Reaching for the Mark of the Beast
Authorities want to require vaccines in order to buy, sell, or trade. Christians are alarmed. Anyone else with a brain should be, too.
The new totalitarianism is getting a test run in the wake of COVID-19. Across the globe, every person must submit to “health and safety.” So long as officials “can save just one life,” any draconian policy is justified. In response, millions of Christians are refusing the ‘rona vaccine for fear it’s the Mark of the Beast. Their refusal has invited waves of weaponized condescension from dogmatic doctors and Rainbow Xians alike.
On September 9, Joe Biden demanded that the entire nation receive the jab—young or old, with or without natural immunity. Addressing unvaxxed Americans, the nominal Catholic warned, “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin.”
For many Christians of all races and nationalities, the supposed president’s aggressive tone carried the weight of prophecy fulfilled. They see present-day history as manifesting the Bible’s symbolic structure.
Are they wrong?
The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation—received as a vision by St. John on the Greek island of Patmos—describes the rise of two Beasts who will institute a one world order. Channeling the power of Leviathan, the first blasphemous Beast emerges from the sea:
“It was given authority over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it.”
A second Beast then rises from the earth:
“It performs great signs, even making fire come down from the heavens. ... [I]t deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the [first] Beast...it was allowed to give breath to the image of the Beast so that [the image] could speak.”
It’s no surprise that vigilant Christians perceived something ominous in the invention of the television, the desktop monitor, the smartphone, and especially in the holographic images that will populate augmented reality. A two thousand year-old symbol has been realized by the glowing Cyclops.
“Also [the second Beast] causes all—both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave—to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the Beast or the number of its name...six hundred sixty-six.”
Imagine smartphones in every person’s hand and virtual reality helmets strapped to every forehead. Whatever the Revelation’s final meaning may be, if we look beyond the specific phantasms of St. John’s vision, a troubling motif of world domination and universal tracking comes into view.
The Mark as a Tracking System
There are countless ways to interpret the Mark of the Beast. Fundamentalists tend toward a literal reading. Convinced we’re living through the End Times, they look for exact correlates between the Book and the world.
In the 1930’s, it was supposed to be a social security number for every citizen. In the 1980’s, it was a scannable UPC bar code—allegedly marked with three 6’s—stamped on every product. In the 1990’s, radical ministers were sure it would be an RFID tracking chip stabbed into every palm. In the early 2000’s, it was biometric identification.
Today, the Mark of the Beast looks like a Covid jab in every arm—although no one seems to agree on the particulars. As technology advances, the so do the calculations for 666.
On August 27, the WHO published a paper detailing the technical specifications of using QR codes to implement digital vaxxports, both locally and globally. As any Luddite could predict, the research was partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Even from a purely literary standpoint, runaway tech evolution reflects St. John’s sinister Apocalypse. Guided by this sacred narrative, today’s biblical literalists scan the horizon for concrete signs and portents. It may be more ambiguous than they would expect.
Let me be the first to say I am neither a pastor nor a theologian (although I was trained by the last remaining scholars at Boston University’s rapidly deteriorating School of Theology). My purpose isn’t to argue a religious dogma here, but rather to highlight clear parallels between the Christian mythos and present day events.
The faithful have good reason to fear. So do non-believers. Even if we view the Apocalypse of John as a cosmic symbol—a visionary sign pointing to a greater reality—the prophet’s story reflects profound truths that are coming to pass.
The Mark as Hi-Tech Surveillance
In late 2018, Biohax International in Stockholm, Sweden caught the attention of NPR, The Independent, and ArsTechnica. At the time, the company had injected chips into the palms of over 4,000 Swedes with a radio frequency identification (RFID) device, each the size of a grain of rice.
Using near-field communication, Biohax implants give recipients access to their workplaces, homes, gyms, live events, and public transportation. They can also store social media passwords, personal health information, and money for traceable cashless purchases. That same year, the Seattle-based bio-implant company Dangerous Things estimated that some 50-100 thousand people around the world had been chipped by various tech corporations.
Then in December of 2019, a team of MIT researchers developed a quantum dot tattoo for vaccine verification. Their proposal was published in Science Transnational Medicine. The project drew serious interest from Bill Gates, who personally funded the research through the Gates Foundation.
The quantum dot tattoo is to be administered using a microneedle patch in tandem with any given vaccination. Fluorescent nanoparticles are placed in a specific configuration—a sort of QR code embedded in the flesh—which can be scanned with infrared light on a modified smartphone. Experimentation on lab mice indicates the quantum dot tattoo will last for up to five years. The project’s leader openly stated that their goal is “widespread adoption” in humans.
These invasive technologies fit into a broader paradigm known as the “Internet of Bodies”—a physiological version of the already pervasive “Internet of Things.” The concept has generated tremendous interest at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. An article by Xiao Liu, a fellow at the WEF’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution—published in June of 2020 at the WEF website—advocates the use of bio-sensors to monitor personal and public health.
Xiao explains that the bio-sensors might be wearable, like a Smartwatch or a FitBit, or they could be digital implants inside the body. They can also be a swallowable digital pill. These devices will be used to monitor temperature, heart rate, glucose levels, blood oxygen levels, and so on.
In essence, they will connect bodily processes to devices in the wider digital environment. Many versions of these bio-sensors already exist. Consider the long history of the pacemaker.
Back in 2016, the WEF’s chairman Klaus Schwab was asked when we should expect humans to be implanted with digital brain chips. Eyes locked in a thousand-year stare, Schwab replied:
“Certainly in the next ten years. And at first we will implant them in our clothes. And then we could imagine that we will implant them in our brains, or in our skin. And in the end, maybe, there will be a direct communication between our brain and the digital world. What we see is a kind of fusion of the physical, digital, and biological world.”
Schwab went on to discuss the virtues of robot servants who will do household chores and solve difficult cognitive tasks, leaving you free to ponder what it used to mean to be human.
Four years later, PC Magazine reported that Microsoft had just filed a patent application for a blockchain-based bio-sensor system. The invention is basically an electronic carrot-and-stick that monitors the user’s activity—eye and muscle movement, brain waves, bodily fluids, and so forth—and automatically rewards desired behaviors with cryptocurrency payments.
Sinister as this Pavlovian scheme may be, inquisitive Christians also noticed an unsettling synchronicity. The Microsoft application’s publication number is WO/2020/060606. More imaginative observers saw this as code for “World Order – 2020 – 666.”
Soon afterward—as the COVID-19 lockdowns, mask mandates, contagious fearmongering, and overt social engineering intensified—it was discovered that Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) had introduced a House bill to fund digital contact-tracing for Americans.
The numeric designation? H.R. 6666.
It’s as if the Powers That Be are trying to trigger Christian paranoia.
The Mark as a Perennial Symbol
As scientific discoveries catch up to ancient traditions, modern thinkers have noted various correlations between the two. Neuroscience provides evidence for many concepts developed by Buddhist monks, as articulated in Robert Wright’s Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment. The physicist Fritjof Capra showed how ancient Chinese speculation foreshadowed the findings of quantum mechanics in The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism.
Indeed, the belief that all living beings are sentient—which inspired the concept of ahimsa, or “non-harm,” for traditional Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists—is largely vindicated by the modern science of animal cognition, and to some extent, a plant’s visceral response to stimuli. And yet, for whatever reason, Christian insights into the deeper structures of reality are a little too close to home.
One broad interpretation is that the Beast of Revelation symbolizes centralized power, unbridled animal instincts, and the potential for global oppression. The various concrete manifestations are old as the story itself. Ultimately, this struggle for freedom extends from the primate hierarchy to the current technetronic era.
Just after the Internet’s widespread adoption, dot-connecting Christians noticed that—according to a superficial application of Hebrew numerology—WWW (the “world wide web”) equals 666. The alphabetic letter “W” is transliterated into Hebrew as the letter ו, or “waw,” whose gematric value is 6. Therefore, on the surface: www = 666. The evidence is right there on the Internet!
This is an eerie coincidence, but similar numerological relationships go back to St. John’s time of writing in the 1st century AD.
The original Book of Revelation was written and disseminated in Greek. At that time, the Roman emperor Nero was persecuting Christian communities around the Mediterranean. After a transliteration of “Nero Caesar” from the Greek to the Hebrew—from NEPΩN KAIΣAP to נרון קסר—the Hebrew letters add up to the numeric value 666. So do the Greek letters for “beast” —therion (θηρίον) —when transliterated into Hebrew (תריון). This image resonates with Nero’s primal brutality.
Theological wrangling aside, it seems that 666 is a perennial symbol that spans distant eras. From a bestial Roman emperor to social security numbers to bar codes to RFID chips to smartphones to VR helmets to QR codes to quantum tattoos, the Mark of the Beast signifies a universal system of control. The underlying mythos is perpetually relevant, wherever it may be directed.
The threat of vaccine mandates and global vaxxports reflect a valid metanarrative that underlies historical events. The image of the Beast as seen in the Revelation may not be exacting, but it’s accurate nonetheless.
Christian visionaries should be appreciated for their insight. For millennia, they’ve sounded an enduring rallying cry for resistance and human agency. Today, their poetic narratives are a bulwark against technocracy.
Much like 9/11, the COVID-19 pandemic opened the door for dark forces to enter all our lives. As various totalitarians incite and then seize upon fear in order to demand subservience, Christian “superstition” is proving to be as relevant to non-believers as it is to the faithful.
Never let it be said that no one warned the world.