It seems that lately when anything is mentioned about either Biometrics or fingerprint technologies, there is a knee-jerk reaction among some Christians and conservatives. The truth is that not only do these two groups oppose such things, but also many liberal rights or human rights groups oppose these things as well. So where should Biblical Christians come down on an issue like this? Is there an inherent evil in these things? Could it be that a Christian could be taking the dreaded “mark of the beast” when they participate in technologies like this? These are things we should discuss in light of the technologies that are right on our doorstep.
Recently Apple bought the fingerprint technology company AthenTec. Many who watch the smartphone market are saying that it is possible that Apple will put this fingerprint technology in the iPhone 5 in order to protect uses from fraud – and to allow Apple iPhone users to use their phones to buy anything safely. Those using the Android operating system on their phones are quickly following suit in the use of such technology in their applications. Japanese officials are considering using such technology in speeding up the airline process at their international airports. Even our schools are getting in on the use of such technology to improve security and speed up transactions. Moss Bluff Elementary School wanted to use a Biometric system that measures the unique structure of blood vessels in a person’s hand to make cafeteria lines move quicker at their school. Florida schools are considering biometric scans prior to using library privileges or boarding school buses. Some Minnesota schools are already using fingerprint technology to verify parents who pick up their children from school. This technology is coming – and we need to be ready for it.
The problem is that some Christian groups are saying that any use of technology of this kind constitutes accepting the mark of the beast spoken of in Revelation 13:15-18. Their stance is a flat-out rejection of anything that even remotely has to do with such things. But before we reject this technology, we probably ought to take a look at this passage and seek to understand it better.
And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either 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 the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. (Revelation 13:15-18)
There are several things we should be aware of in connection with the infamous mark of the beast. These are things that will keep us from the kind of “knee-jerk” reactions that make people think we are nuts for even mentioning such things. It will also help us to be taken seriously when things like this come up in conversation and we realize that people are hurting their testimony by saying ignorant things when commenting on such matters. I remember times when people were wigging-out over credit cards and the magnetic strip on the back side of them. I was warned by “prophecy kooks” numerous times that even having a card like this meant I had taken the mark of the beast. Thank God I had a mentor who taught me to look to the Scriptures themselves and not get caught up in the goofiness that often surrounds too much of what passes for serious discussions of biblical prophecy.
Let’s note several things that will help us identify the mark of the beast. First, we need to see the context of all this - Revelation 13:11-13 says, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.” Before we freak out about biometrics or fingerprint technology, we might want to check the news. Because to my knowledge – nothing like what we see in these three verses has happened yet. I know of no character who has wielded worldwide authority – and who has received a fatal wound that has been healed. I know of no one who has afterward constructed an image (Greek “ikon” – meaning a physical representation of something – i.e. a statue of sorts – except this statue has some serious stuff it can do – that even Disney animatronics has yet to crack). This authority figure called the “Beast” is not currently forcing people to worship this “statue” doing “great signs” and even making fire fall from heaven. If that is the case – and I believe it is – then these current technologies do not involve receiving the mark of the beast. They may be precursors to technologies that will be used for this purpose – but honestly – we don’t even know that yet for sure.
Let’s look at more here. This shady character, the Beast, has yet to make a statue speak – or have it kill those who will not worship him. (Greek, “proskuneo” which means to bow or prostrate oneself before another, i.e. worship) I will note that this “mark” is forced upon people and that it is received on their right hand (which I find very hateful to left-handed people –methinks the Beast needs some sensitivity training toward the left-handed – at least that is what our current society might think) or on their forehead. I also am not aware of any move to restrict ALL buying and selling to this method. If these things are not happening – or more correctly – have not yet happened – then the “mark of the beast” in its biblical form is not yet among us.
Then what do we make of all these goings on among us? Well honestly, it is the march of technological progress. It also may be how technology is moving toward a time when the “mark of the beast” is going to be applied to those who worship Satan and his representatives – i.e. the Beast and his buddies in Scripture. Other than this – it is just technology on its ever progressive march on our world. Of course many of you non credit card holding people may reject this – since I am a current credit card holding dupe who is merely working for the man – or Satan – or the illuminati – or some other boogie-man that is popular at the current time. I mean, I do have a MasterCard – even though Jesus is my only Master and Lord. I do have a Visa – even though Jesus is my only true visa that will allow me to enter heaven’s gates. I don’t think I have a Discover card – even though I’ve discovered the glory of God in the gospel. I definitely don’t have an American Express – and I’m glad, because there are no corny ways to refer to that spiritually.
For those of you who seem to enjoy freaking out about these matters . . . I am sorry to have to say things that make it harder to blow a gasket about such things. I do encourage you to do more serious study on such things from a purely biblical perspective. It would help us shed some of the “crazy-people” labels that are put on us when we talk about anything concerning biblical prophecy. We do need to remember that it is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ,” not the Revelation of the most recent goofy theory used to scare the snot out of people and sell prophecy books and web sites. Oh, one last thing . . . I am truly sorry for those who are itching to make some serious money on their next “mark of the beast” book, but this is the biblical take on this subject. But I do hope to help a biblically minded person learn to reject anything that does not have the “mark of the Scriptures” on anyone’s supposed take on the “mark of the beast.”