A reader writes:
I thought the following weird news story might interest you. It seems that some Christian groups (predominately Catholic) are claiming the prophecy of the mark of the beast has been fulfilled in the shape of modern smartphones. They argue smartphones are set to replace credit cards as a means of electronic commerce through NFC technology, a feature which they feel fulfils the part of the prophecy which states that “no one can buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast” Rev 13. They go on to point out the original prophecy of the mark of the beast was based on a parody of the Jewish practice of wearing phylacteries, which are small box-shaped objects worn on the hands and forehead during prayer services to observe Deut 6:4, and assert the shape of these phylacteries resemble the modern use of mobile phones. Another aspect which they use to back such claims is the fact all future electronic commerce through NFC technology will be conducted through the worldwide web – www, and they point out that the numerical equivalent of www once transliterated into Hebrew is six-six-six (since the Hebrew letter waw is the equivalent of the letter w in the Latin alphabet, and is also used as the Hebrew numeral 6). To bolster this arguement, they highlight the fact that the use of a form of Hebrew numerology known as gematria is widely regarded by biblical scholars to be behind the mystery of the number of the beast.
They also claim the timing of the exact fulfilment of this prophecy was specifically predicted by an Italian Catholic priest in 1989 – Fr Stefano Gobbi, who has a huge international following amongst Catholics. Fr Gobbi allegedly predicted that the fulfilment of the prophecy of the mark of the beast would occur in a period of history beginning in 1998 – just a year shy of the release of the first internet enabled WAP phones in 1999.
Everybody needs a hobby.