One thing we need to keep in mind regarding the Antichrist, is that until the midpoint of the Tribulation the Holy Spirit will be restraining him from doing evil—the evil that he was meant to do later. The Scripture passage regarding this is in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8.
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
Let me point out just a few words or phrases that may need explanation. The key to understanding the timing of this passage is to first look at verse four. Here it says that the Antichrist takes his seat in the temple of God and displays himself as being God. This we know happens at the midpoint of the Tribulation, because this is when he breaks his covenant (Dan. 9:27). And it is also when he orders the Jewish sacrifices to stop, and when the abomination of desolation is placed in the temple.
Thus everything regarding what is said in this passage happens at the midpoint of the Tribulation—when the Antichrist breaks the covenant. Hence, let us now go to verse three, to see the clear meaning. The apostasy (or rebellion) has everything to do with the man of lawlessness, who is revealed. This of course is the Antichrist. He is here at the midpoint revealed as Antichrist and as the lawless one. And he will be the instigator of the apostasy.
What causes him to be revealed, and what causes him to exalt himself as God and to take his seat in the temple? It is in verse seven. It is because his restraints are removed. God Himself has removed them. That is, he has allowed Satan to enter him and empower him to be absolutely lawless and to do all the evil that he is meant to do.
So this is the gist of the passage. But the point I am making here is that he will not have this evil power until the midpoint of the Tribulation. Until that time I suppose many will have no idea who he is or what evil he is capable of.