They are subverting the faith of some.
Timothy and other faithful ones were likely perturbed by the actions of apostates in their midst. Some Christians may have questioned why such individuals were allowed to remain in the congregation. Faithful ones might have wondered whether Jehovah really distinguished between their resolute loyalty to him and the hypocritical worship of apostates. Paul’s letter no doubt strengthened Timothy’s faith by reminding him of what happened when faithful Aaron was vindicated and hypocritical Korah and his companions were exposed, rejected, and destroyed. In effect, Paul was saying that even though there were counterfeit Christians in their midst, Jehovah would recognize those who really belonged to him, just as he did in the days of Moses. Jehovah never changes; he is dependable. He hates unrighteousness, and in due time he brings unrepentant wrongdoers to justice.
Slowly but surely the Watchtower is coming to the point of at least hinting that there is an apostate element within the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Amazingly, though, the very thing which was subverting the faith of some in the first century, namely the false teaching that resurrection had already begun, has long been the official teaching of the Watchtower Society. Now any of Jehovah’s Witnesses who reject the scripturally unsupported notion that the first resurrection began in 1918 are considered to be spiritually weak or even apostates.
According to Paul an apostate faction known as the man of lawlessness will promote a fake parousia through verbal messages and apostolic-like letters (magazines and brochures) which would of course require that the message include announcements that the resurrection has already begun, since the Scriptures indicate that the resurrection begins during the presence of Christ.
Ultimately, though, the apostates will be exposed. How will that come about? Isaiah explains: “‘Now I will rise up,’ says Jehovah, ‘Now I will exalt myself; now I will magnify myself. You conceive dried grass and give birth to stubble. Your own spirit will consume you like a fire. And peoples will become as the burnings of lime. As thorns cut down, they will be set ablaze with fire. You who are far away, listen to what I will do! And you who are nearby, acknowledge my might! The sinners in Zion are in dread; trembling has seized the apostates: ‘Who of us can live where there is a consuming fire? Who of us can live with unquenchable flames?’”
The heat of the day of Jehovah will bring an end to the apostates and their teachings. Jesus spoke of that day too when he said that he would dispatch his angels and they would gather lawless persons out of his Kingdom and pitch them into the fire.
Although the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses may scoff at the suggestion that they face any sort of judgment day, their ridicule will turn to horror when Jehovah rises up for the earth to suffer shocks. The man of lawlessness, like Korah and his followers, will be consumed.