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What happens to the spirits of infants who die in the womb? In Genesis 25:21-22, Rebekah was pregnant with twin sons. As the little fellows wrestled in their mother’s womb, Moses wrote: “The children struggled together within her” (v. 22). Between the conception and the birth, these twins are being identified as “children.”
When a child dies in the womb due to what is termed a miscarriage, that child is still called a person (infant).
The word infant is the Hebrew word ‘owlel and always refers to a human being (see Ps. 8:2; Hos. 13:16). In Luke 1:43, Elizabeth was calling Mary the “mother of my Lord” nearly nine months before Christ’s birth. Even when the child is not yet born, the woman is called mother.
Also in Luke 1:41-44, when Elizabeth was speaking about her baby in her womb, she said, “The babe leaped in my womb for joy” (v. 44). The Greek word babe here is brephos, and it is the second most common word for babe.
Throughout the Scriptures God calls future children the “seed”—even before they are conceived in the womb. Abraham and his sons were circumcised in the flesh of their foreskins, and all Hebrew infant sons were to be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth as a sign of their covenant with God (see Gen. 17:1-14).
There are ample Bible references to prove that the eternal soul and spirit are a part of the development of the child in the womb of its mother. Thus, if an infant dies in the womb or shortly after birth, the eternal spirit returns to the Lord, and we will one day join that spirit in heaven!
Will my pet be in heaven? Several years ago a teaching emerged that said a person’s pet will join them in heaven. I was personally listening to a man I know and have always admired for his Bible knowledge as he explained to his audience that when the rapture occurs, Christians’ pets would be raised from the dead and would join them in heaven.
I had studied the Bible for more than 45,000 hours, and I never recalled reading any reference to animals in the rapture or the resurrection.
Are there animals in heaven? The answer is that there are creatures in heaven that have the exact appearance of certain animals that God created on Earth. They appear in spirit form and are living creatures and various types of angels. In the temple of heaven are four living creatures, with the faces of a lion, an ox, an eagle and a man (see Rev. 4:7-8).
Everyone I have ever met—especially children—loves animals. I have a pocket parrot, my son and daughter both have cats, and we have fish. Pets are beneficial for children as fun friends and are especially important to those without children. They are also very popular with the elderly. Pets fill a void, which leads to the second observation.
On Earth we marry—as the Lord Himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). Companions, friends and pets are needed on Earth for fun, fellowship and relationship. Heaven, however, is a different dimension of perfection that we have never experienced on Earth.
We are not married or given in marriage in heaven, and yet on Earth God ordained it for companionship and procreation. Elderly believers, whose families live in another state, need the warmth of a pet on Earth to fill the void.
However, in heaven, the perfection, the joy, the peace and the family of God united as one will fill every emotional need a person has.
Will people who have never heard the gospel be in heaven? The Bible indicates that in ancient times God once winked at men’s spiritual ignorance, but He no longer ignores men’s ignorance (see Acts 17:30, KJV). There are many people, perhaps primitive tribes in jungle regions and other remote areas, who have lived on the land and rivers for many generations yet have never heard a clear message of Christ’s power to redeem.
In light of this, it is written in 2 Peter 2:21: “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” If it is better to have never heard than to have heard and turned, then does this imply that those who never hear the gospel could automatically go to heaven?
Men, from all parts of the world, can see the magnificent creation of God—the sun, moon and stars; the rivers, mountains and trees; the animal kingdom—and come to a conclusion that there is a Creator behind this detailed creation. As these simple men see the creation, they will begin to ask questions in their hearts and search for the Creator.
I am not speaking here of those who are following a false religion and worshipping demons and idols, but of individuals in remote areas of the world where there is no printed page, no television, radio, shortwave, satellites and computers. There are many people who have not heard the gospel yet because not enough people are going to where they live to minister to them.
However, after a person hears a clear message of the gospel, then that person is responsible for the truth he has heard. Those who have never heard the gospel still have within them a special pull that causes them to question where they are from and what their life is about.