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The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend toward a cashless society. Experts give two reasons for this trend. First, last year during lockdowns, people were forced to purchase products from e-commerce sites such as Amazon instead of brick-and-mortar retail stores. Second, people now fear handling paper money and coins over concern that the currency could be contaminated with the coronavirus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued official guidance last year to retail workers in response to the pandemic which advocated for the use of touchless payment options. After the CDC guidance was issued, cash withdrawals from ATMs plunged 25 percent nationwide, according to industry figures. PayPal, a digital payment company, saw their payment volume increase 50 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same quarter in 2020, which was largely pre-pandemic. Square, which processes digital sales, reported an incredible 95 percent increase in cashless purchases. In a San Francisco Chronicle article dated July 2, 2021, a spokesman for Square said, “The shift away from cash usage in this past year would have taken nearly three years without the pandemic.”

Small businesses are suffering because of this move to a cashless society. Most banks collect 3.4 percent in fees on every credit card transaction, which is a significant expense for small businesses. Many mom-and-pop operations that were forced to close during the pandemic have yet to reopen, and some likely will never reopen because of the extra cost involved to move to digital payments. 

The Money Removed

The acceleration toward a cashless society is not surprising considering Bible prophecy. A cashless society is a requirement for the future one-world system of the Antichrist. The Apostle John prophesied of a day when all the world’s buying and selling would be controlled by a single ruler:

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: 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. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
—Revelation 13:16-18

Revelation 13 calls for a day when a world leader will require all people to receive a “mark” in their forehead or right hand without which they cannot “buy or sell.” Not too long ago, the idea of a world where one man could control all the buying and selling on earth seemed unbelievable. After all, if the world economy were still cash-based, people anywhere who possessed cash could still buy and sell. Only in a cashless world can the Antichrist control all buying and selling. Today, for the first time in history, this prophecy can now be easily fulfilled. The one-world government of the Antichrist could simply block someone’s electronic bank account and credit cards which would completely cut off their ability to purchase goods. 

The Mark Received

The Greek word used for the “mark” of the beast is charagma. In ancient times, the word charagma was always associated with the Roman emperor. It was his official stamp or seal which contained his name, image, and the year of his reign. It was necessary for buying and selling and was on all documents to attest to their validity. The Antichrist will use his “mark” in the same way.

The “mark” will identify allegiance to the Antichrist. It will be on the right hand or forehead and will be visible, like a tattoo. When I was growing up, only soldiers and sailors had tattoos. A woman never had a tattoo unless she worked in the circus. Today, it is a rare exception for a woman not to have a tattoo. Society has changed. It could very well be that the mark is some type of tattoo.

Those who refuse the mark of the beast will be persecuted and shut out of society altogether. No one will buy their services or products. They will be barred from employment and shopping. Eventually, they will face bankruptcy and starvation. 

Those who receive the mark of the beast will suffer eternal judgment. Taking the mark signifies approval of the Antichrist. No one accidentally takes this mark. People will choose to do so with all the facts on the table. All who take the mark of the beast will be consigned to eternal fire, damnation, and wrath. Their suffering will last forever since they choose to worship and serve the Antichrist instead of the one true God (Revelation 14:9–11).

The Man Revealed

The mark of the beast is 666. Bible interpreters have offered many suggestions as to the meaning of 666. Some believe that seven is the number of perfection and 777 reflects the Trinity, and that 666 points to the unholy Trinity. Some think that 666 is a computer chip, ID card, or a barcode. Some suggest that the number refers to a specific man. For example, some said Ronald Reagan was the antichrist because his name, Ronald Wilson Reagan, contained six letters in all three of his names. 

However, the Bible does not identify the Antichrist or interpret his number. Instead, the Bible says that when the Antichrist is revealed during the Tribulation, the number of his name will be 666. Any guesses as to the Antichrist’s identity or his number before he is revealed are just speculation. I believe it is impractical to attempt to identify him until after the Rapture. The Apostle Paul tells us that the Rapture is a prerequisite to the Antichrist being revealed publicly (2 Thessalonians 2:6–9).

The Master’s Redemption

The rush toward a cashless society is another of the signs that we are living at the end of the age. The coming of Jesus Christ could be very soon. That should motivate us to live for Him in these last days. 

If you are not a believer, I pray you seriously consider receiving Jesus as your Savior right now. If you do so before the Rapture occurs, you will join in that glorious gathering and miss the terrible Tribulation. 

You see, you are guilty of sin, and your sin separates you from God. But Jesus Christ paid the price to redeem you. The price Jesus paid was worth more than any amount of money. Jesus paid for your sins with His blood when He died on the cross (Romans 5:8). If you turn away from your sin, turn to Jesus, and believe on His name, you will be forgiven (Acts 10:43). Give your life to Christ now before your money and your time run out. 

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
—Mark 8:36

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James Collins

James Collins is the former Staff Evangelist for Southwest Radio Ministries. He previously served in various pastoral positions in Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, and California. Before being called to SWRC, James was a Chaplain in the United States Army and served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Inherent Resolve. He and wife share their home with three extraordinary children, three dogs, and a lifetime collection of books.

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