The mark, everyone will want it, but who will take it along with all that it implies? At some point in the future (maybe years, maybe centuries), the Holy Bible discusses a specific milestone that will require each person to make a decision. It will be a decision whether to function within the regular economic system of society and pledge allegiance to a certain authority or decline this authority in firm commitment to Almighty God. The decision will not be easy and when that hour arrives, one should be prepared for his/her resolution well beforehand. The book of Revelation in the Bible speaks of a mark that everyone will be forced to take in order to function within a future economic system.
And it [the beast] maketh all, the small, and the great, and the rich, and the poor, and the freemen, and the servants, that it may give to them a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads, and that no one may be able to buy, or to sell, except he who is having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is the wisdom! He who is having the understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for the number of a man it is, and its number [is] 666. Revelation 13:16-18 (YLT)
The “beast”, commonly referred to as the “Antichrist” in the Christian community, is spoken about in detail throughout various books of the Bible. It is worth noting that writings about this same Antichrist are not unique to the biblical scriptures alone; the Antichrist is referred to as “Masih Ad-Dajjal” in the Qur’an and the “Third Antichrist” in Les Propheties by Nostradamus, so further biblical study of this authority figure will be presented in later articles. The Internet is saturated with so many conspiracy theories, and unfortunately, many well-respected authors who refute these theories also categorize an antichrist regime as being one such theory. Regardless of the conspiracies one may encounter, the Bible is clear on this particular anti-Christian superpower that will emerge. Most Christians believe the Antichrist will one day take control of the world, though they may not openly talk about it. Individuals who are unfamiliar with Christian theology should have the opportunity to discover how these ancient teachings of the Bible apply to our modern world today.
The topic of the Antichrist and “the mark of the beast” is one not commonly discussed in the church forum: either the topic is avoided altogether or the teaching is taken for granted under the assumption that believers will be raptured before this mark takes effect. Consequently, one may study further by searching the Internet for topics related to “the mark of the beast” or “666” and find a plethora of articles, many of which (a) are speculative of the defining technology of the mark and (b) offer definitive “proof” that this mark is imminent. This article is not an attempt to provoke fear or to predict what this mark will be, but to promote awareness, demonstrate the technological progression in society today and consider how this progression is converging to one day fulfill that which was predicted by the ancient authors of the Bible.
Simply stated, we do not know what this “mark” will be, although there is much speculation in the Christian community. Thirty years ago, some Christians suspected it would be a tattoo of “666”; a decade later, others contemplated a barcode stamped in the hand, possibly separated in three groups of six lines. These earlier ideas sound archaic today and now the common theory is that each person will receive some kind of near field communication (NFC) device, such as a RFID chip, inserted in his/her hand or forehead. It could be more advanced than a chip, such as a quantum computing device, maybe a mind-reading nano device permanently mounted in a person’s head or even an invisible DNA storage mechanism. These are only hypotheses and there is no point in speculating—a few decades from now, these ideas could seem archaic too. We may not really know what the mark (or device) is until the moment of decision arrives, if that moment arrives in our lifetime at all.
Peruse the regular news headlines and one will plainly see that Generation Y is more open to the idea of being monitored and giving up his/her privacy than any previous generation. This openness will only continue with future generations. With social media rampant, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+, individuals’ personal details are being voluntarily recorded and offered to the public for review. There is an underlying need to feel connected—that if one is not visible in social media, he/she is missing the party altogether. Imagine a world where everything and everyone are connected.
This electronic age has brought all kinds of tools and devices to bolster security, such as signcryption, and audit trails are required to monitor quality service in industry and banking. We have progressed from a society of cash and cheque transactions to one of credit and debit card transactions. Debit cards were introduced in the early 1990′s, have taken approximately twenty years to become a common means of transferring funds and are the first step towards a direct cashless transaction system. To reduce fraudulent copying and theft, magnetic strip credit and debit cards have been/are being replaced with chip cards that require a security code. However, these cards only offer security provided they are not stolen and the security codes aren’t compromised. Managing security codes is even a concern for all the different access points we encounter today and other solutions are being developed, such as reading mental or behavioral traits. Some credit card companies are already offering a more advanced payment option, such as a digital wallet and global acceptance mark.
The latest emerging technology in the consumer industry is mobile payments with smartphones—a novel idea with an obvious convenience, considering one device could house a person’s wallet, calendar, online communication tools and provide rapid payment and access potential. Although this payment technology is not yet common for the consumer, based on history, society will eventually adapt to the technology.
The internet has become a critical resource for business and personal use. There is no question that an audit trail exists for all activity done online. Online consumer activity is expected to double by 2016. According to statistics from mobiThinking, approximately 87 percent of the world’s population now has a mobile phone, with only 17% of the population using smartphone technology, which will soon increase. How many of us can go a day without our smartphone? Checking messages, staying connected, being able to find information whenever and wherever we want is a convenience few of us would forfeit. In fact, studies have shown that the young generation is addicted to internet connection and experience severe withdrawal symptoms after only 24 hours without it!
The last frontier of communication isolation, air travel, is now accessible through WiFi connection. In the near future, almost everyone will be accessible anywhere anytime. Access to the internet is even being considered a basic human right: there are plans to provide connections to previously remote areas in the world and even for free in other parts! There is no question, having mobile internet connection provides many benefits to society and it alone is not the concern—the long term development related to mobility and the world economic system is to be observed.
Christians who believe in a rapture event before an antichrist regime comes to power may think they are immune to this inevitable technology; however, Christians are just as technologically savvy as anyone else and should therefore be prepared. It may seem outrageous to think that the population would be willing to receive a kind of mark to continue in the world’s economy. Yet, body tattooing and piercing are becoming common place for all classes of people. Furthermore, if this mark also offers extremely advanced potential in mobility and security, could acceptance by the general population be all that surprising? Given sufficient time for society to adapt, the population may eventually be compelled to get one—we even see this drive with the current technology today, such as in China recently.
Many biblical prophecies couldn’t even be visualized until recent years and many more will be apparent as time progresses. The mark will not just be a way to function within the world’s economic system: it will be coupled with a pledge of allegiance to the Antichrist, the one who attempts to replace God through strong deception.
The Bible is clear on the eternal repercussions of receiving the mark in allegiance to the antichrist regime.
If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. Revelation 14:9-11 (NIV)
And for those who refuse the mark and commit to God, the Bible provides an eternal promise of hope.
And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 (KJV)
The goal of this article is for the reader to observe the trends of today and retain a few key points so that as the economic system changes, he/she will recall that which was predicted in the holy scriptures and be prepared for the decision, whether in his/her lifetime or in those of his/her descendents. The truth will still be taught when the antichrist regime comes to power, but it will be through extremely difficult times.
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he [the beast] corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Daniel 11:32-33 (KJV)
Every Christian generation is confident that the End Times will start during their lifetime; however, it could still be centuries away. It is crucial that the next generation does not forget what the former generation taught regarding the biblical prophecies (rather than mainstream speculation), so as not to be deceived by the mark when the time eventually arrives. And once (i) the technological infrastructure is put in place, (ii) there is a need for tighter control on the economy than ever before, (iii) citizens are ready to accept it and (iv) the appointed time has arrived, the mark will sweep across the world like a flood.
And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. Daniel 11:22 (KJV)
As previously stated, the intent of this article is not to predict what or when the mark will be, but to illustrate the progressive systems in society, watch the biblical signs unfold, and encourage the reader to make a decision for Almighty God today.
So be on your guard; I [Jesus Christ] have told you everything ahead of time. Mark 13:23 (NIV)