According to Micah Halpern of Observer, “In parts of the Middle East, particularly Syria, the role occupied by Rome is now occupied by Russia.” This is a very interesting observation, especially considering what the Bible says about the importance of Russian involvement in Syria.
Back in the day, the Roman Empire had vassal states. More or less, these vassal states were puppets of Rome. In exchange for Roman protection they did whatever Rome wanted. In the same way, Syria has become a vassal state, or puppet, of Russia. Halpern continued by saying “Russia controls what happens in Syria. Vladimir Putin pulls the strings, Assad is his puppet.” Why is this relevant?
In a previous blog, we looked at how the Antichrist will be ethnically Slavic and the leader of Russia at the time of the end (Ezekiel 38:2). This leader will somehow rise to power in Syria (Daniel 11:21). In time, a significant military force is going to attack him, but this “flood of armies shall be swept away before him and be broken, and the prince of the covenant as well” (Daniel 11:22). Put differently, a huge military force from many nations will attack the Antichrist in Syria. This military force will include Israel, because a “prince of the covenant” will be swept away (Daniel 11:22). That’s probably a reference to an Israeli ruler or a general. Regardless, after this battle, the Antichrist will make a deal with Israel and many nations (Daniel 11:23; Daniel 9:27). This deal, or covenant, will begin the countdown to the return of Jesus to establish His Kingdom in its fullness.
On an interesting side note, the Antichrist will be connected to the historic Roman Empire. Daniel was told that the soldiers of a coming ruler would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, make a seven-year covenant with Israel and then break it (Daniel 9:26-27). The Romans definitely leveled Jerusalem and the Temple, but no Roman ruler ever broke a seven-year agreement with Israel by stopping Temple sacrifices. Elsewhere, the Bible indicates that the Antichrist is going rule ten kingdoms that rise out of the geographic area of the old Roman Empire (Daniel 7:8, 24; Revelation 17:12-17). So, in this sense, the Antichrist is identified as the coming ruler of the people who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. Pretty wild, isn’t it?
To be sure, this doesn’t mean Putin or any current figure in Russia is the Antichrist. That won’t be known until certain events take place. That said, we know what to look for and we will be monitoring what goes down over the next couple of years in Syria. To conclude, Halpern acknowledged that Russia needs Assad as a figurehead at the moment, but “if and when the moment arises that he is no longer useful to Russia, it is now perfectly clear to Assad—and to all of us observing the situation in Syria—that he can and will summarily, and probably unceremoniously, be dispensed with.” If Russia decides to take more direct control of Syria in this way, buckle up. It may just be the very beginning of the end.