In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that the prophecy of the mark of the Beast is actually an antithetical parallelism of the ancient Jewish practice of wearing phylacteries (aka tefillin), box-shaped containers worn on the forehead and arm in accordance with Deut 6. It logically follows that the mark of the Beast would have been understood by the original author of the Book of Revelation to be fully visible objects worn in the hand or forehead. Something more akin to an amulet or talisman, than to a brand or tattoo.
See the below video for a demonstration of how phylacteries are worn by Jews today:
As devout Jews, the followers of Jesus would almost certainly have adhered to this widespread practice. And Christ specifically condemned certains sections of Jewish society who were "keeping up with the Jones'" - deliberately wearing ornate and overly elaborate phylacteries in order to exhibit the false impression of piety:
They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.
In the book, I suggest that the closest modern analogy to this ancient Jewish custom is the current ubiquitous use of cell phones, which are set to replace the credit card as a means of electronic commerce via "contactless payments" and NFC technology. (See the earlier post The Mark of the Beast?) So in the coming future "cashless society", all commerce will be conducted over the worldwide web (www - which is the numerical equivalent of six-six-six once transliterated into the Hebrew alphabet - see the post Hebrew 666?) and everyday monetary transactions will be made through internet enabled smartphones. See the below Iphone commercial for an example of how this cash replacement technology is currently being employed.
This explains how the "mark" of the Beast is worn in the hand. But how could it be said to worn in the forehead? Although people tend to hold mobile phones to their heads whilst talking, this doesn't seem to fully explain how it could be said to be "worn" on the forehead. In the book, I argued that the future use of "TV glasses" would fit as a modern equivalent of an inverted form of wearing a head tefillin. I'll post an extract of the relevant material below:
...in the not too distant future, the use of internet enabled mobile phones may also provide an explanation for the Apocalypse's assertion that the “number” of the Beast, or “anti-phylactery”, can be worn upon the forehead.
In 2006, a South Korean company known as Kowon Technology, launched a range of “anti-glance” personal LCD TV glasses in response to the surge in demand for TV streamed to mobile phones. Inspired by the annoyance of other people glancing over the viewer's shoulder to catch a glimpse of the latest action on TV, Kowon Technology developed a head-mounted display unit that allows the user privacy of content. This device consists of a pair of glasses with two 4.8 x 4.2 mm, 320 x 240 LCD panels in front of each eye, which provide the user with the illusion of a 32” TV screen hovering at the distance of two metres away from the face. This innovation thus helps to solve one of the most regularly complained about features of mobile TV – the insufficiently small viewing screen.
Although LCD TV glasses are perhaps too bulky at present to attract a wide demographic in the west, it is foreseeable that future wireless, slim-line versions of the device will be indistinguishable from normal sunglasses, thus rendering their appearance as socially acceptable and maybe even as a desirable fashion accessory. This potential may yet ensure that TV glasses will be a future craze in the technology market.
External appearances aside, the sheer practicality of LCD TV glasses should guarantee their future success, as they could help to revolutionize portable personal computing.
Devices such as smartphones and tablet computers look set to replace the laptop pc as the ultimate portable computing device. With the increasing miniaturization of technology and the rise of smartphones, the need for an everyday laptop as a means of surfing the internet has become redundant. However there remains some limitations to the smartphone – the screen size available on a truly pocket-sized device such as a mobile phone renders it inadequate for the purposes of portable computing equipment. Large amounts of text need to be visible and readable on-screen at any given time in order for it to be truly efficient as a personal computer. This problem is easily solved by the ability to use LCD TV glasses with the handset, which can be used to meet the large screen prerequisite that would enable the smartphone to become the ultimate portable handheld personal computing device.
There is a current trend among purveyors of technology to advance the integration of household and portable gadgetry into one compact and easy-to-use format. The very nature of the mobile phone as an essential, pocket-sized piece of kit that can easily be carried at all times, ensures that it provides the best support for the integration of technology into one handheld device. Indeed, we are presently witnessing the incorporation of digital camera, video camera, television, internet gateway and gaming device into the already cumbersome list of the mobile phone’s utilities. The large screen requirement demanded by mobile TV and pocket-sized portable personal computers should ensure that a slimmed down version of the LCD TV glasses will become an everyday item in the near future. Dr Michio Kaku, a leading theoretical physicist and futurist, predicts that a slim-line version of computerized TV glasses will soon have widespread popular use over the course of the next few years.
This future possibility may help to solve the apparently peculiar condition set down by Rev 13:16 that the “mark” of the Beast could also be worn upon the forehead. To gain a better description of what this mark will look like, we must again turn to Exod 13:16, Deut 6:8, 11:18 which are among the major influences behind this particular portion of the Apocalypse. Deut 6:8 states that the commandments should be worn by the followers of Yahweh as a visible sign of the covenant, instructing they are to be bound to the hand, or worn as totapoth between the eyes. Although the true nuance of the word is not fully conveyed by some of the available translations, the Hebrew word totapoth is generally interpreted as “frontlet bands” – namely a band like adornment worn around the forehead as a head tefillin. Could a future application of devices such as LCD TV glasses be used to explain how the mark of the Beast will be worn upon the forehead as a parody of the Jewish practice of wearing head tefillin?Since the publication of Unveiling the Apocalypse in 2011, there have been some major developments in the field of "TV", or computerised glasses. Google has recently announced that they are currently developing their own version of computerised headwear which it has touted as offering "augmented reality", and unveiled a prototype version working under the codename "Project Glass". You can find a concept video of this techonology below.
The "Project Glass" headset act as an advanced version of the HUD (heads up display) device currently employed in military aircraft, allowing the user access to the worldwide web in real-time in what has been aptly described as "Terminator vision". Prof. Michio Kaku has been predicting this technology for years. See for example some of his ideas on the future applications of this technology (such as the translation of foreign languages in real-time) on the spookily accurate video found here.
In the Project Glass concept video, the users' immediate environment is augmented with various pieces of information floating around in their peripheral fields, such as news, traffic and weather reports, or it can give sat-nav directions to any desired location. It can switch at any moment to include a screen to view and browse the internet, or chat through skype etc. Judging by the video, input to the device is achieved primarily through voice recognition, but later versions will almost certainly include gesture based "Minority Report" style input (such as is already found in technology such as Mircosoft's Xbox Kinect), which will allow the user to browse the www in much the same way they would through a tablet computer. And the headsets would presumably be able to connect wirelessly to mobile handsets, which would allow for greater memory capacity and processing speeds, as well as further motion based input, in addition to the more traditional methods of interfacing.
A more recent Battlefield 5 concept video for Project Glass also appears to suggest that future applications of this technology would allow it to switch at any stage to virtual reality-style video gaming (most likely using a cell phone as a controller device).
Given the various implications that such a device would allow for the user, they will almost certainly prove to be popular amongst technophiles. Although it is highly unlikely that they will ever fully replace the smartphone in popularity. I would expect that most users of these devices would use them in conjunction with their cell phones, and that more advanced versions will be virtually indistinguishable from fashionable sun-glasses. And it is foreseeable that the future of console gaming (which is already more profitable than the movie industry) will be heavily influenced by these head mounted displays.
However given that some users will be using these "augmented reality" devices for long periods of time directly upon their heads, the exposure to EMF radiation and its potentially cancer-inducing effects would therefore be significantly increased. (See the earlier post Cell Phones: Carcinogenic or Not?).
See also the related posts:
Cellphones and the Mark of the Beast
NFC Technology and the Mark of the Beast
Fr Gobbi on the Mark of the Beast
Gematria and the Number of the Beast
Mobile Banking and the Mark of the Beast