Our world can be a difficult place to live in – sometimes I feel exhausted by my own existence. As followers of Christ, we know that things will get progressively worse as we grow closer to the Second Coming. Mark 13 tells of Christ speaking to the apostles regarding the last days:
5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
These verses are not easy to read, as they provoke a lot of anxiety. With all the terrible things we see in the news, how do we remain hopeful about our future? Christ continues:
9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
These verses are full of heavy information. Christ gives us these signs of the Last Days so that we may prepare ourselves and recognize the time when He comes again. Reading the verses more closely provides us with the hope we are searching for.
We see that we will be persecuted for our beliefs. This is nothing new. There are countless examples throughout history of Christians being oppressed because of their refusal to deny Christ. We can draw strength from these historical figures, one of them being Abinadi. Another example of remaining faithful in the face of trial is Job. Although circumstances were difficult for them, they continued to praise God and never abandoned their beliefs.
In verse 11, Christ promises us that the Holy Ghost will be with us, even helping us speak in the face of our persecutors. The Holy Ghost will also help us discern false prophets and anti-Christs from the truth. This is an immense blessing and one that gives me hope even as these prophesies make me fearful. If we live worthy of the Holy Ghost, His power will not leave us in our time of need.
Christ tells us that we must “endure to the end”. What exactly does this mean? The apostle Paul was a great example of this. In 2 Timothy 4, he tells Timothy,
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
Elder L. Tom Perry provides more specific counsel on how we can endure to the end.
- It requires the Savior’s redemptive power. We cannot return to our Heavenly Father’s presence unless we are clean, and so we must continue to repent. Ideally, we repent moment by moment, but we also attend sacrament meeting each week to partake of the sacrament and renew our baptismal covenants.
- Enduring to the end requires the Holy Ghost, who will both guide and sanctify us.
- We must be an integral part of a community of Saints, serving and receiving service from our brothers and sisters in the gospel. With baptism we become part of the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:11–13); each of us has a role to play, each of us is important, but in order to succeed we must be unified in our Savior.
- We must share the gospel with others. The promises of bringing even one soul unto the Lord are profound and eternal (see D&C 18:15). Moreover, the gospel takes deeper root in those who share it frequently.
- We must always maintain faith and hope in Christ to endure to the end, and among the many ways we do this are praying, fasting, and reading the scriptures. These practices will fortify us against the subtle schemes and fiery darts of the adversary.
We were promised that if we endure to the end, we will be given eternal life with our Father in Heaven. He has an eternal perspective and knows that all that we suffer in mortality will be for our good. We are greatly blessed with a Father who deeply cares for us and has shown it by giving us the opportunity to come to Earth, receive a mortal body, make our own decisions, and return to live with Him. When I consider all that Heavenly Father has blessed me with, it gives me hope in spite of the the growing wickedness of the world. This hope builds my faith and strengthens my resolve to live as a disciple of Christ.
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