II Thessalonians 2:1-4 Apostasy And The Man Of Sin.
Paul is writing to people he considers as part of a spiritual family, and it seems like one of the issues on their minds was the second coming. The scriptures speak of different comings of the Lord, but when Paul adds being gathered together to the Lord, it seems obvious that he is writing about the final coming. Paul viewed the rapture as happening at the same time as the second coming-together as ‘the Day’ of the Lord (v. 3a Cf. I Th. 2:19; 4:15-17; Mt. 24:31; I Cor. 1:7-8; Phil. 2:16). He wants to assure them that any rumours that the Lord had come was not to be taken seriously (Cf. Mt. 24:4ff.). Paul highlights at least two things which must occur before that day-“the falling away,” and the revealing of “the man of sin…the son of perdition” (v. 3b).
This was not to say that this coming would necessarily immediately follow these two events, because as he noted in his previous letter, that day will come as unexpectedly as a thief in the night (I Th. 5:2). Since Paul mentions the temple, it seems obvious that he is making reference to the temple which still stood at the time he wrote, being destroyed in 70 AD. Viewing these together, the “falling away” likely refers to those apostate Jews who refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The second point is also a fitting description of the Romans, that they set their emperor up as God, worshipping him as such, what is referred to elsewhere as “the abomination of desolation” (Cf. Mt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27; Lk. 21:20).