Paul was entreating the Thessalonians: “We beseech you, brethren, concerning the presence [Greek parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him.” He was the apostle who showed, particularly, that at the end of the Gospel Age, the presence would be a period of time and that those who slept in Christ would be raised first. Later the feet members of the body of Christ would be invisibly and spiritually raptured as a group. As pictured by Elijah’s being taken up by a whirlwind, a class will be taken together. When John the Baptist was beheaded, he portrayed the last members of the body of Christ.
At the end of the age, there are two collective gatherings of faithful Christians: first, the dead in Christ and then the feet members at a yet-future date (1 Thess. 4:17). In between these events, saints who die as individuals do not sleep but are instantaneously changed (1 Cor. 15:51,52). When Paul uttered these words, however, he was probably thinking of himself and the brethren at Thessalonica, rather than the feet members especially, but he was quite aware of both.
If we were not familiar with Present Truth and the teachings of all the great Reformers, we might think of the “man of sin” as a literal being, as some wicked person, but it is the false religious system just as the “man of God” is the true Church, a collective body made up of component parts or “joints.” The ideal is the picture of Jesus as the head and the Church as the body parts. Similarly, the man of sin is an organization with a person (the pope) as the head and the corresponding component parts of the Antichrist system (the Papacy) as the body. The man of God is The Christ, The Elijah,with Jesus as head. The man of sin is the Antichrist, the Papacy, a religious system, with Satan as its head. As the head of the man-of-sin system, Satan works through Papacy, whereas Jesus, the head of the man of God, works through the congregation.