "No, probably not. There are gardeners on earth and their plants won't be their either."

      He explained that there are a lot of things God gave us for our pleasure and enjoyment on earth that will not be in heaven, (sex comes to mind) and that the bible is silent on the topic of pets in heaven.

      Randy Alcorn is more positive on the subject, you can read his answer here

      http://www.epm.org/resources/2010/Feb/3/will-there-be-animals-heaven/

      I think there will be animals on the new earth. When God made the creation, including all the animals, He called it "good." So I pray that animals will be in heaven, especially and specifically *my* two pets. And yours too.

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    2. I HAVE BEEN PRAYING A LOT ABOUT THIS AND ONE OF THE THINGS THE LORD TOLD ME WAS "WHY WOULD I PUT SO MUCH LOVE IN YOUR HEART AND THE HEARTS OF MANY OTHERS THE DEEP, DEEP LOVE FOR MY INNOCENT CREATURES". THAT MAKES TRUE SENSE TO MY SPIRIT AND MY HUSBAND'S SPIRIT DEEPLY! NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD! I BELIEVE HIS CREATURES ARE PURE AND ALL THE PURE HEARTS OF PEOPLE AND ANIMALS WILL BE CAUGHT UP IN TO HEAVEN!!! THEY HAVE SUCH PURE LOVE, JUST LIKE GOD!!! THEY WERE NOT PUT IN OUR LIVES TO MERELY COMFORT US, WE LEARN MUCH ABOUT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FROM THEM; THEY WERE WONDERFULLY MADE BY GOD JUST LIKE WE WERE!!! THEY WERE DEFINITELY PUT HERE BY HIM FOR US TO GIVE US THE DEEP MEANING OF LOVE, BLESS US, BUT GOD ASKED US TO CARE FOR AND RESPECT THEM WHICH IS MORE THAN A BLESSING FOR US!!! THEY ARE SO PRECIOUS! I HONESTLY CANNOT BELIEVE EVER THAT OUR GREAT, GLORIOUS AND LOVING GOD WOULD TAKE US WITHOUT OUR PRECIOUS PETS AND LEAVE THEM TO FEND FOR THEMSELVES WHEN HE PLACED SUCH A HUGE DESIRE IN SO MANY OF OUR HEARTS TO LOVE AND CARE FOR THEM!!! THAT JUST MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER AT ALL!!! RIGHT NOW AS i AM TYPING THIS, ONE OF MY SWEET CATS HAS HIS PRECIOUS PAW ON MY ARM AND LEANING ON MY LEG AND LOOKING UP AT ME; NOW WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU? YES, CONFIRMATION OF PURE LOVE! JESUS CONQUERED DEATH FOR ALL CREATION BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE AND NOW WE HAVE THAT GREAT LOVE AS WELL. BE COMFORTED IN THIS, FAMILY OF GOD.

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    3. I have always said that when we get to heaven, God knows what makes us happy. Our beloved pets will be there, I believe it!

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  13. Nice posts dear friends...I also have a goat dairy farm and as some of you probably know, goats have personalities like dogs. Along with various other animals I have four Yorkies and a lovely Pittie. Your thoughts have been mine, too, and I found your comments on others taking care of them to be a comfort. What about this...where do all those horses in heaven come from? The Bible talks about all the saints coming back with Jesus - on horses. Also, people who have visited heaven and come back to give their accounts talk about animals in heaven :)

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    1. Will Rodgers said" If there are no (dogs) animals in heaven, I want to go where they go". Me too!

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  14. He was born in a stable, He laid in a manger, He was a shepherd - also known as The Lamb, He rode a donkey into Jerusalem and He is coming back on a horse. I have no doubt our/His animals will be fully taken care of. As a shepherd of sheep (meaning animal, not man by sheep) He was also a pet owner and I am sure He loved them dearly, therefore, I would think all of His pets are with Him now. Ours will be also. I take comfort knowing He will take care of it. What you have bound on earth will be bound in Heaven.

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  15. I believe that GOD,as good as HE is,has a plan that includes our pets.HE created them,they are HIS lil creatures,and innocent in HIS eyes.No,we do not know how HE will work it out,but we can rest asure,HE has wonderful plans for them,indeed!Praise HIM eternally, through CHRIST our LORD!

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  16. Exactly Anonymous,said perfectly....And if HE is coming back on a horse,HE is riding it on down here to earth,which means they were already with HIM, most likely in Heaven!

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  17. No one knows or can claim to know that animals will NOT be in the rapture, or taken in another way or situation. I know my dog and I will NEVER be seperated by eternity, we will be there together, forever, and I don't need a bunch of bible thumper "know it all's"
    telling me what GOd is going to do or not do. When you get to personally ask him everything come back and report the answer's. Also, I do not weep for human souls who don't go in the rapture...because they choose their life, and choose to either reject or to be with Christ. Take this warm and fuzzy cookie and koolaid crap elsewhere. Thanks.

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    1. Anonymous, you 'know' that your dog will be with you, but discount the Christians as "know it alls". Hm...

      The glory of knowing the Lord is that He told us the end from the beginning. We have faith in His word because it has proved itself over and over, and its prophecies in the past came to pass exactly as He said. There is enormous comfort in knowing that the words we hold in our hands in the bible are true and can be counted on. I am glad you believe you know you and your dog will be together, and I'm glad that thought may provide you comfort. However, since your knowledge is not based on the certain word of God, there is likely some doubt amid your certainty. Please accept the Gospel (that we are sinners, Jesus was who He said He is, Son of God, that he died for our sins to pay the wrath for them and rose again) and you will KNOW that you KNOW what God says is true because He sends the Spirit to dwell in you and bring these truths to light. It is mighty good comfort in these strenuous times.

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  18. I worry about this all the time!! I have two little doggies that I love so much and they follow me around and protect me all day long!! I don't want them looking for me, wondering when my car is going to drive up and I will walk in with a Wendy's hamburger, going hungry,thirsty,cold and sad!
    I know God loves us and loves animals and he knows the desires of our heart.God see's everything so I was thinking...when people really want something to happen they get everyone together and do a petition! God see's each sorrow, concern and all the helpless loved pets! Each christian that prays and writes online,how worried they are for our pets is enough concerned Christians to say, God saw our "Petition" and He makes all things possible!! But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:33 So I have to believe my doggies are going too or they go to doggie heaven when I go!

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  19. I know this sounds crazy. But, the thought of my dog being left and starving or being hurt is slowly killing me, literally! I mean for months now, I've laid in bed holding her crying asking God what to do. I have asked several, several preachers about this and no one can give me a straight answer. So, I think to myself, she's getting old, times are getting worse, should I have her PTS? I mean I know that sounds bad, but isn't it better for me to sacrifice, and hurt over the loss, rather than her being here alone, hungry, or mistreated? Am I the only one who feels this way? My husband thinks I'm crazy, but there again, he doesn't know The Lord. Please message me your thoughts. My email is: mnmotes79@gmail.com

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    1. I understand and feel your pain. Just know that Christ will take all your pain and sorrow away. The greater question is how to win your husband over to Christ. This is a greater loss and sorrow if He is left behind! May God soften his heart to be receptive to His calling. God Bless you both.

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    2. Thank You for your reply.....it does worry me that my husband doesn't believe. Although, I think he is starting to pay attention to what's happening in this cruel world and what the bible teaches us to look for. I'm praying he finds his way to The Lord before it's too late. Thank You Again, & God Bless You As Well.

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  20. Misti,

    I am so sorry to hear how much you are wrestling in your heart over what ‘might’ or ‘might not’ happen following the rapture. You are not crazy to have questions about things that seem to have no concrete answers. The mysterious things belong to God alone. Rest assured, God cares more for His creation than we ever could. He knows the end from the beginning. If we can trust God for our salvation (which He orchestrated before time began) - we can trust Him to lovingly care for the innocent companion animals that we share our love and our lives with - including your dog. I, too, have 4 cats that are like my children. We have forged bonds and connections are simply impossible to experience with a human being. God knew what I needed in my life to reveal more of Himself to me and has used animals in a very instrumental way. I believe that is a gift that He does not take lightly.

    I don't personally believe that God would have you prematurely end your precious dog’s life simply because of the unknown. No man knows the day or the hour of Christ's return, and even though we are in the end times, it may or may not happen in our lifetime...and no man can say for sure what God, in His infinite wisdom may be planning for our beloved companions. While we are all waiting and preparing for His return - the more we know and understand God’s character for Who He is and His great love for us, the greater peace we will experience for things we don't have answers to...things most dear to our hearts.

    If God's plan does not include rapturing our pets - rest assured, there are MANY unbelievers who make it their mission to care for animals and rescue animals following disasters and tragedies - much like in Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, and the Japan tsunami...Humane agencies searched diligently for animals that were displaced or trapped in rubble and empty homes and saved animals. If they couldn't find the owners, they made sure the animals received new, loving, homes.

    We so often want to reason with our hearts and our emotions - but God's Word says in Jeremiah 17:9 that our hearts are deceptive and can lead us astray. We need to reason from the truth of God's Word. Philippians 4:6-8 tells us to "be anxious for NOTHING...to bring EVERYTHING to God in prayer, and with thanksgiving we are to show our trust in Him to do according to His will and for His glory...and once we completely release to Him the burdens that we are bearing, THEN His peace, which surpasses ALL understanding will guard our hearts and minds"...the verses then go on to tell us exactly what kind of thoughts we are to think - about everything..."Finally, fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."

    If your dog has truly reached the very end of her life and is suffering due to a debilitating physical condition, then you might want to consider praying about and making the difficult and permanent decision to euthanize. But if she is still healthy and brings you joy and companionship – then continue to care for her each and every day as you wait for the Lord’s return.

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    1. Thanks so much, Anonymous, for your thoughtful response.

      I replied to you via the email you provided, Misti. Be well and at peace :)

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    2. Misti – Just a further note to hopefully set your heart and mind at ease, Psalm 147:4-5 says, "He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite." For man, the number of the stars is absolutely beyond our capability. Every single star (even those we cannot see) God has not only created and counted, but He is so familiar with them that He has names for each of them, which should give us hope that He knows us personally through and through. He hears us when we call out to Him. Nothing escapes His notice. He is watching over us all through the night when we sleep. He is concerned about us and loves us dearly. If He knows the stars in the sky in such intimate detail (to which we have no emotional bond) – rest assured, He also knows and cares about the other aspects of His creation – including our beloved companion animals.
      Take hope in His Word. Trust in His character. Give Him your fears and doubts. "…Cast ALL of your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7.

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    3. Thank You Anonymous, I am so sorry it has taken me this long to reply. I've been really trying to seek God and what he would have me do in this situation. I just feel like he's not answering me. I know he will in his time. I do appreciate the kind words and the references, I will read those tonight. Thank you for being a reflection of Gods Love and helping me through this. And Thank You Ms. Elizabeth for responding to anonymous. I should have checked it before now, and I apologize again for the delayed response. God Bless You Both.... :)

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  21. The Ethiopian version of the Book of Enoch, which I trust as inspired and the most likely to be faithful to the original text, mentions animals being resurrected in the new creation.
    This like so many other things in this important end times book makes a lot of sense for the following reasons:
    Active respirators (I believe this excludes insect) were never meant die in the original creation.
    Animals die because of the fall of man not of themselves.
    God always does things in a big way and it would be just like Him way to restore all the creatures who were designed for un-ending life in His big beautiful new creation.

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    1. Hi Paul,

      I believe that God has showed us His care for animals, by saving them in the Flood, by telling us the creation groans and wants to be released, and by reversing the curse when all is righted at the end of time. I don't know about specific pets and animals that have lived being resurrected. Only humans are promised that.

      The book of Enoch is not inspired and that is why it is not in the canon.

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