“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”Matthew 7:13-14
While serving as a pastor in my first church I had a lady from my congregation stop in to see me one afternoon. She had been crying, so I assumed the worse, thinking that someone close to her had passed away. As it turned out, someone indeed did pass away, but not who I expected.
As she sat in my office wiping away the tears, trying to gather her composure, she asked me a very serious question. She said, with all with all gravity, “Do dogs go to heaven?” Now, you must understand the context of the question from my perspective. At the time the Whalen family had a Walker/Blue Tic mixed hound, named Lady. Trust me when I say this, she did not live up to her name. Truth be told, that hound was probably one of the worse behaved dogs we have ever had as a family. She broke through screen doors to get to a skunk (a battle she lost), rolled in things that are not mentionable in polite society, and ate things that should have ended her life early. Yet, we did, indeed love her and missed her after she was gone. But as I sat in my office looking at this woman in distress, all I could think of for an appropriate answer to her question was, “I know one dog that isn’t going to heaven.” In which the lady sitting in front of me began to cry all the more. Feeling somewhat as a cad and knowing my intended statement was not meant to be taken seriously, I realized that I stuck my foot in it and I needed to get serious about her question.
As she began sharing the reason for her sadness and heartbreak, her question about dogs and heaven became much clearer. She had lost one of her prized Basset Hounds, and from what I remember it may have been her first. Since that day Linda and I know exactly what this lady was going through. We have had many family dogs, but none have been as our beloved Gunner, our prized Labrador Retriever. When Gunner’s life ended, I became like that woman sitting in my office. I cried every day for over a month. Even to this day I miss our hunts together in Montana, our frequent walks along the Mohawk River, and the many days he would lay on the bed in my mancave/office, watching me work, waiting for me to finish so that we could play at the park. Gunner was far from a perfect dog, but he was my dog and I still miss his companionship, even to this day.
SO, ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN?—Emotionally speaking, I would hope that it is true, but from a purely Biblical perspective, NO! Dogs don’t go to heaven or any other animal for that matter. The animal kingdom’s created and intended purpose was to be used by man, to serve man’s purpose in this life here on earth. Do I believe that in the new earth mentioned in Revelation 21, God will make room for animals? Perhaps, I cannot say for sure. What I do know is that, according to Chapter 21, all the believers will be extremely busy as the bride of Christ. We will be adorned for our Husband, dwelling with Him for all eternity.
THE BIGGER QUESTION—As much as I love animals, especially dogs, (Black Labs, in particular), they are not the creatures we need to focus our attention on. The bigger question is, will all human beings go to heaven? Here is why I ask this question and why it is the bigger question. I find it disturbing, that at many of the funerals I have attended over my life, the deceased is spoken of as one who is in Heaven, even though their life while living would never support such a conclusion. Now, before you get the matches and start building a bonfire to burn me in effigy, please know, I do not know anyone’s heart. Even more, I don’t know their heart during the last hours of life. But I believe it is a fair statement to say, that not all people will go to heaven. And I find it difficult to comprehend the theological reality of one being reunited with loved ones, in heaven, even though they never made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior while living here on earth.
PERHAPS THERE IS AN EVEN BIGGER QUESTION—Could it be that, as believers in Jesus Christ, believing that He alone is the only true way to heaven, we have come up with a theology of inclusiveness, because of our shortcomings with evangelism?
According to God’s word we are told that one must believe in Jesus Christ, by faith, for the needed salvation, to go to Heaven.
John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Romans 10:8-13, But what does it say? “The word is near you, in our mouth and in your heart? (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
As I meditate on these passages in light of Matthew 7:13-14, it is very clear that the way to Heaven is indeed very narrow. The theology of salvation is very clear. Dogs don’t go to Heaven and neither do all their masters. The way to the presence of God is narrow. It is a difficult process because one has to be saved by the blood of Christ and Him alone.
In a time in our country where we have buried over 500,000 people, some of whom we have known personally, I find it extremely important to ask people while they are living, if they have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Do they know where they will spend eternity and why they will spend it there? These are sobering thoughts in a day where people need Jesus more than ever.
This is Pastor Pat, FROM BEHIND THE PEN, wishing you Joy in Jesus!