Is Social Security the mark of the beast?

It’s time once again to venture into the fringe, and we’ve been asked to check out the work of one Nicklas Arthur, a professing Christian who has a centerpiece claim that Social Security numbers are the “mark of the beast.” We won’t be linking to any of Arthur’s material, and we won’t be examining a whole lot of it; I’m just not feeling that masochistic, towards myself or to readers. Rather, we’ll look at some of Arthur’s claims and see whether they check out. From there you can decide just how reliable he is. (And you can already guess what we’ve found out about that.) We’ll offer a subject heading followed by Arthur’s claims in italics, then our reply.

Some claims are of the “conspiracy theory” sort that are rather too complex to check out in the time and space we have, such as, “The U.S. went Bankrupt on March 4, 1933.” You’ll find claims like this repeated on a variety of conspiracy-oriented websites, the sort of people who think the Zeitgeist movie is non-fiction. Instead we just picked a few claims that we relatively simple to check out. Note that we are replying without even assuming a preterist exegesis of the Bible, which by itself would render Arthur’s commentary moot.

George’s Authority

To end the American Revolution, King George III (as he authorized the United States to exist in the Treaty of Paris in 1783) retained Title over the Holy Roman Empire and the United States of America as "Arch-Treasurer" and "Prince Elector." Yes, the Holy Roman Empire is explicitly mentioned as the Treaty's authority to allow the U.S. to exist. This is consistent with the Biblical Beast powers. THE UNITED STATES REMAINS WITHIN THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

Before you go putting a laurel wreath on Barack Obama’s head, though, it might be a good idea to read the Treaty of Paris. Saying that George “authorized the United States to exist” in this treaty is a reading that might be described as paranoid, at best. There simply isn’t any language implying that George had any “authority” in this regard – if anything, the tenor of the language is one of having recognized what came to be after a struggle which earned it.

As for retaining those titles, that’s a fanciful reading as well, though one that might be wrested from the treaty if we follow on some unusual rules of grammar and parallelism. Here is the part that references the titles, and note the part in bold:

It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, duke of Brunswick and Lunebourg, arch- treasurer and prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire etc., and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences that have unhappily interrupted the good correspondence and friendship which they mutually wish to restore, and to establish such a beneficial and satisfactory intercourse...

What’s happening here is that Arthur is using some creative sentence-splicing to read the “of” before “the United States of America” as modifying the titles, as though this reads that George was “arch-treasurer” et al “of” the USA. But the structure and parallelism here demands rather that it refers back to “the hearts of” so that the “of” in “of the United States of America” refers to the hearts; “of the United States of America” is the second clause, while “of the most serene,” etc. up until the end of the bolded section is the first. Not only paranoid, but also very bad grammar.

Based on the above, Arthur also claims that the US Secretary of the Treasury is “the Arch-Treasurer of the Holy Roman Empire, just like the Treaty says.” Obviously this too becomes nonsense in light of what we have found.

Trading with the Enemy

On March 9, 1933, domestic transactions were removed from the exclusions to the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act (40 Stat L. 411, Subdivision "b" of Section 5). "Trading with the Enemy" is always illegal. Prior to March 9, 1933 domestic transactions were always legal. After March 9, 1933 all domestic transactions are illegal. We are the enemy of the Roman occupation forces. ...NO MAN MIGHT BUY OR SELL. It is illegal to buy or sell in America unless your transactions are with a surrendered person. Guess who has surrendered.

This is yet another claim you can find all over various conspiracy websites, apparently connecting it to a Presidential Proclamation 2040 of Franklin Roosevelt which supposedly grants dictatorial powers to the government and remains in effect (having not been rescinded) to this day. I am not expert enough in law to deal in this issue, nor masochistic enough to sift through the various conspiracy sources to attempt a refutation, but if Arthur is correct, how can one “break” this law and who has been arrested for it lately?

Title 12

The multinational authority that is already pre-authorized by the U.S. Congress to control your buying and selling with "actions, regulations, rules, licenses, orders and proclamations heretofore or hereafter taken ..." is the very same multinational authority that issues Social Security Cards. Title 12 United States Code, Section 95(b) gives the Secretary of the Treasury complete power over us. Whatever drastic actions he wants to take to control us are already authorized by law. His actions "heretofore or hereafter taken" have already been pre-approved by Congress in 1933. (This all fits nicely with Rev 13:10 "if anyone is to go into captivity ...")

Really? Here’s all that portion of 95(b) says:

The actions, regulations, rules, licenses, orders and proclamations heretofore or hereafter taken, promulgated, made, or issued by the President of the United States or the Secretary of the Treasury since March 4, 1933, pursuant to the authority conferred by section 95a of this title, are approved and confirmed.

95a is rather longer. Does it give “complete power”? Again, I’m no attorney, but it would seem to me to be a forced reading to say so; much like some critics force-read the Bible into approving things like abortion. If Arthur thinks this is so, he should be able to come up with countless cases of the Secretary of the Treasury ordering the lives of private individuals “completely”. The claim requires much more proof that Arthur provides.

There are several other claims of this type made by Arthur concerning the meaning of various laws, but if anyone can find one that is defended by a serious, credentialed attorney (rather than by a conspiracy website) I’d like to know about it.

Government Ward

By asking to be a Ward of the Government, you've created a host of providers to regulate you, judge you, and be your savior. This is the moral equivalent of having other lords before God Almighty, in violation of the First Commandment.

That one requires a lot more exegesis that Arthur provides here. For one thing, the word used in the First Commandment is elohim, not “lords” which would be adown. For another, it takes lot more than “I say so” to claim that accepting government benefits means you rank the government as a “lord” over God. The issue of priority is assumed, not settled.


By applying for a Social Security Card you are applying for federal benefits. Christians cannot associate with freeloaders according to 2nd Thessalonians 3:6-14. Therefore, a Christian cannot qualify for a Social Security Number.

That’s far too much of a stretch as well. For one thing, “associate with” is defined so broadly here by Arthur as to be meaningless; it is doubtful it could be stretched to mean, “participate in the same government program with.” Otherwise it could also be stretched to mean anything, so far as, “don’t ride in an elevator with” or “don’t be on the same planet as.” Contextually, Paul can only refer to group fellowship and nothing more broad than that. Other than that, it remains highly debatable whether, in essence, use of Social Security is “freeloading” by nature.

Christian Name

A Christian name is a proper noun and has the first letter capitalized, with the remainder of each name in lower case. A proper noun is never spelled with all capitalized letters. You can no longer get a government ID with a Christian name. Could an all capitalized name be the name of [of = created by] the Beast mentioned in Revelation 13:17? No one with a proper noun Christian name can get a Government ID.

I’m a second generation English major, and I have never seen any rule, grammatical or otherwise, stating that whether or not a name is “Christian” or whether a noun is “proper” is connected to whether or not it is in all capital letters. At worst Arthur may be mangling the rule that a proper noun begins with a capital letter, and taking that to mean that if it uses more than one capital, it loses its “proper” status. I know of no rule that says so, however. At worst, using all capitals is considered bad manners, but it does not change a proper noun into something else. At most it may make it harder to tell a proper noun from one that isn't, in the context of a sentence, but fundamentally that does not change the actual intention of expression.

On the Rotunda Ceiling

Standing atop the U.S. Capitol building, and depicted on the painted ceiling of the Rotunda, are Roman gods that are the "In God they trust." Are these the gods you trust?

That’s also a fairly creative reading of the matter; start your information here. Anyone who sees some notion of official worship of the Roman gods in any of this probably has more than a few screws loose: The artist, Brumidi, was simply imitating artists of the Renaissance period who used the pagan gods to express certain concepts. What shall Arthur object to next – the use of the names of such deities on commercial products as a form of pagan worship? (Eg, “Lincoln-Mercury”?)

Tripoli Redux

According to your U.S. Constitution's Article VI, Treaties are equal with your Constitution as the supreme law of the land. A 1797 Treaty correctly states: "... the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion ..."

Yes, veteran readers will recognize that Arthur has fallen for the old Treaty of Tripoli argument. Apparently he’s not much better off than some atheists.


Social Security is pure Orthodox Socialism. "Socialists" can not believe in the Bible. "Socialists" cannot become citizens. Never could, still can't. 81 Fed 358.

There’s a couple of amusing point here. First, the practice of sharing resources (collectivism) was in fact the standard for Biblical times; socialism as such (in an ideal state) is merely the government doing what the church is failing to do, much to our detriment.

As for “81 Fed 358,” I can find no reference to this anywhere except (again) conspiracy websites, many of whom seem to be copying Arthur’s work. Unfortunately what it likely refers to – early editions of the Federal Reporter – is not immediately available, but chances are that it refers to the some formal political party, if it exists at all, and not to some person with a general proclivity towards resource-sharing.

What can be said in close? When you’re someone like Arthur, there’s a reason why you have to fill your essays with warnings like these:

If you are like most people, you think that my assertions are preposterous nonsense. This essay should open your eyes that have been blinded by the god of this world (as the term 'god' is used in 2nd Corinthians 4:4), and give you enough references so that you can start your own research. Prove these things to yourself, and hold fast to that which is good. God gave you a mind to discern the difference between truth and deception. Either I'm deceiving you, or the world is deceiving you.

Sorry...but when facts are in short supply, a good divisive threat or two doesn’t serve as an adequate replacement.