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Pastor says cashless society would fulfill Biblical prophecy
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02/12/2008 10:19 AM
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The concept of a cashless society where all financial transactions and purchases are strictly controlled and every nuance of a person's life is noted and recorded, in many cases by implanted chips, sounds like the perfect ingredients for a science-fiction thriller.
Yet the Rev. Glenn Guest envisions this apocalyptic scenario following the Bible's Book of Revelation that begins with the gradual disappearance of cash and checks and the increased reliance on debit and credit cards. And he sees it coming closer every day.
"Technology has progressed to the point where (becoming paperless) it can be implemented," said Guest, who has been pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Danielsville for 25 years. "And I believe it is being implemented."
The South Carolina native, who has been preaching for more than a decade on the theological implications of a culture under such control, has written a book, titled "Steps Toward the Mark of the Beast," that gives voice to his research and outlook.
"The conclusions I reach in the book are based on God's word and human nature," said Guest, a Comer resident. "I could well be wrong on certain points, but God's will will be fulfilled as written.
"In a system like this, it's possible to control everyone by controlling their finances. If all our money is just zeroes and ones in a computer, we'll have to get permission to use our own money. If those who control the money don't like someone, they can deny their purchases, making them an economic non-entity."
"Beast" also touches upon Radio Frequency Identification, which he said is becoming more prominent in the retail world through processes such as item-level tagging.
"There will be an inventory of everything that everybody owns," said Guest. "That virtually eliminates a black market."
Taking a biblical perspective convinces Guest that the advent of a cashless society is a "when" and not an "if" prospect.
"I'm not trying to slow this down because I can't slow it down," he said. "All I can do is let people know it's coming. And it will happen gradually, so that people won't really be seeing it happen. Within the next five to 10 years, we won't use cash or checks, and it may come sooner. There seems to be a big push to implement (a cashless society) and to implement RFID technology."
The 160-page book also details Guest's suggestions for preparing for the changes that will unfold.
"The last chapter of the book is about preparation," said Guest, who served seven years in the U.S. Navy and had a long career in military and industrial electronics before going full time as a minister about a dozen years ago. "Almost all the preparation people need to make is spiritual - they need to believe in God, to study the word and to build up their faith. I really can't tell people much more than to draw nearer to the Lord.
"My only financial advice would be what I'd give anyway - it's a good idea to get out of debt."
Guest said he wrote "Beast," which was published last October by Canada-based Essence Publishing, for no other reason than to "get the word out."
"The Lord would have me do all I could to get the information out," said Guest, who added it took him "one month spread over a two-year period" to write the book. "I'll be doing well if I can let people know what's coming. It seems so close, and we need to prepare spiritually."
Although he said "the really hard work" didn't begin until after he wrote "Beast," Guest is contemplating another book.
"There might be more," he said. "I'm praying about another book, and I'm thinking about commenting on the Book of Revelation. I just felt really compelled to write ('Beast'). I haven't felt that way yet about another book."
"Steps Toward the Mark of the Beast" is available at area Christian book stores and online through services like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
[link to www.onlineathens.com]
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