The 70 Weeks of Alan Kurschner

Antichrist AlanKurschnerAs part of our ongoing effort to understand the influence of Daniel 9 on popular Christian eschatological thought, this week we will be looking at the influence of the 70 Weeks on the pre-wrath position of Alan Kurschner. Mr. Kurschner is the director of Eschatos Ministires and a leading apologists for the pre-wrath position. Like my previous article this is meant to be a critical but respectful look at the subject.

Daniel 9 and the Pre-wrath view of the Rapture For those who don’t know, briefly, the pre-wrath position places the rapture of the church after the revelation of the Antichrist but before the wrath of YHWH is poured out upon the earth.

The pre-wrath point of view has gained some attention of late and as a Berean I have been trying to relate the subject to my understanding of the Biblical evidence. What we will be looking at today is the importance of Daniel 9 and the 70th week to Mr. Kurschner’s eschatological framework for the pre-wrath position. As we did in our last article when exploring The 70 Weeks of Chuck Missler let’s first take a look at what Mr. Kurschner says about Daniel 9.

Quotes by Mr. Kurschner will be in green and they are taken from his book Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord: What Every Christian Needs to Know about the Return of Christ, Kindle Edition. Bold headings are my own.

Daniel 9 and a Future Seven Years
“I will also show that the book of Daniel informs us of a future seven-year period (commonly called “the seventieth week of Daniel”) during which key eschatological events will take place.”

“The Bible teaches that a future seven-year period represents the final seven years of this age.” (p. 11, 13 Kindle Edition)

Daniel 9 is Key to the Futurist Position
“Within the umbrella of futurism, there are four primary futurist positions— pretribulationism, midtribulationism, posttribulationism, and prewrath. One characteristic that makes these positions futurist is they affirm that there will be a future seven-year period during which the three major end-time events unfold.” (p. 4 Kindle Edition)

Daniel 9, the Day of YHWH’s Wrath, and the Rapture
“Accordingly, an important question for all of these positions is when the day of the Lord’s wrath begins in relation to the seven-year period. The answer will inform us of where each view places the rapture in relation to the seven-year period.” (p. 4 Kindle Edition)

Daniel 9 and the Assumptive Framework of a Seven-year Period
“Since I am assuming a futurist approach in this book, I will not take the time here to argue for the futurity of the seven-year period.2 However, I want to make several comments on this temporal framework.” (p. 14 Kindle Edition)

Daniel 9 and Israel’s Future
“While Daniel was praying, God sent a prophetic word through the angel Gabriel. Daniel was told that God would take a block of 490 years out from history: “Seventy weeks [i.e. 490 years] have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a most holy place” (Dan. 9: 24). In the generations subsequent to Daniel, the first 483 years of the 490 were fulfilled by the time of the first century; however, the last seven years remain to be fulfilled. At the conclusion of this period, the prophecy of Israel’s salvation will be accomplished.” (pp. 13-14 Kindle Edition)

A Seven-year Timeline is Key to Understanding the Pre-Wrath Theory
“Having established a seven-year timeline, we can situate key prophetic events, including when the Antichrist will commit abominations and stop sacrifices and offerings, at the midpoint of that timeline.” (p. 14 Kindle Edition)

Daniel 9 and the Rebuilt Temple
“To be sure, the temple that will be rebuilt before the midpoint of the seven-year period will not be divinely sanctioned, for it will be part of an attempt to reinstate the old Mosaic system.” (p. 35 Kindle Edition)

Daniel 9 and the Antichrist’s Tribulation
When the Antichrist’s great tribulation is cut short, it will allow sufficient time for God to unleash his day-of-the-Lord wrath throughout the remainder of the seven-year period, which includes, for example, the fifth trumpet judgment that lasts five months (Rev. 9: 5).(p. 60 Kindle Edition)

Daniel 9 and the Bowl Judgements
In contrast, the nature and purpose of the bowl judgments will unfold rapidly during the thirty days that follow the seven-year period. The prophet Daniel provides evidence of an additional thirty-day period following the seven-year period. (p. 154 Kindle Edition)

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As you can see in the quotes above Mr. Kurschner’s analytical framework for the pre-wrath position is heavily dependent on Daniel 9 and a 70th week of seven-years. In fact Mr. Kurschner describes the “seven-year” period at least 54 times throughout this book. One might argue that without the framework of the 70th week of seven-years, Mr. Kurschner’s interpretation of the pre-wrath position, as it currently stands, would be unworkable.

The Trouble with Assumptions
So why does Mr. Kurschner only give a brief overview of Daniel 9 when it is a main pillar of his interpretation? In consideration of the quotes above and the overall trust of his book this is not a trivial omission. I quote Mr. Kurschner:

“Since I am assuming a futurist approach in this book, I will not take the time here to argue for the futurity of the seven-year period.2 However, I want to make several comments on this temporal framework.” (p. 14 Kindle Edition)

Building a “temporal framework” upon an assumption is a tricky business. As we learned in the last article, Sir Robert Anderson also made a similar assumption which in turn was based upon an assumption made by the great Christian chronologist Rawlinson. Both assumptions turned out to be erroneous. So whether Mr. Kurschner realizes it or not, his seven-year framework in the best case scenario is a minimum of three assumptions removed from any solid Biblical evidence.

Inadvertently Mr. Kurschner is carrying forward Rawlinson’s assumptions about Ezra and Nehemiah’s place in the second temple era, an assumption which contradicts the clear and reasonable chronological evidence of the Bible. You see, Daniel 9 and 70 Weeks as understood by Sir Robert Anderson and any variation as understood by Mr. Kurschner, has its origins in a “commandment to restore and build” given to Ezra and Nehemiah during the reign of the Persian King Longimanus. This assumption cannot be proven with a reasonable rendering of the Bible’s chronological record. In fact it is clearly erroneous.

I appreciate Mr. Kurschner’s work on the discussion of a pre-trib versus pre-wrath rapture, but in my opinion his reliance on an unproven framework of Daniel 9 and all the associated assumptions undermine the credibility of his arguments. Daniel’s 70th week without a basis in reasonable Biblical chronological fact is just a working assumption and not a solid foundation upon which to build a framework of eschatological beliefs.

A Call to be Bereans
Once again we’ve seen the incredible influence Daniel 9 and the 70 Weeks prophecy have on another aspect of eschatology. I encourage each of you to take a good hard look at your assumptions regarding Daniel 9 and the 70th Week. Any view of eschatology is only as strong as its weakest assumption. This is especially true when that assumption is the very bedrock upon which your eschatological framework rests. So make sure you take the time to do your Berean duty and establish your own base assumptions regarding Daniel 9 upon a rock solid Biblical foundation.

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For those of you who are interested digging further into the subject of the pre-trib versus pre-wrath rapture of the church I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Mr. Kurschner’s book. He does a great job of laying out the pre-wrath position, my disagreements notwithstanding. For those who would like to read a great article on the subject written from a pre-trib perspective I would recommend Dr. Paul Henebury’s series on Trying to Get the Rapture Right. You might also be interested in Mr. Kurschners recent debate with Thomas Ice on subject: http://www.pre-trib.org

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Next time, YHWH willing, we will look at how Daniel 9 has influenced the teachings of Dr. David Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries. You might also be interested to learn how a brief exchange Dr. Reagan and I had many years ago challenged me to renew my efforts to understand the chronology of the second temple era as it relates to the prophecy of 70 weeks.

 

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