Even before the Rapture of the church—which will come before his ultimate rise to power—the Antichrist will be a man fully engaged in the military. We see this about him in Daniel 11:37-38; it says that “he will honor a god of fortresses.” In fact, it also says that “he will honor him [his military god] with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures”—which means that he will spare no expense in financing his military might.
We also know that he will at some point rise to power in the government; and ultimately it will be the government of the E. U. I say that because of what it says in Daniel 9:26. In that verse, “the prince who is to come” is referring to the Antichrist; and “the people of the prince” are the Romans, the ones who destroyed the city and the sanctuary—which already happened in A.D. 70. Therefore, this passage is prophesying that the Roman people (which is part of the E.U.) will have a prince, and this prince will be the Antichrist.
We don’t know for sure when it will all come about, but we know that there will be ten kings with ten kingdoms that will be set up in the E. U. It is my guess that he will be totally engaged in that work, so much so that he will have no time for a normal life; for as Daniel 11:37 says, “And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.”
He probably won’t be fully convinced in himself that he is God (2 Thess. 2:4) until Satan possesses him at the midpoint of the Tribulation. However, I imagine that he will be demonized before that time, to the point that he will have no time for anyone else except himself; and he will more and more believe that he alone will fix the problems of the world.
In addition to government and military business, he will make it his business to aid and encourage those religious leaders who will be setting up a new global religion. For I think he will see how all the world is being influenced by the new religion and he will see that he must jump on that bandwagon to be effective himself.
In fact, Scripture (Rev. 17:2-3) seems to indicate that he and all the world leaders will be influenced and taken in with her false teaching, to the point that she (the harlot, which is the name given to the false religion) will control him. But soon, when he is given full power by Satan, he will destroy her.
Shortly after the rapture of the church, and after the Ezekiel war (Ezek. 38-39), he will find his opportunity to focus on world peace.