The Eternal State: Humans and Animals
By Nathan Jones
Will we know each other when we get to Heaven?
(Note: This series of questions about Heaven and the Eternal State were sent in to Lamb & Lion Ministries and answered by Dr. David Reagan, Nathan Jones, and Tim Moore on our television program Christ in Prophecy.)
Tim Moore: I certainly think we will based on the biblical clues. We are going to know the Lord, and He is going to know us. We will then see and know just as we are fully known. Therefore, the relationships that have been such an important part of our lives here on this earth will continue on in Heaven, but they will be perfected in that regard.
Dr. Reagan: If I am David here on earth but I’m not David in eternity then David wasn’t saved, somebody else was. What changes is that we are going to be given new names, but we are still going to be able to recognize each other.
Nathan Jones: Yes, we will, for 1 Corinthians 15:42-50 teaches that, “The body that is sown is perishable, is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” Now, here’s the clincher, “So shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” Who is the man from Heaven? He is Jesus Christ! We can look at Christ’s resurrected body as the template for our future glorified bodies.
Jesus ate. Thomas could put his fingers in Christ’s side. People could touch the holes in Christ’s hands and feet. The Apostles recognized Jesus.
And, Jesus could do other things that He couldn’t do in His earthly body, such as He would just show up in rooms and scare the living daylights out of the Apostles. He even ascended up to Heaven. If the New Jerusalem will be 1,500 miles high, I don’t think we will be taking elevators. Why, we may just fly up to the top floor of the New Jerusalem, or just move from here to there, just as Jesus did when at one moment He was in Jerusalem and the next moment in Galilee.
Dr. Reagan: Heaven could contain a new dimension to it that may make traveling faster than what we do now.
When Jesus was first resurrected, quite a number of people didn’t recognize Him at first, and there was a good reason for that. If someone died today, and tomorrow they came knocking at my door, my first thought would be, “Hey! I used to know a guy who looked just like you.”
Tim Moore: Even in our human nature right now, I’ve walked into a room not expecting to see a certain person, and just looked right past them until all of the sudden it dawned on me that they were there. Sometimes a person out of place appears like the last person I’d expect to encounter.
Are there going to be animals in Heaven?
Nathan Jones: With the question, “Are there going to be animals in Heaven?” one would have to specify if they’re meaning all animals or just pets? Often, what people really are asking is if they will be reunited with a long-lost pet that has died.
Concerning if there are any animals in Heaven, we know from Revelation 19 that the Church will follow Jesus Christ on white horses when Jesus returns at the Second Coming. There’s some debate as to whether these horses could be angels, but it seems like they are actual horses, for the text says that they are horses and it doesn’t say that they are angels that happen to look like horses. So, we know there are animals in Heaven, well, at least horses.
Dr. Reagan: Don’t forget those strange creatures which stand before God’s throne. What about them?
Nathan Jones: The Seraphim are certainly animal-like in appearance, but they’re clearly looked upon in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation as types of angels.
Tim Moore: We also need to remember that Heaven as the New Jerusalem is going to be on the New Earth, an earth restored to perfection, and that there will be animals on the earth. This material world will be perfected in its spiritual glory, so animals will be perfected and dwell with us in the Eternal State as well.
Nathan Jones: I would add that we are not just talking about the animals found in nature today, but we could be talking about whole different species that have been wiped out, such as the dinosaurs and mammoths and other extinct species. God as the great Creator could even create whole new species that we’ve never encountered before. We’ll be able to travel deep into the seas and see fish and other aquatic lifeforms that have yet to be encountered. It’s a zoologist’s dream thinking about Heaven!
Dr. Reagan: Will our pets be waiting for us in Heaven?
Tim Moore: I believe the Bible is silent about whether our pets will be waiting for us in Heaven, and so I will not endeavor to make a comment. I know pets are very significant to the lives of people who are believers. Many people have a relationship with their dearly beloved pets. As I have already said, our earthly relationships with our fellow Christians will continue on in the Eternal State, but the Bible is silent about the relationship with our earthly pets still continuing in the afterlife.
Dr. Reagan: I know that God has a lot of surprises in store for us when it comes to Heaven. As a person who has had pets that I’ve dearly loved, and still keep their dog collars and their pictures on my desk, I hope and pray that one of the surprises God will have for us is I’ll have my wiener-dog Miss Lizzy back to love on and pet. But, as you said, we don’t know for sure that our pets will be waiting for us in Heaven.
Nathan Jones: What we can be sure of is that animals will not be raptured to Heaven. The Rapture is only meant for the Church. Of course, people then start worrying about their pets being left behind. They want to know who is going to take care of their pets after they’re gone? Since pets will not be raptured to Heaven, we’re naturally concerned about their well-being after our departure.
In the sixth and last part of this series answering questions about the Eternal State, we will explore the reality of Hell.