STOCKHOLM (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pastors and academics are calling for "prophetic vigilance" as more and more Swedes are implanting microchip vaccine passports under their skin after Sweden, on Dec. 1, imposed the passes for indoor events.
"The human body is the next big platform. We are updating our bodies with technology on a large scale already with wearables. But all the wearables we wear today will be implantable in our bodies," boasted Hannes Sjöblad, the prime mover behind Sweden's chip implants.
Sjöblad, who is urging Swedes to embed their COVID passports in their bodies, demonstrated to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that he could access his European Union COVID certificate on his phone by simply placing the phone against his arm.
The glass-encased microchips (implanted in the forearm or between the thumb and index finger) use radio frequency identification (RFID), the same technology found in credit cards, key fobs and public transport passes.
Biochip implantation, which enables storage of a wide range of information — including medical and financial data — is becoming mainstream in Sweden, as Swedes embed one or even two microchips as substitutes for a pass to their workplace or gym.
Swedish companies (ranging from the national rail service to a water park) have installed biochip readers so Swedes who have been chipped can pay at vending machines, validate tickets or open doors with a simple swipe of the hand.
According to researchers, the biochip implantation trend is part of the biohacking trend, which seeks the "radical enhancement of human beings with therapies and technologies now available or anticipated in the future."
Biohacking is a branch of transhumanism — a movement advocating for technology to augment and evolve the human species, per Calvin Mercer and Tracy Trothen in their 2021 book Religion and the Technological Future: An Introduction to Biohacking, Artificial Intelligence, and Transhumanism.
"Most transhumanists see the body as a machine that needs repair and improvement. That is a secular, mechanistic view of who we are. Most religions reject this simple reduction of who we are," Mercer and Trothen explain, predicting the clash of biohacking with religion.
According to Moa Petersén, a lecturer in digital cultures at the University of Lund, chip implants in Sweden are celebrated and done in the open, with companies organizing implant parties as public relations stunts and as an activity at staff events.
"Microchipping has been de-dramatized here in Sweden," Petersén remarks, explaining the phenomenon as a trinity incorporating the Swedes' "overall tech-positive attitude," "high level of trust" and faith in "the safety net offered by the welfare state."
But Catholic academics and Protestant pastors are warning of the biochips' potential for totalitarian control and dehumanization.
Dr. Michael Pakaluk, professor of ethics and social philosophy at the Catholic University of America, told Church Militant that chip implantation "will work to undermine society because ultimately, everything hinges on trust, believability and character."
Inserting a chip is something one does to a dog, not to a human being. It is an instrument of tracking, monitoring and control. Parents have wisely never considered inserting chips in their children. Why, then, would a free people agree to do this to themselves?
We should be highly cautious about giving third parties — credit card agencies, bankers, lenders, government authorities — an inextricable role in ordinary human relationships, which is what happens when a chip is implanted. It's a pollution of our moral environment.
However, biohacker evangelists like Hannes Sapiens believe implants cannot be used for surveillance purposes "in any meaningful way" because RFID chips are passive and cannot be tracked, as they do not emit signals.
Moreover, Sapiens pointed out that the implants cannot collect data and cannot be read at a distance. So while someone can scan the chip without the owner's consent, they would have to get close to the wearer.
But Pastor Holger Nilsson is skeptical of such claims and points to more sophisticated chip technologies that could be used by a "future antichrist" for tracking and control.
Pointing to how fast COVID vaccines went from being voluntary to mandatory, Nilsson warned that because some people should be able to be excluded from functions or events, this "is also a telling picture."
"We need a prophetic vigilance and an understanding of the speed at which the world is now changing; it happens from one day to the next," Nilsson observed, saying the current microchips are potentially the precursors of the "mark of the beast" in the book of Revelation.
Swedish company Epicenter has already embedded chips in about 150 workers that enable bosses to monitor toilet breaks and how long they work.
"Conceptually, you could [get] data about your whereabouts, how often you're working, how long you're working, if you're taking toilet breaks and things like that," according to microbiologist Ben Libberton from Swedish University's Karolinska Institute.
"So then the question is, What happens to it afterwards? What is it used for? Who is going to be using it? Who is going to be seeing it?" Libberton asks.
In comments to Church Militant, Prof. Paul Kengor, a faithful Catholic and leading expert on totalitarian regimes, called the Swedish fad "shocking and frightening, if true."
Kengor, author of the bestseller The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism's Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration, discussed how, "as an evangelical in the 1990s," he "dismissed as wacky stuff conspiracy theories about microchips implanted in skin, the mark of the beast, the end times, etc."
I must add that I've been very alarmed throughout COVID at the herd mentality of so many people — yes, not herd immunity, but herd mentality. I never I thought I would see people so easily and malleably become sheep-like in unquestioningly moving along with the herd and whatever their government asks of them. And so many of them, perhaps most, are of the liberal-progressive persuasion.
"I don't know what's wackier — the fact that a government might be implanting something like this or that its masses would merrily volunteer their arms," Kengor laments.
Biblical scholars debate whether the "mark of the beast" is symbolic or envisages "an actual practice of market control."
According to Revelation 13:16–17, the beast "causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name."
"Although the text does not at first say so, it is apparent that to get the mark that lets you into the market, you had to worship the beast," New Testament scholar Edwin Judge writes in peer-reviewed journal Tyndale Bulletin.
"It is still reasonable, of course, to argue that these are imaginary details with only symbolic force. But that force may have been partly derived from contemporary parallels," Judge argues.
Similar policies include offering a pinch of incense on the altar to access law courts in Rome and offering sacrifice to the Emperor Domitian in Ephesus before entering the market.
"There is just enough miscellaneous information on comparable practices for us to say this is what might have sprung to mind for those listening to Revelation, when they heard that to enter the market, you had first to receive the mark of the beast," Judge notes.
"The practical outcome would have been to exclude believers altogether from the trading community — an implied apartheid policy such as was eventually put into regular effect," Judge concludes.
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has already developed the technique of encoding medical information in a patient's skin using near-infrared quantum dots (NIR QDs).
MIT confirmed that "intradermal QDs can be used to reliably encode information and can be delivered with a vaccine," Church Militant earlier reported.
Microsoft donated $1 million to the ID2020 Alliance in September 2019, seeking to "leverage immunization as an opportunity to establish digital identity" and to use biometrics to improve vaccine coverage in developing nations.