February 10, 2009
Steve Collins

Believers are familiar with the prophecy in Revelation 13:7-18 that a final “beast” power will have pervasive authority over the globe’s political and economic activities.  A recent disclosure indicates that the technology already exists to enable governments to impose pervasive, but unobtrusive, snooping on people without them even being aware of it. Several media stories have documented that in the UK, security cameras already watch everyone in virtually all public spaces in urban areas. Now it is apparent, that in all nations, your own cell phone may be spying on you.

A USA Today article from February 9, 2009 (see link below)  reveals that Yahoo’s new G1 mobile phone with web access is actually a personal “surveillance device,” according to one industry source. Currently sold by T-Mobile, the “Big Brother aspect” of this device is “troubling” according to Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts. The G1 phone “gives Google access to your email, instant messages, contact lists, Web search histories and geographic location.” Google retains all this personal information about you, according to the article: “Once your information has been collected and stored, there’s no way to get rid of it. You can’t see what’s been collected or have it expunged. It’s Google’s for as long as it wants to hold onto it.” [Which will likely be forever.] The article notes that Microsoft, Yahoo and other search-engines all collect information about their phone and computer users as does Google, Google’s new device has a “uniquely pervasive presence” over all who obtain this device.

The link below details the legal ramifications of this massive corporate spying effort and possible Congressional actions to pass some kind of privacy rights legislation, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Congress usually holds hearings “for show” and then gives the big industries whatever they want in whatever actual legislation is passed. As the link also notes, land phone lines are disappearing “by the millions” so cell-phones are the inevitable wave of the future for everyone. This means everyone will eventually have their own “personal surveillance device” of some type.

The rapidly-advancing levels of technology may require believers to reconsider how such prophecies as Revelation 13:16-17 about the “mark of the beast” will be fulfilled. As technology changes, the old Christian concept of everyone being lined up to get a bio-chip stamped into their forehead or hand may already be passé. The new technology may make seamless surveillance on everyone’s financial transactions (and all forms of communications) possible in a very unobtrusive way. The prophecy may actually indicate that in the latter days, personal privacy will become a thing of the past. That is already close to being fulfilled, given not only the widespread data-mining of everyone in the world who conducts communication and financial activity but also the pervasive warrantless wiretapping that occurred on both foreign and domestic parties during the Bush administration. So far, there is no indication that the Obama administration intends to stop the warrantless wiretapping mechanisms of the federal government.

As I have thought for years now, the “mark” in the hands or foreheads of people on the earth may prove to be no more than one’s actions and thoughts –with the “hands” (with which deeds are done) and “foreheads” (where conscious thought is experienced) symbolizing one’s actions and thoughts. The fact that God also places a “seal” (or mark) of his own in the foreheads of the faithful (Revelation 7:3-4) supports this viewpoint. One’s actions and thoughts reveal clearly to God whether your loyalty is to the beast system or to the coming global rule of Jesus Christ and God’s laws. Revelation 7:3-4 also reveals that the “seal” or “mark” of God is invisible to human eyes–only angels can see it. If God’s mark is invisible, perhaps the “mark” of the beast will be as well. Revelation 16:4 also adds a prophecy about a plague that angels will pour out on those who have the “mark of the beast.” Again, only the angels pouring out this plague will see this mark; there is no indication humans will be able to see it. It may prove to be very simple: God’s “seal” in your forehead will be the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the “mark” of the beast will be the lack of the Holy Spirit in one’s mind.

Time will tell, but this link below should remind us of how pervasively everyone can be electronically monitored already, even before the beast system comes into being. The economic controls of Revelation 13:16-18 may be implemented via pervasive but unobtrusive technologies which are scarcely noticed by the people who are being monitored. Keep in mind that all options are still on the table for fulfilling this prophecy, but I think Matthew 24:24’s prophecy also argues that the beast’s surveillance systems will be so unobtrusive that even God’s “very elect” will wonder “what’s the problem” with the beast system in the latter days.