In Jacob chapter 5 we find the Allegory of the Tame and Wild Olive-tree. The allegory was delivered to the children of Israel by the prophet Zenos. He was a descendant of Joseph, the son of Israel (3 Nephi 10:16). Zenos was slain by the Israelites for boldly testifying of Jesus Christ (Helaman 8:19). His revelations and prophecies were recorded on the Brass Plates (3 Nephi 10:17).
The allegory is symbolic of the Lord's plan for dealing with his children from the time of Israel to the end of the Millennium. It speaks of Israel turning from the gospel, being scattered by the Lord, the Gentiles coming to know of the Gospel and the Israel returning to a knowledge of the Gospel.
The allegory is broken into seven periods: 1) Israel rejects the Gospel – verse 3 2) the scattering of Israel - verses 4 -14, 3) the Meridian of Times - verses 15 - 28 4) the Apostasy – verses 29 - 48 5) the Reformation, Restoration and the Gathering of Israel - verses 49 - 74 6) the Millennial Era - verses 75 - 76 7) the Celestialization of the Earth - verse 77
FIRST PERIOD: (Israel rejects the Gospel - verse 3)
Verse 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.
The House of Israel is the tame olive-tree. The wild olive-tree later spoken of is the Gentiles. The Lord (a man) sent prophets to nourished the House of Israel with the gospel, the as it grow in numbers over the years turned from the Lord (began to decay). The vineyard is the world.
SECOND PERIOD: (Scattering of Israel - verse 4-14) In the second period, four stages occur: 1. Attempt to convert the house of Israel 2. Destruction of the wicked Israelites 3. Grafting in the Gentiles 4. Scattering of righteous remnants of the house of Israel
Verses 4-6: Seeing the apostate condition of almost the entire house of Israel, the Lord sent his prophets again among the Israelites to preach his gospel and call them to repentance (digged about it, and nourished it). Prophets such as Moses, Samuel and Isaiah were set to nourish Israel. This the Lord did in hopes that at least a remnant would repent and serve him, that the complete lineage would not reject the gospel and perish. One remnant or family that followed the Lord was the family of Lehi. But the nation of Israel as a whole, did not repent. Even the leaders of the nation were corrupted.
Verse 4. Master - the master of the vineyard is Christ.
Prune - Pruning entails cutting away over growth, and deceased and dying branches, so that new wood has room to grow. Pruning the house of Israel would imply that the Lord cut away the wicked from among the house of Israel. This was done by the wicked separating themselves through rebellion, by death appointed at the hand of the Lord, by wars, by famine and by acts of nature.
Dig about - To dig about a tree, one would loosen the soil around the tree, so water, air and nutriments could flow easier to the roots of the tree. If the soil is packed to tight, it will choke the roots. This implies a loosening or freeing from something. It could be freedom from the unrighteous leaders, freedom from other nations or freedom from the enslavement of sin that is brought through repentance.
Young and Tender Branches - This is symbolic of the rising generations.
Verse 6. Main top - the ruling class. "Two examples of this apostasy suffice. Jeroboam, the initial king of the Northern Kingdom, introduced calf icons at the cultic sites of Dan and Bethel, thus establishing one of the great political/cultic sins of king and people in the Old Testament (1 Kings 12:25-33; 15:30). Manasseh, a king of the Southern Kingdom, ushered in one of the most condemned reigns in Biblical history, summarized in one verse, 'But they [the Kingdom of Judah] hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel' (2 kings 21:9). It is no wonder that the Lord of the vineyard grieved that he 'should lose this tree' (v. 7), that is, that the house of Israel should cease to exist as a cultural entity." (Allegory of the Olive-tree, Paul Y. Hoskisson, BYU Studies, Vol. 30 No. 3, p. 79).
Verse 7: Israel refused to repent and follow the counsel of the prophets. In the Chronicles of the Kings, it states, "But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy." (2 Chronicles 36:16). Till there was no remedy. In other words, the wickedness of the people put them outside the protection of the Lord. "He that is righteous is favored of God" (1 Nephi 17:35), but they lost that blessing and the Lord permitted the destruction, captivity and scattering of the house of Israel. The scattering of Israel occurred approximately 700 to 600 B.C.
Servant - Prophets and priesthood leaders. Wild olive-tree - The Gentile nations. Branches from a wild olive-tree - symbolic of Gentile lineages.
Pluck off the Main branches - The plucking off of the main branches and casting them into the fire is a type of the judgments of God, and the casting of the wicked into the "fires of hell." The use of the word "main" could imply the ruling class in particular. These branches were not grafted but destroyed. They were cut off spiritually and physically from the Lord. It is also a type of the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. "And they [Babylon] burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. And they that escaped from the sword carried he [Nebuchadnezzar] away to Babylon." (2 Chronicles 36:19-20). Paul also informs us that they were broken off because of unbelief (Romans 11:20).
Fire - judgments of God. Destruction of the Wicked.
Verse 8: Prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, the Lord scattered the house of Israel to preserve righteous remnants (young and tender branches). By preserving the remnants the covenant to Abraham was fulfilled, that his seed should not perish but become nations. (Gen. 17:6-7).
Root - The root of the tame olive-tree is the Lord's covenant with Abraham. This includes the inheritance to the land of Jerusalem, the priesthood, and the gospel as recorded in the Bible. (Gen. 7:1-8).
Verses 9-10: Grafting in the Wild Olive-tree branches into the Tame Olive-tree, signifies mixing the blood of Israel among the Gentiles. It is by this that another condition of the Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled - "That through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed." (Gen. 18:18). And how would all the nations of the earth be blessed? By receiving the right to the priesthood. Theodore M. Burton, in the April conference of 1975, said, "'Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers - For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God - Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.' (D&C 86:8-10). One thing we often fail to realize is that our priesthood comes to us through the lineage of our fathers and mothers. In this scripture the Lord was not talking about your priesthood line of authority. He was talking about your inherited right to receive and use priesthood power . . . This means we receive a right to priesthood blessings from our blood ancestry." (Ensign May 1975). Thus the Gentiles received the right to the priesthood by blood of Israel by mixed among them or in other words, by being grafted into the roots of the tame olive-tree.
Grafting - Mixing the blood of Israel with the Gentiles (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Deseret Book Company, 1963, Vol. 4:141). It also signifies coming to a knowledge of the Gospel and the Savior. (1 Nephi 10:14).
Verses 11-12: After the Gentiles where "grafted in", the Lord continued to watch over the Gentiles and the house of Israel. Why? So the roots or the covenant to Abraham would not fail. The Gentiles begin to be nourished to prepare them to receive the gospel. Daniel for example, instructs the kings of Babylon and Persia.
Verses 13-14: The house of Israel is scattered. The righteous remnants (natural branches) of Israel were lead away to distant lands in the "nethermost parts of the vineyard" (1 Nephi 10:13).
Verse 14. Hid - The use of the word "hid" is also significant. Nephi said that "they should be kept as yet from the knowledge (hid) of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance." (2 Nephi 1:8). Theodore M. Burton, in the April conference of 1975 also said, speaking of their right to the priesthood, "[they] have been hid from the world with Christ in God".
Against the season - This implies the end of the season. After the harvest, no more fruit can be gathered. The season ends at the end of the millennium. See verse 77.
Nethermost parts of the vineyard - This implies a scattering to the most remote parts of the earth; to all the earth. (See 1 Nephi 10:13).
THIRD PERIOD: (The Meridian of Times - verses 15-28)
To understand when this period occurred, we have the following:
• A long time passed away (v. 15) • It was in a day that the Gentiles brought forth good fruit (v. 17) • The scattered branches also brought forth good fruit (v. 19) • It was a period between the scattering of Israel and a worldwide apostasy (v. 42).
The only recorded period, we have that the Gentiles were valiant in the gospel, is from Christ's earthly ministry and the first few decades following His earthly mission. The time from the scattering until the ministry of Christ was a "long time" - 600 B.C. until 30 AD.. During the same period, we learn from the Book of Mormon, that the remnant of the house of Israel in America was valiant in the gospel between the years 33 AD until about 231 AD. So the timing of this period is most likely from about 1 AD until about 231 AD.
This was a period when the gospel was taken to all the world. Those obedient and faithful were from all nations - both the house of Israel and the Gentile.
15-16: During this period it appears that part of the Lord's labors were during his earthly ministry. From the prospective of the allegory, whether as a spirit, mortal or a resurrected being, Christ service was one continual round.
17-18: After the resurrection of Christ, the gospel was taken to the Gentiles. This is signified by the words, "the wild olive branches had been grafted ...bear fruit...and...it was good." Paul was one of the apostle missionaries that records the workings of the Lord among the Gentiles. In his epistle to the Romans, he informs them that they are one of the wild branches grafted in to the tame olive-tree. "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 boast not against the branches." (See Romans 11:13,17-24). In Romans 11:24, Paul also hints that the natural branches will again be grafted back into the tree.
17. Good fruit - righteousness individuals. Ammon refers to the people that he and his brethren were instrumental in converting as fruit when he said, "Now behold, we can look forth and see the fruits of our labors; and are they few? I say unto you, Nay, they are many; yea, and we can witness of their sincerity, because of their love towards their brethren and also towards us." (Alma 26:31).
Was like unto the natural fruit - The rights to the gospel and the priesthood is through the lineage of Abraham. All others receive it by being (grafted in) adopted into the house of Israel. Paul tells the Ephesians that they were "the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" (Eph. 1:5). Joseph Smith also spoke of the effect of the Holy Ghost on Gentiles and how it changes the man to make him like the "natural fruit". "The effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost." (Teachings, p. 150).
18. Moisture of the root - the nourishment that comes by the Holy Ghost.
Much strength of the root - The strength of the root, is the workings and gifts of the spirit. It is the Holy Ghost that gives strength to the word of God. The prophet Alma noted that "The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just - yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else." (Alma 31:5). Moroni states, "Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith." (Ether 12:23). From the scriptures we learn that it is the Lord, through the gifts of the spirit, that makes "weak things become strong." (Ether 12:27).
If we had not grafted in these branches, the tree thereof would have perished - For some reason, the gospel needed to be taken to the Gentile that the covenant to Abraham would not be void. Why could not the righteous Gentiles have been born into the lineage of Israel? New wine in old bottles? It was only by mixing the blood of the house of Israel among all nations, that in the last days, all the earth could be blessed with a right to the priesthood.
I shall lay up against the season - Many during this period would be saved in the kingdom of God.
19: Concurrent with the preaching the gospel to the Gentiles in Europe and Asia, Christ visited the scattered remnants in "the nethermost part of the vineyard." These were the "other sheep" which were not of the fold. (See John 10:16; 1 Nephi 19:11; and 3 Nephi 15:11-21, 16:1-3, 17:4). The allegory makes it clear that they too "brought forth much fruit" by their acceptance of the gospel.
The allegory tells of the master's visit to four dispersed remnants of the house of Israel. These may have been:
1. the ten "lost" tribes 2. the remnant taken to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:20) 3. the Mulekites (Helaman 6:10) and 4. the descendants of Lehi (1 Nephi 15:12).
Nethermost part of the vineyard - See verse 14.
Unto mine own self - Adopted unto to the family of Christ. They become His sons and daughters. (Eph. 1:5; Mosiah 5:7; Ether 3:14).
20-22: The first remnant was planted in one of the poorest spots of land on the earth.
20. Hid the natural branches - See verse 14.
21. Poorest spot in all the land of the vineyard - Economically poor? Spiritually poor? It would appear that it means economically poor due to a lack of natural materials if we compare it to the "good" land (v. 25-27). America is a good spot, a choice spot, a land rich in natural materials.
22. Counsel me not - "For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, 0h then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure? Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand." (Jacob 4:9-10). "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9).
23: The second remnant was planted in a poorer spot then the first.
Ground - Signifies a physical location or country. (D&C 55:5). Poorer than the first - See verse 21.
24: Of the third remnant, we are not told about the condition of the land. When the Lord speaks of the remnants later in verse 39, the third remnant is not mentioned. This may be the Mulekites, for as time passed they became numbered among the Nephites.
The first three remnants "brought forth much fruit".
25-27: The "last" remnant was "planted in a good spot of ground". We are also told that only a part of the tree hath brought forth tame fruit. The Lord informed Nephi that he would be lead to "a land of promise ...which is choice above all other lands." (1 Nephi 2:20). This was the American Continent. The Book of Mormon tells the story of the rise of two nations, the Lamanites and the Nephites. The Nephites were the more righteous. The Lamanites were as a people, very wicked. (Mosiah 28:4). Thus, this "last" remnant appears to be the posterity of Lehi. The two branches spoken of are the Nephites (tame fruit) and the Lamanites (wild fruit).
25. Good spot of ground - The American continent. (1 Nephi 2:20).
26. Pluck off the branches - The posterity of Laman and Lemuel were wicked by nature, the Lord was determine to pluck off these branches, or lineage and cast them into the fire. This could have been done at the time of His visit to America after His resurrection. But the servant of the Lord said, "Let us prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it a little longer, that perhaps it may bring forth good fruit." Later we learn that because they were not plucked off they overcame the good fruit. (verse 40). Joseph Smith learned this lesson also. "When I contemplate upon all things that have been manifested, I am aware that I ought not to murmur, and do not murmur, only in this, that those who are innocent are compelled to suffer for the iniquities of the guilty; and I cannot account for this, only on this wise, that the saying of the Savior has not been strictly observed: 'If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; or if thy right arm offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee.' How the fact is, if any of the members of our body is disordered, the rest of our body will be affected with it, and then all are brought into bondage together." (Teachings, p. 35).
28. Nourish all the fruit of the vineyard - In the Meridian of time, the Lord commissioned the Apostles to carry the gospel to all nations. (See Matthew 28:19). This was accomplished by the Apostles in the Old World. The twelve disciples accomplished this in America. (4 Nephi 2). Thus the gospel was preached to all the world.
FOURTH PERIOD: (The Great Apostasy - verses 29 - 48)
Not long after the gospel was preached to all nations in the Meridian of time, the world turned away from the teaching of Christ to a state of general apostasy. Again the Lord comes to inspect the fruit of the vineyard after a "long time" (v. 29). The tame olive-tree root stock (mother tree) "brought forth much fruit" but "none of it which is good." (v. 32). The allegory also states that "All kinds of bad fruit" (v. 32) "did cumber the tree". (v. 30). This would mean that there were many religious sects adopted by the Gentiles throughout Europe and Asia, none of which were true. (JS 2:17-19). The apostasy was also general among the scattered remnants. After inspecting the fruit on the scattered branches of the house of Israel, the natural branches, the Lord of the vineyard proclaims, "All the trees of my vineyard are good for noting save it be to be hewn down and cast into the fire." (v. 42). The period in the earth history that fits this description was the years from about 250 AD until about 1800 AD. A period when "darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people." (Isaiah 60:2).
29. Long time - a 1000 plus years. About 250 AD until about 1800 AD..
That we may labor again - During the Meridian of time all nations of the earth were nourish with the word of God (v. 28). But a "long time passed away" before the Lord labored again in the vineyard. Thus, we can see that there was a long period of time the earth was without servants of the Lord administering the gospel.
The time draweth near - What time draweth near? The end. "The time draweth near, and the end soon cometh".
The end - the end of the earth's mortal estate. The celestialization of the earth signifies the end of the earth as related to the allegory. (See verse 77). (Also see Alma 12:27).
The end soon cometh - In the Lord's time soon can be about 1200 years. From the time of the restoration to the "end" will not be less than that.
30. Natural branches - The scattered remnants of the house of Israel. (See verse 13).
The tree whose natural branches had been broken off - This is the "mother" tree (v. 60) or the tame olive-tree root stock.
All sort of fruit - The Gentiles had adopted many religious sects and philosophies of man.
31. The Lord did taste of the fruit - "The Lord did taste the fruit, every sort according to its number". Every sect, every philosophy, every society was known to and judged by the Lord. The final judgment was, "none of it is good" (v. 32).
32. All kinds of bad fruit - All the religious sects and philosophies of man were not true.
Profiteth me nothing - What profit is there in the righteous? They become follow laborers in the Kingdom. The wicked are of no value to the kingdom of God.
33-35. no notes
36. The roots are good, and for mine own purpose I have preserved them - This phrase has caused some to believe that the roots are the Bible that came through the ages. It may be that this is a type of the preservation of the scriptures, but the roots also entail the covenants recorded in the scriptures.
37. The wild branches ... overrun the roots - The Gentiles now find themselves in the same situation that the house of Israel did as the allegory opened. (See verses 3-7). They are now beginning to perish.
It will soon perish - What will soon perish - the roots, the branches or the fruit? The roots. The roots brought forth evil fruit and are beginning to perish. How is it perishing? The plain and precious doctrines of the Gospel are being lost. The great and abominable church that Nephi saw among the Gentiles "have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away ...Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away form the book." (1 Nephi 13:26-28). "At the time the book proceeded out of the mouth of the Jew, the things which were were written were plain and pure, and most precious and easy to understanding of all men." (1 Nephi 15:23).
Soon become ripened, that it may be cast into the fire - Before a people are destroyed, the Lord gives them time to repent. If they do not repent, they generally continue in wickedness until they are worthy of destruction - ripe for the picking.
38-45: Verses 38 through 45 depicts the apostate condition of the disbursed remnants of Israel. Verses 40 through 46 particularly deal with the remnant planted in the spot most choice, America.
39. The natural branches had become corrupt also - The natural branches represent the scattered remnants of the house of
44. Cut down that which cumbered this soot of ground - "This spot of ground" is America. What cumbered it? The Jaredites. In the book of Ether it speaks about a group of people occupying this continent prior to the arrival of Lehi and the Mulekites. Short after their arrival to South America, the Jaredites, located in North America, were completely destroyed. (See Ether 1:1-2, 42; 15:29-32). Thus the Jaredites were allowed to be destroyed so that the scattered
49. Hew down the trees - It seem that the Lord is testing the servants patients and mercy as he did Moses. "and the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation." (Exodus 32:9-10).
50. Spare it a little longer - "And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against they people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with mighty hand?.. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants. (Exodus 32:11-13).
The servant becomes a type of the savor, an advocate to the Father (proxy salvation). What if the servant had not requested the Lord to spare the earth, would the Lord have destroyed it? It may be the head of each dispensation holds the keys of destruction, or the keys of advocate for that dispensation. If there were none willing to serve, he would have no choice but to destroy it.
51. I will spare it a little longer - "And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people." (Exodus 32:9-14).
52-54: The process of the gathering is defined. These verses speak of the Gentiles coming to the Americas and the other nations inhabited by the remnants of Israel. They also speak of the gathering of the disbursed remnants of Israel to Jerusalem. The gathering will be conducted in 3 steps:
1. The Gentile branches taken from the mother tree are grafted onto the nations where the scattered remnant were 2. The scattered branches restored to the tame (mother) tree 3. Destruction of the most wicked nations and people.
52. Taking "the branches of these which I have planted in the nethermost parts of my vineyard," and grafting "them into the tree from whence they came" depicts the gathering of Israel to Jerusalem. How will come about? But plucking off the "branches whose fruit is most bitter" from the mother tree. It appears that branches can not be added without first removing other branches. Thus, a people must loose their rights, privileges and land.
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." For what purpose? - "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, the servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your see, and they shall inherit it for ever." (Exodus 32:13).
54. "And, behold, the roots of the natural branches (remnants of Israel) 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 (Gentile) branches of this (Tame) tree, and I will graft them in unto them ("them" is the roots of the natural branches). Yea, I will graft in unto them (the roots) the (Gentile) branches of their mother tree (Israel), 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."
Roots of the natural branches - What are the roots of the natural branches? The roots of the natural branch in relation to the American Continent would entail all the covenants, rights, blessings, privileges and scriptures given to Joseph's seed. (See 2 Nephi 3:4-23 and 3 Nephi 20:13-14).
Preserve them also for mine own purpose - The record of the Lord's dealing with the remnant of Joseph is preserved in the Book of Mormon. (3 Nephi 4-7).
I will graft in unto them the branches of their mother tree - The Gentiles will be disbursed to the nations inhabited by the remnants of Israel. One aspect of the gathering is that the Gentiles will be grafted "in unto " America. The same must have or will happen to the other remnants as it did to the Lamanites. One day we will have the other remnants' writings.
55-56: The plans set forth in verses 52 through 54 are carried out. The period may have begun about 1492 AD.., when Columbus comes to the Americas. (See 1 Nephi 13:10-19). The Gentiles are first grafted into the land areas were the scattered remnants of Israel are (v. 55). Then the house of Israel was and is being gathered home to Jerusalem (v. 56). In 1841, Orson Hyde on the Mount of Olives prayed, "(I) dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah's scattered remnants according to predictions of the Holy Prophets - for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a Temple in honor of they name. . .Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles; and let kings become their nursing father." The beginning of verse 56 may have been 1841.
55. "And it came to pass that they took (the Gentiles) from the natural (tame) tree which had become wild, and grafted in unto the natural (remote) trees which also had become wild."
Natural tree - The tame olive-tree.
Natural trees - (Plural) Root stock into which the scattered remnants were grafted.
In other words, they took the Genti-les from Europe and brought them to America and the other lands inhabited by the house of Israel. 56. "And they also took of the natural (remote) trees which had become wild, and grafted into their mother tree (the scattered branches were gathered to Jerusalem).
They took the scattered remnants of Israel and gathered them home to Jerusalem.
Mother tree - The natural tree. The tame olive-tree root stock.
57-58: Verses 57 and 58 depict the destruction of the wicked in the last days to prepare for the gathering and restoration.
57. Pluck.. .those which are most bitter - Those people that were most corrupted or wicked were destroyed - cast "into the fire" (v. 58). For example the destruction of the American Indians to prepare for the gathering to America (Zion), and the destruction brought on by the First and Second World Wars to prepare the gathering to Jerusalem. But only the most bitter were plucked off. The grafting done in verses 55 and 56, was only the beginning of the gathering or exchange of branches between the house of Israel and the Gentiles. Christ informs us that "a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles" in the Americas. (3 Nephi 21:12). Through out verses 63 to 74 the grafting and pruning continued. This would imply the this process will continue until the millennium.
58. Nourish again the trees - The trees (plural) indicate that the gospel would be taken to all nations in the last days, not just the house of Israel. Prophets would have to be on the earth again in the last days.
Trim up the branches - This could be symbolic of clearing away wicked individuals much like pruning. To pluck off a branch is more in line with destroying a complete lineage, tribe or group of people.
59. The roots thereof may take strength - Without the crippling control and influence of the wicked, the gospel can again take hold in the hearts of men.
Roots (of the mother tree) - See verses 8 and 36 above.
Because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil - Why is change needed? Could not the righteous spirits have been born into lineages on the lands to where they would eventually be gathered and bring about the spiritual change? In keeping with the covenant with Abraham, the change in physical location caused the blood of Israel to be mixed among the nations of the earth. But now in the last days Israel would be gathered in one. Why? That their combined strength could overcome the "bad".
60. Mother tree - the tame olive-tree.
First fruit - The righteous of the house of Israel. Those like unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
61-62: These verses depict the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in the last days (last time). The servants that are called to labor with diligence are the priesthood holder of last dispensation.
61. Call servants - Note that in the last dispensation the Lord called for additional servants. This is the first time additional servants were called. This is symbolic of the wide disbursement of the priesthood to all worthy male members in the last dispensation. In the earlier dispensations it followed the Patriarchal Order. In the house of Israel it followed the Levitical Order. In the last dispensation it follows the Order after the Son of God. (D&C 24:19; 39:17; 75:2; 95:4).
That we may prepare the way - Prepare the way for what? Prepare the earth to receive the Lord by establishing the kingdom of God on earth. (D&C 1:12; 65:5; 88:74, 84 & 92; 104:59).
62. Last time that I shall prune my vineyard - This indicates the last days and the last dispensation. (D&C 33:3). How will the vineyard be pruned in our day. (D&C 95:4). By plagues, wars and destructive weather. (D&C 87:6). John the Revelator speaks of the pruning by plagues in the Book of Revelation in chapters 8, 9 and 16. The wars of our day that are to continue are spoken of in section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants. (Also D&C 29:16-20; 45:31-3).
63-73: The growth of the church, missionary work and wars of the latter-days are symbolized in these verses.
63. Last ...first, first ...last - To the Gentile and than to the Jew.
The trees, both old and young - The ancient nations as well as the newly established nations.
That all may be nourished - All the world to receive the gospel in the last dispensation.
64. And IF - While it is true that the gospel was to be taken to all the world, man is free to choose. In 3 Nephi, chapter 21, Christ outlines two paths that the Gentiles of this nation could take. They could except the gospel and 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."
If meaning 1 of verse 67 is used, than the meaning of this verse is the same as 56.
If meaning 2 of verse 67 is used, than the meaning of 68 would seem to imply a yet future reunion of Zion and Jerusalem (they shall be one). (Isa. 2:3; Ezekiel 37:16-22; D&C 133:23-24; 2 Nephi 29:14). The use of the words "Branches of the natural tree will I graft into the natural branches" seem to imply a grafting of the Gentiles into the household of Israel. (3 Nephi 21:22).
69. Bad.. .cast away - By spiritual growth or destruction of the wicked, "the bad shall be cast away, yea, even out of all the land of my vineyard" or in other words, Satan will be bound and the wicked destroyed off the face of the earth. (1 Nephi 22:26; Rev. 20:2).
70. They were few - The Lord calls his servants to labor but they are few. As the servants began to labor the natural fruit (follower of Christ) began to return. The Lord plucked off and cast away that which was most wicked (by wars and natural calamities) as the strength of the roots grow. (1 Nephi 14:12).
As the strength of the roots grows - The root signify the gospel, covenants and scriptures. Thus, this phrase would imply the growth of the kingdom of God in the last days.
71. If ye labor...joy in the fruit - Alma 26; D&C 18:15-16.
73. And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard - Thus we see, that as the trees were nourished in the last days the kingdom of God began to grow slowing, but constantly. Over the years to come, it will continue to grow and flourish. The wicked will continue "to be cast away" to the spirit world so that the righteous can thrive in the land.
The wild branches began to be plucked of f - The wicked are plucked off the tree and sent to hell. An example of this in our country occurred during the civil war. The Missourians that persecuted the Saints were one of the hard hit war zones during the war.
74. They labored with all diligence - Who are these priesthood holder? With home teaching at 35% and not many supporting the missionary effort is this the current brethren of the church? Is it the full time missionaries? Bad-cast away - See verse 69.
One body - They become as Zion, of one heart.
The fruits were equal - The law of consecration lived. The celestial economy.
SIXTH PERIOD: (The Millennial Era - verses 75-76) 75-76: The millennial period is ushered in when there "was no more corrupt" fruit in the vineyard. This era will last a thousand years, "a long time" (v. 76). (Rev. 20:4). During the millennium, Satan will be bound or "cast away". (Rev. 20:2). 75. Diligent 'n laboring ... Kept my commandments - Those servants that "shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:5) will be those that both labored in the vineyard and kept his commandments. Who will the others be - the fruit? It may be the general membership that are good people, but are not valiant in their service in this life but continue unto perfection. It may be those that are not called to the key leadership positions in this life. It may be the missionaries. Every man shall be rewarded as his work shall be. (Rev. 22:12).
76. Lay up - During this period the righteous will continue to have children (fruit) that will the Lord will "lay up" unto salvation. (Isa. 64:17-25).
Dunged it - This is the first use of the word "dunged". Jacob was either just elaborating about the nourishment of the last days, or in the last days extra fertilizer was added to accelerate the grow of the trees. This could have been an extra out pouring of the spirit of the Lord upon the earth in the last days. (D&C 95:4).
Speedily cometh - We are informed that the end speedily cometh. Yes it does, in about a thousand years. The Lord has often said, "I come quickly". (D&C 32:24). In the eyes of the Lord, hundreds of years is "soon", "quickly", or "speedily". The Lord is looking at time through the eternities. Also, the Lord does not wish us individually to delay our repentance. SEVENTH PERIOD: (The Celestialization of the Earth - verse 77)
This verse depicts the final judgment and the celestialization of the earth. "And when the time cometh that evil fruit shall again come into my vineyard (Satan loosened, Rev. 20:7-9), then will I cause the good and the bad to be gathered (Rev. 20:10-15) and the good will I preserve unto my self (in the Celestial Kingdom), and the bad will I cast away into its own place (Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms). And then cometh the season and the end (Rev. 20:12- 13) ; and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire (Celestialized, Rev. 21:1)".
77. Evil fruit shall again come - During the millennium the free agency of man will still be in effect to choose good or evil. Nephi informs us that Satan is bound because of the righteousness of the people. (1 Ne. 22:26). He can have no influence over them.
The Lord has told us in the Book of Mormon, the Bible and in the Doctrine and Covenants, that at the end of the millennial era, however; Satan will again have power over the hearts of some men. (Rev. 20:7; D&C 88:110-111). There will be one last struggle. Satan will be overthrown by Michael. Satan and his angels, "the bad", will be "cast away into its own place." (Rev. 20:7-10, D&C 88:110-116).
The End - The end of the second estate, not the destruction of the earth.
Burned with fire - The burning of the earth with fire (Rev. 20:9) is the process by which the earth will be cleansed of all impurities and become a "new earth" (Rev. 21:1).
Cast away into its own place: After the final judgement spoken of in Revelation, the "bad" will "cast away into its own place". The bad in the allegory refers to the bad or wild fruit. The wicked of this world will be place in the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms, that is their own place. Satan, the father of wickedness, is also implied as the "bad". He and his angels will be cast to their place - hell, outer darkness or the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." (Rev. 21:1)
APPENDIX 1 SUMMARY OF SYMBOLS The following is a summary of the meaning of the symbols contained in the Allegory: 1. The vineyard - The world (vs 3) 2. Tame olive tree - The house of Israel (vs 3) 3. Wild olive tree - The Gentiles 4. Branches - Groups or remnants of people 5. Natural Branches - Remnants lead from the house of Israel. 6. Decaying Branches - Wicked and apostate people or nation. 7. The Lord of the vineyard - The Lord Jesus Christ (vs 3) 8. The roots of the tame olive tree - The Lords covenant to Abraham. This covers the inheritance to the land of Jerusalem, the priesthood, and the gospel. (Gen. 7:1-8). 9. The roots of the "other" - The Lord covenant to Joseph, the olive tree inheritance in the land of America (Zion). 10. Grafting - Mixing of the blood of Israel with the Gentiles. 11. Fire - Judgements of God on the wicked. 12. Nourishing & digging - The Lord's work with his children. The teaching of the gospel through his servants. (Moroni 6:4). 13. Fruit - The works and souls of men. (Alma 36:21 & 36-37). APPENDIX 2 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW Verses 3 From Abraham to the days of Zedekiah 3-6 The time period of Jeremiah, Lehi and Zedekiah. Israel is in a state of apostasy. 7-12 Jerusalem destroyed by Babylon. Many lead away captive. 13-14 The scattering of Israel. 15-16 The time period of Christ earthly mission. 17-18 Gospel preached to the Gentiles in the days of Paul and shortly there after. 19-27 Christ's visits to the remnants after his crucifixion. 28 The preaching and establishment of the church up to the time of the apostasy. 29-51 The apostasy, the dark ages. 52-60 The beginning of the gathering. 55 The coming of the Gentiles to America and the destruction of the Indian nations. 61-62 Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. 63-73 Growth of the Church; Missionary work; Wars of the latter-days. 74-76 The millennium. 77 The final judgment; The celestialization of the earth.