Over the centuries, many have speculated regarding what the manifestation of Antichrist might look like. Such imaginings bring about a variety of notions regarding the Mark of the Beast: how it will look, what format it will be, how it will be enforced, etc. Modern technology has invited new theories about how it will be implemented, with some of the concern focusing on the movement toward a cashless society, mandatory vaccines for COVID-19, universal basic income, and the geopolitics shaping a One-World Government. While these issues may not indicate the ultimate manifestation of the Mark of the Beast, they certainly might be paving the way for it, so they deserve our attention.
The Mark of the Beast is commonly understood to involve a global economy that operates on a mutually shared currency. Many in previous generations believed it would involve a new dollar bill featuring an image of Antichrist that would replace and nullify currency featuring the photos of forefathers such as Washington or Lincoln. Such imaginings, of course, sprang from a world where tangible cash was the means by which business was transacted.
However, since the advent of the Internet, worldwide banking has been revolutionized. Monies are now transmitted—even internationally—with the click of a button. No longer is there a need for writing a check, heading to the bank to withdraw the funds, or making international currency exchanges. Considering these economic advancements, the “one-world” monetary system our forefathers dreaded has likely already arrived. As the exchange of funds for goods and services increasingly moves online, people carry less cash and fewer (or no) checks, with credit and debit cards the preferred way to pay for nearly any purchase. Further, all transactions—both online and in person—are recorded digitally.
While COVID-19 shutdowns were occurring, many businesses changed how they operated. For example, we saw more and more restaurants offering their menus, accepting orders, and receiving payment via online apps. Patrons taking advantage of this convenience simply log on to an app to place their order and submit payment, then they drive to the establishment’s designated pickup area, where an employee delivers the food to the car using “no contact” delivery. This is also how lots of consumers purchased groceries and other supplies. Turnpikes that utilized cash tolls in some places quickly switched to an invoice-mailing system to remove the need for workers and travelers to handle unclean currency; even casinos, via permission from the Nevada Gaming Commission and the American Gaming Commission, broadened payment methods to include the use of electronic currency.[i] A number of companies stated these measures were precautionary in the wake of the pandemic, suggesting that the new practices might be temporary. However, many completely discontinued their acceptance of cash, shifting to totally cashless commerce. In some cities (Philadelphia, for example), this conversion was blocked, with government officials stating that the most impoverished households make up a greater percentage of cash-paying customers, and refusing cash, then, means excluding the demographic that may be in the greatest need.[ii] (This distinction is important, and we’ll return to it in a bit.)
The CDC encouraged cashless commerce for safety reasons, but many have asserted that this redirection toward electronic interface is a strategic move in favor of Big Finance. These sources point to a few factors behind their reasoning. A great majority of banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions have closed their lobbies, encouraging customers and members to conduct business online.[iii] This cuts costs related to the facilities and staffing, while generating, on average, a 3.4 percent fee per transaction for digital users, equating to higher profits and lower overhead expense.[iv] This increase in profits became especially lucrative for financial institutions during the COVID shutdowns, when digital transactions saw a 285 percent increase for food and beverages alone, and that’s aside from purchases made for other necessities and supplies.[v] To further highlight the dramatic shift toward a cashless society, banks have seen a decrease in ATM activity—amounting to approximately one-fourth the usual usage in the US—and a 90 percent decrease in locations with high revenues from the tourism industry.[vi]
Are We Headed for UBI?
We mentioned that lower-income consumers tend to pay for goods and services with cash. This is often because they struggle to find banking options that work with their budgetary challenges or history. (As one example, those who tend to have too many overdrafts might prefer to use cash, or they might, because of their track record, have difficulty opening a checking account.) Imagine, however, if there was a way they could receive the funds digitally. That might happen if a new stipend—wrought from very old ideas—were to be instituted. Many call this idea a UBI, for “Universal Basic Income.” Some may recognize the concept because it nearly succeeded once. It actually “passed in the US House when Nixon was president,” says journalist John Miller an article in American Magazine. “The bill failed in the Senate when Democrats did not think the payments were high enough.” But the innovation far predates Richard Nixon or any of his comrades. In fact, philosopher Thomas Paine made a plea for such an action in his 1796 work, Agrarian Justice. He proposed that everyone should be given a stipend of fifteen pounds at age twenty-one, then ten pounds a year once an individual turned 50.[vii] If something like this were to be implemented, any argument enforcing the need for cash would be quashed, and society would be free to go cashless—all while the powers that be maintain the appearance of benevolence for even the neediest of citizens.[viii]
This is precisely the type of situation that may be created through the Automatic BOOST to Communities Act proposed by Congress during the COVID-19 economic upheaval. This was only one of many proposed stimulus/economic relief efforts discussed for helping families survive the financial tumult of the coronavirus wreckage. This plan appears at first glance to solve many of the economic challenges faced by citizens, but it could come with a higher long-term price attached. This particular plan proposed to send, in the form of prepaid debit cards, two thousand dollars to every person—including each dependent—in America. Then, each month, the card would be reloaded with a thousand dollars until “one year after the end of the Coronavirus crisis.”[ix] So let’s do the math: For a family of four, this is equivalent to an initial payout of eight thousand dollars, with an additional forty-eight thousand over the first year.[x] This benefit would likewise be paid out to “non-citizens, including undocumented people, permanent residents, and temporary visitors whose stay exceeds three months.”[xi] Users of the debit cards have the option of merging their own funds with those backing the card, consolidating outside banking to one source they could use indefinitely.[xii] Anyone can easily see two things: 1) This is enough money to dramatically improve the quality of living across the board; and 2) It is difficult to imagine where all this money is going to come from.
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Another issue a person may quickly recognize is that such an irresistible payout will likely prompt citizens to be very proactive about keeping the relief program going. It’s unlikely that the government would stop paying out these sums in the future, once aware that consumers rely on the income to maintain their standard of living. It’s also likely that these individuals would soon take advantage of the ability to blend their other finances into the account affiliated with this card, centralizing the location from which all their funds are managed.
This amount of money is more than subsidiary. Many families don’t make that much working one or even multiple jobs full-time at entry-level wages. Thus, once the dole-out begins, shutting off the stream will be much easier said than done. So, here’s a question to ponder: What if these installments continued under subsequent “crises” once the COVID-19 train has run its course? Certainly, we’re not saying that this pandemic hasn’t been a crisis. However, if keeping society in a perpetual state of turbulence becomes the means by which these payments are extended, everyone will surely see the benefit of laying claim to troublesome conditions that serve the purpose.
Here’s another question: What if the “card” were ever mandatorily replaced with a microchip implanted in our bodies? If this happened, we would face a terrible decision: either part with much-needed funds and return to impoverished conditions or allow the invasive technology into our bodies. For those who believe the implanted device is the Mark of the Beast, this proposition would be, literally, asking them to trade their soul for the right to conduct business, as foretold in Revelation 13:17: “That no man might buy or sell, save he had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
Some may think that by speaking against such a citizen-payment plan, these authors aren’t sensitive to the financial woes of those who have struggled throughout the pandemic. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. However, we do wish to point out that the orchestrations seem to “conveniently” place the public in a position of having the powers that be exert a firmer grip of control than they would otherwise have. Recall the manipulation method we discussed called “learned helplessness,” then revisit the notion of a UBI. The government mandates the closure of businesses and that all workers—except a few who are “essential”—are to stay home. This brings all income to a standstill for most families. In the meantime, companies modify to operate without as many employees, thus they don’t need them as badly once the world becomes safe again. Likewise, many businesses that have had to adapt will have found ways of permanently replacing workers with technological and robotic means.[xiii] Then, those same authorities speak of future shutdowns and subsequent rounds of stimulus packages. Eventually, the public is beaten into submission—brought to their knees by the desperation of financial pressures. Do you see where this could be headed? The same powers who told the public to stay home and then lifted their financial load then became the cash cow keeping each family afloat. By the time such powers decide to make changes to their program (like adding eligibility requirements or altering its format of delivery), the citizens will feel they have no choice but to comply. Further, if society has embraced socialism by that point (and, as we’ve discussed, we’re quickly headed there), we may have no problem allowing such demands to be placed upon us, because we already will have relinquished control to the government we look to for protection and provision.
There are a few problems with attempting to keep the populace on a regulated, automatic, government-issued salary. We can see some of them by looking at smaller but similar economic examples. Consider past efforts to equalize the quality of living by raising the minimum wage. The idea sounds wonderful on the surface, but never seems to pan out the way it’s anticipated. Historically, those who suffer the most from minimum-wage hikes are the small-business owners, who often end up making labor cuts to save on costs, but then are forced to work more hours themselves to compensate for the loss of manpower. (We realize that the reader may not yet see how this connects to the concept of UBI, but hear us out; this diversion won’t take long.)
Businesses that don’t reduce their workforce often find they need to raise their prices to recoup the increased salaries. This sabotages the economy on a few levels. Those with higher levels of education and thus have higher-paying jobs see their own salaries diminish proportionately to starting wages. This means that those who have worked to obtain an advantage in the workplace see their salaries reduced to being barely higher than those who have no post-high school education. This is a problem, because it means that putting out great monetary investment and effort no longer carries the payout known to previous generations in the same situation. Further, those with higher education often have student debt, and the inflation that drove up other positions’ wages and prices of goods and services offsets the economy in such a way that, despite slightly elevated salaries, they struggle to make their student loan payments. Eventually, the economy adjusts and the new minimum wage is as poverty-inducing as the previous. No matter how optimistic individuals are when there is talk of raising the minimum wage, the idea always holds more promise than actual benefits. Some say that it isn’t the wage that drives the spike in the economy; rather, it’s inflation that demands wage increases. This is also possible. However, the truth remains that anytime the cost of labor is elevated, so are the costs of goods and services.
Some, naturally, argue that a UBI won’t change the cost of labor. They say this approach will be unique in its strategy and financial impact, particularly since it will be offered to all, whereas the wage hikes we’ve discussed target a small demographic in localized areas. Contrariwise, everyone would receive this funding regardless of age, ethnicity, education, or skillset. This argument may certainly be well-founded. Moreover, at this time, such a measure would only be enacted in the hopes of subsidizing the economy, as it already stands, until the crisis is over, whereas wage increases are motivated by an entirely different set of criteria. However, with the sums being discussed as part of BOOST, anyone who opts out or no longer qualifies would immediately fall far below the income level of the rest of mainstream society. If inflation rates were to adapt to this kind of boost (pun intended), those living on only the amount of money they could earn would face hyperinflation, which matches what’s foretold in Revelation 6:6—an entire day’s wage is said to be enough to buy food for that evening alone.
Even those who aren’t deterred by the prophetic implications of the UBI must agree that the money to initiate the program has to come from somewhere. The bottom line is that America doesn’t have the wealth to disburse these amounts. If the funds already existed in our country, we wouldn’t be facing such great national debt. “If you gave $1,000 a month to every American,” John Miller said in American Magazine, “that would cost almost $4 trillion, 60 percent more than the current level of social welfare spending.”[xiv] An argument can hardly be made that this monthly allocation would replace existing welfare programs. Consider a family who receives food-stamp benefits and health/dental insurance assistance alone. If other assistance programs were cut and they were expected to purchase these amenities through their BOOST funds, the monies would suffer quite a dent. In fact, it’s likely their money would still be very tight, while others who still have other source of incomes would simply be receiving the funds as extra (until hyperinflation occurs). This would mean that by distributing money ostensibly to help the needy, the very plan designed to equalize the rich and poor could actually widen the rift! There are even economists who, like us, state that this hyper-infusion of extra cash into circulation could “flood the economy with too much cash, triggering inflation.”[xv] So, while the theoretical approach of the UBI does seem like a unique strategy, there is no way to calculate its long-term ramifications. What begins as a great effort at humanitarianism could—just like the hiked-minimum-wage efforts on smaller, local scales—result in a similar, but worse, version of the scenario that already existed, but it would be exacerbated by a deeper deficit. Then, how will we undo the financial wreckage?
Ultimately, however philanthropic a UBI sounds, it’s likely that what we can expect to materialize from such a thing is inflation, which causes people to depend on both the UBI funds and earned income to make ends meet.
But, with increased automation taking over jobs—a phenomenon happening even more quickly because of COVID-19—employment will be hard to find. As it stands, “half the world’s jobs could be automated using ‘currently demonstrated technologies,’ amounting to ‘almost $15 trillion in wages.’”[xvi] All the more convenient that the government is ready to step in and save us…
Like most good economic Band-Aid plans, it will probably work for a few years, then backfire. But, if a UBI or variation of it is the Mark of the Beast, then isn’t that precisely what we are to expect? We understand that Antichrist will appear with solutions that seem to finally offer answers to all the complex challenges that have harrowed human existence from day one. And, the solutions don’t actually have to work, since the entire time of Antichrist’s administration is brief. They only need to appear to work for a period of three and a half to seven years.
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The Pope Is Pushing for UBI
In his 2020 Easter address, Pope Francis mentioned his hopes that, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a UBI would be implemented. Many quickly responded to this statement with the usual suspicion that he might, again, be indicating a desire for the establishment of a One-World Order. When the reports that the pope was pushing for a UBI started to circulate, media sources then began to cite Cardinal Michael Czerny’s clarification of the term. Quickly backpedaling, Czerny explained that the Spanish phrase is salario universal,[xvii] which can be translated to mean “UBI.” However, Czerny explained, in this case, it was meant to refer to a “universal basic wage.”
He continued, “This is not to be understood as…universal basic income, but to a different notion, coming from the pope’s Argentinian background and his involvement with cartoneros [residents who collect and recycle trash for compensation] in Buenos Aires.”[xviii] In other words, it’s not a base income that he wants to allocate to the entire population, but rather a minimum wage he’d like to see implemented across continents. (That, considering the various economic conditions across the world alongside the aforementioned scenario outlining only a few consequences in regards to the wage-inflation ratio, has the potential to be an economic train wreck. Regardless, the pope, who seems to repeatedly promote an agenda for a single world order, has made yet another statement about his desire to see global regulation implemented.)
The Appeal of Singularity
When I (Allie Henson) was with a team of researchers at Burning Man in 2018 collecting data for an upcoming book, the theme that year was “I, Robot.” Understandably, the trending discussion at every turn was that of singularity. (For those not clear on the meaning of this term, “singularity” here doesn’t mean the point when AI surpasses human intelligence. Nor does it mean “uniqueness”; in fact, it indicates quite the opposite, in that it refers to the time when people lose their individuality and upload their consciousness into a computer in which everyone dwells in a type of online database, a digital community.) I found myself wondering how one would market such an idea to a group of people who were so passionate about their own individuality that they even rejected all branding, down to their clothing. I was aware that the idea of singularity had been met with great interest in this crowd, and was even embraced.
Curious (and needing an answer regarding this matter for the work I was assembling at that time), I attended workshop after workshop and learned that not only did the gathering’s attendees welcome the arrival of a digital age wherein people would be uploaded into singularity with one another, but they also saw it as the solution to many of the age-old problems of humanity.
They believe the answers to world hunger, the global financial crisis, inequality, and much more come via a utopian world wherein we’re relieved of the need for employment at all. In such an existence, our “digital twin” is created by making a copy of our consciousness, which operates inside a computer. This duplicate earns our income so that we are free to live an existence of relaxation and self-expression. Should we ever manage to legislate the convoluted moral and ethical issues of this type of life, we could find ourselves in a stage of humanity wherein our digital clones actually become our virtual slaves—not too much unlike the scenario on the movie The Island, mentioned in a previous chapter. The salary earned by our computerized selves could easily be used to make purchases through the same digital, communal monetary system as the potential UBI.
In this proposed society, as mentioned, a “digital twin” would work and perform the jobs we currently do. (With so many of us working at computers full-time, the idea isn’t too far-fetched.) Since our current income would be supplemented to reach the same level that we ourselves could obtain (being that, virtually, we are the ones working), the “real” individuals would be free to live without being employed. This is where the idea of a perfect, harmonious world comes in. Many believe that it’s the constraints of human need that keep the world plagued with trouble. Eliminating that, they think humans would then transcend to a higher level of enlightenment, becoming more perfect beings who leave behind the previous ills of mankind’s existence. Similarly, we would live in a society where people share with one another on a new level, expressing themselves artistically and indulging in self-discovery without fear of their material needs going unmet.
Unfortunately, humans have historically persecuted and made war with one another, pursuing selfish ambitions at the expense of others’ happiness and well-being. Despite the staunch belief that removing our material problems will somehow instill within our souls the necessary growth it would take to render a more enlightened and kind creature, it’s more likely that such conditions will yield a more evolved and depraved person who believes himself or herself to be godlike (masters of convincingly real but completely powerless digital copies of men, women, and children). Thus, current problems will be elevated while additionally, deeply disturbing ethical lines would likely be crossed regarding the treatment of our digital twins. To shed further light, studies on the nature of mankind (such as the Stanford Prison Experiment, which we’ll look at later) have revealed that, when left to their own devices and with too much time on their hands (especially when some have been given an allotment of power), mankind has a greater capacity for evil than good.
In addition to concerns regarding the direction mankind may take when—literally—left to his own devices, there is the issue that singularity would offer more than just an upload into an individual’s brain. After all, it’s no secret that digital doors often allow pathways in both directions, allowing for intrusive spyware, malware, adware, or even viruses to creep into computers and other devices. For this reason, most people use extreme caution when installing any new programs or apps onto computers, phone, or other electronics. If the day were to come when an individual had the opportunity to upload his or her consciousness into a digital sphere, what might it look like? To make one’s mind as vulnerable as any laptop connected to the Internet for intrusive digital interference could have vast potential spiritual risks. People could receive “downloads” of nearly any imaginable (or unimaginable!) content—some that could even reprogram aspects of their thinking, implementing new and twisted forms of temptation, and dulling sympathetic or philanthropic veins of thought. Worse, some have made a case that, should malevolent spiritual forces infest the machine, one could even become possessed or overtaken by evil forces via this method of digital community.
If artificial intelligence (AI) technology were ever to become self-aware or even evil, this is certainly within the realm of possibility. Further, if a person is given completely over to evil at the moment of upload, would malicious influences not follow him or her into the machine? These are questions that would need to be addressed before agreeing to allow one’s consciousness to be digitally fused.
UP NEXT: How Might 666 Be Implemented?
[i] Maykuth, Andrew. “Is COVID-19 Accelerating the Shift to a Cashless Society?” Government Technology. July 7, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://www.govtech.com/budget-finance/Is-COVID-19-Accelerating-the-Shift-to-a-Cashless-Society.html.
[v] Villegas, Steve. “How COVID-19 Has Accelerated Digital Payments around the World.” Digital Commerce. August 26, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2020/08/26/how-covid-19-has-accelerated-digital-payments-around-the-world/.
[vi] Maykuth, Andrew. “Is COVID-19 Accelerating the Shift to a Cashless Society?”
[vii] Miller, John. “Universal Basic Income Is Having a Moment. Can Advocates Convince a Skeptical Public?” American Magazine. October 2, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2019/10/02/universal-basic-income-having-moment-can-advocates-convince-skeptical.
[viii] Johnson. “How Long Until the Mark of the Beast?” Bedford Gazette. May 8, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://www.bedfordgazette.com/news/religion/how-long-until-the-mark-of-the-beast/article_78d480bd-54fe-5a81-9c39-7b4d2fbf86b9.html.
[ix] Tlaib, Rashida. “Automatic BOOST to Communities Act.” Automatic Boost to Communities Act Proposal. American Government. 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://tlaib.house.gov/sites/tlaib.house.gov/files/Automatic%20Boost%20to%20Communities%20Act%20.pdf.
[x] Johnson. “How Long Until the Mark of the Beast?”
[xi] Tlaib, Rashida. “Automatic BOOST to Communities Act.”
[xii] Johnson. “How Long Until the Mark of the Beast?”
[xiii] Miller, John. “Universal Basic Income Is Having a Moment. Can Advocates Convince a Skeptical Public?” American Magazine. Oct. 2, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2019/10/02/universal-basic-income-having-moment-can-advocates-convince-skeptical.
[xvii] Clarke, Kevin. “In Easter Message, Pope Francis Proposes ‘Universal Basic Wage.’” American Magazine. April 12, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020. https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2020/04/12/easter-message-pope-francis-proposes-universal-basic-wage.