“Without a bank account, you become a nonperson.” British politician and Brexit leader Nigel Farage speaks from experience. His bank account was suddenly closed in June, and he didn’t know why. It later emerged that his bank had shut down the account because of Farage’s political views. He tried to get an account with seven other banks, but he was denied all seven times. On June 29, he warned on social media: “If they can do it to me, they can do it to you, too.”
He is not the only one. In the United Kingdom, more than a million bank accounts have been shut down since 2019. In the year 2016–17, just over 45,000 accounts were closed; and in 2021–22, over 343,000—more than 1,000 for every working day.
We see a similar trend in the United States. cbs News reported on July 17: “A growing number of bank customers are having their accounts shut down without much warning or explanation, leaving them without access to their money.” The article quotes one affected individual saying, “All of a sudden I find out I’m broke. I can’t feed my family, and I can’t pay any expenses.”
Some cases may be because of fraud, and others are accidents. But more and more are for political reasons. Some liberals are affected, but more often it hits conservatives.
In July, JPMorgan Chase decided to shut down accounts for companies owned by covid-19 vaccine critic Dr. Joseph Mercola. Mercola.com is the world’s top natural health website. The accounts of his chief executive officer, his chief financial officer and even their spouses and children were also shut down.
Canadian protesters participating in the Freedom Convoy to Ottawa last year had a similar experience: The Canadian government froze their accounts. Similar events have happened in Belarus, China, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Russia, Turkey, Uganda and other countries. In extreme cases, governments have seized protesters’ money.
But it may not even take shutting down your account to limit your ability to engage in business. In France, companies fear losing necessary financing if they don’t comply with the government’s political goals, such as reducing carbon emissions.
What if a bank executive learns that you don’t support drastic climate-change measures or the lgbtq+ movement and with the press of a button classifies you as a “financial risk” and denies you access to a loan—or to your own money?
New artificial intelligence systems are being developed that could soon determine your ability to get a bank account, credit card or a loan. There is also a push for digital currencies that threaten the use of cash payments. In the future, governments could easily bar you from buying and selling. People unable to buy or sell are instantly severely restricted in their ability to try to change or even to criticize government policies.
Excluding people from trade is nothing new. In the past, countries and cities have been besieged—excluded from trade. Sanctions on nations and individuals today are common.
Historically, however, one group in particular faced the brunt of unjust persecution. In a.d. 814, Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne decreed, “Let no Jew presume to have a moneychanger’s table in his house, nor shall he presume to sell wine, grain or other commodities there. But if it be discovered that he has done so all his goods shall be taken away from him, and he shall be imprisoned until he is brought into our presence.”
This empire executed similar persecutions throughout its history. Its most severe occurred more than a millennium later, in a modern resurrection of the empire. In 1938, the German government issued a decree that prevented Jews from operating retail stores and sales agencies and from pursuing a trade. Though on a lesser scale, political dissidents, Romani, Afro-Germans, homosexuals and others that were deemed enemies of the state faced similar persecution and death. Exclusion from the economy often precedes more intense persecutions.
The Bible reveals that a worse time is yet ahead when “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). “Yes, the mark of the beast once again will be enforced!” the late Herbert W. Armstrong explained in Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? “No one will be able to hold a job or engage in business without it. Those refusing will once again be tortured and martyred—probably by the secret police of the political state—but at the behest of the church!”
Historically, this mark had a connection not only to a political government but also to a church that sought to enforce “Sunday rest.” Those who did not obey were persecuted. The people who exclude individuals from trade today may have no such connection to a church, and what they are doing is also not the fulfillment of this prophecy. But these examples show how easily such a mark could be enforced in our day.
Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? explains what the mark of the beast is, how powerfully it will be enforced, and how you can be protected from those extreme measures—and from death. Understanding this topic is vital. Like all of our literature, we offer it to you free.