Even though the fascination with the identity of the Antichrist has been a major aspect of bible prophecy for hundreds of years, the twentieth and twenty first century has witnessed more focus on the end time Antichrist debate more than any other time primarily because the rise of the internet has created more exposure and access to information related to the development of the new world order than at any other time in history.
The "New World Order" whilst a political term used by the likes of Barack Obama, Henry Kissinger and George Bush Senior, is a term with a more sinister meaning which at the heart involves the creation of a final socialist world government system that will full the biblical prophecy of a final world empire dictatorship that will enslave mankind into a demonic economic system called the Mark of the Beast.
Whilst there are literally countless interpretations of Daniel and Revelation's end time prophecies there are 5 major categories of belief which have had a significant influence over biblical eschatology.
1. A EUROPEAN SUPER STATE
The traditional and classical view is that this final world empire will be a european super state, arising out of the European Union. Some of the world's greatest prophecy scholars such as Dave Hunt, David Breese and the late John F Walvoord and Dwight Pentecost believed that this final empire would be a Revived Roman Empire acco rding to the prophecies of Daniel.
David Breese one of the most respected end time researchers in decades comments on Europe's plans to protect her interests. He says "Europe will immediately realise the necessity of developing a strong military establishment, an all European army to guard their overflowing coffers......The second mission of a European military establishment must also be to protect the energy routes from the Middle East. A high percentage..nearly 100%...of the oil that heats and energises Europe comes from the oil rich lands of the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf. Should these supplies be threatened, all other considerations would need to be set aside in favour of guaranteeing the uninterrupted flow of Mid East oil. Without this, homes would become cold, automobiles would be parked by the curb, and the airplanes would no longer fly. The pipeline from the Middle East must always be held as a major consideration by the planners of Europe's future. ”. It is thus interesting to see that in July 2008, French president, Nicholas Sarkozy led the inauguration of the Mediterranean Union; an economic and trade union between the southern hemisphere nations of the European Union and the nations of North Africa and the Western side of the Middle East basin.
2. THE CLUB OF ROME MODEL
The modernist viewpoint is that the final world empire will consist of 10 bio regions (known as the Club of Rome model) in that the earth has been divided into blocs where the idea is that the national sovereignty of nations will be subject to a regional union. The 10 bioregions governed by 10 political leaders would then report to a supreme world leader as alluded to in Revelation 17:12-13.
Some of these regions it is believed already have been formed such as the European Union, the South American Union, the African Union and the Arab League. There is also presently recent controversy regarding the North American Union which is a supposed planned union between the United States, Canada and Mexico which will surpass the previous NAFTA agreements. Reports even suggest that there are plans to create a centralised currency across these 3 countries called the Amero which will replace all 3 national currencies.
3. AMERICA: GUARDIAN OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER
An alternative modernist view point is that America is the final world empire. Adherents of this viewpoint believe that the traditional view which places Europe as the primary power in the last days, has significant failings. They believe that the power of Freemasonry migrated from England to the United States and that the symbology on the American Dollar bill justifies this. Much of this view is also tied in with the interpretation of Revelation 18 description of a last days end time commercial Babylon which bears the hallmarks of the United States because of its military, political and commercial strength on the world stage.
Jack V an Impe, Stan Deyo, Tim Mchyde and others have championed this view that the last days commercial Babylon is not applicable to a literal rebuilding of the ancient city in Iraq as championed by Dr Charles Dwyer or the seven hilled city of Rome as mentioned by Dave Hunt in his book "A Woman Rides the Beast", but symbolic of the world greatest super power, the United States.
4. AN ISLAMIC ECONOMIC AND MILITARY ALLIANCE
A more recent view which is enjoying a significant amount of coverage is the belief that the Antichrist and his empire will be a confederation of Islamic nations led by the long awaited Islamic Madhi. This view championed by Rodrigo Silva and Joel Richardson author of "Antichrist: Islam's Awaited Messiah" is based on reviewing Islamic prophetical teachings known as "hadith" which refer to the final coming of the Al-Madhi (a return of Jesus Christ) to overthrow the Al-Dajaal (a Syrian/Jewish Antichrist) and establish a new world Islamic order. Scholars who hold to the islamic view believe that the biblical final world empire will be an Islamic confederation which will use its significant oil reserves as a secret weapon to bring the world economy crashing down under Islamic domination.
5. THE VATICAN AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Finally, there is the traditional medieval view that the Antichrist is linked to the Roman Catholic Church and Jesuit order. This view which was born out of the persecution of the early reformers by Rome even today has significant appeal. Malachi Martins book the "The Keys to this Blood" is one of the best documented insights into the Vatican's struggle for world supremacy and the internal state of the Roman Catholic Church with a specific split amongst high ranking clergy between those holding onto the historical teachings of the apostles and the early church fathers, and those who wish for many of the church's teachings to be changed under new liberal new age philosophies which encom pass a universalist religion unification ideal.
The discussion over the Antichrist identity is even more heated with the outright bizarre of beliefs to the most sophisticated. History has seen many labelled the Antichrist such as Roman Emperor Nero, Charlemagne King of the Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, and within in recent times, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II, Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Karl Von Habsburg of the Habsburg Dynasty, Javier Solana of the European Union, Prince Charles of Wales and more recently and controversially, Barack Obama.
Does the Bible as well as the secular New World Order publications shed any light on who the Antichrist will be? What will be his lineage? European, Muslim, Jewish, Merovingian stock etc.
The understanding and interpretation of prophecy can be be enhanced with the analysis of secular documentation such as the new age bible "T he Keys of Enoch" and other heavy weight illuminati inspired epistles such as Alice Bailey's "Externalisation of the Hierarchy" and the Masonic writings of Albert Pike in "Morals and Dogma" .
It is within these materials that the true nature of the coming final world empire will be revealed which will provide significant clarity to the debate.