Letter of the Day| National ID – Mark of the Beast?
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Today, we are hearing a lot about fake news, a phrase popularised by Donald Trump, President of the United States of America. While we are often incensed by Mr. Trump's statement, we in Jamaica seem to have our own version of fake news which has to do with the National Identification System (NIDS). Some people associate this ID with the Mark of the Beast spoken of in Revelation 14. It is ironic to see how some people, including Christian leaders, could arrive at such an erroneous conclusion. To apply this local situation to such an apocalyptic event is short sighted and, in another sense, simple reading into Scripture their own biases or political agenda. This is scare mongering and our nation does not need it at a time when criminals are running around like mad dogs slaughtering people and corruption is prevalent on every level of our society. If our National Identification System will help us bring about a semblance of order and discipline, that's what we need.
Yes, the Bible speaks about the Mark of the Beast as an eschatological event. It speaks of it as something that will have worldwide implications in the end time and not be confined to a small, island national seeking IDs for its citizens.
What is the Mark of the Beast?
The Mark of the Beast, in Revelation, is spoken of in the context of a religio-political system synonymous to the anti-Christ that will interfere with freedom of worship in the last days. This is not a mark that everyone will receive. It will be received by those who worship according to the dictates of the Beast power. According to Revelation 14:9, anyone who worships the Beast and his image will receive a mark either on the forehead or in the hand. This is not a visible mark. It is figurative language which speaks to making decisions contrary to what God intends.
The National Identification System
I am not convinced that the NIDS for Jamaicans is dictated by any religious or political system outside of Jamaica. There is no evidence of that. There are several identifying marks of the Beast which can be seen in Revelation 13. I suggest to those who are spreading this fake news to go research the subject to identify this Beast with a degree of certainty.
Finally, those who see NIDS as a bad thing for the nation should avoid emigrating to countries that have national IDs. These include India, Israel, Hong Kong, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Netherlands and The Dominican Republic. Also in the United Kingdom, foreigners are required to carry national identification. To my knowledge, people living in these countries have not received the Mark of the Beast and are not restricted to buy and sell or to be engaged in any other form of business. Based on what is known about these national IDs, do Jamaicans really believe the national ID will be any different for us? We must continue to engage our government in eliciting only information that is absolutely necessary and worthwhile for our security and cease to take a fatalistic attitude towards the National Identification System.
Dr Earl P. Cameron
Professor, School of Religion and Theology
Northern Caribbean University