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In the past I have reported various items which point to the possible nearness of that time when a “mark” will be required of all who would buy or sell. The “mark of the beast” is one of the well-known signs of the end of time and the imminent return of Christ on the clouds of glory. We read of this mark in Revelation 13. There, the second beast out of the land (land indicates the relative stability which allows for the rising of this beast) does wonders, making tire to come down out of heaven in the sight of men (vs. 13). He deceives by means of miracles (vs. 14). He directs that an image be made of the first beast (unified political powers of the earth). And he gives life to the image of the beast, requiring that all should worship that image or be killed. The image of the beast is given the power to speak and to execute punishment upon those who will not bow down to his demands. The subservient ones receive marks in their foreheads or in their right hands. The mark these receive is the number “666.” Whoever has not that number can neither buy nor sell. 

Two articles recently were brought to my attention which give some indication what form the mark of the beast can take. I can not vouch for the authenticity of the reports, yet these appear realistic enough to give pause for thought. 

The first article appeared in the Old Faith Contender, July-Sept., 1975, and in turn was quoted from Moody Magazine:

The Beast is a gigantic computer that takes up three floors at Administration Building of Common Market Headquarters. This ‘monster’ is a self programming unit that has over one hundred sensing input sources. Computer experts have been working on a plan to computerize all world trade. This master plan involves a digital numbering system for every human on earth. The computer would assign each citizen of the world a number to use for all buying and selling to avoid the problems of ordinary credit cards. The number would be invisibly “laser-tattooed” on the forehead or back of the hand. It would provide a walking credit card system. The number would show up under infra-red scanners to be placed at all check-out counters and places of business. Dr. Elderman suggested that by using three six-digital units, the entire world could be assigned a working credit card number. Other Common Market Officials believe that the present chaos and discord caused by the ‘mystery’ points to the need of a world currency—perhaps an international mark that would do away with all currency and coin.

When one of the Market leaders was asked what would happen if any person objected to the system and refused to co-operate, he replied rather pointedly, “We would have to use force to make him conform to requirements.”

And from the Maranatha Messenger the following article appeared:

On Tuesday, April, 1975, on the 6:30 a.m. Morning News on Radio Station KTRH in Houston, Texas, the following was broadcast: 

“A Nebraska based supermarket chain has become well known to the banking committees of Congress and to federal regulatory bodies, The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. The interest in these supermarkets by these financial groups is not in its food operations but in the results of its landmark experiment; First Federal was authorized by the FHLBB last January to install electronic terminals in the two supermarkets. Its transmatic money system enabled First Federal customers to make deposits and withdrawals from their accounts via computer, while shopping for groceries. The arrangement was the first of its kind in the state in E.F.T. (Electronic Fund Transfer). There is a huge conviction in financial circles that E.F.T. in one way or another will become a major means for transferring money in the near future. All buying and selling in the program will be done by computer. No currency, no change, no checks. In the program people would receive a number that had been assigned them tattooed in their wrist or forehead. The number is put in by a laser beam and cannot be felt. The number in the body is not seen with the naked eye and is as permanent as your fingerprints. All items of consumer goods will be marked with a computer mark. The check stand will also pick up the number in the person’s body and automatically total the price and deduct the amount from the person’s ‘Special Drawing Rights’ account. 

“Over eight cities in the U.S. have started this program. Some of the banks in the Portland, Oregon area have been asked to install this type of system in their banks. The marks are already appearing on items nationwide.”

I would want to caution us first of all that reports as the above ought to be taken with the proverbial “grain of salt.” I suggest that because repeatedly in the past I have observed somewhat “sensational” signs mentioned which are obviously designed to attract attention—and gain additional financial support for the group or organization which has such foresight as to warn its members of the future dangers. At the same time, the two quotations above are very similar to others I have read (and quoted) from other sources at other times. There is certainly that element of truth in these reports which causes one to sit back and think. 

That complex computers can be cheaply produced is evident to anyone who reads the daily newspaper. Ads appear with regularity advertising various “adding” machines which can do complex mathematical work. The prices are low—the cheapest is under $10.00. Stores are converting to computer registers. Ringing up a sale at the same time registers everything needed to check on stock or any of the other necessary tasks of operating a place of business. 

It is not difficult, then, to conceive of large computers (beast?) which can keep record of every individual and every transaction that takes place on the whole of the earth. If a hand-held machine at such low price can accomplish so much, it would hardly be a difficulty to design that which could keep a check on everything. There is even the suggestion that computers could translate instantaneously from one language to another; or could convey requested information by voice transmission. Could not then such a computer be the “image of the beast” which could literally speak and make demands which would serve to place all of mankind under the beast? 

The appearance of “marks” also serve to remind one of the end of this age. Hardly a grocery item can be purchased but that it has printed on it a set of unevenly spaced lines and some numbers. Whether men could have placed on them literal, but invisible, marks by means of laser beams, I do not know. That does not seem at all inconceivable. 

Already now, our own government has assigned to most of the citizens a number which enables one to carry on business with the government—the social security number. To this I have called your attention before. That number was, originally, for the purpose of collecting and distributing social security taxes. But increasingly, that number is being used for many other transactions. Only this past year we have received a notification from the Internal Revenue Service informing us, “In processing your return for the above tax year, we found that it did not include your spouse’s social security number. The number will be required for processing tax returns in the future.” (italics mine). At least there is the implied threat that unless one voluntarily takes on himself this social security number, he will not be able to have his income tax return processed (with the consequent penalties, I presume). 

What will be next? Will the government use a laser beam (or some other device to record a number permanently on each individual? 

The church and the child of God ought to be very observant of the things taking place today. We must not think that the time for warning and the sign of danger would be when someone writes a number, 666, on one’s forehead. The antichrist, and his forerunners, are more clever than that. The attempt will be rather to lead man, step-by-step, to accept the idea of the mark of the beast. At each step, there will be the attempt to show that the developing “mark” is essential to-progress and development. The danger for the church, then, is that it will be willing at each step to concede the necessity of that little step. 

The appearance of the first and second beast of Rev. 13is imminent. Many signs point in that direction. It behooves the church, therefore, to take special care. Present-day developments ought to be diligently studied. The church will not be able to change the course of events which lead to the establishment of the antichristian world power. Nor does it desire to do that. But it must itself beware lest its garments become spotted and it seeks to cooperate with the world. The spirit of compromise is obvious everywhere. Cooperation is the hallmark of this age. 

“Be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing, saith the Lord, and I will receive you,” II Corinthians 6:17b.