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A Christian futurist has encouraged Christians to not panic after an American technology company has started inserting microchips into employees, raising questions if it's the mark of the beast.
The chip will enable staff at Wisconsin firm Three Square Market, also known as 32M, to open doors, log onto their computers and purchase break room snacks with a simple swipe of the hand.
About 50 employees are expected to take advantage of the technology.
Mal Fletcher ,a futurist and head of charity Next Wave International, told Premier the move raises two concerns for him, the first being security.
He said: "Any computerised device can in theory be hacked. So we need to ask ourselves whether we want our bodies to be hackable and trackable devices.
"We already got concerns with privacy with our heavy engagement with the internet, especially with the growth of things like ID theft and the use of data to sell us products."
The chips are the size of a grain of rice and will be implanted underneath the skin between the thumb and forefinger.
The company's CEO, Todd Westby, said he expects the chip technology to eventually be used in air travel, public transit and retail.
Fletcher told Premier his second concern about people being microchipped has to do with end time prophecies.
He said: "I don't want to be, as a Christian, placed in a position where I am moving incrementally closer to a time when I can be treated as the antichrist is supposed to treat people in the end times."
However, Fletcher encouraged people not to jump to a conclusion that the actions of the company is the mark of the beast explained in the Book of Revelation, which describes a mark on the forehead and hand as a seal of the followers of the antichrist.
Fletcher said: "Yes you could say putting things under the skin could be a clearer indication that we're closer to the return of Christ than we've ever been. But then people were saying in Martin Luther's time that the Pope was the antichrist and they were reading into things that were happening in their time in the same way that people are now."
Fletcher said all technology is amoral and it all depends on how it's used. He said he can't argue that the actions of 32M the precursor to the mark because he doesn't know what form that mark is going to take.
He told Premier Christians should not be afraid about possible signs indicating the mark of the beast because the Book of Revelation is to inform what will happen and give Christians comfort.
He said: "The book is about Christ, it's a revelation about who he is. The material is about the end of times and what happens on earth.
"The key to it all is that Christ is still Lord and he's trying to tell us 'don't worry about what's happening, don't panic, I'm still king, I'm still Lord. Whatever you face I'm still there and here I am telling you about it before it happens'.
"So I think that's the important thing. If we all…engage the world with a proactive attitude, that my faith is able to take me through anything and that I am here to influence the world more that it influences me, I think that keeps us getting all tied up in knots and being worrisome about the future. "
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