The marks of the beasts

The Mark of the Beast from Christian theology is a widely known concept.  This mysterious mark and the symbolism in the book of Revelation have even made their way into popular culture and entertainment.  Many things have been suspected as this mark, including Social Security numbersUPC bar codes, QR codes, and Real ID.

The scary risks of a government placing a mandatory mark on people is not a far-fetched idea.  Throughout history, tyrants and totalitarians have marked people for exclusion and inclusion.

It is easy to imagine a government that would require a marked population to participate in commerce while excluding the unmarked.  It has been done before.  The yellow stars of Nazi Germany and the tricolor cockade of the French Revolution were government attempts to visibly mark segments of the population.  China has an extensive social credit system in which the entire population is marked with a score that determines how citizens may interact in society.

An interesting contrast also exists in Judeo-Christian theology.  God wanted the people he chose through Abraham to carry a mark of inclusion that would be evidence of the covenant.  In the New Testament, Christians are said to be marked in their spirit.  Both of these are in places that are quite private, and only the person marked and God can see them.  Tyrants mark people for all to see, and they mark to exclude.

We find ourselves in a time in which there are multiple new candidates for government marking.  At the forefront is the proposed vaccine passport.  In the most controlling scenario, to fully participate in society, we will need to show our passport as proof that we have been vaccinated against COVID-19.  Those without the mark would be excluded.  In an interesting mix of competing potential marks, implementation would use QR codes on our phones.

The increasing demands that the vaccine be required universally for everyone places the vaccine itself into the category of those things that government may use to mark the people.  While there is no evidence that the vaccine is being used to insert a marking microchip, this theory persists because people think it is something government would desire to do.

Mask mandates have been suspected as government marks to identify and divide those who are compliant with government demands from those who are not.  These mandates are harsher in places that have tighter government control.  The people in those areas — who elected these governments — are more likely to help enforce exclusion when people do not wear the masks.

As I travel, I have found the level of mask compliance seems to be related to urbanization.  Out in rural areas, where people are more independent and self-reliant, mask compliance may be near zero.  In cities, with high levels of dependence on services and government, it is close to 100%.

It is not just COVID.  ESG scores, which measure a corporation's environmental, social, and governance (separate from its management abilities and the product or services it sells), are another way to be marked.  Businesses will create these scores in cooperation with the government.  The scores are being expanded to individuals.

It is the Chinese Social Credit system expanded universally.  Your environmental score may be based on how much gas or electricity you use (i.e., your carbon footprint).  Social justice already rates businesses on their perceived level of concern for social justice issues, and that can be expanded to individuals.  If you lean in the wrong direction politically, it can affect your government score.  The banks are at the center of this and can control all aspects of a person's financial life, including when and where people may spend their own money.

Finally, the most insidious is marking by race.  It is a permanent mark from birth that cannot be removed.  The social justice movement is expanding as never thought possible.  Just being white is being marked as undeservedly privileged.  Race or ethnicity determines the government benefits that can be received.  Babies and the blind are both racist.  We are becoming a society that increasingly picks winners and losers based on skin color.  For the losers, there is no repentance or atonement for having this mark.

Dr. M.L. King famously said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."  This quote asks us to look at others as God looks at His people, into our hearts and actions, not the color of our skin or the marks we have been given.  Tyrants judge by the marks they can see.  They demand that others look at the marks they have defined and created and consider those as our defining characteristics.

The beasts must have their marks.

Image: Man's face by rawpixel.com (with added bar code).

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