Who is the “man of lawlessness” Paul talked about?


Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
            The “man of lawlessness” or “man of sin” Paul described in 2 Thessalonians 2 is also known today as an Antichrist.  Jesus said many antichrists will come but this one, specifically, rises to a position of power.
Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:5-7
            Paul talked about this man’s rise to power would happen a particular time, fueled by a secret power at work in the culture to prepare for his arrival.  God will allow it to happen.
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
            This man will use all the tactics Satan uses to deceive—lies, doubt, empowerment—the same tricks he used in the garden with Adam.
For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
            For believers, the lawless man’s rise infuriates them, but they must remember, God was permitting the delusion and allowing the people to believe the lie.  They will delight in wickedness until it fails before them, then hopefully turns them to the point of realization and repentance.  Nobody can be so far gone they can’t return and people at this time will get right to the point of no return and hopefully come to God.
            Now who is this man of lawlessness?  Many views pop up.  Paul could have been warning them about Nero or Caligula, contemporaries to him.  Or this leader could be a future, a coming leader who will rise someday soon.  As we look at our world, we also see the possibility that the time is now, which is a good mentality to take so we are always prepared and never deceived.