2:4 exalts himself against every so-called god. This description of the man of lawlessness echoes that of Daniel’s little “horn” (Dan. 7:8, 20, 21; 8:9–12; cf. 11:31, 36) and foreshadows John’s description of the beast from the sea (Rev. 13:1–8).
takes his seat in the temple of God. Some conclude from this verse that the temple in Jerusalem, still standing when Paul wrote but destroyed in a.d. 70, must be rebuilt for the use of “the man of lawlessness.” Others understand “temple” in another of its New Testament meanings, as the church (Eph. 2:19–22; 1 Pet. 2:5). The reference may be an intentionally exaggerated way of talking about the imposter’s aspirations to heavenly power. Just as another prototype of sin, the king of Babylon wanted to set his throne in heaven (Is. 14:13, 14; cf. the king of Tyre in Ezek. 28:2), so the man of lawlessness will boast of himself as the possessor of God’s heavenly sanctuary (Rev. 13:6).