I recently got an email from a friend who was absolutely delighted to tell me that Pope Francis has stated that “Eternity is open to all God’s creatures,” which means, essentially, that we will see our dogs in heaven. That same friend told me that this was amazing because, according to her, the Bible has nothing to say about dogs.
Actually, she’s wrong. She couldn’t really have read her Bible, because the fact is that dogs are mentioned repeatedly. Now granted, it’s not always in a good context, because in the Bible, dogs are often referred to as “dirty.” Unrepentant sinners, fools and apostates are also often referred to as “dogs” in the Bible
So, let’s take a closer look, just for argument’s sake, at the way the Bible (International Standard Version) refers to dogs. There are several verses referencing dogs, and here are 19 of them.
I am the First and the Last. I am the beginning and the end. Those who wash their clothes clean are happy (who are washed by the blood of the Lamb). They will have the right to go into the city through the gates. They will have the right to eat the fruit of the tree of life. Outside the city are the dogs. They are people who follow witchcraft and those who do sex sins and those who kill other people and those who worship false gods and those who like lies and tell them. “I am Jesus. I have sent My angel to you with these words to the churches. I am the beginning of David and of his family. I am the bright Morning Star.”
All you animals of the field, all you animals of the forest, come to eat. The leaders who are to guard the people are blind; they don’t know what they are doing. All of them are like quiet dogs that don’t know how to bark. They lie down and dream and love to sleep. They are like hungry dogs that are never satisfied. They are like shepherds who don’t know what they are doing. They all have gone their own way; all they want to do is satisfy themselves. They say, “Come, let’s drink some wine; let’s drink all the beer we want. And tomorrow we will do this again, or, maybe we will have an even better time.”
Save me from my enemies, my God! Keep me safe from those who rise up against me. Save me from those who practice evil; deliver me from bloodthirsty men. Look, they lie in ambush for my life; these violent men gather together against me, but not because of any transgression or sin of mine, Lord. Without any fault on my part, they rush together and prepare themselves. Get up! Come help me! Pay attention! You, Lord God of the Heavenly Armies, God of Israel, stir yourself up to punish all the nations. Show no mercy to those wicked transgressors. At night they return like howling dogs; they prowl around the city. Look what pours out of their mouths! They use their lips like swords, saying “Who will hear us?” But you, Lord, will laugh at them; you will mock all the nations. My Strength, I will watch for you, for God is my fortress. My God of Gracious Love will meet me; God will enable me to see what happens to my enemies. Don’t kill them! Otherwise, my people may forget. By your power make them stumble around; bring them down low, Lord, our Shield. The sin of their mouth is the word on their lips. They will be caught in their own conceit; for they speak curses and lies. Go ahead and destroy them in anger! Wipe them out, and they will know to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob. At night they return like howling dogs; they prowl around the city.
An evil gang is around me; like a pack of dogs they close in on me; they tear at my hands and feet. All my bones can be seen. My enemies look at me and stare. They gamble for my clothes and divide them among themselves. O Lord, don’t stay away from me! Come quickly to my rescue! Save me from the sword; save my life from these dogs. Rescue me from these lions; I am helpless before these wild bulls.
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
A Canaanite woman from that area came to Jesus and cried out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter has a demon, and she is suffering very much.” But Jesus did not answer the woman. So his followers came to Jesus and begged him, “Tell the woman to go away. She is following us and shouting.” Jesus answered, “God sent me only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel.” Then the woman came to Jesus again and bowed before him and said, “Lord, help me!” Jesus answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.” The woman said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! I will do what you asked.” And at that moment the woman’s daughter was healed.
For if, after escaping the world’s corruptions through a full knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Messiah, they are again entangled and conquered by those corruptions, then their last condition is worse than their former one. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and turn their backs on the holy commandment that was committed to them. The proverb is true that describes what has happened to them: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and “A pig that is washed goes back to wallow in the mud.”
A dog that returns to its vomit is like a fool who reverts to his folly. Do you see a man who is wise in his own opinion? There’s more hope for a fool than for him.
I will destroy your family just as I destroyed the families of King Jeroboam son of Nebat and King Baasha. I will do this to you because you have made me angry and you have caused the Israelites to sin.’ The Lord also says this about your wife Jezebel: ‘Dogs will eat the body of Jezebel by the wall of the city of Jezreel. As for the family of Ahab, whoever dies in the city will be eaten by dogs, and whoever dies in the fields will be eaten by birds.’” So Ahab sold himself out to do what the Lord says is evil. There is no one who did as much evil as Ahab and his wife Jezebel, who caused him to do these things.
Now there was a certain rich man. And he was dressing himself in purple and fine-linen, radiantly enjoyinghimself daily. And a certain poor man, Lazarus by name, had been put at his gate – having been covered-with-sores, and desiring to be filled-to-satisfaction by the things falling from the table of the rich man. Even indeed the dogs coming were licking his sores. And it came about that the poor man died and he was carried-away by the angels to the bosom of Abraham. And the rich man also died and was buried. And having lifted-up his eyes in Hades while being in torments, he sees Abraham from a-distance, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he, having called, said, ‘Father Abraham, have-mercy-on me and send Lazarus in order that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool-off my tongue, because I am suffering-pain in this flame’.
But now they mock me; men who are far younger than I, whose fathers I would have hated to entrust with my own sheep dogs.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. Anyone who is among the living has hope even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
Do not hold back your offering from the first of your harvest and the first wine that you make. Also, you must give me your firstborn sons. You must do the same with your bulls and your sheep. Let the firstborn males stay with their mothers for seven days, and on the eighth day you must give them to me. You are to be my holy people. You must not eat the meat of any animal that has been killed by wild animals. Instead, give it to the dogs.
When they ask you, ‘Where will we go?’ tell them: ‘This is what the Lord says: Those who are meant to die will die. Those who are meant to die in war will die in war. Those who are meant to die from hunger will die from hunger. Those who are meant to be taken captive will be taken captive.’ “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the Lord. “I will send war to kill, dogs to drag the bodies away, and the birds of the air and wild animals to eat and destroy the bodies. I will make the people of Judah hated by everyone on earth because of what Manasseh did in Jerusalem.”
The Lord said, “You were nothing, but I took you and made you a leader over my people Israel. But you have followed the ways of Jeroboam and have led my people Israel to sin. Their sins have made me angry, so, Baasha, I will soon destroy you and your family. I will do to you what I did to the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Anyone from your family who dies in the city will be eaten by dogs, and anyone from your family who dies in the fields will be eaten by birds.” Everything else Baasha did and all his victories are written down in the book of the history of the kings of Israel. So Baasha died and was buried in Tirzah, and his son Elah became king in his place.
In that way King Ahab died. His body was carried to Samaria and buried there. The men cleaned Ahab’s chariot at a pool in Samaria where prostitutes bathed, and the dogs licked his blood from the chariot. These things happened as the Lord had said they would. Everything else Ahab did is written in the book of the history of the kings of Israel. It tells about the palace Ahab built and decorated with ivory and the cities he built.
And Hazael said, Whyweepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.
These are just a few Bible verses that have to do with dogs. Some represent dogs in a good light; others not so much. One thing is for certain, though – if anyone tells you that the Bible has nothing to say about dogs, they’re wrong.