Those with an eye on the end-times took note of the technological changes taking place at a small business center in Stockholm Sweden called Epicenter.
Housing over 100 companies with an estimated 2,000 employees, Epicenter describes itself this way on its website:
“Epicenter is Stockholm’s first digital House of Innovation at the heart of the city and Sweden’s digital landscape.”
Though it is not mandatory, Epicenter offers to implant a rice-sized chip into the hands of employees of the various companies free of charge.
Inserted into the flesh between the thumb and index finger, the chip serves multiple purposes. It can be used to open sealed doors and operate the printers that need to track usage.
But the chip does more than that. Utilizing the same technology as credit cards it can also be used for purchases at the center’s food services.
According to an article in the National Post, Epicenter first offered the chip in January 2015, and so far 150 of the 2,000 people working at the center have taken up the offer. Epicenter has even turned the chip insertion into a celebration throwing parties for people who receive it.
There are also the obvious security and privacy issues as the chip allows companies to track if the person is at work, when they use the washroom and what they have purchased. And like other computer technology, the chip is prone to hacking.
But for Christians, this technology brings other concerns. In his vision of the end-times, the Apostle John saw a time when people would not be able to buy or sell without receiving either a mark on their hand or forehead:
16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17 NASV)
Many studying the end-times have wondered if the ‘mark of the beast’ mentioned by John would be associated with some type of computer chip technology.
Though this chip is obviously not the ‘mark of the beast’ is it paving the way for it?
The chip will provide many genuine conveniences to people, increasing its acceptability. It will also give a higher level of security — while credit cards can be separated from a person, a computer chip in the hand can’t so easily.
But it’s also a reflection of the rapid changes taking place in society. While a prophecy in the Bible ominously warns about where this type of technology could potentially head, some look at it as a cause for celebration.