Not Just 1995

 33And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.

 34Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.

 35And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:33-35, King James Version)

The above has been sometimes likened to 1995, but the 1990s will seem like a picnic during the time described above.

Notice that “they that understand” will be allowed to “fall” in various ways.  However, “many shall cleave to them with flatteries.”  Who will cleave to them?  Since they are using flattery, it is evident that it will be people pretending to be on God’s side.  They will give all the appearances of being God’s people, but covertly they will work towards destruction of the Church – from the inside.

However, unlike before, we shouldn’t find that so hard to believe any longer.  We all need to get ever closer to God before that time comes.

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  1. I was under the impression this had been fulfilled during the time of the Maccabees on into the time of the early Church and verse 40 on deals with the end time.
    I know that many today have a lot of wild ideas about this falling away and the man of sin–trying to pin that on the Tkach's–but I do not see how that is supported by scripture.

  2. Actually, even v 35 says "even to the time of the end". There is a duality in the verses that follow to the one that will come along and "magnify himself above every god" (cf 2Th 2:4), so it would seem that the transition occurs in the passage above.

    However, I definitely agree with your last point that Tkach did not fulfill that passage. For starters, no one physically died standing for the faith in the 1990s that I know of.

  3. @(cf 2Th 2:4), Is this the pope/false prophet or someone else?

  4. John D Carmack

    Anonymous wrote: "Is this the pope/false prophet or someone else?"

    If you compare history with what you see in Revelation, there is only one system filled with pagan influences that have stemmed from the time of Babylon that really fits the Great Harlot. We see that she rides on top of a beast. If the False Prophet is not a pope, he would almost surely come from that system. However, considering the titles and prestige of that office, it fits well into that scenario.

    In 2Th, Paul doesn't make much effort to identify this person, but he does give a few clues. "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come…" tells is that it is in the context of "that day". "That day" usually is a reference to the "Day of the LORD" in the OT, and we see just prior to this that Paul writes, "the day of Christ is at hand."

    When you compare this passage to the Books of Revelation and Daniel, it becomes clear that only one of two individuals can fulfill this: The Beast (aka, "The King of the North") and the False Prophet. In the end times, worship will be demanded by the resurrected Babylonian system of that day.

    Now, specifically is it the Beast or the False Prophet? Here is the evidence for each:

    From UCG: "Yet has anyone actually ever looked on the pope as a god? Consider that the pope is called 'Holy Father'—the name of God the Father (John 17:11; compare Matthew 23:9)—as well as the 'Vicar of Christ,' meaning substitute for Christ…. He has been called 'another God on earth'…. Furthermore, Catholic teaching has in the past claimed that 'the Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he IS Jesus Christ, hidden under a veil of flesh' (The Catholic National, July 1895). All of this is a forerunner to the blasphemy of the end time, when, as the apostle Paul foretold…."

    However, what we see in Rev 13 is that the second beast, the False Prophet, appears like a lamb, but his role is to make the world "make an image to the [first] beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live" and "worship the image of the beast" (vv 14-15). What this "beast" is seeking is to cause others to worship the first beast. If this were the "son of perdition", he would be violating that role.

    Of course, that doesn't rule out him changing his mind. It doesn't rule out him rebelling, which causes the first Beast to invade the Holy Land. It would explain why the Beast throws off the Great Harlot (Rev 17:16).

    However, the reason given for the King of the North invading seems to be quite different. "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him" (Da 11:40).

    Furthermore, notice who Daniel says exalts himself: "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done."

    Again, this makes it being the False Prophet less likely. If Antioches Epiphanes was the forerunner of this "man of sin" who created the first abomination of desolation and was the King of the North, then I would expect the same to be true in the end times.

    Either way, sacrifices start, sacrifices stop, then Jesus returns in 3-1/2 years.

  5. A woman is a symbol for both ‘church’ and ‘city’. The latter, by extension, refers to a city kingdom and then to an empire; or more specifically a ‘harlot’ is a symbol for an ungodly city.

    “Woe to the bloody city! It is full of lies and robbery. Its victims never departs… the multitude of harlotries of the seductive harlot, The mistress of sorceries, who sells nations through her harlotries, and families through her sorceries” (Nahum 3:1,4).

    Assyria, as we know, was succeeded by Babylon.

    “Flee out of the midst of Babylon… Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed…” (Jeremiah 51:6-8)

    Nahum and Jeremiah provide types for John in Revelation.

    In Revelation 12 and 17 there are two ‘telescopic’ women. In the former there are Israel the Kingdom and Israel the Church, and, in the latter, Babylon the Kingdom and Babylon the Church.

    The Antichrist, through the ten kings, destroys Babylon the Church at the beginning of the Tribulation and Christ destroys Babylon the Kingdom at the end of the Tribulation.

    The day of the Lord is followed by the Great Day of God Almighty; or the wrath of the Lamb is followed by fierceness of His wrath.

    Nimrod’s Babylon was the mother of all Babylonian kingdoms (cp. the implication of Gen 10:10-11); and Babylon the Great is the finally manifestation of the Babylonian system – the last three and a half years of this age – corresponding to the Antichrist’s second half week. The first half is of the seven; the second is an eighth.

    If you want to know what the Antichrist does see what Christ does; if you want to know what Christ does see what the Antichrist does.

    Just as The Antichrist is the person who opposes Christ as Christ; Babylon the Great opposes Jerusalem as Jerusalem.

  6. “However, what we see in Rev 13 is that the second beast, the False Prophet, appears like a lamb, but his role is to make the world "make an image to the [first] beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live" and "worship the image of the beast" (vv 14-15). What this "beast" is seeking is to cause others to worship the first beast. If this were the "son of perdition", he would be violating that role.”

    I do not follow your reasoning—the “image of the beast” has been solidly proven many times to be the Catholic Church and its popes fulfill the role of the false prophet. The COG has understood this for many years and it is the IMAGE that is being worshiped—which is the C. church. The “son of perdition” Christ mentioned was a false disciple—Judas. Christ was not referring to the Roman emperor. The son of perdition in 2Thess. is called the “man of lawlessness” in the RSV—which is the false prophet and the second beast of Rev.13, the way I understand this.
    Rev 13:15—last part—“and cause as many as would not worship the IMAGE of the beast to be killed.” I saw an ad for a booklet a few years ago in the journal, which I went to and read. It is titled “The Image of the Beast” and is found at http://www.mtcogsm.com/BOOKLETS.htm. It has some interesting stuff which seems to be based on scriptural prophecy and the teachings of the COG. It explains this far better than I can here. Sounds like UCG may have been right—but I have not read their approach that you referred to.

  7. John D Carmack

    I don't know about "solidly proven many times", as I don't recall that being taught as official doctrine even in the 70s. In fact, I could only find one direct reference from Mr Armstrong stating something close to that. What is odd, though, is that he didn't exactly state it was the Catholic Church, but something very, very related to it. You might want to take a look at "Did Christ Reorganize the Church?"

    I've read it before, but I didn't quite pick up on that aspect of it, even. I guess I would have said it was odd a few months ago, but now I'm not so sure.

  8. @ John; (i have read "Did Christ Reorganize the Church?")
    Just in case you have decided not to believe what I wrote, here is some quotes from the booklet referred to and these contain quotes from HWA; “Once again, let us see a quote from the 20th century Apostle of God, H.W.A., and his booklet called “who is the beast” which was written over 40 years ago. In it, he reveals a little about the image of the beast, and how it has affected human church government.
    “Where, then did human church government derive its present form? “The first pope, in the real sense of the word, was Leo I (440-461 A. D.),” says the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, VOL. 7, page 629. To him the form of GOVERNMENT of the Roman Empire was the most marvelous thing on earth. It became an obsession. He applied its principle to the CHURCH, organized the church into a GOVERNMENT, forming the PAPACY.”

    Below is some more of the quote, same booklet.

    This CHURCH GOVERNMENT or ORGANIZATION is the IMAGE OF THE BEAST! Says Myers’ Ancient History: “During the reign of Leo I, the church set up, within the Roman Empire, an ecclesiastical STATE (government) which, in its constitution and its administrative system, was shaping itself upon the imperial MODEL”. (Quote taken from page 23&24)

    "Mr. Armstrong, inspired by Gods Holy spirit to understand this, went on to reveal: “This IMAGE—(which was) man designed and (a) man ruled church government—compelled people to WORSHIP THE CHURCH!”
    the link i gave may not work–but this booklet can still be found on the booklets page at http://www.mtcogsm.com

  9. John D Carmack

    Anonymous wrote: "Just in case you have decided not to believe what I wrote…"

    And people wonder why I get so cranky? Is this called for? Is it Christian?

    I was just curious as to your source, and I was remarking that if that had been taught, it was not taught very widely. Most people seem to concentrate upon either the Beast or the mark, rather than the image. I even remember one sermon in the 70s where the pastor explained that it would be nothing with modern technology to make an image that spoke. Nothing was mentioned as to the Catholic Church in regards to the image itself.

    Robert Thiel has posted something similar to what you wrote, but of course that's just bits and pieces. I just wanted verification because while Thiel is accurate in what he reports, he is sometimes skewed in how he reports it.

    Are we in agreement at least in that in these two booklets that HWA identified the image of the Beast as the "CHURCH GOVERNMENT" of the Catholic Church?

  10. @John;"Are we in agreement at least in that in these two booklets that HWA identified the image of the Beast as the "CHURCH GOVERNMENT" of the Catholic Church?"
    Not really–but first let me say that my comment was not meant the way you appearently took it and I am sorry about that. everyone has the option to believe something are not–it was just a simple statement not meant to get you "cranky".

    Now, i will just state that in HWA's booklet on "Who is the beast" on page 22, he says almost the exact same thing that the editor said in his booklet. The Roman Catholic church IS THE TWO HORNED BEAST, THE FALSE PROPHET AND THE MAN OF SIN "WITH ITS POPE, ITS BISHOPS ITS PRIESTS AND DEACONS"— I am not saying he is right or the author/editor of "Image of the Beast" is right–I am just stating that is what is said and it appears to have been a teaching and belief of HWA since before the 60's. The COG has taught this–but obviously many in the minstry have not.

  11. John D Carmack

    @Anonymous: I apologize for seeming overly sensitive, but lately there have been a few comments, esp. the ones I didn't approve, where apparently the people involved think it's OK to rant and rave rather than discuss facts or Scripture.

    HWA changed his view of government over time. What I find fascinating is that in the article "Did Christ Reorganize the Church?" he wrote, "Organization and church GOVERNMENT has brought us only strife, jealousies, divisions, bitterness! It is not of God, and it can bear no other fruit."

    I am not so sure that has changed.

    I finally found a copy of Thiel's source as well. HWA in "Who is the Beast?" states:

    "'The first pope, in the real sense of the word, was Leo I (440-461 A.D.),' says the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 7, page 629. To him the form of GOVERNMENT of the Roman Empire was the most marvelous thing on earth. It became an obsession. He applied its principles to the CHURCH, organized the church into a GOVERNMENT, forming the PAPACY.

    "This CHURCH GOVERNMENT or ORGANIZATION is the IMAGE OF THE BEAST!"

    HWA seems to equate the government and the organization of the false church.

    However, from what I've seen lately, it appears that some in the COG would rather worship government and organization rather than the One Who should be ruling in their lives as well. And, let's be honest about the fact that a few of the leaders have fostered this attitude for their own benefit and not for the brethren.

    Not only that, what about the titles they take upon themselves? Elijah? Apostle? Prophet? "That Prophet"?

    What differentiates those leaders from the pope and their churches from the Catholic Church?

  12. Part of the problem in understanding the Beast and false prophet is from not appreciating that the image of Daniel 2 and the fourth beast of Daniel 7 are telescopic. (The latter is the same beast of Revelation 13 and 17, where the ‘heads’ fill in the telescopic interval of Daniel 2 and 7.

    The fourth beast’s ten horns are not consecutive.

    The proponents of the consecutive theory have difficulty in making the case from history. To use one example from the booklet by the Living Church of God on the Beast of Revelation:

    “The first three kingdoms springing out of the old Roman Empire, the Vandals, Herulii, and Ostrogoths, were uprooted. The might of the eastern emperor, Justinian, accomplished this “plucking up” at the behest of Rome’s pope”

    While the second horn, the Herulii, inflicted the so-called ‘deadly wound’, they were uprooted before the Vandals who appear, in this theory, to have sprung “out of the old Roman Empire” – before the ‘deadly wound’.

    No evidence is provided that it was at the behest of Rome’s pope. This appears to contradict what Encyclopaedia Britannica has to say on Pope Agapetus I (May 13, 535 to April 22, 536):

    “… At the urging of the Ostrogothic king Theodahad, he headed an unsuccessful mission to Constantinople to deter the emperor Justinian I from his plans to reconquer Italy”.

    The “plucking” up, according this theory, does not include the First Reich:

    “The papacy had triumphed over the Empire of the Hohenstaufen and played its part in rooting out the 'infamous clan'” (Friedrich Heer, The Holy Roman Empire, p.87).

    Perhaps it should be Rome’s popes, as there were a number of popes and anti-popes between the fall of the Heruli and the beginning of the Gothic wars.

    Justinian was only ten years old when the Ostrogoths overthrew the Herulii; it was some 34 years after this event that he became emperor.

    To say that it was only Justinian is strange after the reference to the eastern Emperor Zeno, five paragraph’s earlier.

    More could be said, but note that the Vandals were not Vandals as presented in an earlier paragraph – it was the Byzantines. The author references Will Durant in the booklet, but must have missed his comment on the ‘sack of Rome’; see also other historians in this regard.

    The little horn of Daniel 7 is the end-time Antichrist.

    THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A GOD AND A PROPHET

    "…Biblical usage confirms the concept of the prophet as an announcer: for example, when God sent Moses to Egypt He explained, "See, I have made thee as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet: thou shall speak all that I command thee, and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh" (Ex 7:1-2). To this, then, corresponds the basic meaning of the Greek word profetes, one who speaks forth, in behalf of another; in classic culture, one who interprets the will of some deity" (J. Barton Payne, Encyclopaedia of Biblical Prophecy, pages 4-5).

    Moses and Aaron provide a positive example of a relationship between a god and a prophet (Exodus 4:16 & 7:1; cp. Acts 14:12), while the beast and his spokesman/prophet provide a negative one. A modern example of the false prophet would be Joseph Goebals. As minister of propaganda for the Third Reich he is "generally accounted responsible for presenting a favourable image of the Nazi regime to the German people" (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Joseph Goebals). On assuming this position he "began to create the Fuhrer myth around the person of Hitler and to institute the ritual of party celebrations and demonstrations that played a decisive role in converting the masses to Nazism" (EBritannica, ibid.).

  13. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    John said:

    "Not only that, what about the titles they take upon themselves? Elijah? Apostle? Prophet? "That Prophet"?"

    Those are the "obvious" titles they have taken upon themselves. The less obvious to most in the COG, because we have gotten so accustomed to it is the title Mr.

    I have no problem in a formal situation, where EVERYONE is called Mr. or Mrs. or Miss to use the term, but to use it as we did in the church was totally against the command of Jesus Christ not to call any man Master.

    We in the church, when talking most always referred to everyone else by their first name, but the "Minister" was always referred to as Mr.

    This was giving a man a title and this is what Jesus meant when he said not to call any man Master.

    Just to clarify, if I'm leading songs at services, I have no problem calling every person that comes to the podium Mr. (or Miss or Mrs.) as long as it is used for everyone coming to the podium, whether for prayer, special music, announcements, sermonette or sermon.

    It is the exclusive use as a title for the "man in charge" that I believe is unbiblical, and not just unbiblical, it is downright going against the command of Christ.

  14. John D Carmack

    @Kevin: Yes, but Jesus also didn't rebuke people who called Him "Rabbi". I often call people "Mister" as a sign of respect, but I have even called my minister by his first name. It depends upon the situation, one of which you point out.

    It seems to me that the difference is between showing someone respect voluntarily and demanding it from others.

    Keep in mind as well that, for better or worse, the Church tends to lag behind the customs of the times. "Mister" used to be common business etiquette. It used to be expected, and in some circles still exists. As the culture has relaxed that custom, I've noticed that, at least in some organizations (cannot speak for all), it has become more a way of addressing others in "official" capacities.

  15. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    John, yes I've heard all the excuses before, but just listen to what I'm saying.

    First and foremost:

    Mat 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

    Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.

    These verses tell us why Jesus didn't rebuke those who called "HIM" Rabbi, he didn't because he is our Master, we are all brethren.

    He makes it plain that we are to call none of our brethren Master, or Mr. which means Master.

    John, you said that one shouldn't demand "respect" from others, but isn't that exactly what happened in the WCG? Prior to the 50's or 60's everyone called each other "brother", but after this time, it was taught in the churches that we are to call the "minister" Mr.

    I've heard so many give the excuse, "it's because of respect".

    I ask you, are we to show one brother more respect than another? Does one with the gift of teaching deserve respect, while one who may have what is unfortunately considered by most "a lessor" gift, not worthy of the same respect?

    We all have gifts, we are all brethren. We should not be giving one brother more respect than another.

    I'm not advocating being disrespectful, what I'm saying is that we are all brothers and a "minister" "elder" or "deacon" should not be given a title just because of a so called position.

    I'm not talking about paying someone for the work they do preaching the gospel. The verse that speaks of double honor for those who labor in the work refers to pay or support, it does not mean giving titles.

    Just think it about this John, That's all I ask.

  16. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    One other thing to consider that I forgot to mention.

    Consider this:

    How many times have we been in a circle after services talking? Four, five or six of us, if the "minister"'s name is brought up, it is always Mr. ******, but if it is another member, it is his first name, unless of course he was a much older man (or woman of course).

    Why did we do this?

    How about if the "minister" was one of the four, five or six. How we used to use the other peoples first name when we addressed them, but when we addressed the "minister" it was always Mr. ****.

    Did this go against Jesus' command or not?

    That is something that we must think long and hard on IMO. Jesus didn't give the command for no reason!

  17. John D Carmack

    Kevin wrote: "John, you said that one shouldn't demand 'respect' from others, but isn't that exactly what happened in the WCG?"

    And, that is still what happens sometimes today even. It may or may not be about "Mister" but some other title.

    In spite of what some read into what I write, I have never stated that there is no authority within the Church. I don't consider it wrong to give some respect to those set aside for a special purpose. The problem to me seems to stem from an attitude of lording it over others, which Jesus did forbid.

    If you look at what you quoted, Jesus said, "But be not ye called Rabbi." IOW, don't require it. Can you or I really stop someone from calling you "Mister", "Professor", "Doctor" or whatever title you may have? I have had people call me things b/c I'm a techie that don't sit comfortably with me, but it is very difficult to make them stop. Of course, I have had some people say some rather unpleasant things, and that's hard to stop as well.

    BTW, I have called some "normal people" "Mister" as well. They weren't asking for it, but perhaps they did something out of the ordinary or they just seemed down at the time and needed a little sign of respect to lift them up.

  18. Kevin McMillen from West Virginia

    I agree there is authority in the church, it's just that we have been taught the wrong kind of authority.

    Paul had authority because he's the one that founded many churches. Not to mention the miracles he performed that proved God was with him.

    If someone actually works to form a local congregation, not just inheriting it from the org. that he works for, but actually through the his own work, in my opinion he deserves respect from those that learned from him.

    Also, the bible teaches elders, plural, being selected among local congregations, they too have limited authority, but not the authority that we've in the past allowed them.

    As far as a corporation having authority over any local church or people, they don't have such authority unless of course one gives them such. And it is not against the bible nor God to refuse to give any organization or even man authority over you.

    I always tell those former WCG "ministers" that claim there is biblical authority, using Paul as an example. I always tell them, raise up a few churches, and perform a few miracles, then, and only then will I consider you haveing any authority over me.

    God has authority over me, any man's authority over me is because I allow it, as in the case of living in this country. I don't have to live in this country, nor come under the authority of this countries government, but I choose to.

    Until God grants a man the ability to perform miracles, he has no reason to claim authority over anyone.

  19. @Kevin; "Until God grants a man the ability to perform miracles, he has no reason to claim authority over anyone."
    Boy–if that is all you are looking for then what are you going to do when the wrong man comes peforming great signs and wonders? your philosephy will take you down a wrong path and into destruction.
    Are you sure that is the way to be looking for a man led by the Holy Spirit and sent to do a job?

  20. John D Carmack

    @Kevin: Well, what about Ro 13:1-4? It certainly doesn't say "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers if he performs miracles." If that is true for civil authority, then why would it be different than for religious authority?

    Frankly, some of the things you say worry me. It will be signs and miracles that will cause people to worship the Beast.

  21. Kevin McMillen

    John, I knew that would be the first thing to come to someones mind from what I said. Though I assumed (ignorantly now I guess) that it would be obvious that I would only consider someone performing miracles to be anyone, only if they held to the truth of the bible such as Sabbath, Holy Days, clean/unclean, and most importantly IMO is the teaching that God is in the process of creating man in his own image, and that means much more than looking like him though in a physical form.

    "Religious authority"? Hmmm. The question is, do you or I really understand what true biblical "religious authority" is?

    Since you've used HWA's 1939 article "Did Christ Reorganize the Church", I must ask, don't you believe what he said about "religious authority".

    Does a man sent from a national headquarters, sent to maintain loyalty to an organization, does that really represent biblical "religious authority"?

    Authority in the church is earned. And when I say in the church, I mean in the local church. I don't believe one bit that a man coming from a different local church has any authority over me.

    Now if he speaks in our local area, the authority comes from when he speaks scripture and then the authority isn't his, it's Gods.

    Now for local authority, really, how much authority is needed within the local church? Do we need one to have authority over where to set up chairs? When to have a potluck? Where to have services?

    I know that church discipline will be brought up. When Paul speaks of "marking" an individual, he's talking about the whole congregation "watching" what certain individuals do. He's not telling as man or a couple men, in a clerical fashion, to kick someone out of church.

    I do believe in the selection of older men in the local congregations to watch out for, "oversee" the flock. But this is not the kind of "authority" that I was talking about when I mentioned performing miracles. I was talking about individual men claiming they are representatives of God. Let's see, Flurry, Pack, etc. and even men coming into a congregation claiming sole authority such as the WCG styled clerics. Yeah, we're not used to calling the ministry clerics but that is what they were, and I don't believe the bible teaches such a clerical system. I believe it is the image of the beast.

    Don't let what I say worry you, let it cause you to at least think a little more than what you were used to in the past.

    Have a good day brother John

    I also want to apologize for my last couple posts. I've been trying to not to let what I consider other peoples "nonsense" get to me, but obviously I failed last week.

  22. John D Carmack

    @Kevin: It seems to me that local ministers have a lot more authority than you are implying. Paul's instructions to Timothy seem to me to be telling Timothy to not worry about his youth and be firm when the need arises.

    I think you realize by now, however, I'm not a big fan of centralized, micromanaging, "I'm appointed" types of governments. Unless there are some real apostles and prophets hidden away somewhere, we are living much like Israel did in the days of the judges.

    Now, does that mean I oppose all hierarchies or all centralized controls? Certainly not. If that is the agreed upon structure of government, that is fine by me. Just don't take Scriptures out of context and say it must be this way or that way when it says nothing of the sort. And, certainly don't call it anything like "God's government", which is blasphemy.

  23. Kevin McMillen

    Question: Authority to do what?

    In our tradition the only real "authority" the ministry has had and used is the "authority" to kick people out of fellowship when they disagree with the minister, even if done so politely.

    The excuse has been to protect the flock. But from what I've seen over the years, overprotection has hurt the flock more than helped it. Keep the sheep dumbed down and unquestioning has been the intent. IMO

    John says:

    "Paul's instructions to Timothy seem to me to be telling Timothy to not worry about his youth and be firm when the need arises."

    And this implies that people weren't just willing to listen to Timothy just because Paul said so. Which wasn't necessarily wrong.

    Just because Paul told him to be firm when the need arises, does not mean others "had" to listen to him. It is pure assumption that if one didn't listen to Timothy that they were on the outs with God.

    Apparently Diotrophes had "authority" in his local congregation, that doesn't mean that his so called authority meant anything in the general scheme of things.

    Why do so many people worry more about their supposed authority rather than just serving brethren? Serve, then one will automatically receive respect, and people will listen to what one has to say whether the claim of "authority" is there or not.

    I've got another question, apparently the Shepherds of Ez. 34 had "authority" at one time but Christ removed such "authority" and told them that he would be the "AUTHORITY"/Shepherd from then on out.

    I'd rather err on the side of giving Christ the authority over me than any man claiming such authority.