Monday, September 8, 2014

Enduring to the End

I hear it regularly and consistently taught, including yesterday in our Sunday meetings: "endure to the end" means to stick to it, keep doing what you're doing, and make it to the end of this life.  To survive it. To get there. (Although it's never clear where "there" really is. Perhaps somehow a celestial kingdom, despite not having made one's calling and election sure?)

So, what is "the end" we're supposed to endure to? Can the scriptures tell us anything on the subject?

The phrase "endure to the end" occurs many, many times in the scriptures and is associated with receiving eternal life. (see Matthew 24:13D&C 14:7D&C 20:25, 3 Nephi 15:9, 1 Nephi 22:31)

In fact, 2 Nephi 33:4 states that these two are the same thing:
And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
If the "end" we are to endure to is eternal life, then John 17:3 tells us something about that "end":
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
That is, to "endure to the end" therefore refers returning to the Father's presence, having first entered into the presence of Christ, which is redemption from the fall. This is explained by the Lord to the Brother of Jared in Ether 3:13:
And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
The "End" we are to endure to is thus includes a person's receiving the Second Comforter. Then, as Nephi clarifies for us in 2 Nephi 32:6, it is Christ's direct ministry to you that guides you back to the Father (which, of course, requires a spouse, too):
Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after He shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when He shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which He shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.
Going back to "enduring to the end", there are some additional hints regarding the meaning of this phrase from the early 1800's courtesy of the 1828 Webster's Dictionary. Here is one of the first listed meanings for the word "end":
The conclusion or cessation of an action.
When the Lord makes a person's calling and election sure and is able to bring her or him back to the Father, does that not mark the "conclusion" of his testing and proving? Of his probation?

Also, the word "cessation" brings to mind another word that means the exact same thing: the Hebrew word "sabbath" or "shabbat":
Hebrew: שַׁבָּת‎, "rest" or "cessation"
So, perhaps it could have been translated as "endure to the Sabbath" or "endure to His rest".

And if that Sabbath--that "rest" or "cessation"--of the Lord is the goal, does D&C 84:24 not clarify that to "enter into His rest" is to enter "the fulness of His glory"? How many times do the scriptures talk about our need to enter into His rest? (Hebrews 4, Alma 12:34Alma 13:13, etc.)

So could "Enduring to the End" not also be considered to be synonymous with "entering into His rest"? That is, entering into His presence? And that this is what the sabbath day is symbolic of?

That is an entirely different "end" than the one we began with here.

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