The question of dogs going to heaven is a given in that we have such affection for our pets. But then again man frequently hopes that all his favorite things will be there. The question, however, is moot considering what the Bible says about heaven. Jesus’ description of a place where we will be together for eternity is clear, and in the book of Revelation, heaven is described as a place of great beauty with gold-like streets and ongoing worship of God. The only creatures that are closely related to heaven are sheep, and sheep were used as an analogy to those who would be selected to go to heaven, versus the goats that would be going to hell.(1) Therefore there’s no Biblical likelihood of dogs being in heaven.
On the other hand, as a discerning Hebrew might say, let’s consider the qualities of dogs. Their loyalty to one master is legendary. They are known to remain constantly at a master’s grave, or at a train station where they last saw him. The selfless heroism of dogs who save family members from fires, attack a striking serpent, fend off wild beasts threatening their masters, etc. are well documented. A common name used by the ancient Romans was Fido taken from the word, Fidelis. My personal “pooch,” Zekki, perfectly exemplifies worship by his actions. On returning home from even brief absences, Zekki heralds our driveway entrance by barking joyfully around the car and leaping gleefully. A returning hero could not have a more spontaneous welcome!
Frequently during the day, he will come to me and lay his head on my lap or on my knee in a most worshipful manner. Jesus intoned that when you do it to the least of these (acts of kindness) my brethren; you do it to me (2) – qualifying for heaven. In the parable of Lazarus-the beggar, and Divvies-the rich man, the beggar is described as covered with sores, and dogs come to lick these sores (3) – truly an act of mercy to one of the least; and most dog owners have had their canine friends tenderly lick a recent wound. Thus, dogs are right up there with the Amish in practicing forgiveness as called for in the Lord’s Prayer. (4) Notwithstanding recent corporal punishment, dogs return to their masters with tails wagging, “I forgive and love!”
The enduring loyalty of dogs, if I may be forgiven for such a comparison, is similar to the Jewish word Batah used for the enduring faithfulness of God. A dog’s attitude of adoration for his master can be considered “worship in action.” Loyalty, love, forgiveness, faithfulness, icons of worship, all make a strong likelihood that the justice of God may well make room for dogs in heaven!
But then if there is no barking in Heaven, it is likely because dogs have served their purpose – mentoring heavenly behavior to one and all on earth, and court will be held by the HOUND of HEAVEN.
- Matthew Ch.25 Vs. 31
- Matthew Ch. 25 Vs.36
- Luke Ch. 16 Vs.19
- Matthew Ch. 6 Vs. 11-14
- “A Hound of Heaven” -by F. Thompson