Satan finally has the technology he has been waiting for. At least that’s what some people think when they look at radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. RFID chips can be as small as a grain of rice and can be attached to anything or anyone. Once that happens, scanners can identify that thing or person and send its current location to computers in the service of Big Brother.
American retail chain Walmart has been using RFID chips to track pallets for almost a decade. We got used to that. We have them in our credit cards and that doesn’t bother us too much. We also accepted the idea of implanting them in pets so that veterinarians can more easily identify a lost dog or cat. Next they were implanted in livestock, to help their owners track them. No big deal there, either. But some of us got wide-eyed when the proposal was made to implant the chips in people. Earlier this year, the Epicenter hi-tech office block in Sweden announced that employees could get an RFID implant that would allow them to unlock doors to the building, use the photocopier and maybe even pay for lunch.
Suddenly, previously benign concerns about privacy and government tracking developed into something more apocalyptic, especially when videos showed that these Swedish office workers were getting the chips implanted in their hands. Students of Bible prophecy immediately remembered the Bible verse that says that a beast power, “also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16, 17, italics added).
On his website Now the End Begins, Geoffrey Grider says, “The first thing you need to understand about the mark of the beast is that it is a worldwide system that collects and gathers information. This will culminate in a chip, implanted in your body, that will personally connect you to the system.”
Grider is not a lone voice from the fringe. The legislature of the American state of Virginia took the threat so seriously that they passed a law preventing any employer in the state from requiring an RFID implant.
Katherine Albrecht, co-author of the book Spy Chip, won’t say for sure whether RFID is the mark of the beast, but she admits that, like phones that track our location and TVs that listen to what we say in our living rooms, RFID should give us concern. “All this frenzied placement of surveillance technology into the world is actually a part of the steps leading to the mark of the beast,” she said in a radio interview. “Because if you want to implement a global system in which all people must comply with a particular mandate, then you have to have the ability to make sure they are compliant. You can’t help but feel the hot breath of this thing that’s being built in order to demand worship from the world’s people.”
“I believe the mark or number of the beast will be a financial identification system that the antichrist will establish during the tribulation,” says Grider. “He will use the mark as a tool for controlling all aspects of society. Without their permission you will buy nothing, sell nothing and go nowhere untracked.”
Irvin Baxter, the founder and president of End Time Ministries, said, “Just as the United Nations pressures ‘rogue states’ into conforming through economic sanctions, a one-world political system, a one-world economy and a one-world religion will also be enforced through individual economic sanctions.”
Baxter’s reference to individual economic sanctions would have been crazy talk in the days before digital currency. But we have arrived at a time when authorities can turn on your power to purchase—or turn it off—with the press of a key. I have one particularly skittish credit card company that switches off my purchasing power if I try to buy anything at a distance from my home. I remember one awkward moment when my credit card failed to work while I was trying to check-in to a London hotel. I wanted to call up the card company and describe to them the existence of jet planes.
Then there are some who say the prophecy of Revelation 13:16 already took place in the time of the Roman Empire. But Albrecht disagrees. The technology simply didn’t exist back then. “We’ve never implemented in the past a system of buying and selling with numbers,” she says.
Resistance to the idea of implants remains strong. A receptionist at a doctor’s office in Colorado, USA, was talking with a patient about RFID chips. The patient was outraged by the idea. “Obamacare will see to it that the majority gets chipped,” she told her husband later. “But I’m here to tell you if I am deathly ill, I won’t seek treatment if it requires a chip. I will go and die in the wilderness like an animal.”
So if the antichrist wants to use RFID in the New World Order, he might learn from Disney World. Walt Disney Resorts puts RFID on visitor wristbands. Visitors then use their MagicBands to gain admittance to the parks, unlock their hotel rooms, order food and purchase mouse-eared hats and tacky souvenirs. One neat thing that the MagicBand does that is likely to earn it kudos is to identify a specific guest on its Mr Toad’s Wild Ride and send them a photo of their open-mouthed scream. Scanners can ID visitors from 10 metres away.
The MagicBand does demonstrate how RFID chips can regulate who can buy and sell. For example, parents can set spending limits on the MagicBands worn by their kids. Obviously you can’t let junior go crazy buying Star Wars figurines in one of the park’s shops.
But the reality is that the mark of the beast is not really about a chip.* Rather, it is about a choice—an allegiance to an unholy power. It’s a choice that will test your relationship and your loyalty to God.
Albrecht, too, admits that RFID chips may not be the mark of the beast. The chips may only be a step in the evolution of surveillance technology. “But every one of those steps [is] getting us closer to that end destination,” she says.
Then again, the ultimate mark of the beast technology may already be in your pocket. The new Shanghai Disney resort is thinking about skipping RFID MagicBands for guests. They believe they can use smartphones to accomplish most of the same functions.
* To learn more about what the Bible says about the mark of the beast, go to www.hop.ec/secrets.