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Living in the Age of Signs

Online Destination

Becoming a Cashless Society…

Do you remember the days when everyone paid with cash or paper checks?

Credit receipts were made in triplicate—one page for the customer, one for the seller, and one for the bank. And there were knuckle–grinding machines that imprinted name and account numbers through two lightweight paper sheets and one tagboard sheet, each separated by carbon paper. Personal checks were written out at checkout stands, and then a clerk wrote down the payer's driver's license and home phone numbers.

Now research shows that 46% of Americans don't worry about carrying cash. As of October 2018, 29% of Americans never purchase with cash and another 52% occasionally purchase with paper money.1 That means 86% of Americans are largely paperless when it comes to their shopping.

Credit and debit cards are just one option in a growing list of electronic payment options available today. Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay allow shoppers access their bank accounts for payment by scanning a code from their smartphone. Social, cash–sharing apps like Venmo, Cash App, and Google Wallet enable individuals to repay friends and split restaurant bills by sending money electronically with the click of a button.

Why is our cashless trend significant?

What does this trend toward an electronic and cashless society have to do with Bible prophecy and the End Times?

Scripture reveals that the Antichrist will unite the world under one government—one united economy. Every person will be required to take a mark in order to buy or sell goods of any kind.

This mark could be an actual physical brand, but it could very easily be connected to the technological advances being made today.

In early 2010, the Jerusalem Post reported that Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv had implemented a first–of–its–kind biometric security system to make air travel safer and security screening more efficient than ever before. The Unipass Airport Management System was developed by the Israel Airports Authority, and "was authorized as a voluntary system.... The move to make participation mandatory has been under debate ever since the database was proposed."2 On February 27, 2017, Israel's Parliament passed a law mandating their citizens to obtain a biometric ID card.

According to an article in The Times of Israel following the passing of the law,

"The biometric card is designed to digitally encode personal information, fingerprints, photo and facial profile. The data will be stored in a chip attached to the card, which will also contain the holder's name, gender and birth date. All information will be stored in a secured database.

The law requires all citizens to give high–resolution facial images to be stored in the national biometric database. They may, however, opt out of releasing their fingerprints to the database, though that information will remain on the card."3

The mandated use of this technology is a source of controversy. Many are worried about their privacy and information security for obvious reasons. But it has even more sinister potential: it is a perfect weapon in the arsenal of a tyrant bent on world domination. As we know from the Bible, a despotic ruler will govern the entire world during the last half of the Tribulation period, and he will likely use technology to accomplish his purposes (Revelation 13:16–17).

New technology for the internet is tailor–made for the Antichrist.

According to a WORLD magazine article titled "The Tower of Google," the internet is "society's brain, continually patrolled by cyber bots that make connections."4 The omnipresent search engine—whether Google, Bing, or some other—extends its reach through "search engine optimization." With this enhancement in the past ten years, Google can target marketing specifically to our interests by following us around the internet noting where we stop, shop, and search.

Not only can they figure out what we like and want; they create those very needs and wants for us! Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google, has expressed a somewhat frightening desire to see "the development of a wireless chip to be implanted directly into the human brain."5 That is the kind of control the Antichrist is all about.

Technology Advancing Toward the Mark of the Beast

The purpose of this elaborate technology summary is to restate one reality: technological advances are paving the way for fulfillment of end–time prophecy. These innovations are creating the environment that the Antichrist and False Prophet will need to wire this world together for their evil purposes. Even now it is well within the range of possibility for a centralized power to gain worldwide control of all banking and purchasing. With Tribulation–era prophecy beginning to take shape all around us, we can anticipate the Lord's return is not far off.

If it seems drastic to connect financial technology with the mark of the Beast, remember that prophecy was written with the words and from the context of human authors in their day. When the apostle John wrote of a mark, he naturally thought of the slave or criminal branding of his day, which would inflict a literal and permanent mark on the hand or forehead. We cannot be sure the mark of the Beast will conform to John's conception of it. The mark may be an electronic identification signature via cell phone or other device that will control one's ability to make purchases if the world becomes cashless by the time of the Antichrist.

1Andrew Perrin, "More Americans are making no weekly purchases with cash," December 12, 2018, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact–tank/2018/12/12/more–americans–are–making–no–weekly–purchases–with–cash/, accessed March 1, 2019.

2Jenny David, "Israel Adopts Biometric Database Despite Security Concerns," https://www.bna.com/israel–adopts–biometric–n57982084580/, accessed March 1, 2017.

3"Knesset approves making biometric ID cards mandatory" February 28, 2017, https://www.timesofisrael.com/knesset–approves–making–biometric–id–cards–mandatory/, accessed March 1, 2019.

4Janie B Cheaney, "The Tower of Google," WORLD, March 13, 2010, https://world.wng.org/2010/02/the_tower_of_google/, accessed March 5, 2019.

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