This is a great question. Unfortunately, the Bible does not give an explicit answer. But the Bible does give words from the Lord that can help us come to a well-reasoned answer. First, let’s look at what we know, for certain, to be true.
1) Jesus came to earth to die to pay for the sins of mankind.
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned;
2) The only way to go to Heaven is to be righteous/perfect.
Mat 5:48 Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
3) The only way to be perfect is to be made righteous by Jesus.
Rom 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
4) Those who are made righteous by Jesus, through salvation (Read: How to Be Saved and Born Again?), are promised to be saved from the wrath that is to come.
1 Th 5:9-10 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
5) Those who belong to Jesus will be caught up (Read: What is the Rapture?) to be with Jesus before the Seventieth Week of Daniel, which is known as the Tribulation (Read: Why a Pre-Trib Rapture?).
1 Th 4:16-18 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Our Question: When the Church is raptured, will animals be left behind?
Paul clearly taught that the Rapture will be the “catching up” of those who are “in Christ.” He referred, first, to the “dead in Christ” and then to “we which are alive” which included himself (“we”). The Rapture of the Church, will the “catching up” of members of the Body of Christ, and no others, because Jesus came to redeem mankind only. Those who put their faith and trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, and have been washed in His blood, and received His imputed righteousness, will be raptured. Animals can’t do that.
Jesus didn’t die to redeem animals. He died to redeem those who are created in God’s image; and only those who are “in Christ” will be raptured. Since animals are not “in Christ,” we can reasonably conclude that our precious pets will be left behind. This is not what we want to hear, but it is what God’s Word reveals.
So, what will happen to our pets? Who will take care of them? There is good reason to think that orphaned pets will be well cared for by the people who are left behind. Why? Because those left behind love animals. It’s God they don’t love.
Rom 1:25 Who [those who reject Jesus] exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature [including pets] rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
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