I believe in the partial rapture, that is, the first rapture is according to readiness like T. Austin Sparks said, "there are advanced parties and harbingers in every sphere." So it was with Elijah and Enoch before the flood, and so shall it be for Daniel's final seven years. The way I prove this to myself is by observing that there is a rapture to "before the throne" (Rev.7.9
) before the 1st trumpet of the Tribulation (8.7). I read the Seals as the past 20 centuries, the 7th Seal opening up the 7 Trumpets of the Tribulation, and the 7th Trumpet pouring out the bowls of wrath. The first rapture is conditional based on many more verses than I provide, but especially these 3:
1. "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come
" (Matt. 24.40-42
A person who is not saved doesn't have Jesus as "his Lord" so this must be speaking to Christians. A Christian can't "watch" to be saved. So this watchfulness pertains to consequence to be taken or left. It is always better to be taken to meet the Lord at the throne in 3rd heaven before the Trib. than to be left to pass through the time of testing.
2. "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 21.36
Again, told to watch as well as pray. A Christian very likely will be martyred in the Tribulation so watching and praying won't prevent martyrdom. To "stand before the Son of Man" "before the throne" (Rev. 7.9
) in 3rd heaven is to be raptured alive. Jews will not be standing before the Son of man unless an individual Jew accepts Christ and overcomes. The only way to escape these things that shall come to pass in the Tribulation is to be raptured beforehand. This is a conditional rapture for the first rapture.
3. "Because thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial
, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3.10
Do all Christians keep the word of His patience? Are all Christians prayerful and watchful? Nope. Of course not. So the only way to escape the Tribulation, the hour of trial, is to be raptured ahead. This is the first rapture according to readiness - a conditional rapture - the partial rapture
I know you might try to disregard this because you are a historicist and not a futurist, but at least try to appreciate that if futurism is true then partial rapture makes more sense given these verses than do pretrib or posttrib onlyism. We can deal with the problem of historicists (posttrib onlyism, preterism, amillennialists, partial preterists, etc.) in one fell swoop by observing Rev. 20.3
which says, "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." The nations today are very much deceived with wars and rumors of wars still persisting. But in the actual millennial kingdom that will not be the case. Jesus will reign with a rod of iron, certainly not what is happening today.