WordPress says that this is my 666th post on this blog, and since I don’t want to squander this opportunity, here’s a post on how the Mark of the Beast is hidden in barcodes. See, in the Universal Product Code, certain patterns of bars stand for certain numbers, but there are also special codes at the beginning, middle, and end. This code is a combination of two thin bars, which looks similar to that for the number six. Since these bits of the barcode mark the start and the end, it wouldn’t make any sense for them to stand for numbers as well, but conspiracy theorists have latched on to the idea that there are three sixes hidden in every UPC.
So that’s the reasoning they use (if it can be considered “reasoning”), but why was anyone looking for the Devil in barcodes in the first place? That seems to be part of a larger trend. The source of the number 666 being evil is in Revelation 13:11-18: “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he 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. 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.” The generally accepted historical interpretation is that this refers to the Imperial cult, in which the Roman Emperor was acknowledged as a god. This didn’t go over too well with Jews and Christians, who were only allowed to worship one god, and it’s pretty well established that even self-preservation isn’t a valid excuse for paying lip service to some other deity. As for 666, Hebrew gives numerical values to its letters, and Emperor Nero‘s name (Neron Caesar) written in Hebrew has the value of 666. If you remove the second N, then it becomes 616, a variant given in some early versions of Revelation. We can’t know for sure that this was what was on the mind of John of Patmos, but it makes sense. The thing is, people who are intent on the idea that the events of Revelation will occur in the future don’t buy this interpretation, and instead think it refers to a future ruler who controls the entire world. As such, fundamentalist are often against anything that even reminds them of 666 and a single government for the entire world, including barcodes, identification cards, and the United Nations. Anyone who knows anything about the UN realizes that it’s far from being a world government, but that’s what the more hardcore fundamentalists believe.
Mind you, if these people ARE right about Revelation, wouldn’t all this be inevitable, and hence pointless to oppose? Oh, well.