AN ADAGE A DAY ◽ HOME
It’s February! The looove month. It’s the time people are head over heels and to the moon and back in love. It’s the time when they feel they must express their feelings and share how they will love someone “to the ends of the earth.” My husband gave me a card many years ago and wrote this expression of endearment inside. Do you have someone you need to give endearment to? Maybe it’s a spouse, a child, or a friend. This might be a good way to convey that love. So, what does this phrase truly mean and how is it mostly used?
The idiom “to the ends of the earth” means to go to great lengths to accomplish or fulfill something or having no end or limit. It is thought to have started from the verse Zechariah 9:10:
“I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations;
his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
This verse is prophesying the coming of a ruler, Jesus, that will do away with traditional war instruments and replace them with universal peace, for the whole earth. This phrase is found in twenty-eight other verses in the Bible with many more times in similar forms.
This expression has also been a popular title of TV dramas, movies, and books. The last time it was used in this way was as the title of a 2019 Japanese television drama. In 2005 it was the title of a TV Mini-Series drama that came from a nautical themed trilogy of novels by William Golding. In 1948 it was the title of a crime thriller movie. This movie was directed by an American director, Robert Stevenson, who later went on to direct some all-time classics like Mary Poppins. It sounds like this phrase has been to the ends of the earth and back and it doesn’t stop there.
One of my personal favorite uses of this phrase is the title of a book published in 1992 about an event that happened in 1492, Columbus and the Ends of the Earth. I have always had a fascination with Christopher Columbus. Do you think he thought about this phrase as he set out to prove that there wasn’t an end to the earth? I love the statement made in this book's description, “For colonized peoples that live today at the ‘ends of the earth,’ the age of exploitation may be no different from the age of exploration,” meaning some people are still set on searching and seeking to conquer their own ideas and desires. I guess you could say this expression has been around the world and then some.
Putting all history of this phrase aside and getting back to that card from my husband, never underestimate the power of something as simple as a card. We are older now, so I don’t need anything. I don’t really need gifts (definitely not candy) and flowers mess with my allergies. But a card is different. It tells me he went and spent the time to look and read for just the right one to say what was in his heart. And then he took the time to write a comforting, loving, endearment on top of that inside, like the card he wrote in all those years ago when he said he would love me to the ends of the earth. That was a special gift.
And for this phrase to have its origin from the Bible, and be included so many times, tells me God has His endearment toward us “to the ends of the earth.” I looked for a verse to share and it was hard to pick just one but this one gets right to the point and it includes comforting, special, words from God to us. He is definitely the greatest special gift!
It’s Isaiah 45:22,
"Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”