Social Network Links
Powered by Squarespace
Search the Riddleblog
"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« Wow! What a Conference! | Main | Who Said That? »

Is It Finally Here?

real ID.jpgChristians are having a fit over the "Real ID Card."   To no one's surprise, some are claiming this is the dreaded "mark of the beast."  According to an article on (Click here: STLtoday - News - St. Louis City / County) . . .

"Several evangelical Christian groups say the federal Real ID Act, which will standardize state drivers licenses and link them to corresponding national ID numbers by 2009, represents the `mark of the beast,' the devilish number 666 that is attached to the godless.  The nearly 2,000-year-old passage is referenced along with the prophetic locusts, plagues, oceans of blood and rivers of fire found in the Bible. Soon after, according to scripture, the antichrist takes control of the world and Jesus Christ returns.  In short, new national ID numbers could spell the beginning of the end, some Christians believe `This is getting treacherously close to prophecy in the scripture,' said Irvin Baxter Jr., founder and president of Endtime Ministries in Dallas.  And some Missouri legislators are listening. Some Christians interpret verses from the book of Revelation that say humans will be `marked … so that no one can buy or sell who does not have that mark' as a prophecy of a global numerical control system to be used by the beast, or antichrist. The number would be used during the Great Tribulation, which some Christians believe will precede the second coming of Jesus. State Rep. Jim Guest, a frequent participant on Baxter's radio show, is sponsoring a bill that would exempt the state from complying with the federal law.  The Missouri House overwhelmingly approved Guest's bill last Thursday, 146-4. It has moved to the Senate for consideration. Guest, a Republican from King City in northeastern Missouri, said his main reservation with the program was its potential for `Big Brother-like' abuses.  `We could be tracked by machines everywhere we go,' said Guest, referring to provisions that require `machine-readable' technology in the ID cards. `This could signal the death of individual freedoms and rights.'"

Christians have worried about social security, credit cards, product ID#'s and bar codes when they were first introduced--rarely ever thinking to ask "just what is the theological significance of the mark?"  Meanwhile, the implications of such cards upon civil liberties should be given careful consideration even apart from end-times nuttiness.  You gotta love the prophecy pundits--sometimes they warn us about the right stuff (the loss of personal liberties) for all the wrong reasons (misunderstanding the Book of Revelation).

Come to think of it, given the crappy rate of return the government gives me back on all that money I paid into social security, that can only be the work of Satan!

Reader Comments (21)

I thought these end times experts wanted Christ's return. So why not usher it in by encouraging passage of the bill. To say `This is getting treacherously close to prophecy in the scripture,'sounds like fulfilling prophecy is a bad thing, or that if we just persuade our legislature then Christ's return can at least be suspended/pushed back.
Does Irvin Baxter Jr. really think that the US Government (especially under Democratic control) has that much power? Doesn't Christ return when the time has been fulfilled, as opposed to the particular passage of a law by America? And, just because the US comes up with these personal ID cards, what about the rest of the world? Does everything always have to revolve around America????????
Sorry to ramble.
March 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermholst
As a computer support guy for a bank in Grand Rapids, I was very interested to read today that Cingular is launching mobile banking in the U.S. "AT&T Inc. said on Tuesday it has taken a step toward the long-promised notion of phones replacing credit cards, checks and cash by signing agreements with Wachovia Corp. and several other banks."
The Real ID Act is being opposed by several states, so nationwide adoption is somewhat unlikely, but mobile phones are cool! Wristwatches have almost disappeared since all the kids have cell phones now, and who wouldn't want a virtual wallet? Soon we'll be able to pay for stuff by holding our cell phones close to a terminal in the store.
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have more influence in these realms than any state does, so it's interesting that instead of people having these technologies forced on them, they willingly go out and pay for them.
All this is very timely for me as I'm about halfway through your great book on the Antichrist. Years ago before learning of Reformed theology, my reading of Revelation led me to believe that corporations and the world economic system had more to do with brining about the things spoken of by John than do governments. If you think about it, one can see a day coming where governments no longer hold all the marbles and large multi-national corporations appeal to, captivate, and control the masses - without force!
Thanks for the book and the great blog!
March 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterR.J. Stevens
I've been reading for years at news forums that have Christian posters, mostly dispys. As far as I can recall they nearly all expect the mark to be a tatoo on the hand or forehead, or a little chip embedded under the skin.

I can't imagine the ones who already expect SS numbers to get tatooed on skin being upset about this...after all the date is 2009, and they are expecting Gog-Magog any second now, and Damascus to be laid waste when it gets nuked.

A date of 2009 would be a two year breather, I mean, I've heard of four folks from the closest Clavary Chapel who are angry that the rapture didn't happen yet. A 2009 date is probably too far out for the average dispy who thinks it all starts any second now. I'm guessing the Missouri guys are not good students of dispy endtimes prophecy.

I could be wrong.....first the rapture, then nukes fly, then it takes two whole years to get the mark ID numbers in the USA established, OK, maybe this works. Shucks, I'll have to stop reading this Riddlebarger amil book and go visit Calvary Chapel to figure it out.
March 27, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn
I'm a Christian blogging against the REAL ID Act. However, to bring one's eschatology into the argument is counter-productive. There are plenty of reasons to oppose the direction we're going along these lines:

1. The 2-D barcode required in the current standards still doesn't protect us from being forced to use biometrics in the future. I'm glad we're not forced to use biometrics for now, but we're creating a platform for such use with REAL ID. Anyway, from what I understand, 2D can still store or reference biometric information. Once all Americans are "booked" in such a way, that very personal information is no longer in the control of the person from whose body it was taken.

2. Linked Databases: It is double-speak to say that REAL ID is not a national database. It will be a network of databases completely linked to each other and accessable to government workers with an internet connection. How far and wide can one's personal info go on the internet? There are real concerns that this program will actually facilitate identity theft.

3. REAL ID does an end-run around the 4th Amendment. If a citizen needs to be investigated (tracked, monitered, pinged, data-mined, etc.), let the government get a search warrant. REAL ID undermines the presumption of innocence in our society--a presumption that is a major cornerstone of freedom. We're creating an atmosphere of "Suspicious Until Properly Identified" instead of "Innocent Until Proven Guilty." REAL ID, and its future additions, will make life subject to the good-will of the government in a software maze of “red light, green light.” This is not freedom nor the concept of "limited government."

4. The burden of proof is on the promoters of REAL ID to clearly show how the program IS NOT A THREAT TO FREEDOM. It is not on the shoulders of opponents to show that it is. The history of Social Security Numbers clearly shows that these programs are never static. They take on a life and growth of their own. SSN's were promised not to be used for identification when they first came out.

5. REAL ID reduces God-given rights of the individual to a string of digits, subject to the good-will of software and/or bureaucrats. It makes Americans get “permission” to live and move in the basic functions of society. Without REAL ID, we won't be able to bank, fly, enter federal buildings--such as the Capitol etc. These are buildings we pay taxes to maintain.

We shouldn’t have to ask permission to be functioning citizens within our own country.

6. REAL ID promotes the strength and presence of the federal government in our lives. This in and of itself is an encroachment on freedom. It is not hard to imagine the arbitrary rules liberal policy makers can enforce with REAL ID technology. We've got to look beyond our noses.

Some folks say we already have a national id--Social Security. But if REAL ID is only a lateral move, why are we doing it? We are doing it because it is indeed an increase in the government’s ability to track its citizens.

7. Hypocrisy: The government does virtually nothing to stop illegal immigration, yet it wants to come and tag Americans. It must be a lot easier this way, but the truly difficult decisions to be made at the border are left undone.

8. Capitulation: With the REAL ID, we are conceding that freedom cannot stand in an age of terror.

I think that if we’re on the wrong road, the soonest way to progress is to turn around.
March 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJohn R.
These so-called end time experts confuse me. (Maybe that's one reason I don't belive them.) On the one hand they say, "Christians won't be here," and on the other hand, they fret about this stuff. Since the mark of the beast (Rev. 13) comes well after Revelation 4 where Christians are told to "come up here," why worry? I agree with the post above, these folks seem to deny wanting prophecies to be fulfilled. They identify them, but don't really want to be around for them. Very confusing as well as duplicitous on their part. I'm so glad I am not premil dispensational. We should be more worried about civil liberties eroding.
March 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChris Malamisuro
The saddest part is that without these cards Evangelicals won't be able to 'buy and sell' sound systems, electric guitars, and fog machines for their worship services.

Weeping and gnashing of teeth indeed!
March 28, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMLR
Have you seen our social security cards? They're a joke. Illegal immigrants have been stealing people's identities for years with ease because we have social security cards dating back to the printing press. We need something.
March 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
John R....

Thank you for a very interesting, and convincing, post.
March 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn
for any neo-cons, aren't "eroding civil liberties" necessary to keep the radical muslims from taking over? when are these erosions a good thing and when should they be lamented?

March 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterzrim
"for any neo-cons, aren't "eroding civil liberties" necessary to keep the radical muslims from taking over? when are these erosions a good thing and when should they be lamented?

zrim "


I believe I can help you.

First of all, the term 'radical' when applied to 'Muslim' is useless, because Muslims who don't participate in jihad support it either financially our by acquiesence. Jihad is overwhelmingly supported by Islamic jurisprudence, and every Muslim knows it. Mujahideen move freely in Islamic communities. Secular Muslims, a small minority, are against this but are persecuted when they speak out.

Muslims seek to take over by propagating their "ummah" or Islamic community. This means having more babies than you and me. This is why the popuation of Muslims tripled over the last century and they doubled as a percentage of the world's population over last century. They move into new communities and propagate via bringing in relatives and having more babies. They then begin to enforce 'shari'ah' which is Islamic law. They have done this in many communities in Britain, continental Europe, and places like Dearborn, MI. Once shari'ah is enforced, non-Muslims become 'dhimmis,' a marginalized, persecuted, especially taxed sector of the population. Dhimmitude is largely the reason there are no non-Muslims in Islamic countries. Banning immigration from Islamic countries and chain immigration is essential in suppressing this.

Aside from demographic jihad, there is jihad in the traditional sense of the term. This is what we see against ethnic Serbs, Christians and animists in Darfur, Jews in Israel, 9/11, East Timor, southern Thailand, Indonesia, northern Nigeria, Somalia, the Phillipines, etc. This is making quite a resurgence, as KR has pointed out here numerous times. This is largely sponsored by Sunni oil money and manned by mujahideen (holy warriors) from Islamic countries around the globe. Of course, the Shia (Iran) are responsible for much of it and we may see a Sunni/Shia jihad in the near future. This would be extremely good for the infidels (us).

I hope I've helped you understand how the 'radical' Muslims take over. Perhaps you will investigate this on your own.
March 28, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
thanks, walt. yes, i see how they take over now, but i don't see anything about the erosion of our civil liberties in your response.

March 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterzrim

it was the wrong question, but wrong in an instructive way.

March 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
how so? the post proper said, "Meanwhile, the implications of such cards upon civil liberties should be given careful consideration even apart from end-times nuttiness. You gotta love the prophecy pundits--sometimes they warn us about the right stuff (the loss of personal liberties) for all the wrong reasons (misunderstanding the Book of Revelation)."

others, i think, seemed to agree that the issue of civil liberties was important. i don't want to beat a dead horse or anything, i just was curious what some might mean when they consider civil liberties in light of our present day issues. i get that the muslims are about to run down western civilization as we know and love it, but until that happens, what is your take on how civil liberties should shape up?

March 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterzrim
"others, i think, seemed to agree that the issue of civil liberties was important. i don't want to beat a dead horse or anything, i just was curious what some might mean when they consider civil liberties in light of our present day issues. i get that the muslims are about to run down western civilization as we know and love it, but until that happens, what is your take on how civil liberties should shape up?"


There's really no basis for civil liberties at this point. I agree with Francis Schaeffer. We're all trying to cling to something that is largely a relic. When the West had a consensus of believing that men were made in the image of God, you had a basis for civil liberties. Now, we submit to the arbitrary will of the elites.

Perhaps you're referring to the Patriot Act? That didn't infringe on my civil liberties one iota. What has infringed on them is campus speech codes (soon to manifest themselves into expanding hate-crimes legislation), the pervasive political correctness of even Christians who 'furrow their brow' when you mention a fact that is against PC rules.

I only care about a national ID if it prevents ID theft and does something about illegal immigration. If it does neither, why have it? It probably will infringe on our civil liberties and not make us safer.
March 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
Last I remember, the US population only figured out to be around 5% of the world population. This real ID card, as insidious as it may be, hardly represents a "global numerical control system to be used by the beast..."


Being a recent victim of identity theft myself, I am reassessing the convenience of using credit cards. Initially lured by the promise of airline miles and up to 3% cash back, I am beginning to wonder about the wisdom of it all. A word of warning to you all, never let your cards out of your sight. I never lost my card, but somehow, somewhere in my travels, some clown "skimmed" my card and last month withdrew over $1200 at ATM machines in Toronto. I've never even been to Toronto.

Perhaps there is some wisdom is this saying,

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
-Ben Franklin, or at least it has been attributed to him.
March 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sherman
I think this is more of a concern to our national security. :)
March 29, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sherman
ok, thanks, walt.

BTW, what is your take on the supposed quote from franklin that chris posted?

March 29, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterzrim

I dunno. I mean, Franklin was a smart guy, but he was a Deist. You have to believe you deserve rights in order to claim them, don't you? Does anybody in America believe that anymore?

JJ Stellman's take on civil disobedience is starting to look more and more interesting.
March 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterwalt
I hesitated posting that quote. He is of course, as a deist or worse, strictly speaking of the civil/earthly realm.

I don't believe anyone "deserves" any rights, but in this country we currently have some degree of them. And of course for those who are children of God, our hope and trust is not in those "rights" for they can and do easily disappear overnight. Certainly the persecuted church in the world today does not know not much about civil liberty or safety.

I'm not sure whether our is always blessing, considering the apathy it has lead to.

Schaeffer wrote,"Having eliminated God, people have adopted the values of personal peace and affluence. There is no meaning for man, and no meaning for education, except that money enhances peace and prosperity. It comes as no surprise that much of the younger generation is apathetic, undereducated and narcissistic."

I would tend to believe that the elimination of God and the pursuit of personal peace and affluence were synchronous events. Sort of a chiasm, (if thats the right word) where the one increased as the other decreased.
March 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sherman
thanks, guys. broadly speaking, i think these sorts of conundrums are part and parcel of living, as hart calls it, hyphenated lives as christian pilgrims. as long as we live in the in-between church age with one foot squarely in both the KoG and the KoM, two spheres that are both ruled sovereignly by Christ alone also seemingly at odds with one another. it creates a weird inner and individual experience, inasmuch as these two kingdoms find their nexus within us.

BTW, walt, what is your take on stellman's take on civil disobedience?

March 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterzrim

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.