What do we know about the Antichrist, the future world dictator whose coming is foretold in the Bible? From all indications, the technology needed to achieve and enforce his near total control of the world and its people is rapidly approaching. A key Bible passage about this is Revelation 13:16-17:
He [the Antichrist’s right-hand man, the false prophet] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on [or “in”] their right hand or on [in] their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Imagine what the apostle John must have thought when, in about 90 AD, he saw a vision of this taking place in a futuristic world. People ever since have been baffled as to how any such universal, totalitarian economic system could be established or policed. But now the age of technology has arrived. With electronic commerce rapidly replacing cash and virtually enabling everything that is bought and sold to be identified and tracked, it is no longer inconceivable that the financial transactions of everyone in the world could one day be monitored by a centralized agency.
Most of the technology already exists, but before the Antichrist’s plan can work, it needs to be more developed and widespread. Also, the technology is not enough in itself. The Antichrist also needs to sell the world on it. He will work through others–mostly unwitting accomplices who are helping to further his agenda by developing and marketing the technology, including some of the world’s brightest minds and biggest financial powers. A scripture that goes along with that point is Daniel 11:21b KJV: “He shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
Some versions of the Bible translate this as “seize the kingdom by intrigue”–by secret scheming or plotting. Either way, it sounds as though the Antichrist is going to rise to power through cunning salesmanship rather than solely the strong-arm tactics that the leaders of most past empires depended on. Through the various forms of mass media in this digital information age, the Antichrist will be able to do this in ways never conceived before.
However, as amazing as these new technologies are, the Antichrist will not be able to fully set up his new world order until it is all pulled together into an integrated network with universal standards–an obstacle that might not be an obstacle much longer. Governments and industry are setting international standards and expanding their electronic networking by sharing information, services, and technology. As more countries turn to the latest technology to help solve their particular social and economic problems, they expand the network’s reach and capabilities. The level of technological development now varies greatly from nation to nation, but the whole system could be “online” in a foreseeable future.
Proponents of these technologies and cooperative efforts always point out the positive aspects, such as convenience, security, lower costs, and improved quality, speed, and efficiency in the delivery of goods and services. Little is said about the negative aspects of this public intrusion into what were once private personal affairs. Under the banner of science and technology, and more recently “the war against terrorism,” the governments of the world are rushing to complete the Antichrist’s economic and political system for him–the very system the Bible warns against.
Don’t be duped into following this false messiah or receiving his mark to buy and sell! Follow the true Messiah, Jesus Christ. Then you’ll be on the right side, the winning side, when Jesus returns to put a stop to the Antichrist’s evil and set things right at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 14:9-11; 19:11-21).