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BEING CAUGHT UP - The Doctrine of the Rapture - by Paul M Hanssen


The Doctrine of the Rapture

By Paul M Hanssen


There are various theories and teachings concerning the doctrine of “being caught up”, typically known as The Rapture. However, God’s Word does not leave us in doubt as to the prophetic promise of His coming in the clouds to catch away the overcoming saints of His church.


Before we look at the scriptures that explain and define the rapture it is important to lay some groundwork. Many confuse the rapture with the second coming of Jesus Christ. The rapture and the second coming are two separate events that take place at different seasons on the prophetic calendar. When Jesus comes back again, known as the second coming, His feet will step upon the Mt of Olives in Jerusalem (Zec.14:4). At that time His millennial reign will commence after the great battle of Armageddon has been fought and won. When Jesus returns the second time He will be accompanied by mighty heavenly armies.

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Revelation 19:14).


This verse is speaking of the second coming of Jesus when He returns to establish His millennial Kingdom on earth. Heavenly armies accompany Him upon His return. The armies in heaven are made up of overcoming believers who are identified as ones riding upon white horses clothed in fine linen, white and clean. Prior to this event taking place, the Bride of Christ is seen at the marriage of the Lamb clothed in white linen which is her eternal adornment and wedding gown. However, pay attention that the word ‘army’ is scribed in the plural - armies. The “armies” are one army and yet divided into two armies. There is no division between them and yet they are two. Both armies in heaven are clothed in white linen. The white linen is not just a wedding gown worn by the bride – rather, the white linen is identified as the garment of the righteousness of the saints.


Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints (Revelation 19:7-8).


In heaven, all things are spiritual. Flesh and blood do not inherit God’s Kingdom. Flesh and blood do not exist in the eternal heavenly sphere. All things are spirit and life. The linen garments worn by “the saints” are spiritual garments of righteousness that have been spiritually woven, sown, and tailored by the righteous thoughts, deeds, and actions of the saints. What is this righteousness that is woven into an eternal garment of glory?


Righteousness is the direct opposite of unrighteousness. Every human born into this world was born in sin and has henceforth followed the path of unrighteousness.  The Apostle John declared, “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17). The sins of unrighteousness are accomplished through the thoughts, deeds, and actions of the unrighteous. Mankind inherited a sinful nature, but fulfilling the deeds of unrighteousness is a choice that every human being faces every day and in every moment of life; a choice to live under the burden and influence of the unrighteous sinful nature.


Righteousness, on the other hand, is first and foremost obtained by faith (For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17 / Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: Romans 3:22). The true righteousness of God cannot be obtained by works without faith. All righteousness must have its roots in one’s faith upon the Righteous One. However, faith alone is not sufficient. Without thoughts, deeds, and actions of righteousness mankind cannot be righteous.


Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God (Romans 6:13).


God’s Word clearly teaches two sides to righteousness: righteousness by faith and righteousness by works. These two sides co-exist and form the balance of righteousness by faith and work. One without the other is death - “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17,20). To be righteous means to be morally clean and pure, justified, and holy.  


The righteousness of God becomes an eternal, spiritual garment that is woven by the faith and the works of obedience to the Will of God. The great armies that follow Jesus ride upon white horses. The color white represents purity and righteousness, and the horse represents the strength and power of faith. Faith is synonymous with strength; (…but was strong in faith… Romans 4:20). The armies in heaven are not only clothed in faith and righteousness but they also ride upon faith and righteousness! Their faith in God and their obedience to His Will has clothed them with glowing righteousness but also propels them upon the strength of the white of faith. POWERFUL!


The bride of Christ is seen wearing the white linen of righteousness. However, She is not the only one clothed in righteousness.


Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy. (Psalm 132:9)


The priests (and kings – the Melchizedek priesthood) are also clothed with righteousness. Righteousness is the eternal linen garments of the saints. The Melchizedek kings and priests are the Eternal sons of God. The sons of God are the manifestation and fruit of the relationship of the bridegroom and His bride. On one side, the bride and the sons of God are one and the same; they are not two individuals, as it were. However, they are separated by relationship; the bride relationship is with the Bridegroom, whereas the son relationship is with the Heavenly Father. The division is not in person but is in relationship. One person can be a husband, father, and a son. This does not make them many people. However, one person can be divided due to his/her relationships. The two armies represent the two relationships that the saints have developed with the Son and the Heavenly Father. These saints are one army and yet divided into two.


Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies. (Song of Songs 6:13)


The Shulamite woman in the song of Solomon represents the bride of Christ. She represents the union formed with the Bridegroom through love. The union and relationship of the bride and the Bridegroom produces the fruit of the sons of God – the sons adopted by the Heavenly Father. Hence, the Shulamite is not presented as one army, but two armies: the bride and the sons of God. (The study on the Bride and Sons of God will be covered in a later lesson).


Clearly the marriage of the Lamb takes place before the second coming. Jesus would not be able to come back with the overcoming saints who are clothed in their resurrected and glorified bodies if the resurrection and the catching away had not yet taken place. Since that be true, those the Bride of Christ and the Manifested Sons of God are already in heaven. At some point, they have been lifted into heaven and taken to the marriage of the Lamb. This takes place before Christ’s second coming.


The world is going to experience a horrific time of great suffering that the scriptures call the great tribulation. However, the overcoming believers will be spared from this time of intense sorrow.


And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:34-36).


Clearly God has designed an escape plan for His people as He did in the days of Noah. The escape plan is created for those who are watching for Him, waiting for Him, and who go out to meet Him (Matthew 25:6). What is the escape plan?


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 (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).


The words for “caught up” mean to seize, to catch away, to catch up, to take by force, to choose, and to take for oneself. At the sound of the trumpet the dead in Christ are raised from the dead. Immediately following the resurrection, the overcoming saints who are alive will also be caught up and snatched away by the Lord for Himself. The dead and the living overcomers are caught away to the marriage of the Lamb and to be prepared for the great and final battle that will result in the earth becoming the Lord’s and filled with the knowledge of His glory presence (as per God’s original plan).


For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Habukkuk 2:14)


Jesus referred to the end-times as being like the days of Noah (Luke 17:26). During the days of Noah there was an intense and somewhat radical preparation designed by God for the safety of those who had found favor in the eyes of God. In those days, God promised that judgement was going to come upon the earth, but He also gave mankind a “way of escape”. God’s plan lifted man above the chaos and destruction of the flood. The catching away, known as the rapture, will also lift God’s people above the chaos of the tribulation and the judgements of God. However, God’s people, as in the days of Noah, must prepare. Some preparation required by God may seem radical, as in the days of Noah.


By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)


Noah heeded the warning from God and prepared himself for the coming day. We must also heed the prophetic warnings from God’s Word and prepare ourselves if we are to be ready for the catching away! You and I have been given the escape plan. However, unless we implement the plan, we will not escape that which will soon come upon the earth. This is the day and season to prepare. God has given us a great gift called time for the purpose of preparing ourselves for the coming day by submission and obedience to His divine eternal will – just like Noah.


And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. (Genesis 7:5)


It’s time to get ready for the rapture – it’s time to obey the Lord and King.











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Apr 27

Great lesson here! Thank you


Apr 26

Powerful spiritual insight and thanks for sharing which is opening our understanding. Shalom Shalom

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