“Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed–the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NLT).
We can make a few additional observations regarding the man of lawlessness who is identified for us within these verses. For instance, some versions of this passage (most notably the King James Bible and its related translations) identify this person as “the man of sin.” In reality, there is little real difference between these descriptions since lawlessness and sin are functional equivalents of one another.
We should also remember that the concept of lawlessness is not limited to this future period when the man of lawlessness will be revealed. As Paul the Apostle will later go on to acknowledge, the “mystery of lawlessness” was already at work in his own day (2 Thessalonians 2:7). In fact, such acts of lawlessness run like a thread throughout the course of human history extending as far back as our first human ancestors. Thus, the acts of lawlessness we see, hear, or experience today are harbingers of the man of lawlessness who is to come. He is the one who will embody the characteristics of lawlessness in its various forms.
It is also interesting to note that this future leader is further identified as “the son of perdition” in many Biblical translations. This phrase expresses the idea of ruin, damnation, and “the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell.” (1) Those who are familiar with the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life may also recognize this term, for Jesus used this same phrase to identify Judas Iscariot…
“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).
Thus, Judas served as a type or example of the man of lawlessness who will appear in the future. This has led one commentator to conclude, “Perdition means destruction, the complete loss of well-being. It is really the opposite of salvation. To call him the son of perdition means his character is marked by this destruction. Moffatt says the phrase ‘son of perdition’ essentially means the doomed one.” (2)
(1) G684 apoleia Thayer’s Greek Lexicon https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G684&t=NKJV
(2) Guzik, Dave 2 Thessalonians 2 – The Coming of That Day https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/2-thessalonians-2/