Get Ready for the Great Reset (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

The World Economic Forum—backed by influential leaders from all sectors of the globe—is planning for a Great Reset. That Reset will be presented in virtual meetings this coming week, as we established in the previous article.

We saw that WEF founder and executive chairman Prof. Klaus Schwab has encapsulated his lofty goals for the Reset as follows:

To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.1

This is a scheme so grandiose as to remind students of Bible prophecy of the prediction of a future world ruler who “shall intend to change times and law” (Dan. 7:25).2

But should it cause believers to consider such prophetic texts at all? And how should we as Bible-believing Christians react to such a global phenomenon?

Your answer to the first question will largely depend upon the theological framework that undergirds it. I would suggest that there are two extremes to avoid, and we will tackle the first in this article. It is simply denial with regard to the importance of this issue.

Having come through 2020, with all of the extreme, unprecedented challenges and measures that we have experienced, we now have a large body of information by which we may evaluate trends that have been planned, discussed and manipulated—at least with regard to the Reset—for a very long time, by numerous people.

Still, some would tell us that it is folly to attempt to understand these issues through the lens of Biblical prophecy. Those who respond this way might be doing so honestly based on an understanding of eschatology that is different from my dispensational premillennialism.

I can relate to this, because I was raised in a Christian tradition that sees no relation at all between such events and the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy. Interestingly, that is one of the main reasons that I was drawn toward the segment of the Christian world where I now reside. I was fascinated by the teaching of competent, theologically sound and serious men who had the ability to apply the Bible to all aspects of life—including the prophetic future, on which a huge portion of inspired Scripture actually focuses.

Today, however, even many who come out of the movements that have historically held to the prophetic positions I embrace are most unenthusiastic regarding any attempt to trace the potential importance of something like the Great Reset.

There have just been too many false alarms, they tell us. Too much newspaper exegesis has been practiced—too many eschatological crimes committed. We’ve been asked to count the toes and horns of the beast (see Dan. 2:41-42; Rev. 13:1; 17:3) just one too many times! The weight of this load is, frankly, unforgiveable in their minds.

Of course, some of this criticism is understandable and justified. Bible prophecy was big business back in the 1970s. As such, it attracted charlatans and heretics—to say nothing of inviting lazy hermeneutics and allowing for slipshod theology.

But … wait a minute. That was a long time ago! How long must we bear these transgressions of our theological predecessors—who, in many cases, are only a shirttail relation to us?

At some point, this type of protest seems to descend into special pleading. After all, I did not invent either the Great Reset or the Biblical prophecies that seem to shed light upon the developments of our time. I am merely attempting to make good theological sense of it all.

We must also be willing to point out that “(turning) … away from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:4) is itself a mark of end-time apostasy. Extreme insensitivity to discerning the importance of contemporary trends in light of the future fulfillment of Bible prophecy may bring one dangerously close to the skepticism exhibited by those who cry, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:4).

On the contrary, it is my hope that the seriousness of our circumstances might actually rouse some—especially those who once had theological stakes in our prophetic camp—from their last-days lethargy, and prompt within them a desire to gain an “understanding of the times” (1 Chron. 12:32).

We will take up the opposing danger in the next installment.

Notes

[1] Klaus Schwab; “Now is the time for a ‘great reset;’” World Economic Forum; 3 June 2020; https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/now-is-the-time-for-a-great-reset/; Internet; accessed 21 January 2021.

[2] Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Paul Scharf 2019 Bio


Paul J. Scharf (M.A., M.Div., Faith Baptist Theological Seminary) is a church ministries representative for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, serving in the midwest. He also assists Whitcomb Ministries and writes for “Answers” Magazine and Regular Baptist Press. For more information on his ministry, visit foi.org/scharf or email pscharf@foi.org.

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

First, I expect some are going to be harsh in response to this, and I want to try to diffuse that a little if I can. We should all be able to appreciate at least some (maybe all) of what motivates this kind of attention to world events and their relationship to prophecy. 

You can't write a piece like this unless you:

  • Believe in an infallible Bible
  • Believe in an infallible Bible that has predicted world events before and will certainly, in one way or another, do it again
  • Have a hunger to not let any of what we find in the prophetic parts of Scripture go to waste, so to speak

There's a lot to appreciate about that, and we should pause to do that before pushing back on particulars and emphases and so forth.

So, thanks for that, Paul. There's a lot of faith in that and a lot of "I don't care if it's out of fashion." I respect that.

Second, I can't speak for anyone else, but for me the past excesses and errors in linking world events to end times prophecy aren't mainly about wrong that needs to be forgiven. So, I don't see how long ago it was as relevant. For me, what it's about is learning from those excesses and errors and avoiding the same sort of stumbling. So, it doesn't matter if it was the 1970s or the 1270s, as far as that goes.

So what do we learn? Much can and has been written on that, much of it mean spirited and unfair. But at the very least, we learn this from the prophecy+world-events fads of the past:

  • It's really easy to get carried away and neglect more important matters in Scripture
  • It's easy to mistake interesting for important and impactful: that is, after prophecy has "shed light on" today's world events, what do we need to believe or do differently to be faithful Christians? There may be a few things, but not much. Faithfulness looked the same in the 1980s whether Russia was about to become the King of the North and invade Israel (or whatever that particular prediction was) or not. Exactly the same. Likewise today, whether the WEF is going to accomplish its dreams (pipe, I think) or not.
    • In most cases, all the prophetic enthusiasms of past decades generated was more prophetic enthusiasm
  • It's easy to hitch our excitement to the probability of fulfillment in this or that movement or trend or organization or individual, when our excitement ought to be hitched only to the fact that Christ is returning, possibly any moment. In short, we really don't know what's going to happen in the future in the details department, and our hearts need to be fired up by what we do know, not by what we don't know.

Third: I saved the least important point for last. I really don't think WEF is likely to succeed. Think of it this way: even a very idealistic, lofty-minded, visionary U.S. President, with utopian dreams--like, say, Obama--found it extremely difficult to get much of what he hoped for done, even in two terms. The WEF would have to do that in multiple entire nations, including all the corporations that would lose money and influence. I can see one way they could almost do it: if they are smart enough to realize that culture eats political power for breakfast, they'll do it slowly by winning over hearts and minds. So, maybe they're already half way there! That's a very long game, though... and as individual nations get a chance to experiment with some of these ideas, there is time for failure and backlash and losses on both the cultural and political fronts.

But all that is neither here nor there, really. We don't know what the future holds and have to live like we don't know.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

Thanks for running this again, Aaron!

Your warning seems quite ominous—perhaps fitting for such a topic, though Smile

In response to your comments, I am all for learning from the errors of the past. I would say, however, that the people who have influenced me, or with whom I associate now, were, by and large, never guilty of the eschatological crimes that I mention. (I can guess from previous exchanges that some might challenge that, but I stand by it. Trying to sell a book that deals with a major global issue is not a crime against Scripture.)

As I, personally, in my life's journey, have studied and learned from men like Dave Breese, John Whitcomb and Thomas Ice (just to name a few), I have learned much more, just naturally, about subjects such as the nature of God, sanctification, the covenants, Old Testament history, intertestamental history, etc. I have even been greatly challenged to study the Reformation and the Puritans in a very new and fresh way. I have also been motivated by the need to understand the entire Bible. So, sometimes I am not sure where the hesitancy to teach about this more-than-one-fourth of the Bible (the prophetic sections) really comes in.

Even more popular-level speakers, if they are devoted to the text of Scripture rather than speculation, have motivated me to have a greater drive for evangelism and holy living—which is the Biblical purpose for preaching on prophecy (2 Pet. 3:18).

I would even go further and state that I do not believe that it was an over-emphasis on prophecy that basically led my generation of peers to abandon fundamentalism/dispensationalism/eschatology. Looking back, I just do not see that. Fundamentalism allowed all kinds of silliness, sloppiness, extremes and excess into the movement, but most of it was not in this area at all.

When people left, turning to Reformed theology was an easy fix for most of them, and they threw the eschatological baby out with the bathwater. Today's young people despise eschatology largely because they have been taught to do so from every sector of society, including, sadly, many of their churches.

As I teach (responsibly, Lord willing) on these themes in local churches, I often run into older saints—sometimes with tears in their eyes—who tell me they never get to hear about these things anymore. I also meet young people who feel as if a whole new world has opened to them. For them, we may first need to demonstrate how these issues are relevant to their real-world lives before they will be interested in the details. 

Now, will this column make those who read it desire to be more faithful or instruct them specifically in how to do so? Perhaps that is not the need for this particular audience. Nor did I write it only for this audience. I can think of many, however, who could benefit from such a charge (1 Thess. 5:1-10). I hope they will read it, as well.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Paul wrote:

As I teach (responsibly, Lord willing) on these themes in local churches, I often run into older saints—sometimes with tears in their eyes—who tell me they never get to hear about these things anymore. I also meet young people who feel as if a whole new world has opened to them.

I stand by my assessment of this kind of writing as a particular Christian genre. I suspect people hear plenty of prophetic books preached at the churches that care about all of God's word. I suspect they just don't hear it couched in the genre form they'd prefer. In other words, the shape is different.

My fellow pastor and I are preaching through Zechariah. We're three sermons in, and have covered thru Zechariah 2. We haven't mentioned the millennium once. W haven't speculated about the colors of the horses in Zech 1. We didn't bother to sharply delineate the telescoping aspect of the promise of a safe and prosperous return (Zech 2) in the Millennium to the transition to the eternal state.

There is always a tension between (1) a theological lecture, and (2) a sermon. I am basically convinced the prophecy genre Paul typifies here is best as a Sunday School topic, or some other special event other than the worship service. It'd be similar to, when faced with Phil 2:5-11, deciding whether to (1) preach an exegetical lecture about two-nature Christology, or (2) to preach a sermon about Christ as our archetype for humble service. Do option #1 for Sunday school. Do option #2 for Sunday morning -- while mentioning and stating two-nature Christology along the way is fine, it shouldn't be the point of the sermon.

Hopefully this explains some of my own reservations with the way prophecy has been handled in the past.

On a slightly related note, since Paul mentioned him, I wanted to toss out a plug for John Whitcomb's little Esther commentary in the old Moody Everyman's series. It's the best thing I've ever read on Esther. He takes a critical approach to Esther's motives; something far removed from the "good girl" of Sunday School lore. It's worth getting, if you're interested. You can find a cheap used copy.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

T Howard's picture

Paging Van Impe, Jack Van Impe, please report to Sharper Iron.

JD Miller's picture

I remember when Dave Breeze was in his 60's talking about being 6feet 6 inches tall and how we need to be careful about speculation and 666.  I remember being very interested in prophecy in my early 20's and how there was a lot of difference between Jack & Roxella Vanimpe compared to Dave Breeze.  

T Howard's picture

I remember watching Jack Van Impe bounce up and down with glee when the first Iraq War started because it was a "fulfillment of biblical prophecy" and would usher in the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation.

I remember watching a video by Peter Ruckman entitled "The Seven 7's" that predicted Jesus would return sometime in October 1998 (I believe I remember the date correctly) based on numerology.

Quote:
Extreme insensitivity to discerning the importance of contemporary trends in light of the future fulfillment of Bible prophecy may bring one dangerously close to the skepticism exhibited by those who cry, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:4).

I believe the return of Christ is impending. I believe the rapture of the church will occur when Christ returns to establish his kingdom. I believe newspaper eschatology is both unhelpful and foolish.

Have you ever wondered if the skepticism mentioned in 2 Peter might be exacerbated by the constant barrage of newspaper eschatology?

Paul J. Scharf's picture

JD Miller wrote:

I remember when Dave Breeze was in his 60's talking about being 6feet 6 inches tall and how we need to be careful about speculation and 666.  I remember being very interested in prophecy in my early 20's and how there was a lot of difference between Jack & Roxella Vanimpe compared to Dave Breeze.  

Thanks JD ... Though it is "Dave Breese." 

What a dear man of God he is ... (not was).

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

Paul J. Scharf's picture

T Howard wrote:

I remember watching Jack Van Impe bounce up and down with glee when the first Iraq War started because it was a "fulfillment of biblical prophecy" and would usher in the rapture of the church and the Great Tribulation.

I remember watching a video by Peter Ruckman entitled "The Seven 7's" that predicted Jesus would return sometime in October 1998 (I believe I remember the date correctly) based on numerology.

T, I sense your dislike for the article series. However, I do not find your comments to be either instructive or edifying. 

I deny your lumping me in with Ruckman, or even Van Impe (although, in spite of his great extremes, I believe he did do many good things in serving our Lord ... he actually has a very interesting life story). Neither of these men have much in common with the serious theologians that I have studies under, or the ministry I represent.

So, if you want to discuss my column, I would invite you to hone in on a specific point.

I wish you God's best.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

T Howard's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
I deny your lumping me in with Ruckman, or even Van Impe (although, in spite of his great extremes, I believe he did do many good things in serving our Lord ... he actually has a very interesting life story). Neither of these men have much in common with the serious theologians that I have studies under, or the ministry I represent.

I don't think you're a Ruckmanite, Paul. However, what's the difference in what you're doing compared to Van Impe or Ruckman? Sure, one difference is that you're not date setting. How else, though, do you distinguish this article here from these other guys' newspaper eschatology ... other than you've studied under "the serious theologians"?

Paul J. Scharf's picture

T Howard wrote:

I don't think you're a Ruckmanite, Paul. However, what's the difference in what you're doing compared to Van Impe or Ruckman? Sure, one difference is that you're not date setting. How else, though, do you distinguish this article here from these other guys' newspaper eschatology ... other than you've studied under "the serious theologians"?

T, 

How do I prove a negative?

I have never spent one minute listening to Ruckman—I would not even recognize him if I saw his picture.

It has been more than 30 years since I listened to Van Impe even on a sporadic basis. He was never a serious influence upon me at all. 

How would I differ from him?

Van Impe was quite a showman, not a serious scholar (at least in his last decades), and his ministry was marked by sensationalism and, to a degree at least, speculation (1 Tim. 1:4). This also led him into troubling ecumenical stances, etc. Again, this is only my opinion—and I probably have not watched 30 minutes of his programs in the last 30 years. It is also not meant to impugn his character or motives, or the spiritual fruit that the Lord used him to cultivate in his lengthy ministry.

I do not know what newspaper eschatology is. I define newspaper exegesis (to the extent that is a useful term, not just a throwaway line) as using the news to interpret the Bible, rather than vice versa—using the Bible as a lens, properly, through which we examine the news and construct a Biblical worldview. I have not come close to committing newspaper exegesis here, nor have I offered speculation, nor engaged in date-setting (the subject of my next article). 

While we are throwing terms around, here is another one for you: eschatological agnosticism.

The Great Reset is an issue of international magnitude. Perhaps this meeting itself will be a big flop, and perhaps this particular movement will fizzle. However, I can see the worldwide trends, and they are only going one direction at the moment. If you have not witnessed that in the last few weeks, you're just not paying attention.

If you don't think it's a big deal, that's fine. If you don't like my articles, that's fine too. I'm still glad that you're reading them! This series is but one small part of the content I provide on an ongoing, weekly basis.

However, speaking of exegesis, you have yet to make one specific criticism about anything I have written. If you do, I will be glad to read it and try to respond. Until then, this is my last response on this particular type of back-and-forth.

Have a blessed day!

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

pvawter's picture

Hey Paul, thanks for writing this series. I know doing so means accepting the scorn and dismissal of some who may even mischaracterize your attempt as sensationalism. At any rate, what comes to mind is something which Kevin Bauder wrote sometime back (probably in his Nick of Time, but I don't recall exactly) about the way generations of believers have seen what appeared to be possible prophetic fulfillment in various historical figures and circumstances. It's easy to mock them or to scoff at those who point out some concerning things in current events, but Bauder said that since Satan cannot know the time when the events prophesied will occur, he must take steps in each generation to prepare for his role in them. This is why so many figures have appeared as possible antichrists, etc, only to have history move on past them. So I appreciate your caution in pointing out these current issues, knowing full well that they may turn out to have nothing to do with the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. That is, until they do.

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