Revelation 13:15-18 remains one of the most annoying challenges of interpretation within all of the Holy Bible.
"Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die. He required everyone ... to be given a mark on the right hand or the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name. His number is 666" [or 616 in some manuscripts].
A beast rises from the sea and survives what seems a death-dealing injury, and is then "miraculously" healed. But it takes a second beast coming from the sea to create an image of the first beast, which can then move about and issue commands. At our elementary level of understanding, we must ask why all the machinations? Can't the first beast simply take control? If not, why not? How come the image rather than the real thing is required to get things done?
At any rate, one thing is finally clear! We no longer need to speculate about the marks in foreheads and/or hands. Nor do we need to trouble ourselves about the means and methodologies of power preventing non-worshippers of the beast from buying and selling.
In the Feb. 20, 2021 issue of The Economist, we find the mysterious bitcoin is no longer just a quaint invention of funny money by some outlandish cybernetic gurus designed to grease the wheels of internet buying and selling. Currently valued at more than $50,000, the bitcoin has emerged more as a concept whereby huge sums of money can be instantaneously transferred to others within a cautiously defined circle of super financiers.
However, surprise of surprises, a rush to similar monetary adaptations has already been launched for common folk, whereby electronic "tokens" are used to permit buying and selling entirely as a cause and effect process of electrons stored somewhere within a mystical cloud. No hard money needed.
Yet more significant, we now learn that: "Many central banks have begun planning to issue their own digital currencies ... one-fifth of the world's population will have access to a central-bank digital currency (CBDC) by 2024,
"China is the clear frontrunner. On Feb. 17 it concluded the third big test of its digital currency, handing out 10m yuan ($1.5m) to 50,000 shoppers in Beijing," The European Central Bank also announced it would convert the EU to digital form by the year 2025.
The article continued on with many other factoids, but only one central point need concern the rest of us: We no longer need to speculate about the ways and means by which the beast will control world finance to his/its own evil ends. It is happening and has happened. Here and now. We see the prophecy fulfilled in today terms. Not could be, but now.
Science fiction couldn't fantasize a more remarkable happening. Money from this point on will exist in an amorphous cloud, taking the form (whatever that is) of mere electronic dots and dashes, zeroes and ones. Nothing tangible, but nevertheless giving complete control of all human trade in goods and services to the central power (beast or otherwise).
From a common computer screen, any rebellious human not bowing to the central authority's whims and wishes can easily be identified and shut out of the system, leaving the offender to a life of hunting and gathering as the sole means of survival (shades of early years after the ark settled onto a mountain top).
This development should put to rest the question as to how close we are to the other end-time events now materializing most sharply in the violent clashes of a fast-burning Middle East political/religious/economic environment. Christ's return is that close—and one would need blinders to not recognize something satanically ominous squaring off directly in our faces as we read of this development.
Computer chips hidden in foreheads and hands; trade facilitated entirely through electrical "sparks" within unknown clouds of monetary ether.
Get ready; it's not coming—it's here!
Ron Dee Mallett of Milliken, Colorado, studied business, journalism, economics and mass communications at Denver, Colorado and Stanford Universities as a Ford Fellow. An Air Force veteran, news reporter and retired multinational corporate executive, he later served as director of jail, prison, nursing home and Mexico outreaches, as well as intercession ministries for over 21 years.
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