As I was preparing my Sunday School lesson for today, I hit on the idea of using the phrase, “know the beginning from the end” as the hook for class discussion. It is an odd phrase, though I hear and see it fairly regularly in LDS talks and writings. My point was that by knowing the end (as both final point and purpose), we would understand what came before. Thus, Revelation?the revelation of Christ?is a book about the meaning of human history that we see if we understand the end of that history in Christ. But I ran into trouble when I found out that the phrase isn’t a scriptural one.
The more expected phrase, “know the end from the beginning,” appears twice (Isaiah 46:10 and Abraham 2:8), but the phrase I was planning to use doesn’t appear at all, though according to GospelLink it occurs fairly often in LDS non-scriptural writings. I went ahead and used the phrase as a hook, and I didn’t feel the least guilt since I gave the disclaimer that it isn’t a scriptural phrase and it nevertheless makes the point I wanted to use for the lesson.
But I wonder: where does this phrase come from? Is it merely an accidental reversal of terms that stuck as an idiom?