The Meaning of the Barcode?

The man who came up with the idea of a barcode was Norman Joseph Woodland. Woodland was inspired by his interest in Morse code, and one day while sunning on a Florida beach he marked out some Morse code in the sand and extended the dots and dashes to make thick and thin lines. So, the first barcode was composed of lines in the sand!

Supermarkets in the UK were the first to adopt barcoding to manage the movement and sale of products. The first product to receive a barcode was Wrigley’s chewing gum (perhaps a useful quiz-fact?).

Today things have moved on, and barcodes are found on almost every commodity across the world.

In a recent development, NHS Hospital Trusts in England & Wales are working towards an all-encompassing barcode management system where everything gets a barcode – the medical equipment, the medicines, the stores, the wards, even the patients wear a barcoded wristband. The purpose of this system is to ensure treatment can be efficiently tracked for patient safety reasons; however, students of Bible prophecy will perhaps recognise a sinister aspect of barcode management, particularly when people are a part of the system.

The “mark of the beast” is mentioned eight times in the Book of Revelation. The first mention reads:

“And [the beast] causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16, 17.

Already, it is possible to have identifier chips implanted under the skin, and we can already envisage a restricted trading system that uses such implants to identify its adherents.

Certain types of barcodes have check numbers at the start, middle and end of the code. Interestingly, the check number used is similar coding to that used for the number ‘6’, so it looks like those barcodes have ‘666’ built into them!

“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:18.

Whether this appearance of the check numbers is intentional or not, I believe it is indicative of a future fulfilment of an important end-times prophecy, especially in the context of the use of barcodes to track and manage people.

In Revelation 20 we obtain the good advice that believers ought not to accept the “mark of the beast”, but should rather identify ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, whatever that might cost us:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4