Saturday, 5 March 2011
. . . that the Image of the beast should both speake, and cause that as many as would not worship the Image of the beast, should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both smal and great rich and poore, free and bond, to receiue a marke in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, saue he that had the marke, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisedome. Let him that hath vnderstanding, count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number is, sixe hundred threescore and sixe. --Revelation 13, OKJV
It's been close to forty years now since A Thief in the Night came out. I recently watched it again, realizing that back when I first saw it, I couldn't imagine that the world would last another forty years. One of the lines in the film is that "the antichrist could be alive right now and we don't even know it." Well, the likelihood now is that he wasn't, but I sure thought at the time that he might well be.
There were a lot of things in the movie that seem out of place in today's world; the clothing styles are embarrassingly out of date, for example. Interestingly, the designs of vans and helicopters haven't changed much since then, but the villan who spoke into a walkie-talkie would most likely be using a cell phone if it were filmed today. One of the most striking things about the film, looking back all these years later, was the way the Mark of the Beast was portrayed. It was a tattoo physically imprinted on the skin in a quick and painless procedure, consisting of three alternating rows of lines and circles. The heroine says of it, "You know that's computer code for six six six." After escaping from jail, she finds it impossible to enter any store without having received the Mark.
In other words, the Mark of the Beast was a symbol recognisable to a computer, but read manually. In a sequel that came out several years later--after bar code scanning had become common in grocery stores--the hero makes a "counterfeit mark" that he and the heroine can use to buy food and calculator batteries. So the Mark had moved from simply being a computer-generated symbol of loyalty to an actual computer interface that allowed one to pay for a purchase.
So the question is, is the Mark of the Beast simply a symbol of loyalty, or a computer interface? It may be a bit of both.
If the Mark is simply a symbol of loyalty, it would be impossible to counterfeit. It would be like flying a counterfeit American Flag; there's no discernible difference between an authorized flag and an unauthorized duplicate, for purposes of showing one's patriotism. After 9/11, Americans thought nothing of flying American flags that had been made in China, a country at active war with the US in cyberspace. If the Mark is a computer interface, then it doesn't appear that having a counterfeit would help any in avoiding the wrath of God upon all who bear the Mark; it would still indicate tacit submission to The Beast.
Now we bring in the National ID number and its increasing control over every aspect of an American's life. It is now required to disclose one's National ID number to:
-register a birth with the government
-receive medical care paid for by any government agency
-get government help in finding a job
-get government help in heating a home
-get government help in buying food
-get government help in paying a phone bill
-get reimbursed by the government for traveling to a VA appointment
-live in a house where any of the above government involvement is directed
-purchase anything electronically
-use a bank account
-buy a car
-register a car
-drive a car
-receive an ID card, without which one cannot vote
-buy real property
-pay taxes on wages
-deduct taxes from wages
-leave the country
-re-enter the country
A few of these can still be done without a National ID number, but only by claiming that one's Number is 000-00-0000. It would be perjury to have any other number and not disclose it. This is obviously only a temporary situation; the Number will eventually become mandatory for everyone, and this is something that was impossible before the ubiquity of computers.
By the time the Mark of the Beast comes out, it will not be necessary for identifying anyone; his National ID Number, with Biometric Encoded Data, will take care of that. It will simply function as a sign of outward loyalty; a sign, moreover, that will be also entered into the database tied to one's National ID. Thus, without the Mark, no one will be able to do anything that isn't possible now for someone who doesn't have the National ID Number.
Which is pretty much everything, or soon will be. In a way that was not possible even 30 years ago, the road is now paved for implementation of the Mark of the Beast.
Update June 6, 2011: This website, last updated on Feb 09, 2011, states that the SSA will, as of June 3, 2007, issue 666-prefix numbers "on a random basis." 99,999 of these will be available.
UPDATE Nov 3, 2011: The above website was updated again 10 days later, on June 13.
UPDATE July 2012: I'm looking at the above website (as updated June 29th, 2012), and noticing something I never did before: the 666 prefix is specifically excluded from the new randomization policy! I quote:
"Previously unassigned area numbers were introduced for assignment excluding area numbers 000, 666 and 900-999."
So, Uncle Sam is not yet ready to play the role of The Beast. I guess that's good--for now.