Each year, there are tales of prophecy regarding the end of the world and the second coming of Christ by Christianity’s most vocal believers. They speak of the exorbitant occurrence of natural disasters such as the earthquakes in Chile, Japan, Haiti and, most recently, in Ethiopia as well as the devastation of floods and tornadoes in the United States, Australia and India. They also speak of the mark of the beast. Although most of the latter focuses on microchips and credit cards, they may have a new target — Facebook.
Last year, Facebook announced it was implementing facial recognition technology that will scan images as they’re uploaded, find similar images others have uploaded and suggest name tags based on other tags it found during its scan. This new facial-recognition technology encompasses the ability to search for people using just a picture. Revelation 13 and 14 contain a Bible prophecy that speaks of the mark of the beast. “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.” Revelation 14:9, 10
Could this new facial recognition become what many have prophesied about? There are many theories, the most recent being it has something to do with a new form of money or the coming “cashless society,” wherein debit and credit, embedded with the mark, will replace cash. But Facebook may have thrown a wrench into this theory since the company has amassed a global database of millions of users.
Yes, I just throw this out for fun, but the truth is that the days when you could be “anonymous” on the Internet are long gone and, although networks like Facebook are a lot of fun, its facial-recognition technology allows for them to instantly identify your face out of its half a billion users worldwide. My question is this: Is this the Christians’ prophesied “mark of the beast,” or is this just Big Brother, once again, entering our lives. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.