The Coming Cashless Society

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Book of Revelation cashless society End Times Mark of the Beast

The Coming Cashless Society

8 May 2024 Hits:1305

My interest was piqued in early April when I noticed people posting online about “Draw Out Some Cash Day.” On 2 April, Aussies were encouraged to withdraw some cash to show their banks and retailers there was still a demand for cash.

Draw Out Some Cash Day was a clever and successful protest, with long lines reported at banks as people waited to get cash out – something I do regularly. Wherever I go, I take my credit card and some currency. It proved very useful last year when the Optus Network crashed, and we couldn’t use our phones or Apple Pay.

Plot?

It’s important to realise that the phasing out of cash is not some government plot to control us. Instead, it’s something we’ve driven. In 2007, almost 70% of transactions were made by cash (26% by card). By 2022, these figures reversed; only 13% were paid by cash and 76% by card. The Pandemic accelerated this transition, although cash use has increased slightly since 2022.

At this rate, Australia will be functionally cashless by 2030—earlier if the Commonwealth Bank is correct. Banks are responding to this trend, and cash will be more challenging to get in the future, with ATMs closing or limiting cash withdrawals.

Prophecy?

I realise that for some Christians, talk of a cashless society is frightening or exciting, depending on their temperament. I was first introduced to Christianity in the late 1970s. Bankcards were widely used, and Christians were all abuzz about this being a forerunner to the mark of the beast—if you look closely, I was told, you’ll notice that the “b” looks like a 6. I kid you not!

Since then, sections of the Christian community have been caught up (pun intended) in lots of conjecture about credit cards, microchips, and a cashless society – a “prophesied” scheme of a one-world government to control the masses and persecute Christians.

False Prophet

This view of Bible prophecy is based on a dispensationalist interpretation of Scripture. This relatively modern creation was developed in 1827 by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren and spread widely with the 1909 publication of the Scofield Reference Bible. Darby founded the Exclusive Brethren cult after George Mueller (and other Brethren) challenged him about some of his unbiblical doctrines.

Charles Spurgeon also claimed these teachings were false. Thus, much of the modern understanding of Bible prophecy originated from a heretical cult leader and was popularised in recent times by some “Christian” books and movies—hardly a good foundation for understanding Scripture.

Cashless Society

The notion of a cashless society as prophesied by the Bible comes from Revelation 13: [The beast] forced all people…to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

We must remember that John wrote Revelation to seven churches in the First Century. When John told THEM to calculate the number of the beast to identify this man, he wasn’t teasing them to try and recognise someone who would exist two thousand years later. John wrote about a well-known code of the day (gematria) that his readers would understand. Letters had numerical value, and John’s readers would know that he was referring to Nero Caesar (a Greek form of Nero’s name, rendered into Hebrew, gives a combined value of 666).

Currency

John’s words indicate that the Christians’ problem was an economic one. The pagan temples functioned like banks, controlling who received finance and who didn’t. If someone needed money, they’d visit the temple, and the priests would tell them what Artemis (or whatever god was responsible) required. The offerings invariably demanded sexual favours for someone of a higher class or with temple prostitutes. You can see that this could pose a problem for Christians.

What was the mark without which no one could buy or sell? John tells us it was “the name of the beast or the number of its name.” The term “mark” (Greek, charagma) was most commonly used to imprint documents or coins. Charagma was also an imperial seal of the Roman Empire used on official documents during the first and second centuries.

The mark was likely the Emperor’s (Nero’s) inscription on Roman currency, without which one could not buy or sell. Loyal Romans would wear coins on the back of their right hand or forehead to show allegiance to the Emperor.

New Testament scholar Craig C. Hill notes, “The Mark symbolises the all-embracing economic power of Rome, whose very coinage bore the Emperor’s image and conveyed his claims to divinity. It had become increasingly difficult for Christians to function in a world in which public life, including the economic life of the trade guilds, required participation in idolatry.” In 66 AD, the Jews revolted against Rome and coined their own money. Before this, money changers at the Jerusalem temple would exchange coins with the Emperor’s mark with temple coins so that no graven image could enter the temple and defile it.

Fear Not!

I have watched Christians become very fearful about the mark of the beast, a cashless society, and a one-world government, and this fear is ungrounded. Any doctrine that provokes fear is not from God. John writes about this, too, as he encourages his readers to live lives based on love: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Christians today should not be looking for the antichrist or the great tribulation, and we certainly shouldn’t worry ourselves about the mark of the beast or a cashless society. We should occupy our time doing good works, living productive lives, making the world a better place and sharing the good news of the Christian gospel. Let’s be looking for the genuine Christ, not the anti-one!

Rob Buckingham

Senior Minister

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2 replies on “The Coming Cashless Society”

Mary-jane Farrersays:

Forget about conspiracy theories, My concerns about the cashless society is about access. Some vulnerable people in our community for various reasons prefer cash. The elderly are generally suspicious of online transactions which is fuelled by a fear of scamming and lack of confidence in using the internet.
There’s also people in remote communities who have have patchy internet, so cash works better for them. Women fleeing domestic violence often want to deal with cash due to fear of being tracked by their partners.
I believe that people should always have the option to choose by what means they buy and sell

Rob Buckinghamsays:

I agree, Mary-Jane. I think what we’re moving towards is a functionally cashless society, but that doesn’t mean that cash won’t be available. It just means that most people won’t use it.

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