To understand Jacob 5, one must begin at the end of Jacob 4. The prophet Jacob asked how the Jews could ever build on the “sure foundation” of Jesus Christ after they rejected Him (Jacob 4:17). To answer this question Jacob quotes from the teachings of the prophet Zenos.
Zenos’ allegory of the olive tree teaches us about the Lord’s purposes in the scattering and gathering of the house of Israel. Interestingly, the olive tree tends to be God’s great object lesson when referring to the scattering, gathering, and salvation of His children (see my post in #BOMTC Day 6 for more on this). Chapter 6 contains Jacob’s commentary on the major points of Zenos’ allegory. Jacob emphasized the Lord’s mercy and justice while encouraging his people—and us—to repent.
The scattering of branches of Israel all over the world was a blessing both to Israel and to the rest of Heavenly Father’s children, the Gentiles. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “In general, the Lord sends to earth in the lineage of Jacob [Israel] those spirits who in pre-existence developed an especial talent for spirituality and for recognizing truth. Those born in this lineage, having the blood of Israel in their veins and finding it easy to accept the gospel, are said to have believing blood” (Mormon Doctrine, 81).
As scattered Israel mixed with the Gentiles around them, the blood of Israel was spread even further. Elder James E. Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, commented: “The scattering of Israel throughout the world sprinkled the blood that believes, so that many nations may now partake of the gospel plan” (Ensign, Nov. 1982, 87–88).
What really stands out to me in these pages is how much the Lord loves “OLIVE” His children and how much He desires us to produce “good fruit” (good works). “Good fruit” is referred to 7 times, and “fruit” 67 times. Sometimes I copy the text of a chapter or talk and create a word cloud to help me identify literary elements, such as the intent of the writer. You can see by this word cloud that “fruit” (our part) is definitely a dominant theme in this message. If I were to LIKEN this allegory to myself I would say, “God loves me and will do whatever He needs to do to help my life to be as fruitful as it can be!”
God does indeed love “OLIVE” us, and wants “OLIVE” us to live “good fruit”-ful lives!
What are your thoughts on this awesome allegory?
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A LIKENING: The Currant Bush and the Will of God
God uses love-inspired correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us.