The Mark of the Beast

The Mark of the Beast is predicted in the Bible to be symbol of allegiance that the Antichrist and the Final World Empire will require of every man, woman, and child.  This Mark will be the dividing line between life and death, Christ and Antichrist, allegiance to God or allegiance to Satan, and it will be given in the right hand or forehead.  All people who obtain the Mark will suffer the wrath of God and be forever damned.  This section is dedicated to explaining the prophecies dealing with the Mark as well as the latest events in our world that are leading to it.

Of all the predictions in the Bible concerning the last days, the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast seems to consistently generate the most interest and speculation.  Propelled to prominence by countless books and movies, it’s almost as if this single prediction holds greater fascination than most of the other prophecies of the end times.  Perhaps this interest is partly due to a subconscious realization that its fulfillment now looms closer than we’d like to admit.

Branded for Death

The high standard of living and lifestyle within most of the industrialized nations is often exemplified by owning a home, having two cars in the garage, a couple of healthy kids, and a good career or two.  It also may involve having the latest digital technology that includes one or more computers, flat screen TVs, tablets, and smart phones.  Getting food, clothing, and other items usually involves nothing more than driving to the nearest store and buying anything you need or want. 

Giving up this convenient life for an existence on the run with only the things you can carry on your back would be one of the most difficult things imaginable.  Yet the Lord says that refusing the Mark and separating ourselves from the coming end times system will be an absolute necessity.  In fact, after the Mark of the Beast is predicted in the book of Revelation, the very next chapter provides this dire warning about being branded for death:

The Cashless Society

The foundation for the Mark of the Beast is being laid even as you read these words.  The precursor to the seven-headed ten-horned empire that will spawn the Antichrist and the Mark of the Beast is actually busy developing the means to implement the final global economic system even before the Antichrist is revealed.  And as it turns out, this early preparation is absolutely necessary.  In order to successfully develop an economy where some kind of mark validates an individual’s ability to buy or sell, an extensive control network needs to be set up and operational worldwide. 

If the system was not all encompassing and completely foolproof, it would be too easy to get around the requirement for the Mark simply if the buyer and seller agree not to use it.  To prevent this obvious loophole, it now appears certain that the Antichrist’s system will completely eliminate the physical transfer of money (paper money and coins) and will replace it with a currency system associated with the Mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:16-18).  

Plastic Money

During the same time period as the advent of high technology electronics, another major change has taken place in the world of economics that will also help to usher in a cashless society and the Mark of the Beast.  This rather quiet change has involved the creation of a new form of currency—cards or plastic money—as a substitute for traditional paper money and coins, and it has already totally altered the way the world does business.  Anthony Sampson said in his book, The Money Lenders,

“…it had begun modestly in February 1950, when the manager of a small loan company, Frank McNamara, established the Diners Club, which provided select members with credit at twenty-two restaurants in New York” (p. 244).

McNamara gave cards to his club members to identify their association with his payment system.  All that the members of the Diner’s Club had to do was present their cards at the participating restaurants when they dined.  Their meals were then paid for on credit backed by McNamara’s loan company.  The owners of the restaurants would then bill the Diner’s Club for the cost of the meal and McNamara’s company would promptly pay them.  Later, the members would receive a bill in the mail from the Diner’s Club, which would amount to the cost of the meal plus a small commission for the extension of credit.

Electronic Funds Transfer

At the same time that the plastic money revolution was taking place, the rise of electronics technology provided the way to take full advantage of the card concept.  When credit cards were first introduced, all accounting operations had to be done by hand.  As their use expanded throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, it became apparent that manual paper shuffling would never be efficient enough to handle the sheer volume of transactions and information. 

Just in time, computer technology came to the rescue.  Banks and lending institutions became some of the first industries to computerize their operations and realize huge benefits.  Since they typically had to handle the recording of millions if not billions of dollars in transactions every day, the microprocessor became the only option for success.

A Wired Society

The potential of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) ultimately depends on extensive networking between computer systems.  The mainframes and computers within banks, government agencies, the Federal Reserve and other central banks, and the corporations involved in EFT had to be digitally linked before electronic payments could become feasible. 

Of course, this networking to create a wired society is exactly what has been happening over the last thirty years.  The technology was really quite revolutionary, even though such capabilities might seem common-place today.  The availability of inexpensive computer systems combined with extensive networking eventually made EFT accessible even to the smallest of businesses and individuals.

ATM & POS

One of the first things that banks and financial institutions did to implement electronic funds transfer (EFT) in the public arena was to cause the proliferation of Automatic Teller Machines, or ATMs.  Traditionally, the front-line contact that banks and other savings organizations had with the public was through human tellers.  Going to the bank on payday and depositing your check was a tradition for many years.  Unfortunately, at least from the bank’s point of view, being able to handle the huge flow of day-to-day transactions created by paper checks also caused the need for an army of people to serve the customers. 

Someone had to be there to take your check, record the transaction, and give you a receipt or cash—that was the teller.  However, many more people were needed behind the scenes to verify the transactions and actually complete the transfer of money between accounts.  In 1984, Ian Reinecke estimated, “…between 60 and 70 percent of bank staff were employed in processing checking accounts” (Electronic Illusions, Ian Reinecke, p. 127, 1984, Penguin Books, NY).  Most of this work went on after hours, away from the view of the customers, but it consumed incredible resources. 

And the numbers of transactions were growing tremendously every year as the population and economy grew.  Just imagine the potential savings in operational expenses if banks could automate this whole process and eliminate the manual manipulations of paper and currency.

Rise of the Internet

Even before the development of the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) system by banks, financial institutions, retailers, technology corporations, bank card companies, and governments to enable a cashless financial system (see previous sections), an electronic network was being created for a completely different purpose, but its foundation would ultimately make EFT possible. 

In the early 1960s, research was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and conducted at several universities to investigate how computers could be linked together for transmission of information and data.  This work was initially done to allow academic research sites to collaborate on projects and jointly use their growing computer capabilities to better effect. 

The effort resulted in the formation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) in 1969, which was one of the first packet switching networks as well as the progenitor of the basic communications protocols crucial to the rise of the Internet.  ARPANET’s name came from a combination of the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now called DARPA) and the word network.  At first this computer network was only linked between two academic sites in California, but its success quickly spread to other locations throughout the U.S. 

By 1971, there were 15 computer sites at major universities linked by ARPANET.  Ten years later the number was 213 linked sites, including locations throughout the U.S. and Europe.  In 1982, the protocols that were used for network access called the transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP) were standardized, and network communications finally could be done seamlessly on a global basis.

The Identification Problem

Despite the ominous fact that all the inventions related to electronic networks, computer systems, and bank cards have paved the way for the Mark of the Beast (see previous sections), the future cashless society that is resulting from these technologies will not appear evil or undesirable.  The majority of consumers already love the instantaneous transfer capability of electronic funds transfer (EFT) and cashless buying and selling. 

The long waits at checkout counters that were common with manual cash-based commerce systems have been dramatically streamlined by the use of computers and bank cards.  Almost instantly the new digital systems can add up each purchase, check the customer’s account to see if they have enough funds, and then transfer the money required for any transaction.  And customers no longer have to bring cash for large purchases, which make bank cards even more convenient. 

In addition, the old way of paying bills by writing checks and sending them through the mail has been replaced by online Internet bill payments, which are as simple as filling in an amount to be paid and clicking to complete the transaction. 

However, while the new electronic economy is much faster and seemingly more secure than carrying around cash, there are significant downsides to EFT that were not expected.  Alongside the convenience of a card-based or Web-based economy, there has arisen an evil monster consisting of digital theft and fraud.  In this section we will see that this dark side of electronic commerce is associated with an identification problem that is becoming much more acute as time goes on.

Smart Cards

As the world moves toward a cashless financial system and ultimately the Mark of the Beast to validate identities (see The Identification Problem), a significant new technology has been developed that will partially solve the problem of identity fraud.  This invention is so important that it may also represent one of the last stages in the evolution of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) before the Mark arrives.  

In no case is the merging of microprocessors and credit card technology better seen than in the development of what has become known as the smart card.  Originally a French invention made in 1974 by Roland Moreno, this major advance in credit and debit card technology is proving to be the answer to making the cashless society a reality while reducing the risk of electronic theft.

By the late 1970s, companies were beginning to create methods for using secure microcontrollers and integrated circuits placed within cards for cashless operations in commerce.  By 1984, the first trials of smart cards for use in Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were completed in Europe and met with enthusiastic success.  In those early days of smart card development, Robert McIvor writing for Scientific American said,

“Within a year it may be possible to carry much of the power of a personal computer in one small compartment of a billfold.  It will reside in a device called a smart card: one or more microelectronic chips mounted in a piece of plastic the size of a credit card” (Scientific American, Nov. 1985, p. 152).

Biometrics

There is little doubt that the merging of computer technology with credit and debit cards (see: Plastic Money) to create smart cards was one of the most significant steps on the road to the Mark of the Beast.  There is, however, another important technology that has been developed during the same time frame that is also being combined with smart cards and it may prove to be the key to making secure transactions possible in a cashless society. 

Biometrics is the science of uniquely identifying humans through their physical characteristics, traits, or mannerisms.  It is the invention of biometric identification that actually makes the advent of the Mark even more plausible within the very near future.

Since the inception of credit cards, debit cards, and smart cards, there has been an acute need to find a way of securing the cashless system against fraud.  The use of Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) or passwords has been one of the main security features of the ATM and POS network since its inception; however, it is not the only way or even the best way to operate a secure smart card system. 

No matter how “smart” a card may become with advanced microprocessors and clever software algorithms, a dishonest person with a stolen card and the right PIN can still make use of it to fraudulently purchase goods and services.  Since people have been known to even write their secret number on their ATM cards or on a separate piece of paper left in their wallets, all the technology in the world could not safeguard against such security breaches.  In addition, in a cashless society muggers could just steal their victim’s card and demand the correct PIN on the threat of personal harm.

RFID

In addition to the development of smart cards and biometrics, there is another important technology that has arisen which will ultimately be merged with them as the world moves toward the final economy of the Antichrist.  Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a wireless communication technology that uses microwave or ultra-high frequency (UHF) electromagnetic signals within the radio spectrum to send digitally encoded data between a tag and a reader, which can then be used to identify and track items.  An RFID tag can be relatively simple in design, but powerful in its potential applications.  T

he basic elements of a tag are: a microchip containing nonvolatile memory and an antenna to collect and transmit radio waves.  The chip contains circuitry that stores a unique binary number in its memory and the antenna serves as the receiver and transmitter of information.  The antenna is much larger than the microchip and typically consists of loops or coiled wire extending out from the chip. 

In a passive or unpowered RFID tag, the wire loops serve two purposes: 1) to transmit information (the stored encoded ID number) and 2) to act as a power source for the microchip using electromagnetic induction, which is caused as the RFID antenna picks up the radio signals emanating from a reader.

When a nearby RFID reader sends out a radio signal that is received by an RF tag, it causes an electromotive force to occur within the wire coil of the RFID antenna.  This in turn causes electrons to flow within the wire.  This electron flow within the coil is the electrical power source for all passive RF chips to operate.  The induction process causes the microchip to be powered up and respond by sending out a radio signal containing the identification code stored within its memory. 

Thus, when a reader “wakes up” a RFID tag, it receives back a radio transmission containing the tag’s unique ID number, which then can be used to determine exactly what is labeled or associated with the tag.

The Final Mark

From the previous sections, we have seen how the advent of computer technology, the development of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), the rise of the Internet, the rapid construction of the Cashless Society, the invention of Smart Cards, the growing need for Personal Identification, the use of Biometrics, and widespread surveillance and tracking by radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are all leading us toward the prophesied economic system of the Antichrist and the final Mark of the Beast

As electronic surrogates for paper money and coins, the cashless system that is being developed will soon completely replace the familiar tools of commerce that have been used throughout history.  Governments, banks, and credit card companies are each rapidly issuing smart card IDs that incorporate microprocessor chips, memory circuits, RF communication capabilities, and biometric data to validate identities, track and surveil people, and allow any approved person to engage in everyday commerce. 

Soon, you will not be able to buy or sell, hold a job, pay your taxes, vote, enter secure facilities, receive government benefits, cross international borders, or travel using public transportation without the proper smart card credentials.

These developments should sound frighteningly familiar to those knowledgeable about the prophesied Mark of the Beast.  The apostle John predicted in the book of Revelation that when the Antichrist arises he will require everyone in the world to obtain a Mark on their right hand or forehead and that no one will be able to buy or sell without it.  Actually, the Bible says that there will be three requirements for doing commerce in that day:

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Rev. 13:16-17

Surveillance and Control

George Orwell’s vision in his book 1984 of a world controlled by “Big Brother” will have its ultimate fulfillment in the Empire of the Beast.  The technological revolution that has taken place in our generation has provided the world with capabilities in the art of surveillance that are even beyond what Orwell envisioned.  Right now, electronic devices can keep track of your every move through GP coordinates and strategically positioned RFID scanners.  In addition, smart phones can track your location anywhere there are cell towers and your activity online is constantly being monitored by companies and governments. 

RFID transponders commonly used in vehicles for automated toll payments are also being used to track cars and trucks on streets and highways, even in areas without toll requirements.  A person’s movements can also be seen through cities and on interstate highways using an extensive system of surveillance cameras that are being positioned everywhere.  Electronic monitors can even imprison people by notifying a central computer if an individual has wandered away from where he or she should be.  Can you imagine what the structured order of the Antichrist will be like with all of these devices available for surveillance and control of the masses in a worldwide totalitarian society?

Corporations are even taking advantage of these technologies for electronic surveillance and control their employees, especially those that travel outside the office or use computers.  Internet access is constantly monitored at companies where employees have online capabilities.  Every site you access is reviewed by corporate minders who accumulate histories of internet data, which they can use against you at any time.  In addition, RFID badges are used to control and monitor access to secure areas within building, thus creating a record of every door an employee opens. 

Michael Miller reported in the Wall Street Journal that “black boxes” electronically integrated and attached to company vehicles or to a trucking company’s trucks can record every move that a driver makes.  The boss can monitor a vehicle’s trip in real time and know each moment a vehicle or truck was speeding or stopped too long at a cafe. Today, everything you do and everything you say often becomes a part of an electronic record that companies and governments can use for surveillance and control.  Keeping tabs on people in real time by electronic monitoring is like constantly standing over your shoulders while you work.  Continuous monitoring can cause stress even when someone is not doing anything wrong.

 

 

 

The Mark of the Beast

The Mark of the Beast

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