Bible Question:

Will animals be raptured with Christians when Jesus Christ comes? Or do they stay on earth? If they stay on earth, why would God allow that? Will they suffer?

Bible Answer:

God does not tell us  what will happen to our pets or to any other animals when the rapture occurs. Nor does the Bible answer the questions do animals go to heaven? or Do all dogs go to heaven?  Yet, there are several reasons why we should understand that animals do not have a spirit.

Animals be raptured and go to heaven?

First, the Old Testament reveals that animals have a body and soul, but not a spirit, but the New Testament is silent on the subject. However, humans have a body, soul, and a spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The study “What is the difference between the soul and spirit?” explains the difference. Consistently in the Old Testament, we are told that animals have a soul, nephesh. But we are never told they have a spirit.

Second, Scripture only refers to human beings as being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 9:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4). But we are never told that animals were made in the image of God.  It is also important to notice that God allows humans to kill animals and eat them for food;  but humans are not allowed to kill other humans for Genesis: 9:2-7 teaches that man is made in the image of God.

So if animals do not go to heaven, they will not be raptured. But Isaiah 11:6 and Isaiah 65:24-25 state that animals will exist in Christ’s 1,000 year kingdom. We are told twice in Scripture that the wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard and child will lie down together, and the lion and ox will eat straw together. As a technical observation, Scripture never says that the lion lays down with the lamb.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the kid,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.
Isaiah 11:6 (NASB)

“It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD. Isaiah 65:24-25 (NASB)

Both of these passages describe the millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:4-6). They do not describe the eternal heaven or eternal state. So, animals will exist in the millennial kingdom which follows the second coming of Christ. But Scripture never says they will exist in the eternal state. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that animals will exist in the eternal state.