Tuesday, July 22, 2003

speaking of 666...

...There have been some stories in the news lately about how a new means of embedding chips in product may come to replace the UPC as the means by which goods are scanned at checkout counters, etc.. Even if this doesn't come to pass, it does call to mind the fact that probably before too long Some New Thing will come along that will consign the UPC to the ubiquitous dustbin of the technological past. If this happens, and the apocalypse has not yet begun, it makes me wonder what will be the new technological symbol that certain millenial Christians will consider as the likely candidate for being The Mark of the Beast.

The UPC [it feels weird to say UPC Code because the C in UPC is Code] made a good candidate for the Mark because it already marks everything in stores, so you can just imagine some shadowy new world order coming up with the idea of putting it on people as a way of faster processing them, especially when we all get our UN World ID codes. Besides its easy applicability to wrist and forehead and it's potential technopostrapture image of it being implemented as a means of tracking people, the UPC also meets the necessary (from the book of Revelation) condition of containing the number 666. Every UPC has the number 666 embedded within it.

This is where it would really help if I had the upgrade to my blog*spot account yet that would allow me to include images, but grab something that has a full UPC on it. At the beginning, middle, and end of the code, as a means of orienting the scanner, there are two thin vertical lines. In the number language of UPC, two thin vertical lines stand for--you guessed it--six. So, right there, on every product, you have a six, six, and six.

I heard about this regularly way back when I was in sixth grade and my parents spent a year attending an evangelical church that was convinced the end of the world was coming soon. I remember once when the pastor was giving the morning sermon he expressed excitement for the evening sermon he had planned, and then announced that he was so excited that would be disappointed if the rapture happened in the next eight hours and he never got the chance to give that sermon. He had the parishoners raise their hands if they too would be disappointed.

Another time, they had a guest speaker came in and he gave this persuasive case that the Soviet-ish alignment of Ethiopa, Iran, and Libya (I think) all were consistent with biblical prophecies about the signs of the end time. The only holdout, in his scenario, was Turkey--if Turkey came under the thrall of the USSR, you might as well pack your bags and wait for the first of the Left Behind books to begin. Near the end of his talk, I remember him pausing for effect and then saying ominously, "I don't know what's going to happen, but I tell you, something's gonna happen before 1985."

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