First, we need to realize that the Antichrist is a real person. He is not a Christian legend to scare people. The Antichrist is real and while nobody knows that for sure, he might even be alive today.
What I can tell you, is that if he is alive, he is probably watching the news daily, awaiting to make his entrance on the world stage as the greatest “peacemaker” ever introduced to mankind. That is of course not taking into consideration the real peacemaker; Yeshua the Messiah. So, what do we really know about the Antichrist? For this, we have to go to the source, where truth can be found. The Bible actually has quite a few details about him:
• The Antichrist is a coming global human ruler – Daniel 7-12
• He will be a Gentile – Revelation 13:1
• He will be revealed after the departure of the Holy Spirit (after the Rapture) – 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7
• He will rise to absolute power – Daniel 7:8, 20; 8:23
• He will sign a seven-year treaty with Israel – Daniel 9:27
• He will break his treaty/covenant in the middle of the seven-year Tribulation – Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:21; Revelation 13:14-15
• He will claim that he is God – Daniel 11:36
• He will persecute the Jewish People – Daniel 7:21
• He will set-up and start “the abomination of desolation” – Daniel 12:11
• He will invade Israel – Daniel 11:40-45; Ezekiel 38-39
• He will conquer – Daniel 11:38-44
• He will be defeated – Daniel 7:11, 26; 9:27
Much more can be learned about the Antichrist from Mark Hitchcock in his book The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and of the End days.
Over time, people have speculated about the identity of the Antichrist. Each time that a nasty world figure became prominent in the news, it garnered them the title–albeit potential–of Antichrist. Eventually, that person would fade away or die and their wrongly assigned title with them. Whoever he is, and regardless of him already being alive today or not, the world has to be in the right place for the Antichrist to enter the stage and be accepted by all. This leads me to the concerns I have about the recent normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. First, we must look at peace from three different perspectives:
From a human perspective, in a region that has been punctuated by wars since Israel’s birth as a modern nation on May 14, 1948, seeing peace between the two countries is highly unexpected and exciting. There has been a “proverbial” hatred between Arabs and Jews for the last 75 years. In all honesty, the hatred is lopsided. There seems to be more hatred for Israel and the Jews from most Arab countries than there is from Israel towards the Arab world. This still takes into consideration the fact that both sides have friends and foes for either side. It’s complicated! But from a human perspective, peace is good. As long as we understand that humanly speaking, peace simply means the absence of war. I’ll still take that any day!
From a biblical perspective, it goes even further. We are asked to be at peace with our neighbors and love them (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:18). We are also supposed to be at peace and submissive to our governments (Romans 13:1-3). Additionally, in the very words of Yeshua, we are also to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). From a human perspective, this is a very tall order and it is also the only command of the sort from any of all the world religions. I have to remind myself every day that I MUST pray for my enemies and love those who persecute me. In that sense, this makes followers of Yeshua very unique. We definitely need the help of the Holy Spirit for that one.
But I would also like to look at one more aspect, being the prophetic perspective. We read in Daniel 9:26-27, “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
There aren’t that many passages in the Bible that include so much meaning and span such a long period of time in only two verses. I would like to bring our attention to the semblance of peace that this individual will bring. It will apparently come at a time soon after the Rapture of the Church when a lot of people would have “mysteriously” disappeared. Havoc will reign worldwide and the need for stability will be greater than ever. The Antichrist will come and sign a covenant with Israel, giving the world the false idea that peace has arrived on earth in general and in the Middle East in particular.
We have to always keep in mind that the Antichrist will counterfeit for his own profit, all that Messiah (Christ) does. If Messiah brought real peace in the heart of men (at His first Coming) and real peace in the world upon His return at the Second Coming after the Tribulation, the Antichrist will try to counterfeit that as well with false peace.
The region in the world that is the most volatile, and has been that way for decades, is the Middle East. If that region could appear to be at peace, that would go a long way to prepare the stage for the Antichrist. This is why I don’t look at the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE with the same enthusiasm as others. I rejoice for the temporal human peace aspect from that historic decision, but I also see it as a potential first of many agreements setting up the stage for the Antichrist. I look at this with great anticipation because I know that the End-Times clock is ticking towards the final countdown.
Ezekiel told us that Israel will be invaded when “my people Israel are living securely” (Ezekiel 38:14), so Israel must feel at peace to somehow have its guard down.
Antichrist will do his best at gathering nations against Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-2; 14:1-3, Revelation 16:16; 19:19). There will be much damage and many casualties (Zechariah 13:9), but ultimately, Antichrist will be defeated (Revelation 20:10), and all Israel will know their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:26.)
My intention is not to be the bearer of bad news. Again, from a human perspective, this normalization will undoubtedly bring a well-deserved period of respite to the region, only the third treaty after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Not to mention the threat to Iran if more Arab countries follow suit–and they most likely will. Looking at the geographical situation with Iran, alliances between Israel and any Arab country will continue to be a threat to Iran’s aspirations of hegemony. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” as they say, and this could have even played a part in the recent decision.
At the end of the day, the world is ready for the Antichrist, but the world is also ready for the Messiah. It is up to those of us who know the difference, to teach those who would be tempted to follow the Antichrist and lead them to the only true Prince of Peace known as Yeshua of Nazareth (Isaiah 9:6-7; 52-13-53-12.)
Olivier J. Melnick is the National Director of Training, Chosen People Ministries (US) Vice-President, Berger D’Israël (France).