From The Dawn Magazine, No. 176, Nov. 15, 1938, p.
370, D. M. Panton, Ed.
from Home page)
had thought the idea of a partial rapture was a foreign view, which I have written
about for nearly two decades, but another prophecy student
shared an article written by D. M. Panton, published in The
Dawn Magazine, No. 176, Nov. 15, 1938. He presents the
Biblical evidence of a partial rapture of believers--a chosen
indicated in the ancient forty (40) day harvest pattern. This,
I relate to the forty (40) day harvest at the end of the
age--the Great Tribulation. Just as there was a special
resurrection at the time of the crucifixion of a limited
chosen group; so, at the end of this age there will be another
limited or partial resurrection. At the end of the millennial delay
(1,000 years) in
Heaven, the "second" resurrection will bring forth
both righteous and unrighteous to be judged and separated,
just a Yeshua (Jesus) foretold Himself:
the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with
Him, He will sit on His glorious throne.
All the nations will be
gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from
another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will put the sheep on
His right and the goats on His left. Then
the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are
blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom
prepared for you since the creation of the world...“Then
he will say to those on His
left, ‘Depart from Me,
you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for
the devil and his angels,"
Matthew 25:31-34, 41.
20:11-15 foretells this judgment and separation process:
"Then I saw a great white
throne and Him
who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His
presence, and there was no place for them. And
I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne,
and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the
book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had
done as recorded in the books. The
sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave
up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged
according to what they had done. Then
death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of
fire is the second death. Anyone
whose name was not found written in the book of life was
thrown into the lake of fire."
parable of Harvest - God's great Resurrection Work - runs through
nature, through life and through the Word. For "The harvest
is the end of the age", and "Whatsoever a man sows, that
shall he also reap; be not deceived" (by anyone saying it is
not true, or not true of Christians, whom the apostle was
addressing). Now harvest, we learn from the Word (Lev. 23),
consists of first-fruits; then the general harvest (which itself
is sectional, being of considerable - even 40 days' - duration);
lastly, of the corners of the field. Hence we read of "all
the days of Harvest" (Joshua 3:15; 5:10-12; Ruth 1:22, 23).
Without question, therefore, harvest is a period, a serial
process, and it is a time-word. Without question, too, harvest is
a picture of resurrection and rapture, the catching up to the
heavenly floor or garner. Indeed, the very word for
"rise" (in resurrection) is from the same root as the
word for "standing corn" (in harvest), and in John 12:24
our Lord shows Himself as the Corn of Wheat raised to the top of
the stem, and crowned with the rejoicing "much fruit" of
the many sons He brings from prison-darkness to liberty and glory
(Heb. 2:10; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19).
From the First Fruits comes the thought, picture and name of the
First Resurrection, which is seen thus to be not only a time-
word, but a quality-word, suggesting vigour, ambition, victory and
earlier enjoyment. Christ is the First Fruits already; therefore
the firstfruit resurrection is not a unit, even though it is a
unity that includes the first resurrection of some or many of His
saints (Matt. 27;52-53) raised 1900 years ago. Christ is (in His,
the First Resurrection) the First Begotten (Heb. 1:6, 9), the
First Born among many brethren (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5),
and the First Fruits of them that slept (1 Cor. 15:20, 23). The
selective blessedness and holiness of the First Resurrection - out
from among the dead, leaving dead behind in Hades - (Rev. 14:3-5;
20:6) are indicated in Acts 3:26; Heb. 1:9, and Rom. 1:4, as well
as Luke 14:14; and 1 Cor. 15:23 teaches us that "in Christ
shall all be made alive", but every (=each) man in his own
order. Christ the first fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's
(not "at His coming" but, "during His Parousia-Presence"
as the Greek shows). That is, each man (belonging to Christ) will
be raised in his own order - class, company, batch - at various
periods during the Lord's stay in the air, in the interval between
His secret thieflike coming in the clouds and His glorious
appearance like lightning, during which period (the period of
harvesting to the garner or floor, to be winnowed or purged (Luke
3:17; Matt. 13:30; 3:12) the judgment of believers (Rom. 14:10; 2
Cor. 5:10) will take place. And the Church will be judged before
either Israel or the world, for "Judgment must begin at the
house of God" (1 Pet. 4:17), "whose house are we, if. .
. ." (Heb. 3:6). For believers to be individually examined
will take a long while, especially as the Judgment will be down to
the "idle word" (Matt. 12:36-37).
Resurrection, then, like reaping, is clearly sectional and serial,
for it is not merely wheat that is reaped, but ripe wheat (Mark 4:
29, margin ; Rev. 14:18). Besides, even firstfruits themselves are
not all ripe at the same time in the case of different fruits
(barley, wheat or " some other grain ", 1 Cor. 15:37 ;
cf. Neh. 10:35). Only ripe grain is reaped, and it is reaped in
the order of ripeness—as soon as it ripens, not before, and it
does not all ripen at once. Hence it will not all be reaped at
once. In Christ personally and the saints of Matthew 27:52-53 the
First Resurrection, therefore, has already begun, with an interval
of 1900 years before the next batch. He is the Firstfruits without
leaven, as His people are the Firstfruits with leaven in the wave-
offering. (Lev. 6:17; 7:13; 23:10, 17). You will agree that the
firstfruits of barley are reaped before the firstfruits of wheat
(Ruth 2). This explains how there can be "a first before a
first ", or, if you prefer, "the first of the
firstfruits " (Exod. 23:19). It is a question of comparison,
of relativity. The north of England is south of Southern Scotland;
the 1st of January is subsequent to the 31st of December in the
preceding year, but before the 31st of December, in the same year.
Merit (or worthiness), it must be maintained in the teeth of all
denial, is a definite condition and qualification for the First
Resurrection : "They which shall be accounted worthy to
obtain . . . the resurrection from among the dead ", our Lord
says (Luke 20:35) "cannot die any more." Others can. For
while it is "appointed unto man once to die," some will
die a second time; though over others "the second death hath
no power" (Rev. 20:6). These are overcomers who will
"not be hurt of the second death" (The Overcomer - Rev.
2:II). Priests of God and of Christ, they "shall reign with
him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6), not instead of eternally,
but millennially before eternity proper begins. Others—proud,
indulgent, cowardly—are judged unworthy of Christ and of aeonian
life. Now we know from several epistles that some believers will
be excluded from this Kingdom of Heaven and of God (Eph. 5:5-8).
We are warned lest, deceived, we share the wrath (not appointed
but) incurred by the fact of disobedience, and have our crown
taken from us. On the contrary, we have to be accounted worthy (it
may be, by suffering at the hands of fellow-believers) in order to
obtain that Kingdom of the age to come (1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess.
1:5; Matt. v. 20; Luke 20:35). Hence "blessed and holy is
he"—it is individual, like the "Overcomer" with
the "one ear" of Rev. 2 and 3—"that hath part in
the First Resurrection ".
For it is both a time-word and a quality-word. And being a
quality-resurrection it carries with it an extra of time, because
renewed time (that is, life) is resurrection, or, rather,
resurrection is restoration of time—for "in the
Resurrection" means in the "Regeneration" or
"Restitution"—by living again on the part of those who
were dead. But "the rest of the dead (saved and unsaved)
lived not again until the I,000 years were ended" (Rev.
20:5). Which instructs us that resurrection properly speaking is
not only an act but a state, not a point of time, but a period, a
place, a realm—"IN (i.e. not at but during) the
Resurrection"—wicked and slothful servants being raised
merely for the purpose of judgment, and then temporarily dismissed
to darkness and remorse in the Hades they were summoned from; but
to be in the first (class) resurrection means to have the
continuous and permanent enjoyment of life and bliss before
others. Hence, not all are raised at once, nor do all at once
enjoy resurrection life. For even after the I,000 Years two groups
of dead are raised, one group of unsaved from the department of
the underworld called "death", another group of saved
from the department of the underworld called "hades"
(mistakenly rendered "hell" in Rev. 20:13).
Resuscitation (or mere rising of the dead to appear before the
Lord) is not really resurrection at all, any more than was the
case with Samuel at Endor. For sooner or later, all the dead (good
and bad) will be raised, passively, without exception, but only
the holy are qualified to inherit as first-born sons the blissful
prior estate of the First Resurrection. (Heb.12:21-23)
Not all believers (it must be admitted) are equal in God's sight,
for He has favoured ones according to their devotedness to Him,
and He rewards them with more of Himself, and with more time with
Himself, by their being brought to Him like Enoch and Elijah
before others. Hence the 144,000 Firstfruits (Rev. 14:4), ripe
earlier—guileless virgins—are reaped earlier than others,
though doubtless all Christians ideally, as fulfilling God's
purpose of fruit bearing (John 15:16), should have been
firstfruits of His creatures (Jas. 1:18). Alas, that the reality
falls short of the ideal!
The First Resurrection is therefore described in several other
terms which make clear its character of competitiveness and
exclusiveness, superiority and priority. As we have seen, it is (a
prize or reward, Phil. 3:2, 14) for the "blessed and
holy" who are to begin reigning 1,000 years before those who
have only the gift of eternal life—bare salvation, as we say.
For it, believers will have to be qualified or accounted worthy.
It is a selective resurrection "from among the dead",
leaving dead believers behind, as is proved by the fact that even
Paul strove "if by any means he might attain unto it"
(Phil. 3:11-12). It is a blessed resurrection of the just (or
righteous or holy) with its recompense to the unselfseeking and
generous (Luke 14:14). And it is also called a "better"
resurrection, costing torture and life itself (Heb. 11:35)—a
better resurrection that had to be obtained, or that the martyrs
strove to obtain; it was a resurrection "better" because
"prior" by 1,000 years to the general resurrection. It
is the First Resurrection, with its qualifications and conditions.
What is said of it, therefore, in its various contexts and under
its various names is also said of the Kingdom of Heaven, the prize
or reward or wages which we have to earn and seek first of all
(Matt. 6:33; 5:20). Hence it is by our Lord bracketed with the
coming Kingdom of glory in the next age, to which, indeed, it
introduces. "They that shall be accounted worthy to obtain
that age and the resurrection from among the dead" (See and
read carefully here in Luke 20:35).
It is a resurrection of martyrs chronic and acute, who have died
the martyr's death or lived the martyr's life of self-denial and
world-renunciation, losing this life and age in order to find or
gain the next in the Regeneration—the "shall find it"
(of See Matt. 16: 25; 19:27-30, etc.) being not a direct future
tense but an extra adverb meaning "about to" (live),
which thus refer almost exclusively to the age to come as being
the next item on the Divine programme (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8).
Finally, to end where we began, God is not in a hurry and His
methods are not as simple as we might like. "All the days of
harvest" are 40 days, a characteristically probationary
period throughout the Word. One day beneath the microscope of the
Lord's omniscience is as 1,000 years; and while the saints are
changed—the dead "in a moment," the living "in
the twinkling of an eye" (though not necessarily all in the
same moment)—the Resurrection period may well last 40 years, and
prove to be the first hour—1/24 of the 1,000 Years—of the day
of God (John 5:25, 28). In any case, plurality of rapture (and of
resurrection—for dead and living believers will be "caught
up together") is indicated not only by the universal
Scripture harvest-parable, the one taken first, the other later
(Matt. 24:40-42, linked with the "all" of 2 Cor. 5:10),
by the gradual returns from the Captivity ("Captivity led
captive" being a notable figure of death and resurrection),
and by the Lord's 10 separate presencings during the 40 Days
before His ascension detailing the "like manner" of Acts
1:11), but also by the actual plural resurrections and raptures of
the Apocalypse itself.