Saturday, September 20, 2014


20 September 2014: Eschatology Today is taking a moment on the quick halt from current global military  events in order to succinctly address some myopic teaching on the subject of the Thlipsis by Alan Kurschner and the manner in which he takes Joel C. Rosenberg's views (which mirror our dispensational views) on the subject to task in the most erroneous manner. A reader from Colorado recently brought Kurschner's now two-year old rebuttal to my attention in asking if I could clarify some confusing points Mr. Kurschner had attempted to make in a rebuttal Joel Rosenberg's eschatological views. Sure, no problem, my distinct pleasure to clarify muddied waters! After a few email exchanges I came to realize that my responses to this reader's questions would make for an instructive post here.

First things first. The word Thlipsis is the Greek word for Tribulation. And Tribulation is the general word used by English speakers to refer to the seven year period prophesied by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel concerning Israel's 70th Week of years found in Daniel 9:20-27.  Thlipsis, Tribulation and 70th Week are all one and the same eschatological subject.

I am keying on the word Thlipsis because I find it to be more instructive to the Christian craving for solid eschatological fare.  You might note as I did in reading the above link that Kurschner seeks first and foremost to utilize Joel C. Rosenberg's notoriety to promote his own so-called "pre-wrath" views. This is a common occurrence as there are lots of people wanting to draw attention to themselves who engage in this sort of fishing on the internet. So, Kurschner takes the position that his personal pre-wrath viewpoint is the ultimate truth, and whereas Rosenberg (and our own) pre-70th Week beliefs are error in need of his astute and learned correction. It does not occur to Kurschner that most Dispensationalists hold their beliefs due to a conviction to hold to them by the Holy Spirit, and there is therefore little if anything he can say to dissuade us from our dispensational Biblical interpretations. Misunderstanding this basic Spiritual fact is a pretty common occurrence also, so we move on to the specific issue.

Kurschner obviously does not accept that the first 3.5 years/42 months of Gabriel's 70th Week prophecy constitutes wrath of God just as the second half does. This is what I have termed as his Thlipsis Myopia. He rejects this despite the teaching of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse which clearly delineates the Thlipsis (Tribulation) occurring during first first half of the 70th Week and Megas Thlipsis (Great Tribulation) occurring during the second half of the 70th Week, a finite point in time which is very specifically delineated by the Abomination of Desolation -- the standing up of the image of Antichrist in the Holy Place of the Temple on Mount Moriah. In other words, Kurschner denies that the opening of the seven Seal Judgments of God in the first 42 months of time as we understand it constitute the wrath of God upon a world in outright rebellion again Him. In Heaven, where Jesus is, time as we understand it is irrelevant. In Heaven the victorious Lamb of God has already taken the 7-Seal Scroll of judgments from the hand of God.

Let me show you something in its proper Biblical sequence that will put Kurschner's silly pre-wrath strawman argument to rest permanently.

What occurs in the very first sentence of Revelation 4 is the very real and also symbolic Harpazo of John of Patmos into Heaven. The symbolism here is that John's Harpazo in Heaven occurs prior to the opening of the 7 Seals of the Wrath of God by the Lamb of God. This is a preview, a precursor example of the Harpazo (snatching away) of the Bride of Christ prior to the first act of Thlipsis in the 70th Week. The Bride of Christ will not endure the wrath of God.

Moving on to Revelation 5. This chapter opens with God sitting on His Throne in Heaven holding a scroll containing what?  Judgments written on the inside and the outside separated by seven seals.  There is no one found in Heaven or on the earth who is found worthy to take this scroll from God, much less to even look at it! Here is where John in his Harpazoed state does some really incredible Heavenly time travel. Time is irrelevant in Heaven, but you'll get my point as this progresses. John was Harpazoed into Heaven circa 95 AD. We all know this. Jesus was slain, resurrected and ascended into Heaven how many years prior to 95 AD? 62 to be precise. 95 AD - 33 AD = 62 years. So when was John Harpazoed into Heaven in the year 95 AD how is it that he was able to be an eyewitness to a time prior to when Jesus won the victory over sin and death for all mankind? And, more importantly, in the very next instant John is an eyewitnesses to Jesus' appearing before God as the victorious Lamb of God, and He is found to be the only One worthy to take the scroll in order to begin opening it, Seal by Seal, so that God's judgments may be fulfilled upon the Earth. Wait now -- it gets even better.

Now we move to Revelation 6 and Revelation 7 in their sequence. Here we see that not only did the Bride of Christ have the Lord's prophetic promise to be kept from the wrath of God upon the Earth, but so do the 144,000 Jewish evangelists have a similar prophetic promise. It is the Divinely ordained mission of the 144,000 upon the earth that we know occurs simultaneously with the mission of God's Two Witnesses, and we all know this mission of theirs to bring the Lord's judgment upon the Earth is expressly occurring during the first 42 months of the 70th Week!

In Revelation 6 Jesus is sequentially opening the Seal Judgments. First Seal 1, then Seal 2, then Seal 3, then Seal 4... and then... what happens? At Seal 5 there is something very different that occurs in the opening of  these Seal Judgments. The opening of Seal 5 does not release a judgment of God's wrath, but it releases white robes for each and every one of those martyred for the word of God and their testimony thereof. And their plea to the Lord was in the form of a question: 'When will your judgments commence Lord; how much longer?' Again, time is irrelevant in Heaven, and this is clearly a pre-Harpazo moment in time as we understand it. Then following the giving of these white robes Jesus opens the 6th Seal which is a series of events serving as an announcement that the appointed time for the wrath has arrived. These events are a mirror of the Thlipsis signs He prophesied about in the Olivet Discourse, and we're still in the first 42 months!

Now we come to Revelation 7 which is a parenthetical chapter to the things before and after it. Something of great importance is about to happen at this point. The four angels arrayed at the four points of the compass about the earth in order to deliver the judgments upon the whole Earth are told to stand down, temporarily, for something else must occur first. And a fifth angel delivers that occurrence in the form of the Seal of God upon the foreheads of every one of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses. The 144,000 are also kept from the Lord's wrath and they, quite uniquely, are literally walking upon the Earth during the Thlipsis. (By the way, is there any mention in any of these chapters about the Bride of Christ being on the Earth at this time? if you said "no" good answer because the Bride was Harpazoed back in chapter 4. And, in yet more Heavenly time travel, we again see the newly white robed martyrs (70th Week Saints) from the previous chapter.

Finally in Revelation 8 Jesus opens the 7th Seal and as we are told multiple times in Bible prophecy, the wrath of God comes upon the earth as a flood. The Bride of Christ are in Heaven, and the 144,000 witnesses evangelizing on the Earth have been sealed from any harm coming upon them as the wrath of God is dispensed over the entire planet and seven angels begin sounding their trumpets one by one. yes, we are still in the first 42 months of the 70th Week. The Thlipsis is ongoing and will continue through the next few chapters of Revelation until the second 42 months commences the Megas Thlipsis as we see in the middle of Revelation 13.


hartdawg said...

A pastor I was listening to said if you're not a dispensationalist then half of the Scriptures will be closed to you. I'm not sure how accurate that is. I'm looking forward to the continuation of this post

Sean Osborne said...


I agree with that pastor. I believe that unless one has been immersed in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit then most of the Spiritual aspects of Scripture are not fully understandable.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit linked on the Eschatology Today main page provides the details.

Sean Osborne said...

An Anonymous individual, someone who emphatically denies that the Harpazo of the Bride of Christ will occur and who obviously does not understand these Scripture through the interpretive power of the Holy Spirit, would like to inform the Bride of Christ of the following as irrefutable proof of his eisegetical position:

"According to Daniel, the SAINTS are handed over to Antichrist for persecution."


The proper hermeneutic response (i.e. the proper meaning of the prophetic text) to Mister Anonymous' eisegesis regarding Daniel 7:21 and 7:25 is as follows.

The saints who are referred to in the angelic being's truthful interpretive response to Daniel's query are 70th Week saints!

The 70th Week saints are believing Christian who have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior during the 70th Week. They become Christian believers at some unknown amount of time after the Harpazo has occurred,m and very probably due to the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.

When the Harpazo occurs there will not be one single Christian believer left upon the face of this Earth, so these aptly named "tribulation saints" are just that, believers who are born again during the 70th Week.

The specific verses which proves this proper hermeneutic exegesis is found in Revelation 7:9-15 where one of the Heavenly elders before the Throne of God informs John of Patmos, and which I quote:

"A Multitude from the Great Tribulation

9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation (i.e. megas thlipsis), and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them."

There are other details which are discussed in detail within the main post and need not be repeated here.