If there is one hidden storyline that has dominated our lives the last 20 years or so it would be the absolute love affair the world is having with technology. Everywhere we look today people are falling in love with phones, computers, the Internet and a variety of high tech "toys" that seem to keep people almost under a "spell." And while many of us in the USA seem to be under the "spell" of this exploding technology, there is one nation that is on the "cutting edge" of it all. That nation is Sweden. And so, in a dramatic news item that appeared this week was the report that thousands of Swedes are microchipping themselves voluntarily to make their lives easier and more "techier" for a variety of reasons. The reason why this story is worth considering is because socialistic Sweden, and other parts of Europe, tends to offer a prophetic glimpse into our future here in the USA.
As a pastor, I have had a big connection with Sweden over the years. My grandfather was born and raised in Sweden and I have had the privilege to pastor a church there on two occasions, so I know a little more about the Swedes than many. The Swedes are wonderful people, but their society has been at the far edge of socialism and technology for a long time. The Swedes pay a huge amount of their income in taxes to support the "socialist dream" of a just and fair society. In addition, because of their cooperative socialistic spirit they have experimented with technology on a much deeper level than we have seen here in the USA. Over the past few years that technology has moved them toward a cashless society, which is almost a reality now. So as these many changes have emerged it is not surprising that the Swedes are moving into personal microchip technology on a level few Americans could really dream about...yet. And while it is just starting to catch on in Sweden, there is little doubt that it will begin to grow dramatically in the near future.
Now the one thing that most people have missed with this "Swedish Experiment" with socialism and technology is the rapid decline that has been going on in the spiritual life of the nation at the same time. Sweden is truly a post-Christian nation in every sense of the word. Church attendance, real faith and a vibrant evangelical Christian witness in Sweden is a small remnant at best, maybe less than 2% of the population. The rest of the nation is living out an experiment of having their government, way of life and technology become their god. Like many here in the USA, the Swedes have no idea of where things are going to end up for them. The idea that the Lord is working out His prophetic purposes in the world that will lead to the 2nd Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ would be considered "psychotic" at best by most Swedes. Sadly, one cannot be sure things would be much different today in America as our nation is moving closer each day to Sweden in our thinking and practices.
What is sad and tragic for the Swedes is their growing belief that this amazing technology is allowing them to be more than human, almost a new breed of human that reflects them becoming a "new creation" at their own hand. It is as if they are becoming their own "gods." In an article published this week by CBN News an incredible statement was made on how the Swedes are coming to see this new microchip technology,
Experts say the trend reflects Swedes' love affair with "bio-hacking." Bio-hacking refers to experiments in biomedicine including "wetware" hacking with biological materials, and transhumanism – the belief that the human race can evolve beyond its physical limitations through science and technology.
In other words, the Swedes are beginning to have "faith" that this growing technology will allow them and their society to grow to a new level of personal power, blessing and success. This will happen through their ability to control and manage the way these emerging technologies interfaces with their humanity. Sadly, there are few voices that seem to be heard to raise important questions on the possible downside of such changes to their nation and/or their personal lives. And since the Church is not taken seriously there, virtually no one seems to be listening to the Lord and any concerns in the Bible that might warn against such things.
For students of the Bible, the things going on in Sweden and around the world are really "Bible 101." The Bible could not be clearer that the world will eventually come under the power and influence of the Antichrist and a government that will seek to control it through some sort of system that "marks" everyone as belonging to that system. That future government and system of control over the lives of people is emerging now. In speaking of that future period, the Bible tells us in Revelation 14:9-11,
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name."
It seems quite clear that almost no one sees this period coming closer. People in Sweden are not concerned about what is going to happen to Sweden. In a strange way, the people of Sweden are lining up to take the mark as a needed next step in their growth and develop as a society. Letting their lives fall under the spell of technology is not a concern or worry, rather it is seen as a blessing of convenience, person power and cultural sophistication. After all, the Swedes think they are creating a "Heaven" on Earth. The idea that they are not worshipping the true Lord, but an idol of their own making, has been virtually lost in a culture that has fallen in love with themselves and their abilities. I can remember driving by the many empty churches in Sweden that are seen as nothing more than old monuments to a spiritual history that has no real meaning. Much of Sweden sees the Church as an irrelevant relic of a by-gone era that has no relevance to their enlightened lives. Sadly, those empty churches really tell a deeper story of the empty condition of their souls and how their society has largely turned their backs on the Lord.
Closer to home, here in the USA, the "Swedish Experiment" is getting closer each week. Americans are slowly being seduced by socialism and technology just like the Swedes. Recent studies tell us that 40% or more of the millennials, our newest generation, are coming to believe that socialism is the way to go. These dramatic social and political changes, along with the continued growth of technology and the decline of the Church's power in America, seem to be a clear sign that we are headed toward joining Sweden sooner or later. Sadly, any discussion of these trends and the emerging signs of our Lord's warnings about the seduction of world on the Lord's people, are strangely absent from most of the pulpits in the American Church.
The Good News of the Bible is the Lord has provided a way of escape from our sin and God's coming judgment. The Lord Jesus Christ died on a Cross to free us from wanting to be god, trying to create a new humanity and world without Him and all of our other sins. Our Lord's Gospel is the message of the hour for Sweden and the entire world. Our Lord Jesus experienced the judgment of Hell Himself, so that we might live with Him in a new and gloriously restored world. Real saving faith in Him then is the true symbol that should mark every life, not a microchip in our hand. So in the end, our lives will ultimately be marked by the Lord or a fallen world.
Surely the signs of our Lord's future return have never been stronger. It is an hour to share the Blessed Hope of the Lord's salvation and new life with everyone we can with the time remaining. May our wonderful Lord speak to every heart in this hour and may His Kingdom come, and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.