no substitute hope
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (JDV)
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters,
2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a breath or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord has come.
no substitute hope
The Thessalonians were being targeted with a false doctrine about the second coming of Christ. Specifically, someone had begun teaching that Christ had already come, and that doctrine had the potential to upset and trouble the believers. One can see why. The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the saved. Without the hope of Christ’s literal return to the earth, the gospel is a promise unfulfilled. Without the coming of its Lord, the church is a sham.
Paul points out that there are three ways this false doctrine could influence the believers in Thessalonica. It could be a general attitude of depression — a feeling that all is lost, because even if Christ was to come, he would not come for them. That was the “breath” Paul was talking about. Or, it could be a message from someone they trusted giving credence to that false teaching. Or, it might even be a letter like the one they are reading, only written by someone else pretending to be Paul.
What could possibly be the motive of such false teaching? One possibility is that some might be teaching that the real hope is the Greek concept of “flying away” as a disembodied spirit when you die. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to trust in the real hope of Christ’s physical return, resurrection, and eternal life as whole persons. That is the blessed hope, and we will accept no substitute.
Either way, Paul encourages the Thessalonians to stand true to their hope in the actual return of Christ. He is our hope. We will accept no substitute.