I am a fan of Wendy’s and consider one of the corners of the restaurant near my church to be my office annex. Recently, Wendy’s began a program offering cashless purchases, and it made me think about what seems to be a concerted move in our country toward a cashless society. The New York Times recently reported that banks and retailers are trying to develop new payment systems using cell phones, and they’re working on ways to protect customers’ personal information. Wendy’s is just one of many merchants seeking new payment systems. What does this mean for us? While the convenience of a cashless society would seem to be desirable, there are several things that one needs to consider.
The most obvious concern in our privacy driven society is the danger of your privacy being threatened. We’ve already seen the potential of this with the Target debacle, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Hackers will forever be finding new ways to tap into secure systems in an effort to steal identity and finances, but hackers are not my only concern. Our government seems to be working harder to gain access to our personal lives, and we cannot help but wonder where all of this infringement upon our privacy could land. We learned not long ago that the NSA is more involved in snooping upon U.S. citizens than we once realized, and those who have less trust of our government fear this breach of privacy has no end.
I believe that in the last days, government will not always be our friend. The Bible does point to persecution of believers in the last days, and we are finding that government officials are gaining greater access to our personal lives than ever before. If a particular government became rogue or even not friendly toward Christians, our current technological advances will make it easier for the activities of Christians to be traced bringing about greater opportunity for persecution. I realize these words might make me sound like an alarmist. The Bible does point to greater persecution, and for that to happen in the U.S., it seems to me that it will need government sanction.
Another thought about a cashless society is that it will make it that much easier for the mark of the beast to be administered to unsuspecting citizens. The Bible says in Revelation 13:16-17 that a mark on people’s foreheads or the back of the hands will be required for the purchase of basic goods: “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.” I think it is clear to see how this mark will be a natural by-product of a cashless society.
Jesus told us to be on guard for the signs indicating we are in the last days. Stay alert. Things are happening that will ultimately lead to the return of Christ. Are you ready?