"It's the mark of the beast," I remarked jokingly as I was tearing off the check and handing it to the cashier.
There was a shocked look in the woman's face. "Why don't you buy a candy bar so you can change it," she suggested. The candy bars are always among the last grab items stacked up at every grocery check-out counter.
"Yes," said a man in the line behind me. "You've got to do something." There was a frantic tone in his voice.
"Oh, I'm not superstitious," I laughed. Besides, I already had the check written and didn't want to go to the trouble of writing another.
Surprisingly, the cash register rejected the check. The clerk had to call the store manager to override the machine. It seemed that everyone, even the electronic computerized cash register in that store, was repelled by the number 666.
In case there is anyone out there who doesn't know about the number 666, it is a number given in the Book of the Revelation, Chapter 13, verse 18, of the Bible. The verse clearly states that 666 is the number of the beast.
The beast is described as a creature that rises up out of the sea in "the last days" and becomes a world dictator and god figure. As the year 2000 nears, many people and especially the Christians are nervously awaiting events that they believe may soon signal the end of the church age, the return of Jesus Christ, and the appearance of the antichrist. The beast is a key part of the Biblical prophecy.
The Biblical account of the beast is quite vivid:
"He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nations. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast?" (Rev. 13:5-8)
"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 number of the beast, or the number of his name." (Rev. 13:16-17)
If ever there was a time for such a world leader to rise up, it is now.
As we wade into the new millenium our world is in chaos. The three most powerful nations, the United States, Russia and China are headed by politically and physically powerful men who seem to be engaged in a game of who blinks first. At the same time, China and the U.S. are nearly at the brink of war with each other because of strong disagreement over political, religious and philosophical ideologies. Notice too, how the rest of the nations of the world are quickly choosing sides in this conflict, which is clearly a show between the Communists who correctly reject all forms of religion, and the rest of the world comprised of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and probably the Hindu. The great army of the north (Russia). the army of the east (China), and I predict the army of the south (Iraq and other Arab states) appear poised and ready to clash with the armies of the west, (NATO Alliance).
It is not that any of these other world nations agree with each other. More that they share a deep hatred for the United States. In our attempt to keep the peace by being a police officer over the remainder of the world, we are perceived as a powerful and dangerous bully. Could this conflict be the prelude to the Biblical battle of Armageddon?
The problems goes far beyond the threat of World War III. The world is overpopulated. The world economic system is out of control and many people fear it is headed for collapse. The world's ecological system is so badly damaged by air, ground and water pollution that many scientists believe it is beyond repair. The sunis heating and spewing out flares that threaten to change our weather, destroy our crops and possibly give us all skin cancer or worse. The ice at both the north and south poles is melting, causing our oceans to rise. If it continues our shorelines will soon be flooded. Our weather system is already on a rampage.
Food is in short supply in many parts of the world. People are starving to death by the thousands in North Korea and portions of Africa. Starvation is expected to be a problem this year in Russia, China and even Mexico. Waterand energy will be the next resources to fight over. They already are in critically short supply.
The AIDS epidemic is out of control in nearly all third world countries. It is estimated that over 35 percent of the people in many parts of Africa are infected. Now we are seeing new/old horrors like Mad Cow Disease, bacterial encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever, E.boli, and a new incurable strain of tuberculosis ravage the people of the world.
Small wonder that Christians are looking for their Messiah to return. Coupled with that return is a belief in the events described in the Book of Revelation that tell of a world apocalypse that will literally destroy two-thirds of the population of the Earth.
The Book of Revelation has been a controversial book of the Bible. I have talked to many clergymen who say they don't understand the book and think it doesn't belong in the Bible. Yet, as we approach what may, indeed, be the end of the church age, many of the events predicted in that book appear to be coming true.
It seems that the author of the book, sometimes identified as the apostle John, was a "writer down of an ancient language," more commonly known today as remote viewing. He had visions of the future although it is clear that he did not understand what he was looking at. Thus the writer's descriptions of the future seem garbled and extremely difficult to interpret.
Some things, however, are very clear. The predictions of a world government, a world banking system and a world church seem to be coming true before our eyes. The concept of a terrible catastrophic event that could wipe out a large portion of the Earth's population is being talked about almost daily in our television programming. It ranges from the strike of a large meteor to an invasion by a terrible new killer disease.
And what or who is the beast?
Paul Christopher, a Glendale, Arizona writer, was at that time promoting a book on the Internet that might give some insight in this area. The book, titled "Alien Intervention, the Spiritual Mission of UFO's," claims that there seems to be "a bizarre interrelationship" between alien visitors and "the realm of the occult, rapidly advancing New Age movement, and the stir now being created by the New World Order."
The topic of Christopher's book is not the point. It is something on his website that caught my eye.
If what Christopher says is correct, the U. S. military now has a super computer called BEAST (Battle Engagement Area Simulation and Tracking), which is designed to read a computer chip that can be placed in the hand or forehead of every human.
That chip, believe it or not, is called MARCC (Multiple Automated Readout Computer Chip).