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The Allegory of the Olive Trees Jacob 5

The Allegory of the Olive Trees Jacob 5

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The Allegory of the Olive Trees Jacob 5

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  1. The Allegory of the Olive TreesJacob 5

  2. Jacob quotes ZenosWho Was Zenos? Prophet after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob House of Joseph (3 Nephi 10:15) Writings contained in the Brass Plates Quoted often in the Book of Mormon 4,261 Words of Zenos in the BofM (2%) Teachings focused on the Mission of the Savior and the Gathering of Israel Died as a martyr (Helaman 8:19)

  3. Jacob 4:14-18What question is Jacob answering in Jacob 5?How does it relate to us? And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling (Sin) of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation. But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone (Jesus Christ) shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build. [The Great Question!] 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? [How Can They Repent?] Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you;

  4. Jacob 4:14-18What question is Jacob answering in Jacob 5?How does it relate to us? • The only Sure foundation • Safe foundation • Stone upon with they might build • Or a Stumbling block?

  5. Question/Reminder Why did the Lord and his prophets choose to teach in parables and allegories? Wouldn’t more “plainness” have been easier to understand?

  6. Zenos’ Multilayered Parable of the Vineyard A story about how to have a productive vineyard The Scattering and Gathering of Israel

  7. Jacob 6:1-8Jacob gives interpretation of Jacob 5 • What should we look for as we read Jacob 5

  8. Zenos’ Multilayered Parable of the Vineyard A story about how to have a productive vineyard The Scattering and Gathering of Israel Our Own Scattering (Sin) And Gathering (At-One-Ment)

  9. Primary message of the allegory of Zenos? • Even as the Lord of the vineyard and his workers strive to bolster, prune, purify, and otherwise make productive their trees in what amounts to a one-chapter historical sketch of the scattering and gathering of Israel, the deeper meaning of the Atonement undergirds and overarches their labors. In spite of cuttings and graftings and nourishings that mix and mingle trees in virtually all parts of the vineyard, it is bringing them back to their source that is the principal theme of this allegory. Returning, repenting, reuniting – at-one-ment – this is the message throughout. • Jeffrey R Holland, Christ and the New Covenant,165

  10. Why the symbol of the Olive Treefor the house of Israel? Symbol of Peace • Prince of Peace • His peace through laws and ordinances of the gospel • Laws and ordinances come through the House of Israel • House of Israel has responsibility to the world – not chosen to be an uplifted people, but an uplifting people. • BOM Institute Manual

  11. Why the symbol of the Olive Treefor the house of Israel? Cultivation • 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 producing only a small, worthless fruit (see Harold N. and Alma L. Moldenke, Plants 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 a branch from a tame olive tree 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 by itself; it requires grafting by the husbandman to bring it into production. • Throughout its history Israel has demonstrated the remarkable aptness characterized by the symbol of the olive tree. When they gave themselves to their God for pruning and grafting the Israelites prospered and bore much fruit, but when they turned from Christ, the Master of the vineyard, and sought to become their own source of life and sustenance they became wild and unfruitful. • BOM Institute Manual

  12. Why the symbol of the Olive Treefor the house of Israel? Regeneration And Roots • Though requiring nearly fifteen years to come into full production, an olive tree may produce fruit for centuries. Some trees now growing in the Holy Land have been producing fruit abundantly for at least four hundred years. (Also), as it finally grows old and begins to die, the roots send up a number of new green shoots that, if grafted and pruned, will mature into full-grown olive trees. The root of the tree will also send up shoots after the tree is cut down. 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 located in Israel today have come from trees that were ancient during Christ’s mortal ministry. • How can Israel be compared to an olive tree, which time and again seems to have been cut down and destroyed, yet, each time a new tree springs forth from the roots?. • BOM Institute Manual

  13. Why the symbol of the Olive Treefor the house of Israel? Others used this symbol • Jeremiah; Jeremiah 11:16 • Paul, Romans 11:16-24 • D&C 101:43-58 • BOM Institute Manual


  15. House of Israel Abraham • God made a covenant with Abraham, that through his seed, all the families of the world would be blessed.  Abraham and his seed are to “bear the ministry,” or in other words, are responsible to carry to gospel message to the world.  Abraham had a son named Isaac, who had a son named Jacob.  Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and therefore, the “house of Israel” means the family or descendants of Jacob.  The covenant obligation and blessing continues through all the descendants of Jacob, or house of Israel (See Abraham 2:9-11). • John Bytheway, Isaiah for Airheads Isaac Jacob Israel House of Israel

  16. Seven time periods:

  17. Zenos’ Multilayered Parable of the Vineyard A story about how to have a productive vineyard The Scattering and Gathering of Israel

  18. Poorer than the Poorest Good ground Founding House of Israel Scattering House of Israel Time of Christ The Apostasy The Gathering in the Last Days Good and Bad Fruit Wild Fruit Top decayed Wild Olive Trees Good Fruit Wild Fruit Tame Olive Tree – House of Israel Poorest

  19. Millennium The end of the world Tame Olive Tree – House of Israel

  20. Therefore what…?

  21. Zenos’ Multilayered Parable of the Vineyard A story about how to have a productive vineyard The Scattering and Gathering of Israel Our Own Scattering (Sin) And Gathering (At-One-Ment)

  22. Are you cumbered? • Our personal vineyards become lofty and produce strange fruits when we polish only the ‘outer vessel’ of our lives and allow the ‘inner’ to rot away. • I refer to people who perform religious rituals to receive the acclaim of congregations rather than the approval of conscience. I refer to those who become so immersed in administrative and management affairs that they have little time to read, pray, and ponder over the affairs of God. Such persons allow the branches to overcome the roots in their lives. • In contrast, there are those who invest themselves solely in the books and dig for facts without using their knowledge to bless others. These ever-searching but never-applying souls permit their roots to overrrun their branches. • Carlos E Asay, Old Testament and the LDS, 13

  23. Ted Gibbons, LDS Living How does the master of the vineyard feel about us?

  24. Ted Gibbons, LDS Living

  25. Dunging • On my way to visit the James’ the other evening, I saw a wheat field that appeared to be greener and taller than the others. Thinking about it for awhile, I concluded that occasionally some loving farmer drives over the field with his tractor and pumps manure all over it. I thought, ‘My, it’s just like life. Here we are minding our own business, growing our little hearts out. We’re really quite green somewhat productive and very sincere. When out of the blue, life deals us a dirty one, and we’re up to our eyebrows in manure. We, of course, conclude that life as we have known it has just ended and will never be the same again. But one day, when the smell and the shock are gone, we find ourselves greener and more productive than we have been.’ Unfortunately, no matter how often we go through these growing experiences., we are never able to appreciate the sound of the tractor or the smell of the manure. • Harold W Wood, quoted by Ted Gibbons, LDS Living

  26. Jacob 5:41 • “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.)” • Jeffrey R. Holland(Heroes from the Book of Mormon, p. 37)

  27. I’ve been thinking about how to teach this lesson because it seems like a difficult one. But in conversation with some friends who also are Gospel Doctrine teachers, we came up with an idea that I like and that may be helpful to others. The lesson plan is designed around the fact that Jacob himself gives an interpretation of the allegory, with his introduction in 4:15-18, in which he says that it answers the question of how the stumbling stone becomes the corner stone, and in chapter 6, in which verses such as 3-5 and 11-13 give the heart of his answer to that question and, so, an interpretation of chapter 5. I’ll start with the verses from chapter 4 and discuss the problem, including what it means to us. Then I’ll shift to chapter 6 to discuss Jacob’s interpretation of the allegory. Then, assuming that there is time, I’ll go back to chapter 5 and ask the class to talk about the allegory in terms of the introduction and the interpretation of chapter 6.

  28. Jacob 5:4–14 • Jacob 5:15–28 • Jacob 5:29–60 • Jacob 5:61–77

  29. Seven Tribes of Lehi Wild Trees- Different parts of the World Natural Olive Tree- Israel Israel Gathered In Zion and Jerusalem for the Millenium Bad Fruit Everywhere After First Century to Dark Ages Jacob 5: 29-49 Good Fruit Everywhere Just before the time of Christ Jacob 5: 15-28 Fall of Jerusalem, 587 BC Jacob 4-14 Restoration and Last Days Jacob 5: 50-73

  30. Jacob 6:4 • An almost haunting declaration of this divine devotion is laced through these seventy-seven verses in the eight-fold repetition of the line “it grieveth me that I should lose this tree.”

  31. Explain that Jacob 6 records Jacob’s explanation of the allegory. Invite students to read Jacob 6:2–12 and find Jacob’s answers to the following questions: • Will the gathering of Israel happen before or after the Second Coming? (see v. 2). • What will happen to those who are not gathered? (see v. 3). • How did Jacob describe those who would not be gathered? (see vv. 4, 6–8). • What can we do to be gathered? (see vv. 5, 11–12). • What will ultimately happen to those who are not gathered? (see vv. 9–10). • If desired, conclude by singing or reading the words to “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling” (Hymns, no. 7).

  32. Why was Israel scattered throughout the world? • Which visit of the Lord are we living in today? • What does the allegory teach us about the attitude of the Lord toward His children? • Why do you think Jacob included the allegory in the Book of Mormon? • What does the allegory teach about when the gathering of Israel would occur?

  33. Bruce R. McConkie “I do not think I overstate the matter when I say that next to Isaiah himself-who is the prototype, pattern, and model for all the prophets- there was not a greater prophet in all Israel than Zenos” The Joseph Smith Translation, The Restoration of Plain and Precious Things. Edited by Monte S. Nyman and Robert L. Millet. Religious Studies Center, BYU, Provo, Utah, 1985, p. 17.

  34. Group 1. A tame olive tree in the land of Israel. This geographical area is easy to identify as ancient Israel, or the land of Palestine located in and around Jerusalem, the holy city. • Group 2. The poorest spot of ground in the vineyard. Not easily identifiable as to where it is. It is far afield from Israel. Could be the British Isles. Could be a general category referring to a certain type of area where this branch was taken.

  35. Group 3. A poorer spot of ground even that group 2. Not easily identifiable as to where it is. It, too, is far afield from Israel. Could be the "north countries" where the ten tribes were led around 721 B.C. Could be a general category of land where the scattered tribes were scattered, a barren land without the covenants and blessings of the Lord. • Group 4. A good spot of ground, even choice above all other parts of the land of the vineyard. This land, too, is greatly separated, geographically, from the mother tree, or the land of Israel. This land is where the children of Lehi were led. It is the land of the Nephites and the Lamanites. It is likely not only Central America, but the continents of North and South America. Next to the land of Israel, this is the easiest location to identify.

  36. Period A. This is the earliest time when the covenants of Israel were put forth and includes some of the time of major scattering of the tribes of Israel. Some scholars feel that this could be tied from the time of Adam and the patriarchs down to the time of Abraham. Although this is possible, it is not likely. It probably dates from the time of Abraham, about 2000 B.C. until the times of scattering, 721-600 B.C. • Period B. This is a long time after the first period (Jacob 5:15) The scattering has taken place and the tribes are to be found around the mother tree and in at least three other areas around the vineyard. It appears that this time period is likely from about 721-600 B.C. until about 90 B.C. or thereabouts. The key to understanding this time period is where the good fruits are being found, specifically with Group 4, the Nephites and the Lamanites. (See Jacob 5:25) And since the Lamanite converts did not begin until after about 92 B.C. with the mission of the four sons of Mosiah, it has to take place before this time.

  37. Period C. This is a long period of time after Period B. The allegory says that "the time draweth near, and the end soon cometh..." (See Jacob 5:29). This time period includes the time of the coming of Christ, the destructions of Jerusalem around A.D. 68-70, the destruction of the Nephites, approximately A.D. 385 (see Jacob 5: 45) and includes a major portion of time into the dark ages, or the time of apostasy, perhaps even up until the end of the eighteenth century or beginning of the nineteenth century (late 1700's or early 1800's). • Period D. This is the last time that the vineyard is pruned and the harvest is brought in. It is the Dispensation of the Fullness of times. It is the period which includes the Restoration of all the keys and up until the time of the Second Coming. It includes from at least 1820 until the end of this dispensation. It is a time period that is the shortest of all the time periods. It is a time of gathering, where the covenants of Israel are re-established in the land of Israel. Again, it is the last time (see Jacob 5:62).

  38. Period E. This is the Millennial Reign of the Lord. It is a thousand year period beginning just before the Second Coming of the Lord. No man knows the date of this time period. The signs of the times seem to point to a season, potentially in the foreseeable future.

  39. Time Period A begins with Jacob 5:4 and goes through verse 14. • Time Period B begins with Jacob 5:15 and goes through verse 28. • Time Period C begins with Jacob 5:29 and goes approximately through verse 49. • Time Period D begins with Jacob 5:50 and goes approximately through verse 73. • Time Period E begins likely with Jacob 5:74 and goes to the end of the chapter (77).

  40. Group 1 can be marked next to the following verses in Jacob chapter 5: 16-19; 30-37; 52, 53. • Group 2 can be marked next to the following verses: 20-22; 39. • Group 3 can be marked next to the following verses: 23; 39. • Group 4 can be marked next to the following verses: 24-27; 39-46. It is noteworthy that Zenos spent a lot of time and detail on this last group which was his own posterity, the children of Lehi. • It is interesting to note verse 44 is a clear reference to the destruction of the Jaredites before the Nephites and Lamanites spread forth upon the land.

  41. “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?” (Jacob 4:14-17). • It is a question that afflicts us all.  Who doesn’t know that we don’t measure up? That we spend much of our time drifting away from the sure foundation? How can we inadequate mortals ever become as He is? • Breck England, meridian magazine

  42. St. Hugh Nibley “The long and puzzling story of the olive orchard in the fifth chapter of Jacob seems to present an endless combination of tactics to preserve the orchard. The point is that any combination is possible; God will try any scheme, general or local, to redeem the people. . . . sixteen times the trees are given a last chance to get growing again— there is no end to the Lord’s patience.” Hugh Nibley, Prophetic Book of Mormon, 498

  43. Zenos gave us 4, 261 words in the Book of Mormon (of the total 269, 329 words), which is about 2% of the text. His words are powerful, plain and prophetic and need to be understood by members of the Church in our day and age. Hence this lesson on the Allegory of Zenos.