The book of revelations was written by John of Patmos, generally known to be written around 70-90AD. It was written after John received a vision from God about the apocalypse, predicting the signs, actions and results of the apocalypse. It is often interpreted that Jesus will return a second time before The Great Tribulation. There isn’t much clarity within interpretations of revelations, due to it’s ambiguity and metaphorical nature (seriously it is like John was tripping balls). During tribulation however its generally accepted that during the tribulation period of 7 years that the antichrist (Read this, it gives a good explanation) will rise to power as a great, loved and trusted leader before turning on the world revealing his true identity as a worker for the devil (or the devil himself, according to some people).
There are many signs of the antichrist and the second coming given in revelations, one of these is ‘the mark of the beast’ saying that the antichrist will require all people will require a mark in order to trade in the world.
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
Now there are many different variations of this passage, the obvious one is that everyone will have to be some how willingly be associated with the beast and have a way of publicly displaying that, now I’m not saying that it’s Obama. But it’s Obama (Not really, stop saying Obama is the antichrist, honestly people). Another common interpretation is that everyone will have a mark signifying their association, however this mark will be unique (for example a number) and will be used to identify people (instead of names) this understanding comes from the other parts of revelations which say the world will form one nation and a single language will be used globally, global acceptance is a major concept in the tribulation period (Yeah, gay acceptance and religion tolerance), which would elude a little to having unique identification since we are loosing all other traits uniquely defining ourselves.
So heres where I wanna get controversial/tell you the world is ending. So close to 2000 years ago when this was written the idea that the world would form a single nation, speak a single language was absolutely out of this world, back then if you wanted to get somewhere you walked there. There wasn’t a large amount of trips around the world going on, people died in the same area they were born. Look at us now! We have extreme levels of globalisation, I can talk to someone on The Other Side of the world in real time with my phone, it’s crazy. So right now we are a lot closer to the signs of apocalypse as they were 200 years ago, but really thats only to be expected, the signs given are actually really practical ways for the earth to work right? Globalisation is great for trade, the economy and moving the worlds ethics forward (Until it comes to Gay marriage… Thanks Obama). Even having a unique identification number seams really practical, you can argue that we are loosing our individual identity and our creative names and crap but look we are already there, you have an email address which is a tiny string of text unique to you, a Facebook account, a Twitter account (And yes, in their databases you are represented by a number).
Personally we are so close to these signs of the antichrist, and we are heading there because they are considered very good things by the world, and it’s not hard to agree, a single nation, tolerance and simple trading systems sound brilliant. That’s why we are heading there so quickly, honestly I do not rule out the possibility of the antichrist rising within the next 100 years.