Some day, everyone alive on earth will be faced with a critical decision. The chief religious advisor to a powerful new world leader will head up the release of a "mark." It will be required globally for all buying and selling going forward. Everyone must decide: Will they receive this mark of the antichrist in their right hand or forehead, giving them a few more years of temporal comfort while damning their soul to an eternal hell? Or will they reject it and follow Jesus Christ instead, likely going hungry or starving and being cast out of normal society, but with a magnificent heaven to look forward to? I believe it is important for professing Christians to honestly ask themselves, "If I were faced with that choice for real, what would I choose...truly?" It's important to be sure we're saved, not playing the part in church. We may be closer to this day than we realize.
Thankfully, however, God has His own special seal for His saints. He places it in the forehead, a place of permanence! What an amazingly safe feeling it is to be sealed by God and have His Holy Spirit, signifying that we belong to Him forever (Revelation 22:4, Ephesians 1:13-14).
Revelation 7:2-3 - And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Below are six attributes that we know of the mark of the beast from the Bible, viewed specifically through the lens of 2021's technology and recent political developments.
1: Powerfully deceptive
First, the mark of the beast will be surrounded by extremely powerful deception. Revelation 13:11 says that the false prophet, who will implement this mark, "had two horns like a lamb". Apparently, he will posture himself as a Christian. He will come across as a meek, harmless, gentle little lamb, no doubt the nicest sort of fellow you'd meet. How strange it would seem to suspect him of anything sinister.
What will pastors say? Sadly, if covid is any indication, I think most will go along with the false prophet willingly. He will furnish pastors with arguments which sound moral, even if untrue, and back them up with relentless propaganda. He could claim that these marks will have all sorts of benefits: The elimination of financial theft through secure microchip transactions; Better sanitation via contactless payments;1 Improved contact tracing to save countless lives from disease; Secure vaccination records to "keep everyone safe." Billboards could read something like: "Save lives--get the mark!" Considering how successful propaganda was with covid, which has well over a 99% survival rate, we can only imagine how successful it might be against the backdrop of the terrible pestilences which will exist during these last days.
What will the church's attitude be? Probably nonchalant at first,2 and then hateful toward genuine Christians. Worldliness, social media, ungodly music, and immoral movies have all but blinded the modern American church. Most don't seem truly saved, unfortunately. Christians who warn others of this mark might be reproved for an "unloving approach," since they are essentially saying this beloved world leader is empowered by the devil himself. Pastors may preach sermons on why this is not the mark of the beast,345 and why it is rather our moral obligation as a testimony to the love of God for the world. Already, many theologians are spreading a dangerous belief that the mark is symbolic67 or couldn't be a microchip. Pastors may drop hints by telling their congregations to "be smart" and use their brains, thanking God for the scientific discoveries which have saved so many lives.8 Christian influencers may sign a statement urging the church to support this mark.9 Pastors might offer public prayers asking God for a smooth and safe rollout. Real Christians will feel increasingly uncomfortable, even in church, as the percentage of those who take the mark grows. The church may even blame these genuine Christians for many of the ills which will continue to befall society. I fear this speculation isn't too harsh given recent responses to masks and covid vaccines. This is assuming the church hasn't already been through a massive purge before then.
Furthermore, the beast and false prophet will have eerily deceptive personalities. II Thessalonians 2:10 says antichrist will come "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish". Jesus warned that "if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24). Wow, that's pretty scary! Were it not for the Holy Spirit guiding us, we ourselves would all be duped. The antichrist will be a finely tuned deceiver, the sum total of all the liars you have known who were so amiable, sincere, subtle, scheming, disarming, friendly, "genuine."
Even worse, antichrist will have supernatural satanic validation. The Bible teaches that the devil can perform miracles. For instance, he turned the rods of Pharaoh's magicians into serpents (Exodus 7:10-12). He sent "fire from heaven" onto Job's sheep, leaving only one shepherd to carry the message to Job at precisely the right time (Job 1:16). God warned Israelites not to believe a false prophet, even if he performed signs and wonders (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). While the devil's power is no match for God's, it is still very real. Antichrist himself will appear to die and come back to life (Revelation 13:3), and the false prophet will perform "great wonders," even causing "fire [to] come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men." This fire is evidently literal.
But why, then, isn't the devil performing such miracles today? Probably for dramatic effect. Imagine the shock of a sin-drunk world upon seeing supernatural miracles surrounding this charming new world leader. These miracles will create a tidal wave of heartfelt support for this leader--a wave of global emotion so intense that it will be nearly impossible to stand against, except for those who know Jesus Christ personally.
How will Christians see through this deception? For all his sneakiness, the false prophet still "spake as a dragon". Underneath the Christian-like rhetoric, the smile, the kind demeanor, the possible references to Bible verses, the seemingly logical appeals--underneath it all, what this man actually says is satanic. The true sheep, who know Jesus' voice, will reject this false prophet's mark (John 10:4-5).
2: Universally adopted
The second attribute of this mark of the beast is that it will be universally adopted.10 The Bible says it spans "both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond". That's odd. I would expect the rich and powerful to get an exemption--maybe governors, cabinet members, kings, and presidents. After all, leaders today often violate their own covid rules. Also, I might expect them to ignore the poorest people; why do they care whether prisoners get the mark? Or why require it for those without jobs or homes? Yet we see that all are expected to take it.
Maybe there are a few reasons for such a universal mandate. First, it could be a visible symbol of unprecedented global control. For the populace, it might bring a sense of belonging, being part of a "vibrant" movement, and identifying with an "amazing" world leader. It may be convenient.11 Earth's citizens will go about their daily business of buying and selling through the mark of the beast--through his mark, his number, and his name. For a tyrant hungry for power and a devil hungry for worship, this is the height of achievement.
Second, perhaps it will be cloaked as "necessary." The covid vaccine may gives us a glimpse into their strategy. Presidents and prime ministers proudly take the vaccine as an example to the people. They speak of protecting the prison populations and minorities from covid; the strategy is universal. Perhaps they will require a secure digital certificate of vaccination stored in an embedded microchip. Today, even though the vaccine is being rolled out--which was supposed to clear up the covid crisis--experts are still talking about the need to wear masks and social distance for at least the rest of this new year.12 Evidently, the first round of vaccines was never their end game.
Third, maybe the mark has to do with secure identification. If you like reading up on technology, you may have come across something called public/private key encryption.13 Chip credit cards use it. Although you can copy the stripe on a card, you cannot copy the private key inside the chip. Similarly, if implemented correctly, a microchip embedded under the skin could be a highly secure way to identify people.14 Maybe that's another reason for a global mandate.
3: Specifically located
The third attribute of this mark is its specific location, either in the right hand or in the forehead. The Bible is amazing! God knew how this will play out thousands of years before, down to the smallest detail.
Why is the mark "in" (instead of "on") the right hand or forehead? That fits perfectly with a microchip embedded under the skin. It also makes sense for an emerging vaccine technology called a "microdot tattoo." They can apply the vaccine in a sort of "bandaid" which leaves behind a "tattoo" invisible to the unaided eye, but which can be seen with a specially fitted smartphone.15 Even traditional tattoos are "in" the skin, not simply painted on top. I've read an article comparing the public's acceptance of microchipping to that of tattoos.1617
Why are two places allowed, and not just one? Maybe it's more practical. Some people have lost their right hands to battle or disease. Hindus already have marks on their foreheads. Two options should accommodate everyone.
Why these two locations in particular? Maybe the devil prefers the forehead to counterfeit God's holy seal on His saints (Revelation 14:1; 22:4; Ezekiel 9:4). But the hand is probably more practical (see also, Exodus 13:9). In a microchip scenario, a person could simply place their hand under the scanner, similar to how people make mobile payments with their smartphones.18 In fact, some people are implanting their hands with microchips already, and the recommended placement is between the thumb and forefinger.19 Why the right hand and not the left? Perhaps because it signifies strength (e.g., Psalm 74:11), and allowing only one hand increases efficiency in long lines at amusement parks, restaurants, or concerts.
With the covid era has come the widespread use of temperature scanners, specifically scanning the forehead. Against the backdrop of Revelation, this is quite eerie. As Christians, we know that one day they will be checking foreheads not for tempertatures but for marks.
4: Economically required
The fourth attribute of this mark is that it will be required for buying and selling. Does that sound familiar? Already, they are talking about requiring covid vaccines for international travel. Rumors abound of "covid green cards" or vaccination certificates for entry into events, and Microsoft and others are already working on digital vaccine passport technology.20 Someone may suggest a secure microchip, which would solve logistic and security issues with paper cards and even phone apps (friends could use each others' phones illegally).
What about online shopping? Will that be exempt? No, apparently not. Some have speculated that Amazon might require covid vaccination.21 Commerce websites could require a digital signature with a microchip instead of a password. In New York City, I saw a man selling things on the sidewalk and accepting credit card payments with his smartphone and a mobile card reader. Some phones today have NFC technology already built in. No more wallets to get stolen, no more keys to lose--a single microchip would replace it all.22
Worse, you cannot even sell without one of these marks. Maybe society will be entirely cashless, requiring the digital mark for giving or receiving currency. The black market will probably transition entirely to bartering. Christians trying to survive will not be able to sell their extra possessions to buy necessities like food. How could you pay power bills? How could you pay for food, gasoline, or water? I imagine most Christians at this time will have to live very primitive lives, surviving on what they can provide for themselves or barter. And widespread treachery will likely make underground bartering dangerous (Micah 7:5-6).
The possible three-fold nature of the mark
Revelation 13:17 gives an interesting three-fold nature of this mark: "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had [a] the mark, or [b] the name of the beast, or [c] the number of his name." It's interesting that the word "or" is used here; it's as though antichrist will provide a couple of temporary alternatives. Marking billions of people will take some time; but those who get the mark first will want to use it right away. Temporary substitutes could be issued while people wait for their turn.
What exactly are these two (temporary) substitutes? I think the key is to look at them together: "the name of the beast, or the number of his name". I.e., one has to do more with writing ("the name"), the other with numbers ("the number of his name"). I think the first is written documentation; it could be a paper certificate of vaccination, a signed statement of willingness to get the mark when available, or a hard copy of a "green card" with temporary permission to buy, sell, and work.23 This would be the most practical solution in developing countries.
I think "the number of his name" could very well refer to something digital. Computers and phones are all about numbers; even letters correspond to numbers. While people wait for their implanted mark, they could install a special phone app, apparently published by the beast, which acts as a secure digital "green card" to buy, sell, work, and enter events.
I also suspect that long-term, the mark will be accompanied by a special phone app. The damnation to hell seems to occur only for the mark itself (Revelation 14:9-11; 16:2; 19:20), which is something physical and readily identified. Yet the saints, which do not get this physical mark, are also said to gain victory over "the number of his name" (Revelation 15:2), or something digital (possibly). This would make sense; those who reject the mark will obviously reject the corresponding phone app, since it goes along with something they don't even have. It also makes practical sense. A microchip is good at providing secure identification and storing vaccine history, but it's not very good at most other things. Even if it could perform online networking and GPS, do we really expect routine firmware and software updates on something so small? Probably not. It makes more sense to keep the microchip as slim as possible while allowing a corresponding phone app to do the rest. The app could constantly check distances to other phones via Bluetooth for contact tracing. It could report GPS coordinates to an online server. Phones could even require microchip authentication to unlock the screen. Antichrist could use a mark and app for almost endless purposes.
Possible two-step implementation
I think it's at least possible that the mark won't be required for buying and selling immediately. The timing in Revelation 13:16-17 seems a little ambiguous to me. Verse 16 says he causes all to get this mark; and then 17 says, "and that no man might buy or sell". Both requirements could be passed in a single law, but I think they could be passed separately. In other words, if something looks like the mark and smells like the mark, it probably is, even if it's not technically required for buying and selling right away. I think that in any case, the direction toward this economic requirement will be clear.
5: Wisely identified
The fifth attribute of this mark is that it can be wisely identified. Apparently, finding the number 666 will require some "understanding" of the technology, while verifying and accepting this calculation will require "wisdom" (Revelation 13:18). The surest path to wisdom is living for Jesus Christ today, walking in righteousness and holiness, avoiding the filth of the world, and learning to ask God for wisdom in everyday situations. Conversely, the surest path to completely "missing the mark" is being wrapped up in worldly TV shows, leading an ungodly life, and being a hypocrite in the church.
The peculiar word "count" is used here. In other words, we can apparently arrive at the number by simple addition (counting) rather than by multiplication. It's likely that if we take the beast's name and assign numbers to each letter, the sum would be 666. But how do we know which numbers to assign to which letters? And which language do we use? I think that is where we need wisdom.
The most obvious numbering system starts with A=1, B=2, etc. Of course, each language is different, and this probably makes no sense for hieroglyphic languages like Chinese. In English, this numbering system would require a rather long name for the beast. Since our alphabet has 26 letters, the average numerical assignment is 13, meaning the beast's name would have to be about 50 characters long, on average, to reach 666. That's about as long as this entire sentence without spaces.
Another likely candidate, in my opinion, is something called ASCII. It's a numbering system widely used by computers. If you've ever saved a plain text file (.txt) in English, it's probably in ASCII. Even Unicode, which can support special characters in other languages, starts off by including the basic ASCII codes. In ASCII, A=65, B=66, etc. Messages ciphered by hand typically use only upper-case letters with no spaces, and to me, that makes the most sense here as well. For example, if we take the name Bill Gates, who is the founder of the tech giant Microsoft, the ASCII codes (for "BILLGATES") add up to 663. Because he's Bill Gates the third, some people add 3 to get to 666. That last step is a bit arbitrary, but it's interesting. While it seems unlikely that Bill Gates is the antichrist, he certainly has been promoting one-world agendas.
Of course, more than one name can add up to 666. Some calculations are less elegant than others. For instance, "HITLER" adds up to 666 if you start with A=101, B=102, etc. Starting at 101 may be slightly forced, but Revelation does point out that the antichrist will be "of the seven" previous "beasts" (Revelation 17:11), of which Hitler was the seventh. Perhaps the antichrist will be a sort of reincarnation of the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. When antichrist comes, I believe that calculating his name to 666 will be mathematically elegant, though possibly obscure.
Another intriguing piece of technology is the common barcode.24 On most of these, you can see a double thin line at the beginning, middle, and end. Oddly, this double thin line resembles the pattern for the number "6" in the right side of the barcode. (On the left side, all of the patterns are inverted, with black and white reversed.) This means that the resemblance of "666" is there.2526 What's more odd is that we use these for buying and selling. Someone actually asked the inventor, George Laurer, about that. He said it was coincidence, just like the fact that his first, middle, and last names have six letters each (George Joseph Laurer III).27 Could God have used this "coincidence" to warn us that the barcode is a precursor to the mark of the beast? Or could Laurer have been coding his name into the barcode as a clever and geeky sort of tribute to himself as its inventor, since he himself brings up the correlation to his name? I don't know. Revelation says that 666 "is the number of a man", i.e., individually rather than mankind as a whole. Laurer seemed a bit frustrated at the biblical question. He may have had some animosity to the Bible, in my opinion, based on how he responds. I would think barcodes are too low-tech to be the mark of the beast these days, but Andrew Yang (former American democratic presidential nominee) recently suggested them for covid vaccination certificates.28
6: Eternally damning
Lastly, this mark will be eternally damning. God warns:
Revelation 14:9 - And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 - The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 - And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
12 - Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
To those who get the mark in their right hand, there may be one possible hope. Jesus said in Matthew 5:30: "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." With the Ninevites, such a person could say, "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" Any chance of escaping eternal hell would be worth it.
Genuine Christians will reject this mark (Revelation 15:2; 20:4) because they have the Holy Spirit guiding them. For the lukewarm professing church, this will be a great revelation of true loyalties. To reject the mark is to literally reject this entire world system. It likely means going hungry, possibly starving, being out in the cold, and without friends other than Jesus Christ and other "outcast" Christians. Like the "hall of faith" saints in Hebrews 11, "they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." Isn't God sweet in His wording here? The unsaved world likes to think that Christians are not worthy of them, but God sees it differently. He says the world is not worthy of us!
Verse 12 says, "Here is the patience of the saints". God uses this phrase just after talking about the eternal torment of the unsaved in hell. Revelation 13:10 has similar wording: "He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." In other words, to get through persecution, it is good for us to think about the coming judgment of our persecutors. I believe it helps us to pray for them. After all, when our suffering has ended, we have an amazing eternity in heaven awaiting. On the other hand, the wicked may have a few fleeting years of comfort, mingled with bitterness and constant unrest of soul (Isaiah 57:20-21). And when that ends, they have only an eternity in hell and the literal lake of fire. It's dreadful. By thinking about this, we can love them. We remember that we are on the side that totally wins in the end, despite present appearances.
Will the church still be on earth?
Will the church still be on earth during the mark of the beast? My personal opinion is mostly yes. I believe the very godly saints will escape it, but that the rapture itself will occur sometime during the second half of the seven-year period (which is known as the "pre-wrath" rapture).
However, I do believe that some Christians will escape this entire seven-year era. First, Revelation 3:10 says: "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." Philadelphia is the second-to-last church listed, and so I suppose this promise could be for the church age preceding the antichrist; i.e., that God would hold back the antichrist until this generation has died off (or, as many believe, is raptured). But I also think these churches represent seven types of churches throughout history, and so I take this as a promise to Christians who live consistent, godly lives. God promises to protect them from this hour, not in it; and the protection is from the hour specifically, not merely the events during it. To me, that means they somehow escape the entire ordeal, rather than being preserved in the midst of it.
Second, Jesus said in Luke 21:36: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." The previous verse says, "For as a snare shall it [that day] come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." Since it's such a global event, the only place of escape, in my opinion, is heaven. It sounds like Jesus is giving us hope of escape if we follow His commands in that passage.
However, I also believe that most Christians will not escape this era. First, the promise in Revelation is only to one of the seven churches. In each of the seven letters, the introduction and conclusion are mainly for the church as a whole, while the middle is mostly for each specific church. Just as Jesus' rebuke in Revelation 3:2 is to Sardis, and His praise in 2:6 to Ephesus, so His promise in 3:10 is for Philadelphia.
Second, Luke 21:36 has a contingency. Only Christians who "Watch ye therefore, and pray always" can hope to escape these things. Reading that verse, I've been convicted for not praying enough. Entertainment is another huge trap. I think this is what Jesus partly meant in verse 34; if we're not careful, the drunkenness and surfeiting (excess) of the world, through TV shows and movies, will "overcharge" our hearts. We may not approve or partake in their sins, but I think Jesus is warning against being dulled to sin by exposure, mostly through worldly entertainment. Such entertainment dulls our shocked reaction at sin and makes it seem more "normal." Jesus' contingency is a sobering call to live more godly lives separated from worldliness.
Nevertheless, I don't think this is a promise of escaping martyrdom. It's a hope of escaping "all these things", but what things? If we go backwards until verse 12, Jesus says, "But before all these...". In other words, the protection starts at the earthquakes, wars, famines, and pestilences of verse 10, or the start of the seven-year seventieth week of Daniel. Before that starts, some wonderful Christians will be martyred in a "first wave" of persecution (Luke 21:16).
In fact, maybe Jesus will deliver His most godly saints through martyrdom. You may ask, "What kind of deliverance is that?" Yet the mark of the beast era will be so bad that it will overshadow even the Nazi era. Jesus said "Men's hearts" will be "failing them for fear" (verse 26). Isaiah 57:1 says, "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come." Can you imagine the most godly Christians suddenly dying of health issues, car accidents, martyrdom, and other random causes? It may be as though, before the sun sets on the darkest hour in world history, Jesus brings His very faithful saints home safely beside Him.
In any case, everyone who loves Jesus Christ will one day be in heaven with Him. The end of Revelation talks about how incredible it will be, and our best attempts at imagining it must be terribly feeble. I love the way I Corinthians 2:9 puts it: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Not only does heaven have wonderful sights and sounds, but our hearts will be flooded with incredible emotions and healing that we cannot imagine.
Isaiah 65:17 - For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
I disagree with most of these articles, but the quotes are meant to document statements made earlier.
- Adrian Rogers sermon entitled "666: The Mark of the Beast"; LWF number #2352. It is unclear when this sermon was originally given. Audio accessed at: https://www.lwf.org/sermons/audio/666-the-mark-of-the-beast-2352, transcript at https://www.lwf.org/pdfs/666-THE-MARK-OF-THE-BEAST-TRANSCRIPT-2352.pdf; accessed 2021 January
- The Atlantic, "Why You’re Probably Getting a Microchip Implant Someday" by Haley Weiss, written 2018 September 21, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/09/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-microchip/570946/, accessed 2021 January
- Creation.com, "RNA Vaccines" by Robert Carter; published 2020 December 03; https://creation.com/rna-vaccines, accessed 2021 January
- USA Today, "Fact check: Americans won’t have microchips implanted by end of 2020" by Camille Caldera, published 2020 August 1; https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/08/01/fact-check-americans-will-not-receive-microchips-end-2020/5413714002/, accessed 2021 January
- The Tennessean, "'Mark of the beast?' Microchipping employees raises apocalyptic questions" by Holly Meyer, published 2017 August 04; https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2017/08/04/mark-beast-microchipping-employees-raises-apocalyptic-questions/538162001/, accessed 2021 January
- USA Today, "You will get chipped — eventually" by Jefferson Graham, published 2017 August 9; https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/08/09/you-get-chipped-eventually/547336001/, accessed 2021 January
- EuroWeekly, "Swedes get futuristic high tech implants in their hands to replace cash and credit cars, eliminating Coronavirus contact" by Tony Winterburn, published 2020 April 10; https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2020/04/10/swedes-get-futuristic-high-tech-implants-in-their-hands-to-replace-cash-and-credit-cars-eliminating-coronavirus-contact/, accessed 2021 January
- The Conversation, "Thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips into themselves – here’s why" by Moa Petersén, written 2018 June 20; https://theconversation.com/thousands-of-swedes-are-inserting-microchips-into-themselves-heres-why-97741, accessed 2021 January
- The Washington Post, "Some feared hackers and the devil. Others got microchipped." by Danielle Paquette, RIVER FALLS, Wis., published 2017 August 1; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/08/01/some-feared-hackers-and-the-devil-others-got-microchipped/, accessed 2021 January
- Stephen Davey, sermon entitled "666"; transcript obtained at https://www.wisdomonline.org/, teaching archive, https://cdn.subsplash.com/documents/3TZNBD/_source/25cf8065-cd7d-4ac1-b899-b17d6e6d5410/document.pdf, accessed 2021 January
- Israel National News, "'We won't force vaccine; but here's what we will do'" by Mordechai Sones, published 2020 November 26; https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/292039, accessed 2021 January
- Laurer: "QUESTIONS" (for UPC, barcodes); members.aol.com/productupc/questions.html (no longer online), written December 1998, revised 1999 April 17; accessed 2021 January via web.archive.org "Wayback Machine", http://web.archive.org/web/19991005064807/http://members.aol.com/productupc/questions.html
- Christian Post: "Francis Collins says COVID-19 vaccines don't use 'fresh' fetal tissue: 'Absolutely not the case'" https://www.christianpost.com/news/francis-collins-covid-19-vaccines-christian-perspective.html, accessed 2021 January
- Modern Healthcare, "UN: COVID-19 herd immunity unlikely in 2021 despite vaccines" by Associated Press, published 2021 January 11; https://www.modernhealthcare.com/safety/un-covid-19-herd-immunity-unlikely-2021-despite-vaccines, accessed 2021 January; referenced in Christian Post, https://www.christianpost.com/news/moderna-ceo-world-will-have-to-live-with-covid-19-forever.html
- Science Alert, "An Invisible Quantum Dot 'Tattoo' Could Be Used to ID Vaccinated Kids" by Victor Tangermann, published 2019 December 21; https://www.sciencealert.com/an-invisible-quantum-dot-tattoo-is-being-suggested-to-id-vaccinated-kids, accessed 2021 January
- The Guardian, "The rise of microchipping: are we ready for technology to get under the skin?" by Oscar Schwartz, published 2019 November 8; https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/08/the-rise-of-microchipping-are-we-ready-for-technology-to-get-under-the-skin, accessed 2021 January
- Christian Post, "2,700 evangelicals warn against politicizing coronavirus, urge Christians to take vaccine" by Leonardo Blair, published 2020 August 20; https://www.christianpost.com/news/2700-evangelicals-warn-against-politicizing-coronavirus-urge-christians-to-take-vaccine.html, accessed 2021 January
- Christian Post, "Kanye West says COVID-19 vaccine is 'mark of the beast;' Hank Hanegraaff responds" by Leah MarieAnn Klett, published 2020 July 20; https://www.christianpost.com/news/kanye-west-says-covid-19-vaccine-is-mark-of-the-beast-hank-hanegraaff-responds.html, accessed 2021 January
- CNBC, "Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle back plan to develop a digital Covid vaccination passport" by Sam Shead, published 2021 January 14; https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/14/microsoft-salesforce-and-oracle-working-on-covid-vaccination-passport.html, accessed 2021 January
- Logos, "The Covid Vaccine has 666 Written All Over It…and Why that Doesn’t Matter According to Revelation" by Tavis Bohlinger, posted 2020 May 18; https://academic.logos.com/the-covid-vaccine-has-666-written-all-over-it-and-why-that-doesnt-matter-according-to-revelation/, accessed 2021 January
- The Gospel Coalition, "Revelation, Coronavirus, and the Mark of the Beast: How Should Christians Read the Bible’s Most Fascinating Book? (Part 3)" by Kevin DeYoung, posted 2020 June 16; https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevin-deyoung/revelation-coronavirus-and-the-mark-of-the-beast-how-should-christians-read-the-bibles-most-fascinating-book-part-3/, accessed 2021 January
Below, I quote from a lot of sources with which I disagree to document statements made earlier in this article.
From EuroWeekly: "Using the implants makes cash and credit cards redundant and massively reduces the risk of transmitted infections by the coronavirus." ↩
From Creation.com, Carter dismisses concerns that possible vaccine tattoos or biochips could be related to the mark of the beast, which I find quite unsettling: "There are other potential concerns [with RNA vaccines] that have nothing to do with the new technology... There is some scuttlebutt circulating about ‘vaccine tattoos’... The thought is that one could generate a code in the form of invisible titanium dioxide dots that coat an array of microneedles. When the needle array is applied to the skin, the dots would remain behind and could then be detected for several years afterward. Most middle-aged adults who had a smallpox vaccination as a child still have a small, raised area on their skin. So what? Back then, nobody seemed to be worried that this was some marker that was going to hasten the end of the world." ↩
From The Tennessean: "Reading the Book of Revelation is complex, said Vlachos, who teaches a class on it. The first chapter points out that some of it is meant to be taken symbolically. / But even if a believer interprets the entire text literally, Vlachos said the "mark of the beast" verses specifically mention two key details. / "Taking the mark goes hand in hand with the conscience decision of publicly pledging ones allegiance or loyalty to the beast and worshiping his image," Vlachos said. / The mark is not a random number either. It always names the Antichrist, either numerically or alphabetically. / "I often say to my students, 'no name, no worries,'" Vlachos said. / While he doesn't think technologies like microchipping are a sign of end times, Vlachos doesn't rule out that they could be one of the precursors, like birth pangs, preceding the end that Jesus talked about with his disciples. It's fine to put them on the back burner and focus on clear issues like an allegiance to Jesus." ↩
From Stephen Davey ("666" sermon): "Lest some think that this future mark of the beast is a chip placed under the skin, notice the Bible uses terminology that informs us that it will be on or upon the right hand or forehead. This is clearly intended to be a visible mark that would be obvious to everyone." [The KJV, which I believe is correct, uses the word "in", not "on". Interestingly, Davey actually brings up microchipping later in the sermon to establish the plausibility of the mark, and so his position is not entirely clear to me. I do find it concerning that he dismisses an embedded microchip as the mark in this quote.] ↩
From Christian Post (Hanegraaff): "'I say this because biblically, the mark of the beast is symbolic is quite obviously a parody of the mark of the lamb,' he stressed. 'Biblical interpretation matters. If we interpret the Bible incorrectly, we’ll think the Bible is a bunch of nonsense.' / 'The mark in Revelation 13 symbolizes identity with the beast. And as such, identifying with Satan's kingdom is what will keep you out of Heaven, not getting vaccinated,' said Hanegraaff. 'As Kanye West must surely know, the forehead and the hands of people are Old Testament symbols of their beliefs and behavior.' / Hanegraaff pointed out that in Exodus 13, 'eating unleavened bread is likened to a sign on the hand and a reminder on the forehead of the children of Israel. And thus, the mark of the beast in Revelation is securely tethered to the Scripture.' / 'Kanye West’s interpretation of the mark of the beast as a vaccination or silicon or microchip is tenuously tethered to thin air,' he added. 'The multitudes who follow West should know taking on the mark of the beast is the intentional denial in thought, in word, in deed of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.'" ↩
From Logos: "I claimed that the mark of the beast (666) is most likely not a physical or visible mark" ... "There is no biblical reason to think that accepting government-mandated social security numbers is the equivalent of taking the mark of the beast. Whatever the current issue may be (vaccines, SSN, chip implants, SIM cards, etc), we need to be careful about confusing our personal and/or political convictions with the meaning of a biblical text." ↩
From The Gospel Coalition: "All of which is to say, whatever you think of the way the medical establishment and the media and our politicians have handled this global pandemic, the mark of the beast is not going to be found in an implanted microchip." ↩
From Christian Post (Collins): Speaking of the covid vaccine, "'We are people who are capable of rational thought,' he contended. 'We should be using it right now even as we are giving thanks to God Almighty that we are in a position to say that this pandemic could be behind us.'" ↩
See Christian Post article in sources section entitled, "2,700 evangelicals warn against politicizing coronavirus, urge Christians to take vaccine" ↩
From USA Today, "You will get chipped — eventually": "Religious activists are so appalled, they've been penning nasty 1-star reviews of the company, Three Square Market, on Google, Glassdoor and social media. / On the flip side, seemingly everyone else wants to know: Is this what real life is going to be like soon at work? Will I be chipped? / “It will happen to everybody,” says Noelle Chesley, 49, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “But not this year, and not in 2018. Maybe not my generation, but certainly that of my kids.” / Gene Munster, an investor and analyst at Loup Ventures, is an advocate for augmented reality, virtual reality and other new technologies. He thinks embedded chips in human bodies is 50 years away. “In 10 years, Facebook, Google, Apple and Tesla will not have their employees chipped,” he says. “You’ll see some extreme forward-looking tech people adopting it, but not large companies.” / The idea of being chipped has too “much negative connotation” today, but by 2067 “we will have been desensitized by the social stigma,” Munster says." ↩
From The Atlantic: "But sooner or later, the laws will change, and the frightening will become familiar. After all, all it took in Sweden for RFID implants to become widespread and normalized was the simple appeal of never having to deal with a lost key. Whenever it happens, like waves of new tech before it, implantable RFID will bring us the next iteration of the yin-and-yang symptoms of technology we’ve seen time and time again. We will likely be healthier, safer, more informed, and more connected, and we will continue to disagree over whether it matters if our privacy and autonomy were the corresponding costs." ↩
See entry for Modern Healthcare ↩
For a good non-technical description of public/private key encryption, see this page (as of 2021 January): https://blog.vrypan.net/2013/08/28/public-key-cryptography-for-non-geeks/, published 2013 August 28, accessed 2021 January. This type of encryption is what we call asymmetric because there are two keys which basically do opposite things. If key A encrypts a message, only key B can decrypt it, and vice versa. One key is kept very secret (the "private key"), while the other is distributed freely. So for instance, a microchip could verify its identity by encrypting a message with its private key. If the public key successfully decrypts it, this proves that the message came from the microchip, the only device with the private key. Although the keys are mathematically related opposites, it is effectively impossible to determine one from the other if the keys are long enough. ↩
From The Guardian: "Microchip implants are essentially cylindrical bar codes that, when scanned, transmit a unique signal through a layer of skin." ↩
From Science Alert: "For the people overseeing nationwide vaccination initiatives in developing countries, keeping track of who had which vaccination and when can be a tough task. / But researchers from MIT might have a solution: they've created an ink that can be safely embedded in the skin alongside the vaccine itself, and it's only visible using a special smartphone camera app and filter. ... The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the team's research, which was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday. ... According to a Scientific American story, the project came about following a direct request from Microsoft founder Bill Gates himself, who has been personally involved in efforts to eradicate polio and measles through vaccinations. / The invisible "tattoo" accompanying the vaccine is a pattern made up of minuscule quantum dots - tiny semiconducting crystals that reflect light - that glows under infrared light. The pattern - and vaccine - gets delivered into the skin using hi-tech dissolvable microneedles made of a mixture of polymers and sugar." ↩
From USA Today, "You will get chipped -- eventually": "After years of being a subculture, “the time is now” for chips to be more commonly used, says Amal Graafstra, founder of Dangerous Things. “We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos do now.”" ↩
From The Washington Post ("Some feared..."): "The bearded body piercer with tattooed forearms tells Sam Bengtson to take a deep breath, and then he plunges in the needle, implanting a microchip into the software engineer's hand. / “That was nothing,” Bengston says, as the piercer smooths a bandage onto his skin. / The radio-frequency identification tag now lodged between his index finger and thumb will allow Bengtson to open doors and log onto his computer at work with a wave." ↩
From USA Today, "You will get chipped -- eventually": "This would go beyond paying with your smartphone. Instead, chipped customers would simply wave their hands in lieu of Apple Pay and other mobile-payment systems. / The benefits don't stop there. In the future, consumers could zip through airport scanners sans passport or drivers license; open doors; start cars; and operate home automation systems. All of it, if the technology pans out, with the simple wave of a hand." ↩
From The Atlantic: "When Patrick McMullan first heard in early 2017 that thousands of Swedish citizens were unlocking their car doors and turning on coffee machines with a wave of their palm, he wasn’t too impressed. Sure, the technology—a millimeters-long microchip equipped with near-field communication capabilities and lodged just under the skin—had a niche, cutting-edge appeal, but in practical terms, a fob or passcode would work just as well." ↩
From CNBC: "Key Points: A digital Covid vaccination passport is being jointly developed by a group of health and technology companies who anticipate that governments, airlines and other firms will soon start asking people for proof that they have been inoculated. / A coalition known as the Vaccination Credential Initiative — which includes Microsoft, Salesforce and Oracle, as well as U.S. health care non-profit Mayo Clinic — was announced on Thursday. / The VCI said it wants to develop technology that enables individuals to obtain an encrypted digital copy of their immunization credentials that can be stored in a digital wallet of their choice, such as the Apple Wallet or Google Pay." ↩
From Israel National News: "... commentators such as Mike Cernovich writing: 'Government won’t force you to take vaccine. Amazon will. Airlines will. Banks will. You won’t be able to buy, sell, or trade without the vaccine.'" ↩
From The Conversation, "Thousands of Swedes are inserting microchips into themselves – here’s why" by Moa Petersén, published 2020 June 20; https://theconversation.com/thousands-of-swedes-are-inserting-microchips-into-themselves-heres-why-97741, accessed 2021 January: "Thousands of people in Sweden have inserted microchips, which can function as contactless credit cards, key cards and even rail cards, into their bodies. Once the chip is underneath your skin, there is no longer any need to worry about misplacing a card or carrying a heavy wallet. But for many people, the idea of carrying a microchip in their body feels more dystopian than practical." ↩
From Israel National News: "[Sheba Medical Center Chief Medical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Eyal] told the committee [Special Knesset Coronavirus Committee chaired by MK Yifat Shasha-Biton] ... 'What is possible is to create motivation. Whoever is vaccinated will automatically receive 'green status'. Therefore, you may vaccinate, and receive Green Status to go freely in all the green zones: They'll open for you cultural events, they'll open to you the shopping malls, hotels, and restaurants. ... Assuming we're discussing a protracted period when part of the population will be vaccinated and part won't, for a year even, we see those [green zone] areas growing in size ...' " ↩
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Product_Code, accessed 2021 January ↩
From AV1611.org, "What about barcodes and 666: The Mark of the Beast?" by Terry Watkins, copyright 1999; http://www.av1611.org/666/barcode.html, accessed 2021 January ↩
"666 In The Universal Product Code: Is The UPC Code The Forerunner Of The 'Mark of the Beast'?" by Eric Jewell; https://rense.com/general20/666.htm, accessed 2021 January. ↩
From Laurer, answering submitted questions: "Question- Rumor has it that the lines (left, middle, and right) that protrude below the U.P.C. code are the numbers 6,6,6... and that this is the international money code. I typed a code with all sixes and this seems to be true. At least they all resemble sixes. What's up with that? 11/11/98 / Answer- Yes, they do RESEMBLE the code for a six. An even parity 6 is [technical description] ... / There is nothing sinister about this nor does it have anything to do with the Bible's "mark of the beast" (The New Testament, The Revelation, Chapter 13, paragraph 18). It is simply a coincidence like the fact that my first, middle, and last name all have 6 letters. There is no connection with an international money code either. / For more hogwash about 666 implications of the U.P.C., government form numbers, other publications, codes and the like, see Mary Sterwart Relfe's book "The New Money System". Such hype about the U.P.C. has been around since 1973. / Question- You state that the presence of "666" (left, middle, and right) in bar codes has no relation to the Biblical scripture referring to that number. However, you do not state where you came up with that number. Was it purely random (which I doubt, since you probably put great thought in every aspect of your invention), or does it serve a purpose? Or does the bar/space representation of a "6" just provide for a ascetically [sic] good separator? 2/125[sic]/99 / Answer- No bars are there for esthetic [sic] purposes, to do so would defeat the goal of making the tolerances as great as possible and the area as small as possible. / Each character is a fixed length, 7 modules and composed of two spaces and two bars. Form the outer ends toward the center, the character starts with a space and therefore a single bar is required to "close" the character. The other bar is used to allow the level setting (gain) circuitry to adjust to the contrast of the particular symbol. The center pattern is narrow space, narrow bar, narrow space, narrow bar. This pattern is 4 modules wide and distinguishes it from the a 7 module character thus giving direction and end information to the logic. / The assignment of digits to specific patterns was arbitrary." (I suspect Laurer may have had contempt for the Bible given the way he references Revelation 13:18 the way you would reference any common book. During that time in America, both he and his audience must have been familiar enough with the Bible to have simply said "Revelation 13:18," or to say "verse" instead of "paragraph". Since he may have had a pivotal role in creating a precursor to the mark of the beast, this possible contempt is rather interesting to me.) ↩
From Andrew Yang's twitter feed, @AndrewYang, tweeted 2020 December 18 12:36PM UTC-5; https://twitter.com/AndrewYang/status/1339987988718206976, accessed 2021 January: "Is there a way for someone to easily show that they have been vaccinated - like a bar code they can download to their phone? There ought to be." ↩