Depending on the many versions of the Bible, the passages can change regarding the existence of animals and their souls. Are they beings with souls? If so, near death stories of seeing their beloved animals would be credible as far as the Biblical scriptures. Of course, there are so many versions of the Bible, as well as interpretations of the scriptures in each. So, as I quote these passages, there may be many other parts of scripture that could debate these quotes, just as there are as many people who hotly debate the existence of animals souls and meetings in Heaven with our beloved pets.
However, I am a true believer in the Bible as well as our Lord’s unconditional love for all his beautiful living creations on this earth. In fact, many ancient religions around the world even hold animals to be divine beings. So, wouldn't it be feasible that they would meet us on the other side? They represent unconditional love and lack of sin. I believe they would be the first to greet us in near death experiences and at the end of our lives.
So, although you may find many versions and interpretations of these Biblical quotes, I have chosen the ones who prove my case in whether or not in near death experiences, people see their beloved pets. If they have souls, they will be there to greet us as we enter Heaven.
Here are a few quotes to consider when you are judging the existence of near death experiences of meeting their beloved pets:
“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. “Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you. “Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life [soul/nephesh] of every living thing, And the breath [spirit/ ruwach] of all mankind?” (Job 12:7–10)
In the New International Version (NIV) Matthew 25:40 it is written “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ I would like to think that our Lord also meant his precious creatures of this earth as did Saint Francis of Assisi.
One might question, “Do animals have souls?” Another passage in the Bible says, “"For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. Who knows that the breath [spirit] of man ascends upward and the breath [spirit] of the beast descends downward to the earth?" Ecclesiastes 3:19-21
Most interpreters of the Bible assume that man’s likeness to God and animals’ subservience to man implies that animals may have the "breath of life," nephesh in Hebrew, but not an immortal soul in the same sense as man’s.
How are animals perceived in the Bible and by other spiritual sources? Are their souls equivalent to man?
It is especially intriguing to reveal all the animals found in heaven in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 4:6-11 describes "four living creatures" immediately surrounding the very Throne of God. In Revelation 5:6-8, Jesus is described as turning into a lamb. Revelation 5:11-14 describes a time when animals are resurrected from the dead and enter heaven.
Science has also given us a new perspective of the animal kingdom. Evolution reveals how the physical component of our bodies descended from animals. But NDE research reveals how the spiritual component of our bodies descended from the heavens long, long ago. According to NDE researcher and experiencer P.M.H. Atwater:
The prophet Isaiah says God will include animals in the new heavens and new earth: "The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD." (Isaiah 65: 25, NIV)
And in Leviticus, animals are also souls.
(Leviticus 24:17, 18) 17 “And in case a man strikes any soul of mankind fatally, he should be put to death without fail.” (18) And the fatal striker of the soul of a domestic animal should make compensation for it, soul for soul.
Soul for soul? Yes. How could these loving creatures not have souls? Have you ever looked into a dog's or cat's eyes and immediately just knew that their love for you came from a spiritual being - reflecting God's Love? In my opinion, I've seen that so many times in the course of my lifetime. And I hope to see those beautiful beings at the end of my lifetime.
Next - Part 4 - Near Death Experience stories of the Rainbow Bridge
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