In my studies of eschatology I have come to my own conclusion of who the man of lawlessness is. But my goal of this is to talk about what Paul and the early church thought of the man of lawlessness. It is evident from the text that this enigmatic figure hasn’t come on the scene yet, so my question is, when has this “man of lawlessness” come about, that is if he is still yet to come. Here is the quote of the text that I am getting at. 2nd Thess. 2:3-9.
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he is taken out of the way. That the lawless one will be reveled whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders…
Also from the Didache which is an early Christian document from either the late 1st century or early 2nd century says this
Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead – yet not of all, but as it is said: “The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.” Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.
So from this text, at least to the context of the original audience, this man of lawlessness/Antichrist like figure was yet to come but the question I have is, did he already show up later in history or is this Satanic parody of the Messiah still yet to come?