Thousands of Swedish citizens are having microchips implanted under their skin to replace credit cards, keys and personal identification – an invasive action that is sure to draw concern from privacy advocates and perhaps End Times theologians, too.
Agence France-Presse reported that about 3,000 citizens have taken the step out of a sense of convenience.
“Swedes have gone on to be very active in microchipping, with scant debate about issues surrounding its use, in a country keen on new technology and where the sharing of personal information is held up as a sign of a transparent society,” AFP reported.
Ulrika Celsing, a 28-year-old Swede, has a microchip in her hand. To enter her work, she waves her hand in front of a box and then types in a code, AFP reported. No key or physical ID card is needed.
"It was fun to try something new and to see what one could use it for to make life easier in the future," she said.
The chip also has replaced her gym card, AFP reported. Sweden’s national railway allows people to use microchips in place of tickets. Patrons can board the train by having their hand scanned.
Futurism.com’s Victor Tangermann expressed concern over the technology, which uses near-field communication (NFC) and “can be hacked with the use of a specialized reader and a lot of coding skills.”
“Smartphones have tackled this security problem by combining NFC technology with biometric readings, like your fingerprint,” he wrote. “But microchips like these don’t have such security, which could make your personal info more vulnerable to hacking.”
Some pastors and End Times theologians believe microchipping will play a role in the End Times, although by their biblical interpretation it will look different than in Sweden. Pastor John Hagee said in 2012 the problem begins “when the nation and the government start forcing you to wear a chip and they start forcing you to keep laws that you don’t want to keep.”
In 2017, pastor Dave Doyle from Hope Christian Fellowship Church in Iowa made headlines when he warned against microchips being implanted. He was referencing a company that was allowing employees to use microchips for identification.
"I take microchipping as a form of the mark. There's many pieces of the mark, and then again, all these pieces of the mark is designed to control," he said, according to CBN.com.
The technology, he said, could be used by the government.
“It will eventually become something that's mandatory, and for those who refuse it, you will have to deal with the authorities who don't appreciate your opinions,” he said.
The verse often referenced in discussions about microchipping is Revelation 13:16, which says the beast “forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads.”
GotQuestions.org, a popular Christian website, said “the mark of the beast will be something given only to those who worship the Antichrist.”
“Having a medical or financial microchip inserted into your right hand or forehead is not the mark of the beast,” the website said. “The mark of the beast will be an end-times identification required by the Antichrist in order to buy or sell, and it will be given only to those who worship the Antichrist.”