Around the turns of 15 years ago, I used to enjoy the rambling tunes of a band named Thumpasaurus Rex. It was sort of a grunge heavy metal that I enjoyed and the lead guitarist is a good friend of mine. My favorite tune was titled “666 and wears a fish hat”. It makes me think now how pervasive the antichrist and the end times are in pop culture.
That pervasiveness is not without reason. There are many scary climaxes to be found in the book of Revelation. War, famine and pestilence carried out by Angels dumping vials of torment upon the earth are just a few of them. Of all the terrible highlights though, the mark of the beast is probably the most discussed. It’s a chapter (Rev 13) so frightening that Christians quake and skeptics scoff.
Less than a few decades ago, such a concept as a global identifier would have been a technological impossibility. While a plausible idea, an implementation of such magnitude, to track all human commerce, could not have been created. Computers simply were not fast enough or cheap enough. Today though, we’re pretty much there as computer devices are smaller than ever. Remember those 1980’s cell phones!
None the less, had the means been available a few decades ago, the general population would not have allowed such a thing as the mark to take place. People were, and still are, too privacy conscious. Who wants to be tagged like cattle? People as a whole tend to believe in freedom and the tag line to freedom is privacy. The mark of the beast is the antithesis of freedom and privacy.
Those who accept the scriptures as gospel often interpret the events of the antichrist in some far away distant time. I’ve read such in popular Christian books. I suppose, even if superficially, that makes sense. Our world view simply doesn’t allow for such totalitarian politics and, to use a pun, what in heavens name could make us?
I somewhat agree. Our general global population would not tolerate having a commerce tagging device implant forced upon us. Such a government attempt would be met with an extremely bloody resistance. While subtle attempts have been made at unifying current identification standards, most of those attempts have been resisted. Freedom from unmerited government intrusion is embedded in our American culture.
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. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Where then does this leave us room for interpretation? Do we believe the event to be off in some distant totalitarian time like George Orwell’s 1984 or do we, like some, shuffle the passages off to a semantic interpretive of ‘no one really knows’? I find both of those positions to lack merit and substance.
I believe there is a solid understanding for the mark of the beast that fits perfectly well with our day and age. Simply put, people will want it. How so you ask? The answer is security. People desire security and, when push comes to shove, they will sacrifice privacy for security. It’s highly probable that global terrorism will increase exponentially and people will beg, nay, they will demand to be chipped!
The twin towers of New York on September 11th were a visionary display of terrorism. Unfortunately for the terrorists, that took years of planning and lots of money. What happens when a large number of movie theaters and shopping malls are hit with backpack bombs? When this happens, public opinions will sway and those who were once privacy conscious will beg for that forehead mark in order to protect the lives of their sons and daughters. No, the mark will not be sold to the public on religious foundations, I believe it will be sold to the public on the grounds of security.
With this interpretation, the mark of the beast is not precluded to some distant, far-away time in the future. It is, as most Bible prophecies are, closer than we believe and certainly truer than we can imagine. As it is written, he that hath ears to hear, let him hear.