Even more significantly, a century after Jerome and Augustine, the Roman Empire was still clearly being identified as Paul's 'withholding agent' — even as the embryonic Antichristian-Romish Papacy was then just beginning to be established in its place. Second Thessalonians 2:3-8.
Thus this identification was even made by the circa 438-533 Remigius, the very famous baptizer of the Frankish king Clovis. Paul, wrote that great 'Apostle to the Franks' (in Bibl. Patr. Max. VIII:1018), "spoke obscurely [about the Roman ‘withholding agent’], lest perhaps some of the Romans who thought they would rule the World for ever, might understand that this Epistle [Second Thessalonians] was
against them — which might then stir them up to persecute some of the Christians."
The Antichrist would be unveiled when the Bishop of Rome (that at first still only a 'Little Horn') would formally be declared 'Pope' alias Universal Father in A.D. 606. And that was after the fall of the Roman Empire to the 'Fellow'-Horns alias the ten Kingdoms of the Roman Imperial Beast in Jerome's own day.
Now it should be noted that when the (papal) 'man of sin' would be unveiled, he would "keep on opposing and keep on exalting himself against all that is called God." Indeed, "he would keep on going into the temple of God to be seated [or enthroned] there, while claiming to be divine.' Second Thessalonians 2:4.
Romanists object that their Papacy has never tried to exalt itself above God Himself. However, this text does not say 'the son of perdition…exalts himself above God.' It says: "the son of perdition…keeps on opposing and keeps on exalting himself against all that is called God or is worshipped, so that he (like a god) keeps on going into the temple of God to be enthroned there, claiming to be divine" — while claiming to reign in the place of God or to represent God. Compare the Greek original: "antikeimenos kai huperairomenos epi panta legomenon theon ee sebasma, hooste auton eis ton naon tou Theou (hoos theon) kathisai — apodeiknunta heauton hoti estin theos."3907
Dr. Matthew Henry here rightly comments: "As God was in the [Jewish] temple of old and worshipped there — so the Antichrist here mentioned, is some usurper of God's authority in the Christian Church." Dr. Albert Barnes agrees, and adds that the usurper keeps on "claiming the honours due to God."
In his book Babylon the Church of Rome, Canon Wordsworth states: "Naos, the word rendered 'temple,' is the holier part of the temple — the sanctuary, where the altar is [compare the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation]. And kathisai eis naon [or ‘keeps on going to sit in the temple’ in Second Thessalonians 2:4], are words involving motion, and signify ‘to be conveyed’– [or ‘to convey himself’] and 'take a seat' in the Holy Place of the Temple of God alias the Christian Church.
"There are about twenty-five passages in the Acts of the Apostles, where the Jewish temple is called hieron — but not a single one where it is called naos. The naos tou Theou, in the mouth of an Apostle speaking to Gentile Christians, concerning the future, cannot mean the Jewish temple, and can only mean the Christian Church…. The
sitting of the man of sin in the Temple of God, signifies his being a Christian by profession, and that he would exercise his usurped authority in the Christian Church."
Wordsworth adds on the same verse, in his essay Is the Papacy Predicted by St. Paul?, "that the 'temple of God' does not here mean…the 'temple at Jerusalem' is clear from the fact…that the lawless one was to appear at the 'removal of the Roman Empire' [or rather thereafter]. But when the Roman Empire was removed [toward the end of the fifth century A.D.], there was no temple at Jerusalem for him to appear in. Nor has there been any, to this time. It therefore means the Christian Church, which is now the only Temple of God. And this is the opinion of St. Augustine, St. Chrysostom, and most of the Fathers" of the Early Church.