The Bible foretells a coming world ruler, whom it calls the Antichrist: “And in the latter time…a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy…the mighty and the holy people (Daniel:8:23-24)…ye have heard that antichrist shall come” (1 John:2:18). He will bring peace to the Middle East and to the entire world, which is a major reason why Israel will accept him – but it will turn out to be a false peace.
When Christ came the first time, He warned Israel that in rejecting Him, they would open themselves to a later acceptance of Antichrist as Messiah: “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John:5:43).
Confusion is created by the word “Antichrist.” It seems to imply that this “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians:2:3) will declare himself openly to be opposed to Christ. On the contrary, “anti” is a Greek prefix with two meanings: “opposed to,” or “against”; but also, “in the place of,” or “a substitute for.” In fact, he will pretend to be the Christ. All of Satan’s power, no longer restrained after the Rapture of the church to heaven, will manifest itself through him:
“And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed…whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders…. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that hey should believe a lie: That they might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians:8:12).
Israel will be without excuse. Nor will there be any excuse for the rest of the world as it follows Antichrist as world leader. There are hundreds of prophecies concerning the Messiah so that He could be definitely identified when He came and thereby prevent anyone from being deceived by a counterfeit. But in contrast to Christ, whom the world continues to reject, this is the man the world will look up to and want to follow. Indeed, he will not only be followed because no one can oppose his power, but he will literally be worshiped:
“And they worshipped…the beast [Antichrist], saying…who is able to make war with him? And…power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation:13:4-8).