Mark of the Beast to Be Illegal in California?

Posted by on September 2, 2007

The Bible’s book of Revelation is a tough nut to crack. To figure out what it meant to its readers, you have to understand all kinds of allusions, several literary genres, and a ton of historical context. I will not be doing that today 🙂

Instead I’m looking at a popular interpretation of Revelation 13:16-17

“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” – Rev. 13:16-17

A number of people have looked at the idea that people would need the “mark of the beast” to buy or sell and have decided that it looks a lot like a barcode with a unique ID on it, or more recently, an RFID chip (a chip that can be read remotely with a reader) implanted under the person’s skin. Imagine the day when you can’t use a credit card and photo ID because the implanted chip is more secure…

The California State Senate passed a bill making it illegal for an employer to require an employee to “get chipped” as they call it. Check out the LA Times article. You might think that this is ridiculous and couldn’t possibly happen – except that it has already. Reportedly , in early 2006, Citywatcher.com required its data center employees to be implanted for security reasons (an article on it) – they can keep their jobs if they don’t get chipped, but they can’t work in the data center.

Now not everyone agrees that the “mark of the beast” is about the future. Verse 18 says, “This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.” One creates a person’s “number” in Hebrew by putting together the numbers of the letters of his/her name. So it looks less like everyone being implanted with a unique number and more like everyone being marked with the same number, a number that the reader should be able to match up to a person.

Ragardless of whether “chipping” people is the “Mark of the Beast,” it’s creepy and I’m glad the California Legislature is acting on it. At least people shouldn’t have to be chipped.

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