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~ The RFID Code ~

We are familiar with the old bar codes stamped on all products from food packages to shoe boxes and even postal mail. They are convenient, allowing for quick transactions. The magnetic strip on credit and bank cards also provide us easy transactions. We are also familiar with Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags clamped into clothing, books, DVDs and just about everything. If they aren't neutralized by the check out clerk, those little pieces of plastic are what sets off the alarms of those posts we must pass through to exit the store. EAS tags work thanks to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. EAS tags serve their purpose by reducing theft and thus (at least in theory) keep the cost of merchandise lower. They do their job and, happily, don't transmit their data to any central base that can be accessible to others. That is rapidly changing.

What people call "the chip" is a RFID tag that is made of an electronic microchip and radio antenna or transmitter about the size of a grain of rice. They were slow to catch on in the public and business sector due to their cost, but they quickly dropped from a dollar a piece to 25 cents and will soon cost only a penny. They are quickly replacing bar codes, or accompanying them. RFID tags can communicate with your store-issued cards, credit and debit cards, then send the information to a computer database that can be read by business and government agencies. Unlike EAS tags, RFIDs are not disabled when you leave the place of transaction. They follow you home, to work or to the homes of others and to your favorite hang outs, in your shoes, shirts, coats and even underwear.

Most of you know about computer "cookies." When looking at a web site, your computer is in a two-way communication, so the web site is also looking at you. Most deposit cookie tags on your computer so the other sites can track where you go in cyberspace, collecting data on what interests you and what you may purchase on line. Corporations use this information to plan marketing strategies. Hopefully, your computer is equipped with a firewall and anti-spyware program to provide you some privacy and security. I bring this up because of its analogous nature with radio-tags. 

By next year, your new or renewed U.S. passport will be mandated by law to be imbedded with a radio tag (chip) in the back cover. It will contain, like the magnetic strips on your plastic cards recording all your banking and related personal data, information already written on the passport. The chip, however, will have enough memory to be programmed with more information about you. There are two major avenues to "sell" technology to people, one of them being homeland security.

The other is convenience, which is why Americans (and Europeans) love microwave ovens, cell phones and washing machines. Most Americans would welcome radio-tagged clothing if they could just throw them into the washer and push one button. The tags would transmit information to the washing machine regulating water temperature, needed detergent, length of wash and rinse cycles. Radio-tagged food in refrigerators would send a text message to your cell phone generating your shopping list based on what was running low. No need to use Microsoft 1.0 (a pencil and paper) and spend time investigating what foods were low and what were becoming inedible due to age. Like Eazy-Pass (or whatever electronic payment of road and bridge tolls are called in your state), people would easily be sold on them.
Even those who want to avoid using electronic transfers, such as credit cards, must realize a cashless society is upon us. When I was a kid, I could pay to see a movie with pennies and nickels. Movie theaters won't accept change like that today. Pennies and nickels are only good for paying taxes on a dollar, and places like Starbucks expect you to pull out dollar bills, not pennies and nickels. Likewise, today, if one pulls out twenty thousand dollars in cash for a car purchase, the buyer may well be not only turned down but also reported to the authorities on suspicion of using drug-money or other illegal accumulations of paper money. There are some transactions that just cannot be made with cash, such as purchasing Christian books for prisoners (that must be sent directly to them from the distributor) or supplying people in other nations with needed goods.

The Intelligencia of any society is the first to be liquidated during a revolution. The signers of the US Declaration of Independence were intellectuals, not politicians. They founded this nation, not the Republicans or Democrats. And they suffered greatly for their resistance to British rule, losing property, and some, their lives. How far reduced would be the number of "servants" in our Senate and House of Representatives if such service put their wealth and the lives of their families and themselves at risk?

Einstein was supposed to have quipped, "The difference between genius and ignorance is that genius has limits." In the name of security and (more so) in the name of convenience, we will embrace the exploding technology of RFID. Remember how to cook crabs without a fight. Place them in a temperature-comfortable water, then turn up the heat slowly, unnoticeably to them. They will become used to their aquatic environment, growing ignorantly lethargic. When the water boils, they will be dead, never knowing what was happening. Throw them right into boiling water, and they will know exactly what is happening and will thrash around grasping for life, and a few may even succeed on jumping out.

With RFID, there is no ability or choice to jump out. The radio tag will inform interested authorities just where you are, your condition, and where you are headed. Unlike the fictitious The Da Vinci Code, this future is now and real. No need for your body to be implanted with a "chip", since your affects, cars and homes have them to some degree, an increasing one. Next time you visit a computer store notice how metal shelves are now replaced with plastic ones. Metal interferes with radio-tag transmission.

Here is a prophesy that could not have been understood by the early churches: "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark..." (Revelation 13:16-17a). Fundamental evangelists will counter, "We don't have to worry about that, since we will be "raptured" into heaven before the tribulation." Many of these will be among the first to line up to be "chipped" in the name of security and convenience. After all, how can they possibly continue their radio and TV broadcasts and maintain bank accounts to "further the Gospel" unless they embrace this technology? (Persecuted Christians in North Korea, Cambodia, China and other nations will tell us how to further the Gospel without making deals with the secular authorities who do and will use technology to persecute Christianity, though the way involves sacrifice, suffering and death, a way most are not prepared to follow.)

The Scriptures proclaim two comings of the Christ, not three or a second coming in two stages. The rapture books are, like that of The Da Vinci Code, fictional, without biblical basis. This observation will be the subject of a future Weekly Reflection. This week, let us ponder one scary scenario: If I believe I will be "raptured" (like Elijah, not resurrected like Christ) because the Church will be spared from the suffering of the Great Tribulation (it has never been spared from great tribulation before), then I need not be concerned about Big Brother technology or needing to recognize the anti-Christ of Revelation since I won't be here. So I will embrace global surveillance technology in the name of world peace, security and convenience and know that the perpetrator(s) of such cannot be satanic since I will be raptured before the appearance of this anti-Christ. Thus any entity who promises such peace, security and convenience must be good and even anointed by God and meriting my alliance and support.

Satan, the father of lies and deception, is certainly capable of such a ruse. Christ warned that even the elect may well be deceived. Those who love promises of peace, security and convenience on earth will most likely love he who makes it happen. That is just what "he" is counting on. 

John S. Hilkevich, Ph.D.
Spiritual Resource Services
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Spiritual Resource Services  © June 8, 2006

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