In the book of Revelation, we are told that a dictator will arise from the revived Roman Empire. He will be endued with the power of Satan himself and will take unto himself the prerogatives of God (see Revelation 13:1-18). The apostle Paul said there would be someone who would stand in the temple of God, claiming that he was God (see II Thessalonians 2:4). Revelation amplifies this subject when it speaks of a false prophet who will stand in front of this dictator and do signs in his name, and also cause a statue of this dictator to perform miraculous signs (see Revelation 13:13-15, 19:20).
We do know that the book of Revelation was written during a time when Christians were being persecuted in the Roman Empire. We also know that the Roman emperors liked to think of themselves as gods. They even made statues of themselves and asked people to fall down and worship them. There is always the possibility that the Antichrist is already in the world. Those earlier dictators were merely representations of the final world dictator. This man will appear as a great leader, speaking great words of wisdom and will draw all of the non-Christian people to worship him. To them, he will be the sum of wisdom, with the answers to all their problems (see Revelation 13:18).
For an antichrist figure to come into the modern world, there must be a breakdown of the world system as we know it now. There would have to be breakdowns in currency, in law and order, and in the power structures of national states.
A financial panic could help pave the way for him. So could a nuclear war. Such disasters could leave people crying out for a man of peace, who will be Satan's counterfeit to Jesus Christ. This man will seem to be like Jesus, until such time as he is ready to show his true self. Then he will be incredibly cruel. He will be like a combination of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Genghis Khan, Mao Tse-tung and other dictators who have butchered millions of people. The Antichrist will be the most hideous example of dictatorial power that the world has ever known.
Remember that the antichrist spirit is in anybody who tries to draw people away from Jesus, saying, "Worship me." The antichrist spirit is present now in the worship and veneration we give to governments, dictators, military leaders and various other human figures. The humanism that is being taught in our schools, media and intellectual circles will ultimately lead people to the Antichrist, because he will be the consummate figure of humanism.