[Editor’s Note: Jack Kinsella wrote this article in 2003, but it is more relevant today than ever.]
The Pentagon is developing an urban surveillance system that would use computers and thousands of cameras to track, record, and analyze the movement of every vehicle in a foreign city. The project nickname is unusually lame, even by Pentagon standards.
Dubbed “Combat Zones That See,” the project is designed to help the U.S. military protect troops and fight in cities overseas.
The project’s centerpiece is groundbreaking computer software that is capable of automatically identifying vehicles by size, color, shape and license tag, or drivers and passengers by face.
According to interviews and contracting documents, the software may also provide instant alerts after detecting a vehicle with a license plate on a watch list or search months of records to locate and compare vehicles spotted near terrorist activities.
Its other projects include developing software that scans databases of everyday transactions and personal records worldwide to predict terrorist attacks and creating a computerized diary that would record and analyze everything a person says, sees, hears, reads or touches.
U.S. police use cameras to monitor bridges, tunnels, airports and border crossings and regularly access security cameras in banks, stores and garages for investigative leads. In the District of Columbia, police have 16 closed-circuit television cameras watching major roads and gathering places.
Great Britain has an estimated 2.5 million closed-circuit television cameras, more than half operated by government agencies, and the average Londoner is thought to be photographed 300 times a day.
At this point, you are probably expecting me to begin spinning like a dervish and shouting “Mark of the Beast!” but, to quote the first President Bush, ‘Nope. Not gonna do that.’
Let me make two contradictory statements, and then I will attempt to sort them out.
First off, let me say that I agree with the use of the technology.
Secondly, I have no more desire to be photographed 300 times a day than anybody else. I agree that it is a bit spooky to know you live under surveillance. I agree with the privacy experts that the potential for abuse of the technology is high.
As one privacy expert lamented, the system could be ‘abused’ to identify and arrest domestic criminals as easily as it could be used to identify potential terrorists.
But there is a short-term solution for those of us who don’t want the government to use cameras to catch us breaking the law. Don’t break the law.
The only ones who are truly concerned about development and use of this technology are: 1) terrorists, 2) liberals, 3) criminals, 4) those who won’t know what they think about it until the mantras start, 5) hysterical Christians suffering both a lack of faith and a lack of understanding of Scripture for the last days.
Categories 1 through 4 are self-explanatory. It is Category 5 that needs addressing here; hysterical Christians who are suffering from both the lack of faith and the lack of understanding.
This story is stunning in its import; it is almost a letter-perfect fit to the surveillance system foretold by the Apostle Paul from the Island of Patmos almost two thousand years ago. In John’s vision, the antichrist will set up a three-tiered system of government, through which he will be able to control the tiniest details of day-to-day life.
His system will be political and global. John sees the political ‘beast’ “rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns (Rev 13:1), said system being empowered by “the dragon [that] gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” (2)
The political beast’s authority is absolute: “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (4)
The political beast is capable of global communications: “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;” (5) which then sets the stage for the pogroms against the Tribulation saints as well as the Jews. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (6)
Enter the religious beast in verse 11, who then wields “all the power of the first [political] beast before him” (12) but adds the dimension of religion, using counterfeit miracles to set up a form of counterfeit Christianity (“he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon”), (11) through which he deceives “them that dwell upon the earth” (14) before merging both into a kind of all-encompassing socio-economic system that controls everything from where people go, to where they worship, to whether or not they can buy food.
Revelation 13:16-17 explains how the three come together and why the Pentagon’s new system is germane to Bible prophecy. “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.”
To accomplish all this, the antichrist would have to be able to reward his followers, identify his enemies, and be able to keep them separate.
For centuries, people debated about the Mark of the Beast. Is it a literal mark? Is it a tattoo? Is it an embedded chip?
Or is it something that can only be seen by surveillance cameras that photograph every citizen three hundred times a day?
I don’t know. What I do know is that this new system fits into John’s scenario with less difficulty than any of the previous ones.
I always wondered how the antichrist was going to convince everybody to take a visible mark. Some cultures would jump right on it. Ours, for example. All you’d have to do is make it a fashion statement.
Other cultures, on the other hand, would take a lot of convincing, which appears to me to be a wasted and time-consuming effort given the antichrist’s entire reign is only seven years.
But, if the Mark could be made invisible to the naked eye…
Here is where I reconcile the contradictions.
In the natural, I have no major issue with the use of this technology because it is NECESSARY. There are people who want to kill other people for no other reason except to either make a political point or underline a political worldview in innocent blood.
That was clear even before the New York skyline was changed forever on September 11. In the New Normal, it is more than necessary; it is a matter of survival.
Common sense tells anybody to whom sense is common that there is no non-intrusive way to spy on potential threats, and that there is no way to identify potential threats without spying. By definition, sneak attacks are planned and developed in secret.
Now, to the ‘hysterical Christian with a lack of faith and understanding’ category.
Look at Revelation 13 again. Does it say this is an OPTIONAL scenario for the last days? Or is it a prophecy that will be fulfilled down to the last “jot and tittle”?
And if it is the scenario outlined by God as His Plan for the judgment of the nations and the redemption of Israel, then only a hysterical Christian with no understanding of Scripture would be in a panic about it.
If this is the technology that will be used to set up the system of the Mark of the Beast, I say, bring it on! Let’s get that baby tuned up so that it is working perfectly and ready to go.
It will afford some measure of safety against terrorist attacks abroad, and when we have been properly conditioned to accept it in places like the U.S., let’s use it to protect the homeland.
The Bible is true, and so the antichrist’s system will be introduced, implemented and made operational whether Christians rail against it or not.
Since I believe in a pretrib Rapture, all it means to me is that the Lord is coming soon for His Church. But to those who believe the Church will be here for some or all of the Tribulation, it means the same thing (albeit a bit later).
It is additional evidence that these are the last days foretold and anticipated by the prophets from Daniel to Revelation.
The fact that it will be the system of the antichrist during the Tribulation is no reason for Christians to get hysterical about it. What is their point? To change what God said would happen anyway? To stall it? To hold God off?
Revelation 13:18 contains that cryptic 666 prophecy that has had people spinning like tops trying to decipher for 19 centuries.
“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.”
Instead of focusing on the number, let’s stop in the first sentence. “Here is wisdom.”
The Book of Proverbs has much to say about ‘wisdom’ — something that is a step TOWARD ‘understanding’ rather than the other way around.
“Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?” (Prov 8:1). “O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart” (8:5). “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength” (8:14). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (9:16). “He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good” (19:8).
Wisdom brings understanding. Now we return to the 666 prophecy. Are you beginning to understand?
The Mark of the Beast isn’t FOR the Church. We play no role in the Tribulation.
No matter what your view of the timing of the Rapture, the Church is not mentioned as playing any role whatsoever. Whether your doctrinal view puts the Rapture before, during, or after the Tribulation, you will find no mention of the Church.
Just the saints, and then in only one of two contexts — they are either in heaven already, or they are the saints to whom it was “given unto to him to make war” with — and overcome, may I add. If not already in heaven, they are on their way at the hands of the antichrist.
Wisdom tells us that the Scriptures are true and that God’s Word will not return to Him void. “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isaiah 14:24).
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11).
UNDERSTANDING tells us that this is playing out exactly as God said it would.
It is, therefore, spiritual foolishness to rail against it, since the Bible tells us that 1) it isn’t the antichrist’s system until the antichrist gets here to take it over, and 2) that is what God said was going to happen anyway.
This is an important story, but not because it means the antichrist is about to start rounding up Christians. It’s because John said this is what was GOING to happen. And then Jesus returns.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
The King IS coming!!
Tell your friends.
The late Jack Kinsella’s articles can be found in the Omega Letter archives at this link.