This is an amalgamation of a number of previous articles updated in January 2017.
The next generation of children born in Britain ‘will not know what money is’, Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, has predicted as he promoted the smartphone app, Apple Pay, (Daily Telegraph 11/11/15). Speaking to students in Dublin, he forecast the death of cash by the time current university students have a family.
Cash is still used for more than half of payments by consumers, according to Payments UK, the industry body, but its popularity is falling as people switch to cards and Smartphone apps such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet. People can now use the ‘tap and go’ technology for any transaction under £30, making it more likely to be used in restaurants and shops as well as cafes and newsagents. Banks and companies such as Apple have an incentive to promote such messages because they earn money when people use a credit card or alternative payment system to pay.
About 20 years ago I heard the late Bible teacher, Barry Smith, say that the move towards a ‘cashless society’ and the use of debit and credit cards was the first step towards the ultimate goal of the information in the card being inserted under the skin in a microchip which can be read by Radio Frequency ID scanners and be used to buy and sell. He said that this would lead to the Mark of the Beast system of Revelation 13, which describes how the coming Antichrist or Beast takes over the world by controlling people’s ability to buy and sell:
‘He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.’ (Revelation 13.16-18)
Let us have a look at some things happening around the world and see if Barry Smith was right.
The Nordic countries are leading the way in ‘cashlessness’. Denmark has introduced legislation that businesses are no longer legally bound to accept cash payments, forcing people to use cards for all transactions. In Sweden banks and the government are already discouraging cash transactions taking steps and limiting cash withdrawals by removing ATMs. In addition, banks will call the police if they feel you are using too much cash. A Swedish bank robber left empty-handed, after he found out that the Stockholm bank he held up did not carry any cash! Homeless street vendors are now being issued with card readers because no one has any cash to give them. Other countries, including Italy, Spain and France are also restricting large cash transactions. In Greece they made it illegal to pay any bill over €70 in cash due to their financial crisis while also severely limiting the amount of cash withdrawals one can make on a daily basis.
Verifying a person’s ID is vital for all cashless money transactions. Bank cards with their pin numbers are ways in which this is done now, but there are risks with these. One way to ensure that a person definitely has the correct ID is to use some kind of biometric device, which is put on their person and cannot be forged, lost or stolen. This could be a microchip inserted beneath the skin or a mark of some kind on the skin which verifies their ID. For the first time in history it has become possible to do this. Euronews (7/9/15) reported on Europe’s largest hi tech fair in Berlin, at which one of the items on view is the microchip for humans.
India has launched a nationwide programme involving the allocation of a Unique Identification Number (UID) to every single one of its 1.2 billion residents. Each of the numbers will be tied to the biometric data of the recipient using three different forms of information – fingerprints, iris scans, and pictures of the face. All ten digits of the hand will be recorded, and both eyes will be scanned. At this point, the UID programme is optional. However as soon as Indian banks, businesses, and government social service offices begin to require identification using the UID, the ability to remain off the system will disappear. This is exactly the intention with India’s new biometric ID programme. In fact, the cashless society is the stated goal of the UID program. CEO of MindTree’s IT Services, the company that was awarded the government contract for development and maintenance of the UID, explained in an interview with ComputerWeekly that the ‘ID scheme will support a cashless society. He said all vendors will have a biometric reader and citizens can pay for things with a fingerprint scan. Even a bag of rice.’
China began a national biometric ID programme in 2013. Techshino, a leading Chinese biometric company, boasts that ‘currently, over 700,000 of our biometric devices are in active use by approximately 1 billion end users’. It is now developing this into the largest behavioural conditioning experiment in the history of mankind. A citizen score system has been developed which will rate each citizen on the basis of their political views, their expression on social media, the kinds of purchases they make, and their credit scores. These scores, ranging between 350-950, will be taken into account when handing out loans, approving travel visas, and other grants from the government. Such scores could also be used to determine who will have access to certain types of jobs. Essentially, your life opportunities will be determined by this score. Once this system is in place, the government will have a very effective method of reinforcing the kind of behaviour it believes to be politically and socially correct. The scores will be linked to China’s national ID card and, while currently voluntary, the government has announced that it will be mandatory by 2020.
It is not hard to see how this kind of system could develop into a way in which the government takes control of its citizenry combining political manipulation with financial benefits or lack thereof. This lines up with Bible prophecy in Revelation 13 which speaks of a time in the future in which the ‘mark of the beast’ is directly connected to support for the ‘Beast’ or Antichrist. This gives you the ability to conduct commerce, but without it you will not be able to buy or sell.
The global establishment increasingly views a ‘cashless society’ as the answer to many political and social woes. Many countries are touting the economic benefits of such a system, such as an end to the underground economy, armed robberies, tax evasion and the cost of printing money while producing a more efficient and controlled system through the central banks – the ultimate winner in a digital economy. The central banks love the idea of an end to cash as it would mean an end to bank runs – people will not be able to pull their money out for political reasons, which seem increasingly to occur in our society.
Talking of bank runs, economists are warning of trouble ahead for most of the major economies of the world. Professor Otmar Issing, the first chief economist at the European Central Bank (ECB) and architect behind the creation of the Euro, has said the Euro will fall like a house of cards. Professor Issing said the ECB was on a ‘slippery slope’, and had compromised the system by bailing out bankrupt states. ‘The Stability and Growth Pact has more or less failed,’ he said. ‘Market discipline is done away with by ECB interventions. So there is no fiscal control mechanism from markets or politics. This has all the elements to bring disaster for monetary union.’
The Bank of America has warned that a recession is imminent, and unavoidable. The Federal Reserve’s disastrous rescue plan after the 2008 financial crisis has left the U.S. economy in a fragile and vulnerable state. US debt is heading towards $20 trillion in 2017, with every taxpayer now owing $149,000 of national debt. One article says ‘The government is turning the entire US into a debt prison.’ It goes on to say, ‘The U.S. stock market is artificially propped up by the Federal Reserve, but their ability to stimulate the economy has worn off. Immunity has set in, and they’ve got nothing left. When the shoe drops, everything falls with it.’
Doug Casey, an economist who correctly predicted all the dramatic economic crises that have hit the US economy in recent years, believes these problems will cause a crash to the dollar. When the hurricane hits he says, the US Federal Reserve will come up with ‘a completely digital currency called the Fedcoin which will actually act as a parallel, alternative to the dollar. It will have a lot of advantages from the government’s point of view and as much of people seem to like Bitcoin, the public may accept it to start with. … It’s not going to be physical, to start with. It’s not going to be paper in any way. It’s going to be something that you’re going to have on your smartphone, or let’s take this to the next level, as outrageous and scary as it may sound, maybe it’s just going to be a chip that you put in your hand where your bank account, your medical records, all these things, are stored. https://www.caseyresearch.com/cm/project-fedcoin
Students of the Bible have long warned of a cashless society with some kind of wearable ID or mark as part of the Antichrist’s plan for ultimate control over mankind (Revelation 13). In this situation the ‘encouragement’ to go cashless will one day become mandatory so that no one will be able to buy or sell unless they have a mark of allegiance, the 666 ‘mark of the beast’.
For this system to work you need to have a foolproof means of verifying a person’s identity. The United Nations wants to have biometric identification cards in the hands of every single man, woman and child on the entire planet to ‘provide legal identity for all, including birth registration by 2030.’ The UN is already working hard toward the implementation of this goal, particularly among refugee populations. It is partnering with a company called Accenture to implement a biometric identification system which is able to identify and track refugees. The system will work in conjunction with Accenture’s Unique Identity Service Platform (UISP) to send this information back to a central database in Geneva, allowing UNHCR offices all over the world to effectively coordinate with the central UNHCR authority in tracking refugees. This ‘universal ID,’ which grabs the biometric data of refugees, is just a starting point for the United Nations. The goal is to eventually bring all people into the massive data bank.
In order to make this happen we have some interesting developments in line with this in the area of technology. One thing people are noting is that as technology develops the devices available are becoming smaller. We have moved from desktop computers, to tablets, to iPhones, which can now be used to make payments. Next on the agenda is ‘wearable technology’ like the Apple Watch, which has functions of a computer being worn on the wrist.
What next? What about implanting the information required in a microchip beneath a person’s skin? Michael Snyder, author of the book ‘The Beginning of The End’ says why people might want a ‘microchip implant’: ’We are told that such implants could solve a whole host of societal problems. Identity theft and credit card fraud would be nearly eliminated, many other forms of crime would be significantly reduced, children would never go missing and we wouldn’t have to remember a vast array of passwords and PIN numbers like we do now. … Ultimately, implanted microchips offer a way to make your physical body machine-readable.’ This could replace ‘an endless diversity of identification systems: magnetic strips, passwords, PIN numbers, security questions, and dongles. All of these are attempts to bridge the divide between your digital and physical identity, and if you forget or lose them, you are suddenly cut off from your bank account, your gym, your ride home, your proof of ID, and more. An implanted chip, by contrast, could act as our universal identity token for navigating the machine-regulated world.’
BBC news (29/1/15) featured its technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, being chipped in a news item about a Swedish company that has introduced the microchip under the skin as a means of ID. On the accompanying article on the BBC website he described how a chip under the skin is used at the Epicenter, a new hi-tech office block in Sweden. The tiny RFID chip (radio-frequency identification) chip, about the size of a grain of rice, is implanted in the hand and used to gain entry to the office, use the photocopyer and pay in the cafe with a touch of a hand.
He then described how he got chipped himself. He asked the chief executive, Hannes Sjoblad, about the thinking behind this and Hannes answers: ‘We already interact with technology all the time. We need pin codes and passwords. Wouldn’t it be easy to just touch with your hand?’ He has another objective – preparing us all for the day when others want to chip us. ‘We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big government come to us and say everyone should get chipped – the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip.’
Rory Cellan-Jones writes: ‘I’ve returned to Britain with a slightly sore hand – and a chip still under my skin which has my contact details on it. Not that useful, but no doubt more sophisticated chips will soon replace wearable technology like fitness bands or payment devices, and we will get used to being augmented.’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31042477
At the same time a biometrics boom is taking place across the world. Biometrics is the way of identifying individuals by their unique biological characteristics. In the last decade there has been a boom in more advanced biometric technology, allowing people to be identified, and sometimes remotely tracked, by their voices, the irises of their eyes, the geometry of their faces, and the way they walk. The FBI is currently consolidating existing fingerprint records, mug shots, and other biometric data on more than 100 million Americans into a single $1.2 billion database. Fuelled by the growth of iris scans in particular, the global biometrics industry now has revenues of $10 billion — and is expected to double that in five years.
In much of the developing world a biometric revolution is taking place, with some 160 massive data-gathering projects underway. Until recently, more than a third of people in developing countries were not registered in any way at birth, making it hard for them to open bank accounts, get government benefits, or vote. Biometric IDs could change that. India is taking the fingerprints and iris scans of all 1.2 billion of its citizens. Nandan Nilekani, the founder of outsourcing firm Infosys and the project’s leader, says being identified will allow India’s largely anonymous masses to claim services to which they’re entitled under the law, rather than being forced to bribe bureaucrats. “Unique identification is a means to empowerment,” he said.
Another report shows that paying for goods and services through fingerprint, palm and iris scanners is the most popular future technology choice for security-conscious shoppers, according to new research from WorldPay, a global leader in payments processing. One in two people surveyed (49%) stated they would like to have biometric payments, such as fingerprint, palm or iris scanners, far outweighing the popularity of emerging mobile technology options.
Now there is an entirely new generation of electronic tattoos called ‘Biostamps’. These are extremely thin and bond to the skin, somewhat like a temporary tattoo, flexing and bending in sync with your skin the way you wish a Band-Aid would. According to Motorola, a company which describes itself as delivering ‘leading-edge technology solutions worldwide for consumers, enterprise and government’ they are going to fundamentally transform the way that we think about human identification. They could be used to confirm an owner’s identity with total security and without the need for passwords. This would make the Internet a much more secure place and would prevent thieves and other people from being able to access a phone, or individual apps on the device or use a card, if it is stolen or lost.
When fully developed and approved for use in humans, these systems would prove to be the ultimate global currency exchange and transaction system… digital payments made via wireless devices and biometric scanning. This would realise a goal that many global currency proponents can currently only dream about: a currency free, cashless society.
Coming back to the Revelation 13 quote which we began with, it is remarkable that modern technology is doing away with cash and replacing money with electronic devices with which to buy and sell. These involve assigning people with a number which is unique to them and which authorises them to buy and sell. Using such devices also means that someone somewhere knows what you are buying and selling and raises the possibility of monitoring what people are doing and where they are at any given time. It would be possible to cut ‘undesirables’ off from being able to buy and sell by cancelling their number / card if the people in power choose to do so.
At the time of writing Revelation no one could have had any idea about such a system being possible. Payment for goods and services took place with coins or barter. Then we had the advent of bank notes and cheques. Now we have bankcards with a unique number on them linking them to the person who is authorised to use them. This has a great advantage in that we do not have to carry around large wads of cash, which can be stolen or lost, if we want to make a purchase. It has a disadvantage in that if someone unauthorised gets hold of our card and is able to use it, they can wipe out our entire bank account. So it is very important that only the authorised person can use the card. Put the information on the person and that problem is solved. It also becomes a means of controlling the population with the option of cutting someone out of the economic system if they do not conform.
This is another example of how the Bible foresees events long in the future because it is inspired by God who knows the end from the beginning. According to Revelation accepting the Mark of the Beast is associated with worshipping the Beast and his image: ‘And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.’
These events will take place during the latter part of the great tribulation period which will begin after the true church is taken out of the world at the rapture of the church. At that time the Beast or Antichrist will arise out of the panic caused by the sudden disappearance of millions of people and the economic crisis which will hit the earth. He will provide an apparent answer to the multitude of crises which are hitting the earth, causing people to see him as a Messiah / Saviour figure. His sidekick, the False Prophet, will cause people to worship the Beast and his image, in return for which they will receive the mark which will enable them to buy and sell. God warns us not do this, because: ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’ Revelation 14.9-11. If you miss the rapture or find yourself alive at the time when the Mark of the Beast system is being set up, don’t take the mark at any cost. Better to lose your life and save your soul than to lose your soul and save your life.
Jesus is coming soon. These things being prepared are a sure sign of the immanency of the coming of the Lord for His church.