I have come across a number of believers who feel very strongly that the antichrist will be revealed before the rapture... here are my thoughts on this and I would be interested in knowing yours... yea or nae...
When Will The Antichrist Be Revealed?
Will the body of Christ know the person of Anti-Christ before the Rapture of the Church? Second Thessalonians chapter two gives a conclusive answer to this question.
The apostle Paul was confronting the confusion that surrounded the second coming of Christ. Many thought that The Day of the Lord (Great Tribulation) had already commenced and that they missed the rapture of the Church, assuming that the anti-Christ was revealed. This confusion led many believers to neglect their personal responsibilities in life, resulting in unrest and irrational behavior amongst God's people (2 Thess. 3:11).
While you and I live in a time of the spirit of antichrist, and many false prophets; the person who will be the Anti-Christ has yet to be revealed. Chapter two of Second Thessalonians is very specific about the revealing of the Anti-Christ and its timing.
Paul articulates that the revealing of the Anti-Christ to the world cannot happen until the restrainer (The Holy Spirit) is removed. Consistently throughout Scripture and history, the Holy Spirit and His restraining influence is through God's People (Matthew 13,14; John 16:7, 11).
Paul challenges the believers in Thessalonica not to be shaken and troubled by thinking the day of the Lord had come (vs.2). He briefly explains what will happen during the Great Tribulation in verses 3 and 4. How that the Anti-Christ will exalt himself as God when he sits in the temple of God. Paul is simply assuring them that this did not happen yet.
The Antichrist will be the world's political dictator of the last days. The Scripture declares ...and power was given him over all kindred, and tongues, and nations... Rev. 13:7. The Antichrist will be a man whom Satan will fill to such an extent that he will be Satan incarnate. This is why Paul calls him the man of sin and the son of perdition. 2 Thess. 2:3
Knowing that the rapture of the Church is imminent, I believe that it is possible for the Anti-Christ to be alive today ( 2 Thess. 2:7). Yet, Paul makes it very clear that the Anti-Christ will be restrained until the Holy Spirit and the Church are removed. Due to the Anit-Christ' nature of administering Satan's will by signs and wonders, and successfully deceiving the unbelieving world by promoting idolatrous worship and possessing the power of death. and having all authority over commerce, and having an identifying physical mark; he cannot be revealed until after the rapture of the Church.
Jesus gave telling words about false prophets in Matt. 24:24, warning that in the last days many false prophets would arise and deceive, if possible, even the elect. False prophets with their mastery use of false doctrine easily influence people away from the biblical mandate of God's Word, namely, the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our only sufficiency necessary to expose false prophets and their teachings is the Word of God under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. And this is why the Anti-Christ hides in darkness. He cannot, even with all of Satan's potential overcome the body of Christ (Matthew 16:18; James 4:7; 1 John 4:4)... thus, he is restrained from exacting his hellish ministry until after the Church is gone.
Sincerely, Dr. Arthur Belanger - www.InvitationToChrist.org