Covenant of Israel = Tame Olive Tree

This passage, describing when the house of Israel begins to decay, could be interpreted to refer to the time when Israel decided to establish a king. Note the interaction between Samuel and the Lord:

1 Sam 8:6-8

6  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.

7   And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

8   According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

 

2 Kings 17:16-18  Northern Kingdoms

16 And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.

17   And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

18  Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel

 

(2 Kings 18:3-5) Hezekiah

3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.

4   He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

5   He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

 

(2 Kings 17:24,28)

24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof...

28   Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the Lord.

 

(2 Chron 36:17,20)

17 Therefore he (the Lord) brought upon them (the Jews) the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand...

20   And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t know where they went

10 tribes taken in 721 BC

2nd branch unknown

Lehi 600 BC

(Eph 3:1,6)

   For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles...

   That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel

 

Romans 11

 16  and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

 

 

Lost 10 tribes

(3 Ne 17:4).

now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them

 

Don’t know where these were hidden

 

 

Nephites/Lamanites

Nephite prophets prayed on behalf of their Lamanite brethren. They prayed that the Lord would show mercy to them in the last days and bring them to a knowledge of the truth.

(Enos 1:11,13)  'And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites...

   And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him--that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation

(Mormon 9:36)   And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, are according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They spread the word and converted many, producing a lot of fruit. Unfortunately, their works were not recognized by the Lord, for their hearts are far from me, and they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof (JS-Hist 1:19). They had a form of godliness, they were producing fruit, but the fruit did not taste good to the Lord.

 

 John 15

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

 

Apostasy

Nehpites/Lamanites Apostasy

 

 (Mormon 8:7) And behold the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites.

 

Luke 16

 6 ¶He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Isiah 5

 1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:

 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.

 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.

 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:

 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

 7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

 

Psalms 80

 8 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.

 9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.

 10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.

 11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.

 12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?

 13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.

 14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;

 15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.

 16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

Isiah 60

 21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.

Jeremiah 11

 16 The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.

 17 For the Lord of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

 

Their grafting in unto the natural trees represents the great immigration movement of these people into the United States, Central and South America, and other nations where the Lord has hid the natural branches

56 Refers to the gathering of Israel.

 

 

 

the wicked of the last days will be destroyed by wars, pestilence, earthquake, etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The servants of the last days are called to perform a mighty work.

 

The first branch to be grafted in to the mother tree is the last branch that was planted in the vineyard. Lamanites

 

   'But behold, in the last days even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender-

   Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;

   But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also (DC 86:4-6).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few...I beheld that the...saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small (1 Ne 14:12).

 

   'And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

   And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!' (DC 18:15-16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final destruction of the wicked prior to the Millenium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well done thou good and faithful servant' (Matt 25:21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This long time will last 1000 years and refers to the Millenium

 

 

 

   'And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

   And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: The number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

   And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

   And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.' (Rev 20:7-10)

 

 

Jacob 5

 1 Behold, my brethren, do ye not remember to have read the words of the prophet Zenos, which he spake unto the house of Israel, saying:

 2 Hearken, O ye house of Israel, and hear the words of me, a prophet of the Lord.

 3 For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay.

 4 And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard went forth, and he saw that his olive tree began to decay; and he said: I will prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it, that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not.

 5 And it came to pass that he pruned it, and digged about it, and nourished it according to his word.

 

 6 And it came to pass that after many days it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard saw it, and he said unto his servant: It grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, go and pluck the branches from a wild olive tree, and bring them hither unto me; and we will pluck off those main branches which are beginning to wither away, and we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned.

 8 And behold, saith the Lord of the vineyard, I take away many of these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will; and it mattereth not that if it so be that the root of this tree will perish, I may preserve the fruit thereof unto myself; wherefore, I will take these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will.

 9 Take thou the branches of the wild olive tree, and graft them in, in the stead thereof; and these which I have plucked off I will cast into the fire and burn them, that they may not cumber the ground of my vineyard.

 10 And it came to pass that the servant of the Lord of the vineyard did according to the word of the Lord of the vineyard, and grafted in the branches of the wild olive tree.

 11 And the Lord of the vineyard caused that it should be digged about, and pruned, and nourished, saying unto his servant: It grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof that they perish not, that I might preserve them unto myself, I have done this thing.

 12 Wherefore, go thy way; watch the tree, and nourish it, according to my words.

 13 And these will I place in the nethermost part of my vineyard, whithersoever I will, it mattereth not unto thee; and I do it that I may preserve unto myself the natural branches of the tree; and also, that I may lay up fruit thereof against the season, unto myself; for it grieveth me that I should lose this tree and the fruit thereof.

 14 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive tree in the nethermost parts of the vineyard, some in one and some in another, according to his will and pleasure.

 15 And it came to pass that a long time passed away, and the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Come, let us go down into the vineyard, that we may labor in the vineyard.

 16 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard, and also the servant, went down into the vineyard to labor. And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Behold, look here; behold the tree.

 17 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard looked and beheld the tree in the which the wild olive branches had been grafted; and it had sprung forth and begun to bear fruit. And he beheld that it was good; and the fruit thereof was like unto the natural fruit.

 18 And he said unto the servant: Behold, the branches of the wild tree have taken hold of the moisture of the root thereof, that the root thereof hath brought forth much strength; and because of the much strength of the root thereof the wild branches have brought forth tame fruit. Now, if we had not grafted in these branches, the tree thereof would have perished. And now, behold, I shall lay up much fruit, which the tree thereof hath brought forth; and the fruit thereof I shall lay up against the season, unto mine own self.

 

 19 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Come, let us go to the nethermost part of the vineyard, and behold if the natural branches of the tree have not brought forth much fruit also, that I may lay up of the fruit thereof against the season, unto mine own self.

 20 And it came to pass that they went forth whither the master had hid the natural branches of the tree, and he said unto the servant: Behold these; and he beheld the first that it had brought forth much fruit; and he beheld also that it was good. And he said unto the servant: Take of the fruit thereof, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self; for behold, said he, this long time have I nourished it, and it hath brought forth much fruit.

 21 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard.

 22 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.

 23 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Look hither; behold I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree. I have nourished it this long time, and it hath brought forth much fruit; therefore, gather it, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self.

 24 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said again unto his servant: Look hither, and behold another branch also, which I have planted; behold that I have nourished it also, and it hath brought forth fruit.

 25 And he said unto the servant: Look hither and behold the last. Behold, this have I planted in a good spot of ground; and I have nourished it this long time, and only a part of the tree hath brought forth tame fruit, and the other part of the tree hath brought forth wild fruit; behold, I have nourished this tree like unto the others.

 26 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Pluck off the branches that have not brought forth good fruit, and cast them into the fire.

 27 But behold, the servant said unto him: Let us prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it a little longer, that perhaps it may bring forth good fruit unto thee, that thou canst lay it up against the season.

 28 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard and the servant of the Lord of the vineyard did nourish all the fruit of the vineyard.

 29 And it came to pass that a long time had passed away, and the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Come, let us go down into the vineyard, that we may labor again in the vineyard. For behold, the time draweth near, and the end soon cometh; wherefore, I must lay up fruit against the season, unto mine own self.

 30 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard and the servant went down into the vineyard; and they came to the tree whose natural branches had been broken off, and the wild branches had been grafted in; and behold all sorts of fruit did cumber the tree.

 31 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard did taste of the fruit, every sort according to its number. And the Lord of the vineyard said: Behold, this long time have we nourished this tree, and I have laid up unto myself against the season much fruit.

 32 But behold, this time it hath brought forth much fruit, and there is none of it which is good. And behold, there are all kinds of bad fruit; and it profiteth me nothing, notwithstanding all our labor; and now it grieveth me that I should lose this tree.

 33 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: What shall we do unto the tree, that I may preserve again good fruit thereof unto mine own self?

 34 And the servant said unto his master: Behold, because thou didst graft in the branches of the wild olive tree they have nourished the roots, that they are alive and they have not perished; wherefore thou beholdest that they are yet good.

 35 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: The tree profiteth me nothing, and the roots thereof profit me nothing so long as it shall bring forth evil fruit.

 36 Nevertheless, I know that the roots are good, and for mine own purpose I have preserved them; and because of their much strength they have hitherto brought forth, from the wild branches, good fruit.

 37 But behold, the wild branches have grown and have overrun the roots thereof; and because that the wild branches have overcome the roots thereof it hath brought forth much evil fruit; and because that it hath brought forth so much evil fruit thou beholdest that it beginneth to perish; and it will soon become ripened, that it may be cast into the fire, except we should do something for it to preserve it.

 38 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Let us go down into the nethermost parts of the vineyard, and behold if the natural branches have also brought forth evil fruit.

 39 And it came to pass that they went down into the nethermost parts of the vineyard. And it came to pass that they beheld that the fruit of the natural branches had become corrupt also; yea, the first and the second and also the last; and they had all become corrupt.

 40 And the wild fruit of the last had overcome that part of the tree which brought forth good fruit, even that the branch had withered away and died.

 41 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?

 42 Behold, I knew that all the fruit of the vineyard, save it were these, had become corrupted. And now these which have once brought forth good fruit have also become corrupted; and now all the trees of my vineyard are good for nothing save it be to be hewn down and cast into the fire.

 43 And behold this last, whose branch hath withered away, I did plant in a good spot of ground; yea, even that which was choice unto me above all other parts of the land of my vineyard.

 44 And thou beheldest that I also cut down that which cumbered this spot of ground, that I might plant this tree in the stead thereof.  (Jaradites)

 45 And thou beheldest that a part thereof brought forth good fruit, and a part thereof brought forth wild fruit; and because I plucked not the branches thereof and cast them into the fire, behold, they have overcome the good branch that it hath withered away.

 46 And now, behold, notwithstanding all the care which we have taken of my vineyard, the trees thereof have become corrupted, that they bring forth no good fruit; and these I had hoped to preserve, to have laid up fruit thereof against the season, unto mine own self. But, behold, they have become like unto the wild olive tree, and they are of no worth but to be hewn down and cast into the fire; and it grieveth me that I should lose them.

 47 But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?

 48 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?

 49 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire, that they shall not cumber the ground of my vineyard, for I have done all. What could I have done more for my vineyard?

 50 But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer.

 51 And the Lord said: Yea, I will spare it a little longer, for it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard.

 52 Wherefore, let us take of the branches of these which I have planted in the nethermost parts of my vineyard, and let us graft them into the tree from whence they came; and let us pluck from the tree those branches whose fruit is most bitter, and graft in the natural branches of the tree in the stead thereof.

 53 And this will I do that the tree may not perish, that, perhaps, I may preserve unto myself the roots thereof for mine own purpose.

 54 And, behold, the roots of the natural branches of the tree which I planted whithersoever I would are yet alive; wherefore, that I may preserve them also for mine own purpose, I will take of the branches of this tree, and I will graft them in unto them. Yea, I will graft in unto them the branches of their mother tree, that I may preserve the roots also unto mine own self, that when they shall be sufficiently strong perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me, and I may yet have glory in the fruit of my vineyard.

 55 And it came to pass that they took from the natural tree which had become wild, and grafted in unto the natural trees, which also had become wild.

 56 And they also took of the natural trees which had become wild, and grafted into their mother tree.

 57 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Pluck not the wild branches from the trees, save it be those which are most bitter; and in them ye shall graft according to that which I have said.

 58 And we will nourish again the trees of the vineyard, and we will trim up the branches thereof; and we will pluck from the trees those branches which are ripened, that must perish, and cast them into the fire.

 59 And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil.

 60 And because that I have preserved the natural branches and the roots thereof, and that I have grafted in the natural branches again into their mother tree, and have preserved the roots of their mother tree, that, perhaps, the trees of my vineyard may bring forth again good fruit; and that I may have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard, and, perhaps, that I may rejoice exceedingly that I have preserved the roots and the branches of the first fruit—

 61 Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit.

 62 Wherefore, let us go to and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard.

 63 Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that the first may be last, and dig about the trees, both old and young, the first and the last; and the last and the first, that all may be nourished once again for the last time.

 64 Wherefore, dig about them, and prune them, and dung them once more, for the last time, for the end draweth nigh. And if it be so that these last grafts shall grow, and bring forth the natural fruit, then shall ye prepare the way for them, that they may grow.

 65 And as they begin to grow ye shall clear away the branches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to the strength of the good and the size thereof; and ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once, lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard.

 66 For it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard; wherefore ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow, that the root and the top may be equal in strength, until the good shall overcome the bad, and the bad be hewn down and cast into the fire, that they cumber not the ground of my vineyard; and thus will I sweep away the bad out of my vineyard.

 67 And the branches of the natural tree will I graft in again into the natural tree;

 68 And the branches of the natural tree will I graft into the natural branches of the tree; and thus will I bring them together again, that they shall bring forth the natural fruit, and they shall be one.

 69 And the bad shall be cast away, yea, even out of all the land of my vineyard; for behold, only this once will I prune my vineyard.

 70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.

 71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.

 72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

 73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.

 74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.

 75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

 76 For behold, for a long time will I lay up of the fruit of my vineyard unto mine own self against the season, which speedily cometh; and for the last time have I nourished my vineyard, and pruned it, and dug about it, and dunged it; wherefore I will lay up unto mine own self of the fruit, for a long time, according to that which I have spoken.

 77 And when the time cometh that evil fruit shall again come into my vineyard, then will I cause the good and the bad to be gathered; and the good will I preserve unto myself, and the bad will I cast away into its own place. And then cometh the season and the end; and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire.

 

 

Jacob 5 The allegory of the olive-tree

This allegory tells the story of the Lord's dealings with the house of Israel. This relationship is of utmost importance because it is so commonly dealt with in other scriptures. Anyone who proclaims to understand the scriptures and the dealings of the Lord with his people must understand this allegory.

Joseph Smith once revealed a secret to understanding a passage of scripture, "I have a key by which I understand the scriptures. I enquire, what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parable?" (Teachings, p. 276-7). If we apply this rule to understanding the allegory of the olive-tree, we only have to look at Jacob 4:17-18, And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner? Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you. This is the question which prompted the recital of the allegory of the olive-tree, "how can the house of Israel ever be established in Christ after having rejected Him?" The Lord will demonstrate how to get good fruit out of once wicked branches.

By way of introduction, the allegory must be divided into three main sections. Section 1 is described by verses 1-14. Section 2 is described by verses 15-28. And section 3 is described by verses 29-75. Each of these sections is divided by the passage of a long time period, see verses 15 and 29. Therefore, there are three main visits of the Lord and his servants to the vineyard. Each visit is separated by the passage of a lot of time. Keep this in mind as you read for the chronology of the allegory is important and will help us with the correct interpretation. Another help is to understand what the figures in the allegory represent. The Book of Mormon Institute Manual gives a key:



Item

Interpretation

1.  The vineyard

1.  The world

2.  Master of the vineyard

2.  Jesus Christ

3.  The servant

3.  The Lord's prophets

4.  Tame olive tree

4.  The house of Israel, the Lord's covenant people

5. Wild olive tree

5.  Gentiles

6.  Branches

6.  Groups of people

7.  The roots of the tame olive tree

7.  The gospel covenant and promises made by God that constantly give life and sustenance to the tree

8.  Fruit of the tree

8.  The lives or works of men

9.  Digging, pruning, fertilizing

9.  The Lord's work with his children which seeks to persuade them to be obedient and produce good fruit

10. Transplanting the branches

10. Scattering of groups throughout the world or restoring them to their original position

11. Grafting

11. The process of spiritual rebirth wherein one is joined to the covenant

12. Decaying branches

12. Wickedness and apostasy

13. Casting the branches into the fire

13. The judgment of God

Joseph Fielding Smith

"But we have something in the Book of Mormon that, if we did not have other truth expressed in it, would be sufficient evidence of the divinity of this book. I have reference to the fifth chapter of Jacob...I think that as many as ninety-nine out of every hundred who read the Book of Mormon, read this parable through without grasping the fullness and meaning of it. And I think this is one of the greatest passages in the Book of Mormon...No matter how many times you have read the Book of Mormon,...take a few minutes at some convenient time and sit down and just read carefully every word in the fifth chapter of the Book of Jacob...No greater parable was ever recorded...I tell you, my brothers and sisters, Joseph Smith did not write it. That was written by the inspiration of the Almighty...When you read that chapter through if you cannot say in your soul, 'this is absolutely a revelation from God,' then there is something wrong with you." (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 4, p. 203-7 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 183-4)

Jacob 5:1 the prophet Zenos

The prophet Zenos is not found in the Old Testament. Undoubtedly, his record was contained on the brass plates of Laban. We often forget that the brass plates represented a larger body of literature than our current Old Testament. This is apparent from the statement of Nephi, it (today's Bible) is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many (1 Ne 13:23).  The plates of brass obviously contained a considerable body of literature no longer extant in our Old Testament. It contained the words of many prophets whose message, without the Book of Mormon, would have otherwise been lost to the world. These were men who clearly taught of a Messiah who would come in the flesh to redeem his people. These prophets include Zenock, Zenos, and Neum (see the Book of Mormon Index).

Jacob 5:3 I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive-tree

A tame olive tree is one that is cultivated by the master of the vineyard, specifically grown to produce good olives. The olive tree is a carefully chosen simile for several reasons:

"For centuries the olive branch has been associated with peace. When the dove returned to Noah in the ark, it carried in its beak an olive leaf, as though to symbolize that the earth was again at peace with God. (See Genesis 8:11) The olive branch was used in both Greece and Rome to signify peace, and it is still used in that sense in the great seal of the United States where the American eagle is shown grasping an olive branch in his talons...

"There is further symbolic significance in that the olive tree is different from most other fruit-bearing trees in the manner of its beginning. If the green slip of an olive tree is merely planted and allowed to grow, it develops into the wild olive, a bush that grows without control into a tangle of limbs and branches that produce only a small, worthless fruit. (See Harold N. and Alma L. MoldenkePlants of the Bible, p. 159) To become the productive 'tame' olive tree, the main stem of the wild tree must be cut back completely and then a branch from a tame olive tree must be grafted into the stem of the wild one. With careful pruning and cultivating the tree will begin to produce its first fruit in about seven years, but it will not become fully productive for nearly fifteen years. In other words, the olive tree cannot become productive in and of itself; it requires grafting by the husbandman to bring it into production. One remembers the figure used by Jesus to describe himself, his Father, and those that serve them: 'I am the true vine, and my father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. ' (John 15:1-3) The word purgeth in Greek means 'pruned,' and in Greek verse 3 keeps the metaphor and says, ' Now ye are pruned.' God is the husbandman and prunes off the wild branches of our spiritual lives if we will but submit to his tender care. Thus we become like the tame olive tree...

"'The wild olive is a kind of reversion to the primitive plant-such as occurs also with the fig and almond-and it takes place whenever the growth of the olive is neglected....

"'In most neglected olive groves numerous little bushes of the 'wild olive' may be seen, which, though very unlike the cultivated tree-having a shorter, smaller, and greener leaf and a stiffer, more prickly stem-are nevertheless derived from it. As a rule the wild olive is but a shrub, but it may grow into a tree and have small but useless 'berries.' Where groves of wild olives are found in Palestine, they are probably always the descendants of cultivated trees long ago destroyed,' (James Hastings, ed., Dictionary of the Bible, s.v. "Olive."­)

"The olive tree is remarkable for two other characteristics that are quite unlike other fruit-bearing trees. First, though requiring nearly fifteen years to come into full production, it may produce fruit for centuries. Some trees now growing in the Holy Land have been producing abundantly for at least four hundred years. The second amazing quality of the tree is that as it finally does grow old and begin to die, the roots send up a number of new green shoots which, if grafted and pruned in regular fashion, will mature to full-grown olive trees again. Thus, while the tree itself may produce fruit for centuries, the root of the tree may go on producing fruit and new trees for millennia. It is believed that some of the ancient olive trees in Israel today come from trees that were [in existence] when Christ was alive on the earth." (Book of Mormon Student Manual, 1981, pp. 138-9)

Jacob 5:3 it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay

The chronology of this allegory is crucial to a proper interpretation. To give a sense for what time period is being spoken of we will take clues from the several instances in the chapter when the time period can be fairly well determined. The rest of the chronology must be extrapolated from known history and scriptural clues. This passage, describing when the house of Israel begins to decay, could be interpreted to refer to the time when Israel decided to establish a king. Note the interaction between Samuel and the Lord:

   'But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.

   And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

   According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.' (1 Sam 8:6-8)

Because of this interaction, Saul was chosen as a king over Israel (c. 1095 BC). Saul, of course, was followed by king David and king Solomon. After Solomon's reign, the children of Israel began to wax grosser in their iniquities, especially among the northern ten tribes.

Jacob 5:6 it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish

We can determine the general time period spoken of here because this is the time right before Israel begins to be scattered. The scattering of Israel begins with the sacking of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians. Therefore, this verse likely refers to the state of affairs before 721 BC. At that time, the northern kingdom was completely wicked. They were practicing idolatry.  They had a long line of wicked, idolatrous kings, and had altogether turned from the Lord:

   'And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.

   And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

   Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel' (2 Kings 17:16-18)

This was when the main top thereof began to perish. The other part of this prophecy refers to the young and tender branches which were still viable. This would refer to the same time period-when the smaller kingdom of Judah was still faithful to the Lord. Probably the most righteous king at this time was king Hezekiah. Of him the scriptures record:

'And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.

   He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

   He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.' (2 Kings 18:3-5)

However, the interpretation that the wicked kingdom of Israel is the "main top" and that the kingdom of Judah represents "the young and tender branches" cannot be too strictly adhered to because there were those of the northern kingdom who were preserved by being scattered, and there were those of the southern kingdom whose wickedness ripened until they were destroyed. The example above is given to the reader for a frame of reference.

Jacob 5:7,10 branches from a wild olive-tree are grafted in to the mother tree

The branches from the wild olive-tree are brought in to replace the dying top branches. This again is referring to the time when the kingdom of Israel is being destroyed and other nations are brought in to replace them:

'And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof...

   Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the Lord. (2 Kings 17:24,28)

These wild branches did not produce fruit right away. For centuries they believed in the Lord and yet continued to worship their own pagan gods. Because of this they were looked down on by their Jewish neighbors to the south. They eventually became "the Samaritans" and practiced a form of Judaism which was mixed with their pagan traditions. It was not until after the ministry of the Savior that they began to blossom, and the Gentiles were grafted in in greater numbers.

Jacob 5:7,9 main branches...we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned

Some of the wicked members of the northern kingdom were killed before the main body of Samaria was taken captive to Assyria. This likely occurred while the Israelites were under siege to the Assyrians for three years (1 Kings 17:5). No record specifically describes how many died in the wars and siege of the Assyrians.

The record is more complete regarding the destructions which occurred in Jerusalem when the Babylonians took the city:

   'Therefore he (the Lord) brought upon them (the Jews) the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand...

   And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon' (2 Chron 36:17,20).

Jacob 5:8,13,14 the young and tender branches are hid in the nethermost parts of the vineyard

This is the scattering of Israel when the natural branches are taken and spread all over the world. Note that the execution of most of the work to this point has been done by the servant (v. 10). This act, the scattering of Israel, is done only by the Master of the vineyard himself, the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive-tree (v. 14).

Later in the chapter we learn that the Lord hid three distinct branches (v. 20-25). The only branch whose identity is known is the last, which is a representation of the descendants of Lehi. This helps us understand the chronology. It implies that the other three branches hid up by the Lord were taken before Lehi and his family in 600 BC. One of these three branches is probably a representation of the ten tribes which were taken in 721 BC. The identity of the second branch is unknown.

Jacob 5:15 a long time passed away

This is the first great division marking the beginning of section two of the prophecy. So far the wicked of Israel and Judah have been killed, the remnant has been scattered, and the Gentiles have been brought in to take their place. The Lord allows this long time to pass away to give the main tree and transplanted branches time to produce good fruit. This next section describes the Lord and his servant on a mission of observation. No transplants or grafting takes place, just the investigation of the vineyard and some nourishing.

Jacob 5:17 the tree...had sprung forth and begun to bear fruit

The mother tree, with Jewish roots and Gentile branches, had begun to bear fruit. How accurately this describes the early Christian era. At this time the Gentiles were blossoming in the knowledge of the resurrected Jesus Christ. One will recall that the Jewish Christians had some misgivings about taking the gospel to the Gentiles, but Paul was their champion. He understood the will of the Lord in bringing forth this great work.

   'For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles...

   That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel' (Eph 3:1,6)

In Romans he warns the Gentiles that they must produce good fruit or they will be destroyed as the Israelites which preceded them:

  'if the root be holy, so are the branches.

   And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, were graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

   Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

   Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

   Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

   For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee...

   And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. (Rom 11:16-21,23)

After Christ comes and fulfills the Law of Moses, the Gentiles are adopted into the house of Israel, as participants in a new and everlasting covenant. They, in effect, become holy branches, for the branches of the wild tree have taken hold of the moisture of the root thereof (v. 18). For the rest of the allegory, it is easier to think of the mother tree as Christianity in general, with Jewish roots and Gentile branches. In this sense, the mother tree does not have to be limited geographically to the confines of Jerusalem.

Jacob 5:22 the natural branches...the first...had brought forth much fruit

Here, Zenos describes the first branch which had been hidden up to the Lord long before. Unfortunately, we do not know who these people are. All we know about them is that they were taken to a poor spot of ground and that, around the time of Christ, they had brought forth much fruit.  Chronologically, this branch probably represents the ten tribes which were taken north. Although they may be lost to our knowledge, they are not lost to the Lord, now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them (3 Ne 17:4).

Jacob 5:23 another branch of the tree

This second scattered branch represents another group of people. The scriptures do not tell us who they are-only that they were taken to a spot of ground [which] was poorer than the first and that they also had brought forth much fruit. This underscores the truth that we do not know all the workings of the Lord. He has had righteous people hidden away on the earth. These people believed in Christ and may have been visited by the resurrected Lord. We don't have their writings or history, and we won't have them until all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men (2 Ne 27:11).

Jacob 5:24-25 another branch...hath brought forth fruit

At first reading, one might assume that the branches in verses 24 and 25 are separate branches making four branches in all.  However, verse 39 clearly identifies three separate branches, "the first and the second and also the last." The Lord has said, Know ye not that there are more nations than one?...and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? (2 Ne 29:7).

Joseph Fielding Smith

"Now in that parable the olive tree is the House of Israel, as I have said. In its native land it began to die. So the Lord took branches like the Nephites, like the lost tribes, and like others that the Lord led off that we do not know anything about, to other parts of the earth. He planted them all over his vineyard, which is the world. No doubt he sent some of these branches into Japan, into Korea, into China. No question about it, because he sent them to all parts of the world.

"Time came when in these distant parts the trees began to decay, so the Lord sent out for the last time to gather the fruit into the harvest...

"Now there is your answer. That is the answer to these people who approach me with the question, what's the use of going out among the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, and the people of the Far East to preach the gospel to them? The answer: because they are branches of the tree, they are of the house of Israel. The Lord took the branches of the tree, grafted them into the wild olives, the Gentiles, and is bringing the Gentiles into the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"When you read that chapter through if you cannot say in your soul, 'This is absolutely a revelation from God,' then there is something wrong with you. That tells you of history. Are we going to preach the gospel in Korea, in Japan, in China? Yes, we are. Why? Because the blood of Israel is there. And the Lord did just what he said he would do with Abraham and his posterity. He scattered them over the whole face of the earth. So now the Gentiles are sanctified by the blood of Abraham" (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 4, pp. 204-7 as taken from the Book of Mormon Student Manual, 1981, p. 143)

This third branch clearly refers to the descendants of Lehi. The part of the tree which produced tame fruit represents the righteous Nephites, and the part of the tree which produced wild fruit represents the Lamanites. Interestingly, the allegory teaches us that this group was the last to be scattered and the first to be gathered (v. 63).

Jacob 5:26,27 Let us prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it

The interchange between the Lord and the servant is instructive. The Lord suggests that the Lamanites be destroyed for their wickedness. The servant intervenes on their behalf, requesting of the Lord that more work be done to save the wicked part of the tree that perhaps it may bring forth good fruit. This is exactly what happened. In more than one place in the Book of Mormon, the Nephite prophets prayed on behalf of their Lamanite brethren. They prayed that the Lord would show mercy to them in the last days and bring them to a knowledge of the truth.

   'And after I, Enos, had heard these words, my faith began to be unshaken in the Lord; and I prayed unto him with many long strugglings for my brethren, the Lamanites...

   And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him--that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation-' (Enos 1:11,13)

   'And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, are according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land.' (Mormon 9:36)

The other interesting thing to note is that the prophets can, at times, stay the hand of the Lord, intervene for their people, and request the mercy of the Lord on their behalf. Such an exchange occurred between Moses and the Lord after the children of Israel rebelled in the wilderness of Sinai. The Lord was angry and wanted to destroy the people. Moses intervened as follows:

   'And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

   I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

   And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)...

   And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,

   The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

   Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

   And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word.' (Num 14:11-20)

Jacob 5:29 And it came to pass that a long time had passed away

This is the second great intermission in the story. When the Lord and the servant return to the vineyard (over 1500 years later), everything has gone wrong. None of the trees are producing good fruit and it takes considerable work to get the vineyard back into shape. We can tell that the rest of the story has to do with the last days because of the word of the Lord to the servant, For behold, the time draweth near, and the end soon cometh.

Jacob 5:30 all sorts of fruit did cumber the tree

The first item inspected by the Lord and the servant is the mother tree. The record states that it was producing fruit but the fruit was of all different kinds, and apparently, none of it was any good. This is an accurate description of Christianity during the latter part of the Apostasy. The Reformation had produced a myriad of different churches all claiming the truth. They spread the word and converted many, producing a lot of fruit. Unfortunately, their works were not recognized by the Lord, for their hearts are far from me, and they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof (JS-Hist 1:19). They had a form of godliness, they were producing fruit, but the fruit did not taste good to the Lord.

Jacob 5:34 the roots...are alive...they are yet good

When the Lord looked upon the world in its apostate condition, he and the servant recognized the potential good that was there. Just as a real olive tree will put forth sprouts from living roots when the branches are dead, the spiritual potential of those roots just needed to be nourished. Good fruit could still be obtained. Some of the evidence that there was still life in the roots can be seen by the state of affairs by the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Bible was printed into many different languages. The name of Jesus Christ had been preached to millions of people. The Judeo-Christian tradition had made a strong influence in the ethical conduct of people and the laws of nations. Freedom was established as a virtuous political goal. Everything was in place for the restoration of the gospel. In summary, all was not lost, and the Lord would still be able to produce good fruit, but to do it he must graft in the scattered branches.

Jacob 5:38 the state of the natural branches in the nethermost part of the vineyard

The Lord and the servant find that all the branches that had been planted have become corrupted. It will be remembered that the only one of these three branches whose identity is known for sure is the third, or last one. Like the others, it had become corrupted. In other words, the Lamanites had long since turned from the Lord.

Jacob 5:40 the wild fruit of the last had overcome that part of the tree which brought forth good fruit

Obviously, this refers to the last battles between the Lamanites and the Nephites, when the former overcame and destroyed all who would not deny the Christ. And behold the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites (Mormon 8:7).

Jacob 5:41 What could I have done more for my vineyard?

Jeffrey R. Holland

"There is much more here than simply the unraveling of convoluted Israelite history. Of greater significance in this allegory is the benevolent view of God that it provides. He is portrayed here as one who repeatedly, painstakingly, endlessly tries to save the work of His hands and in moments of greatest disappointment holds His head in His hands and weeps, 'What could I have done more for my vineyard?' (Jacob 5:41, 47, 49.) This allegory is a declaration of divine love, of God's unceasing effort as a father laboring on behalf of His children. As one writer has noted, 'Zenos's allegory ought to take its place beside the parable of the prodigal son. Both stories make the Lord's mercy so movingly memorable.' (John S. Tanner, "Jacob and His Descendants as Authors," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, ed. John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne [Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies; and Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991], p. 61.)" (Heroes from the Book of Mormon, p. 37)

Boyd K. Packer

"How many bishops with disappointing results have felt to say those very words in their souls? 'What could I have done more for my ward? Why wild fruit after all our work?'

"It was the servant-it always is the servant-who said: 'Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard-have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves.' (Jacob 5:48.)" (The Things of the Soul, p. 164)

Jacob 5:44 I also cut down that which cumbered this spot of ground

What did the Lord cut down in order to make room for the Nephites and Lamanites? The Jaredites! It will be remembered that the Nephites had no contact at all with the Jaredites. The Mulekites did have contact with the last of the Jaredites, Coriantumr. He lived with them for nine months. See Omni 1:21.

Jacob 5:48 the branches...grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves

"The learning, pride, and precepts of men standing in opposition to the revelations of God cause apostasy.  There is an immense difference between inquiring after religion with 'all the powers of both reason and sophistry' (Joseph Smith History 1:9), and humbly calling upon our Father in Heaven for light and truth as did Joseph.  Men in a state of apostasy set themselves up for a light unto the world instead of holding up the Savior's light.  'Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up,' Christ taught the Nephites (3 Nephi 18:24).

"The Book of Mormon bears a multiple witness that this aspect of Gentile society is the principle cause of apostasy.  In the allegory of the same and wild olive tree, Zenos explains apostasy with the following words:

'Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?  And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master:  Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard-have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good?  And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves.  Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?' (Jacob 5:47-48; emphasis added).

"Ironically the 'stumbling block' of the Gentiles is their own learning of which they are so proud.  This learning replaces the plain and precious truths, causing them to stumble." (Book of Mormon Symposium Series, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 279-280)

Jacob 5:49-51 Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard...Spare it a little longer

Apparently, the world in its apostate condition was wicked enough to warrant destruction by Almighty God. To have destroyed the earth at this time, however, would have been contrary to the plan of God. He makes the suggestion to the servant that the vineyard should be destroyed, but it is doubtful that these were his real intentions. Note how quickly he responds with, Yea I will spare it a little longer, for it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard. The Lord may have been allowing his servant the opportunity to make a plea for his people. He is also demonstrating that the vineyard at that time was completely worthless to him. This is similar to what happened in Jacob 5:26-27 and Numbers 14:11-20.

Jacob 5:54 the roots of the natural branches...are yet alive

This part of the story can be confusing. What happens here is that the Lord looks to the natural branches which have now grown into trees. He sees that they (scattered Israel) have become corrupted but recognizes the spiritual potential of these peoples. This response occurs because of the natural tendency of those of scattered Israel to believe:

"To the missionaries of the latter days the Lord has said:  'Ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect,' for, the Lord explained, 'mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts' (D&C 29:7).  For theirs was a 'believing blood.'  'What then is believing blood?  It is the blood that flows in the veins of those who are the literal seed of Abraham-not that the blood itself believes, but that those born in that lineage have both the right and a special spiritual capacity to recognize, receive, and believe the truth.  The term is simply a beautiful, a poetic, and a symbolic way of referring to the seed of Abraham to whom the promises were made.  It identifies those who developed in pre-existence the talent to recognize the truth and to desire righteousness.'  (New Witness, pp. 38-39)" (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 61)

The Lord has made promises to the ancient prophets that the house of Israel will be redeemed in the last days. The Lord does this by grafting. He takes the wild branches of the mother tree and grafts them into these scattered natural trees. The interpretation of this is found in the next section.

Jacob 5:55 they took from the natural tree which had become wild, and grafted in unto the natural trees

To make it clear what is taking place here, we should explain that the branches of the mother tree are taken and grafted into the trees that the Lord had earlier planted in the nethermost parts of the vineyard. What does this mean? It does not refer to adopting the Gentiles into the house of Israel because neither the branches nor the tree that they are grafted into are producing good fruit. This is not a spiritual grafting but a geographic transplantation.

In order to understand what this means, let's look at the relationship between the mother tree and the fourth of these transplanted natural branches-the Lamanite descendants. At the time of the end of the Apostasy, the Gentile nations of Europe were coming to America in great numbers. At first, they persecuted and afflicted the natives, but, at last, they established programs to give them land and preserve them, that I may preserve the roots also unto mine own self, that when they shall be sufficiently strong perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me (v. 54). More importantly, the Gentiles established a free nation which would be the site of the Restoration. The Restoration would then bring to pass a marvelous work and a wonder to help scattered Israel return to the Lord. Therefore, the branches of the natural tree which had become wild represent the Gentile nations of Christianity. Their grafting in unto the natural trees represents the great immigration movement of these people into the United States, Central and South America, and other nations where the Lord has hid the natural branches. Their presence among those of scattered Israel helps to preserve them until the day when they are ready to bring forth good fruit.

Jacob 5:56 they also took of the natural trees which had become wild, and grafted into their mother tree

Clearly, this refers to the gathering of Israel. Again, the chronology of events is important. Israel cannot be gathered until after the Restoration. Nephi makes it clear in his vision of the history of the world that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures must precede the gathering of Israel. He explains that these records were to go to the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true (1 Ne 13:39). The marvelous work and a wonder spoken of in the scriptures refers to this phenomenon-the kingdom of God spreading all over the earth to gather scattered Israel.

We should examine the gathering of Israel in both spiritual and literal terms. The spiritual gathering of Israel refers to those of scattered Israel recognizing the truth and converting to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every time one with Israelite blood is baptized and confirmed, they are effectively grafted back into the mother tree. One might ask, "how can you say that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the mother tree?" Well, in the beginning of the allegory, the tame olive tree represented the House of Israel. As the story proceeded it was apparent that the mother tree represented early Christianity. Those that were righteously following the Savior were acknowledged as producing good fruit. Later, the mother tree was Apostate Christianity. After the Restoration, which occurred among the Gentiles, the mother tree is represented by the church and kingdom of God on the earth. Therefore, the mother tree is "spiritually" not geographically "the house of Israel." All those baptized and confirmed into the Church are of the house of Israel, either by adoption or by birthright.

The literal gathering of Israel refers to scattered Israel returning to the lands of their inheritance. This is not the main focus of the allegory because those Jews and Israelites who are gathered back to Jerusalem prior to the Second Coming will not turn to Christ before he comes again. They will be the ones saying, 'What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?' (DC 45:51).

Jacob 5:57 Pluck...the wild branches...which are most bitter

The wild branches which are most bitter are destroyed. When does this happen? It already has happened in great measure. The Lord has revealed that the wicked of the last days will be destroyed by wars, pestilence, earthquake, etc. He also revealed that the wars among the Gentile nations would begin with the Civil War and continue from that time forth as a judgment:

   'And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

   For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations...

   And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations' (DC 87:1-2,6).

Jacob 5:61,70 call servants that we may labor diligently with our might

The servants of the last days are called to perform a mighty work. As verse 62 declares the work must accelerate this last time, for behold the end draweth high, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard. The time period spoken of here is today, the dispensation of the fullness of times when the righteous are to call the wicked to repentance. Now behold a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men. Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day (DC 4:1-2). To Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, the Lord said, thou art called to prune my vineyard with a mighty pruning, yea, even for the last time; yea, and also all those whom thou hast ordained (DC 24:19). The Doctrine and Covenants is full of scriptures calling the world to repentance. Say nothing but repentance unto this generation (DC 11:9), and all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ (DC 20:29), are common themes. This is the message that will bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit.

Nephi saw the servants of this dispensation in vision. He said, I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few...I beheld that the...saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small (1 Ne 14:12). This is just as it is described by the allegory, the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few (v. 70). And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things (1 Ne 16:29).

Jacob 5:63 Graft in the branches; begin at the last

The first branch to be grafted in to the mother tree is the last branch that was planted in the vineyard. The last branch is the Nephite/Lamanite branch. Therefore, they will be the first of scattered Israel to return to the Lord in the last days. The work has progressed at such a great rate among these peoples that we are witnessing the fulfillment of this prophecy today. This is just one of the aspects in which the phrase, "the last shall be first and the first shall be last," applies.

Jacob 5:65 ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once

The wicked of the last days are not to be wiped out in one cataclysmic catastrophe. There will be wars, famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, etc. It is wisdom in God that the bad are not cleared away all at once. This is the same time period spoken of in the parable of the wheat and the tares:

   'But behold, in the last days even now while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender-

   Behold, verily I say unto you, the angels are crying unto the Lord day and night, who are ready and waiting to be sent forth to reap down the fields;

   But the Lord saith unto them, pluck not up the tares while the blade is yet tender (for verily your faith is weak), lest you destroy the wheat also (DC 86:4-6).

Jacob 5:68,73,74 thus will I bring them together again...and they shall be one

Once the grafting of the latter days takes place. There is no more division between which trees were mother trees or scattered trees. All are brought together as the spiritual house of Israel. Therefore, whether a Gentile adopted into the house of Israel or a member of the house of Israel who has been grafted in, all will be together. The vineyard is now ready to produce good fruit. Good fruit is the result, for the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly...and they became one body; and the fruits were equal; and...the natural fruit...was most precious unto him.

Jacob 5:71 ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up

The reward of the servants is that they will have joy in the fruit of their labors. The Lord has said:

   'And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

   And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!' (DC 18:15-16).

Jacob 5:74 they labored...until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard

This describes the final destruction of the wicked prior to the Millenium. This is when the whore of all the earth is finally cast into the pit which she dug for the saints of God. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev 19:20).

Jacob 5:75 blessed art thou...because ye have been diligent...ye shall have joy with me

The faithful will hear the Lord say, 'Well done thou good and faithful servant' (Matt 25:21). Their reward is to have joy with the Lord. This can only take place if they can remain in his presence. This is exactly what will happen during the Millenium-the saints of God will assist the Lord in laying up the fruit of the vineyard.

Jacob 5:76 For behold, for a long time will I lay up of the fruit

Here is another "long time" in the allegory. This time the Lord stays with the servants of the vineyard. This long time will last 1000 years and refers to the Millenium. The efforts during the Millenium will be to lay up the fruit of the vineyard against the season, which speedily cometh. In other words, bad times are coming again and the Lord intends to strengthen his forces as much as possible while the destroyer is bound in the bottomless pit.

Jacob 5:77 evil fruit shall again come into my vineyard

After the Millenium, Satan is loosed for a season. He gathers his forces and has one last, great, and final conflict with the Lord:

   'And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

   And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: The number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

   And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

   And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.' (Rev 20:7-10)

Jacob 5:77 my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire

During the Millenium, the earth will exist in a terrestrial state. After Satan is finally cast out, the earth is ready to become celestialized. This is done with the purifying fire spoken of by Zenos. After the earth is burned with fire there will be a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away (Rev 21:1).

 

 

1 Nephi 10  

 12 Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive tree, whose branches should be broken off and should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.

 13 Wherefore, he said it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.

 14 And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.

1 Nephi 15

 12 Behold, I say unto you, that the house of Israel was compared unto an olive tree, by the Spirit of the Lord which was in our father; and behold are we not broken off from the house of Israel, and are we not a branch of the house of Israel?

 13 And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed—

 14 And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.

 15 And then at that day will they not rejoice and give praise unto their everlasting God, their rock and their salvation? Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine? Yea, will they not come unto the true fold of God?

 16 Behold, I say unto you, Yea; they shall be remembered again among the house of Israel; they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive tree, into the true olive tree.

 17 And this is what our father meaneth; and he meaneth that it will not come to pass until after they are scattered by the Gentiles; and he meaneth that it shall come by way of the Gentiles, that the Lord may show his power unto the Gentiles, for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel.

 18 Wherefore, our father hath not spoken of our seed alone, but also of all the house of Israel, pointing to the covenant which should be fulfilled in the latter days; which covenant the Lord made to our father Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

 19 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, spake much unto them concerning these things; yea, I spake unto them concerning the restoration of the Jews in the latter days.

 20 And I did rehearse unto them the words of Isaiah, who spake concerning the restoration of the Jews, or of the house of Israel; and after they were restored they should no more be confounded, neither should they be scattered again. And it came to pass that I did speak many words unto my brethren, that they were pacified and did humble themselves before the Lord.

1 Nephi 19

 24 Wherefore I spake unto them, saying: Hear ye the words of the prophet, ye who are a remnant of the house of Israel, a branch who have been broken off; hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope as well as your brethren from whom ye have been broken off; for after this manner has the prophet written.

2 Nephi 3

 5 Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.

2 Nephi 9

 53 And behold how great the covenants of the Lord, and how great his condescensions unto the children of men; and because of his greatness, and his grace and mercy, he has promised unto us that our seed shall not utterly be destroyed, according to the flesh, but that he would preserve them; and in future generations they shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel.

2 Nephi 10

 1 And now I, Jacob, speak unto you again, my beloved brethren, concerning this righteous branch of which I have spoken.

 2 For behold, the promises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer.

2 Nephi 14

 2 In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the earth excellent and comely to them that are escaped of Israel.

2 Nephi 21

 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

Jacob 2

 25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

Jacob 6

 1 And now, behold, my brethren, as I said unto you that I would prophesy, behold, this is my prophecy—that the things which this prophet Zenos spake, concerning the house of Israel, in the which he likened them unto a tame olive tree, must surely come to pass.

 2 And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.

 3 And how blessed are they who have labored diligently in his vineyard; and how cursed are they who shall be cast out into their own place! And the world shall be burned with fire.

 4 And how merciful is our God unto us, for he remembereth the house of Israel, both roots and branches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people; but as many as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

 5 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.

 6 Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die?

 7 For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?

 8 Behold, will ye reject these words? Will ye reject the words of the prophets; and will ye reject all the words which have been spoken concerning Christ, after so many have spoken concerning him; and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and make a mock of the great plan of redemption, which hath been laid for you?

 9 Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?

 10 And according to the power of justice, for justice cannot be denied, ye must go away into that lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever, which lake of fire and brimstone is endless torment.

 11 O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.

 12 O be wise; what can I say more?

 13 Finally, I bid you farewell, until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God, which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen.

Alma 16

 17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.

Alma 26

 36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.

 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

3 Nephi 25

 1 For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.