The Hebrew prophets accurately predicted the last day events. But their most chilling prophecies concern the Antichrist. But before I reveal who I think the Antichrist is, let's set the scene a bit with a little background information.
War In Heaven
Right from the beginning, our world has been in the middle of a battle between good and evil. The archangel known as Lucifer, served God with Michael and Gabriel. But then he rebelled and... "There was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon... And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." --Revelation 12:7-9 NASB
Satan is "the god of this world." He deceives and corrupts. And as the end approaches... "Terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time." --Revelation 12:12b NLT
It is important to understand that what's coming in the future for the world is fundamentally based upon the war between God and Satan. We just happen to be the battleground where that war is being fought. Satan wants to deceive and corrupt as many people on earth as he can so that he can flaunt all of this in God's face. And part of Satan's plan is to bring his kingdom and bring his hand picked beast to take control of the world.
The Fierce Beast
In Daniel 7, the prophet received a vision of several beasts. The last one worried him: "There before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left." Daniel 7:7NIV
Now an angel interpreted this vision for Daniel. He said: "'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom.'" Daniel 7:23-24a NIV
We know that Daniel's prophecies are very accurate because so many of them have come to pass. He accurately predicted several future empires: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. But the angel revealed that this final empire was different from the others. I believe that is because it was both an empire and also a religious system. Let's take a deeper look at how this fierce beast handed itself over the next 1800 years.
In AD 313, Roman Emperor Constantine declared himself the head of a hierarchical state-church. By doing that he was recognized a Christianized version of a truly pagan religion (that goes back to Babylon). This hybrid religious organism would become known as the Roman Catholic Church. This was to become the fierce beast which was to be different than Daniel's other kingdoms. And this kingdom was to rise out of the Roman Empire and be the beginning of the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy.
Right from the beginning, the Roman church waged war against all true Christians. To this church/state, only two groups exist: Catholics and everyone else. Anyone not embracing the Roman church was considered a heretic worthy of destruction. It was this belief that was at the core of its . actions and which spawned what we now think of as the Dark Ages...