Calvary Road Baptist Church

“RFID - THE MARK OF THE BEAST?”

Revelation 13.16-17

I know that many of you pay little attention to the news and to developments in the Middle East and the rest of the world, as well as developments in technology, but you really do need to pay attention. After all, First Chronicles 12.32 does speak well “of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” You ought to put forth the effort to be that kind of person. After all, consider what is happening in the Middle East. Thanks to our president, our staunchest ally in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia, has just severed diplomatic ties with the United States.[1] That is an astonishing development, suggesting the Saudis no longer see the United States as a reliable ally against Iranian dominance of the region. Next, consider Russia, whose Russian Christian (so-called) women having a birthrate of 1.1 children, with Chechen women averaging ten children. An expert on Russian minorities concludes, “Russia is going through a religious transformation that will be of even greater consequence for the international community than the collapse of the Soviet Union.” Within a few years, Muslims will make up half the conscripts in the Russian army.[2] Imagine how these two geopolitical developments figure in to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

Couple these developments with what seems to be the possible economic collapse of the United States, now owing more money and having a greater debt than any country in the history of mankind. However, technology is still advancing at breathtaking speed, which is what brings me to my message tonight, titled “RFID - The Mark Of The Beast?”

Three considerations for you to reflect on this evening:

First, THERE IS THE CHIP

RFID is an acronym that is in the news these days, for a variety of reasons that I will remind you about in just a moment. However, let me first clarify what an RFID actually is.[3] RFID stands for “Radio Frequency IDentification,” and is the descendant of a device invented by a Russian in 1945 for use in espionage. Though there are different kinds, allow me to explain the function of a generic RFID by comparing it to a bar code of the type found on merchandise in almost all retail outlets. A bar code is scanned by a laser device by sending a laser to the bar code and then reading the reflection that is produced by the bar code that shows what merchandise has been scanned, how much it costs, how many you are buying, and so forth. Imagine an RFID working in similar fashion, only using an electromagnetic signal (inaudible sound waves) that is broadcast, and produces a reaction in the form of a unique signal by an RFID that has been implanting into a car chassis to track it as it progresses through the factory assembly line, implanted into cargo to track it as it is shipped by cargo ship, implanted under the skin of pets so strays can be identified and returned to their owners.

How do RFIDs impact your daily life? A few examples: Those white plastic boxes attached to the inside of the driver’s side windshield for those who drive on toll roads are RFIDs. Those white boxes are found everywhere, and why not? There is nothing wrong with using that technology to easily pay your toll charges while driving. RFIDs are used to track hospital patients, from infants to seniors, to not only identify patient location, but also to verify patient identities to prevent mix-ups, to make sure the right moms are paired with the right newborns, and to keep track of medications that are administered.[4] Sounds good so far. However, until recently, John Jay High School’s Science and Engineering Academy in San Antonio, Texas required RFIDs for their students, to identify them, to verify their attendance, and to track their movements on campus. The RFID program was discontinued when The Rutherford Institute sued on behalf of Andrea Hernandez to put a stop to it.[5] What about the plan to implant RFIDs in U. S. military personnel? I promise that when the Pentagon decides to take that step they will not be asking for permission from anyone in uniform before doing it. “These technological ‘advances’ are usually promoted in such a way that makes it difficult for the average citizen to get angry about them . . . But as they say, the path to hell was paved with good intentions. It turns out that researchers at Stanford University are also busy developing similar technology for the general public….”[6] A man in New York City discovered that the RFID that was used to charge him toll fees was not read only when he used the Lincoln Tunnel, but in many other locations as well.[7] Of course, this raises questions about privacy, freedom to move about without being monitored by the government, and possibly being required at some point in the future to use your own RFID to identify yourself (already a fact with 30 million Americans), but also as a requirement to buy and sell.

Next, THERE IS THE BEAST

The beast, of course, with reference to the Word of God, specifically Revelation chapters 13-20, is a description of a man also known as the antichrist. Empowered by the devil himself, the beast will be so impressive and powerful of personality that he will demand and receive from the great majority of mankind worship and adoration in opposition to Almighty God.[8] Yet his end will be defeat by the Lord Jesus Christ and an eternity in the lake of fire, Revelation 19.20: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

Of interest to us at this time is what is called the “mark of the beast.” Listen as I read a number of verses from Revelation:

Re 13:16:   “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.”

Re 13:17:   “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

Re 14:9:     “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand.”

Re 14:11:   “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Re 15:2:     “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”

Re 16:2:     “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”

Re 19:20:   “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

Re 20:4:     “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

The question, of course, is what is the mark of the beast? The Greek word translated “mark” is the word eikonoV, from which we get icon, meaning likeness.[9] Used to be that the mark of the beast was thought to be a particular tattoo shape, just one more reason why many Christians opposed tattoos. However, of late more and more the opinion is developing that the mark of the beast may be some form of RFID, because of its commercial application, and in light of Revelation 13.17: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” What makes the mark of the beast irreconcilable with faith in Christ, of course, is that not only is the mark of the beast required to buy and sell, but especially because the mark of the beast is a sign of submission and worship to the antichrist, which no real believer in Jesus Christ will give in to even at the cost of his own life.

Finally, THERE IS THE SEAL OF THE SPIRIT

When considering our great enemy, Satan, we must remember that he has never had an original thought. God demanded worship, therefore, he insisted that he be worshipped, as well. God is a trinity; therefore, we see his futile attempt at an evil trinity in the Revelation by means of his efforts to empower the antichrist (a counterfeit Christ) and the false prophet (seeking to fulfill the role of the blessed Holy Spirit). Thus, it is not difficult to understand what is being attempted with this effort to impose on all mankind the mark of the beast, and why the child of God simply cannot, absolutely will not, cooperate with his evil ends to imitate God.

Consider the seal of the Holy Spirit of God. Most of us are familiar with what the Apostle Paul wrote in this regard:

2Co 1:22:  “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”

Eph 1:13:   “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”

Eph 4:30:   “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

However, I am persuaded Satan’s efforts with the mark of the beast is a direct response to what we find in Revelation 7 with the 144,000:

3      Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

4      And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

5      Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.

6      Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.

7      Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

8      Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.

The seal of the Holy Spirit is accomplished in the life of every believer in Jesus Christ, without his conscious awareness, as a sovereign act of the Spirit of God at the time He regenerates the sinner, giving him life when he comes to faith in Christ.[10] The mark of the beast, on the other hand, is the wicked response of an unsaved person to the demand of the beast, the antichrist, in direct opposition to the will of God.

The question before us is whether or not the RFID is the mark of the beast. At present, I would answer that it is not, for several reasons: First, the mark of the beast is an act of worship and adoration directed to the antichrist, who has not yet been revealed to mankind and will not be revealed, I believe, until after the Rapture. Second, the mark of the beast will be required in order to buy and sell. That is not yet required, though we can surely see the day approaching when such a thing would be required to buy and sell.

These things understood, I have no difficulty accepting that RFIDs might someday become the mark of the beast, and at present am vigorously opposed to Christians allowing RFIDs to be implanted in their bodies. On a necklace or bracelet to keep track of a patient? No problem. Under the skin to track me and collect data about me? I would have to evaluate that on a case by case basis, because technology of itself is not wrong. I take issue not with technology, but how some people would use technology.

Might I suggest that this issue of RFIDs is useful to show some unbelievers that their situation is precarious? You might be frightened about the mark of the beast, yet you seem unmoved by more direct gospel warnings. Why is that? You might die in a crosswalk tomorrow, so that the mark of the beast is the least of your concerns. Your concern is God, His wrath, His judgment, His holiness, and His provision for salvation from your sins in His Son. Let me urge you to come to Christ without delay.



[8] Revelation 13.3-4, 15; 14.11

[9] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), pages 281-282

[10] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. III, (Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1948), pages 338-339.



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