A 26-year-old marine pilot who is a Christian sees an eerie resemblance between a multitechnology automated reader card (MARC) that marines are required to wear at his base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and another mark-the mark of the beast described in the Book of Revelation.

Capt. Joel Kirk has thus far avoided having his picture taken for the new identification card, which carries name, rank, serial number-and a two-kilobyte computer chip designed to hold whatever information and records the military deems appropriate.

The military says it will use the MARC to deploy troops faster. But Kirk worries it will be required for every kind of transaction. "When you take that card and they put the reader scanners into the commissaries and exchanges and weapons draw, you become a slave to that system," he says. And there's little difference, Kirk suggests, between a mark held in your hand and one implanted in your hand. With a deadline to obtain the MARC approaching, Kirk has sought the advice of the base chaplain and of prophecy watcher Tim LaHaye. He is weighing an official protest.

"As long as it doesn't have the prefix 666, which is the mark of the Antichrist, on it, I don't see anything wrong with using these cards from a spiritual standpoint," LaHaye says. But LaHaye says such cards illustrate "technology is already in place when the coming world ruler comes on the scene, and then he can just stamp it with 666."

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