Jacob 6

Jacob 6: World Burned by Fire

                Jacob explains that in the last day the Lord will not forget about those who diligently labored in His vineyard. The vineyard will be pruned one last time before the wicked branches are consumed with fire; “…even the last time, the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.” (Jacob 6:2) Jacob explains that those who do His work will be saved when the “…world shall be burned with fire.” (Jacob 6:3)

Jacob urges his people (and the reader) to repent; “…and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you…” (Jacob 6:5) Jacob explains that before the power of redemption and resurrection that is in Christ, we will stand before God with guilt at the judgment day if we haven’t worked diligently enough.

Jacob leaves us with some create advice; “…be wise; what can I say more?” (Jacob 6:12)

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Jacob 5

Jacob 5: Allegory of the Olive Tree

Allegory of the Olive Tree (See also: Romans 11:17-24)

Jacob quotes Zenos about the allegory of the tame and wild Olive Tree. The Olive Tree in the Lord’s Vineyard is like Israel and the Gentiles, the scattering and gathering of Israel… the Gentiles will be grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel.

Symbol What it might represent
The Vineyard The World
Master of the Vineyard God
Servants The Lord’s Prophets
Tame Olive Tree The House of Israel; The Covenant People
Wild Olive Tree Gentiles
Branches Groups of People
Roots of the Tame Olive Tree The Covenants the Lord makes with us
The Fruit The Lives/Works of men
Digging/Pruning/Fertilizing The work of the Lord to help His children obey
Transplanting Branches Scattering groups of people throughout the world
Grafting The joining of one group to another
Decaying Branches People dying spiritually from sin and apostasy
Casting branches into the fire God’s Wrath and Judgment

What is ‘Grafting’?

To graft branches, healthy, living branches are cut from a tree or plant and inserted into another place. The branches in this allegory represent groups of people that the Lord takes from one place and plants them in another. In the scriptural sense, grafting means to “…come to the knowledge of the true Messiah…” (1 Nephi 10:14).

In this chapter (which is super long), we learn about the Lord’s Vineyard. The chapter can be likened to Missionary Work and Rise and Fall of God’s Authority on the Earth.

Missionary Work

                “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. Wherefore, go thy way; watch the tree, and nourish it, according to my words. And these will I place in the nethermost parts of my vineyard, withersoever 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 fruit thereof against the season, unto myself; for it grieveth me that I should lose this tree and the fruit thereof.” (Jacob 5:11-13) God wants his servants to work hard, so that they will not lose one soul or “branch” of the Olive Tree.

                “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 fruits. Wherefore, let us got 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. Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that the first may be last…” (Jacob 5:61-63) This really shows the importance of Missionary work in the last days, God will prune his vineyard one last time before his second coming… and it is the responsibility of the members of the church and the full time missionaries to teach the truths that we know to the world… we must labor diligently and with all our might… this last time

Young and Tender Branches of the House of Israel

(Jacob 5:8, 13–14, 19–25)

The “young and tender branches” seem to be those people who responded to the “pruning and fertilizing” by God and His prophets. They were more teachable than the old established branches, or the groups of Israelites who had to be removed and destroyed.

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “In that parable the olive tree is the House of Israel… 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” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:204).

Zenos’s allegory helps us understand that 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” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 127; or Ensign,Nov. 1982, 87–88).

When Did All the Trees Become Corrupt?

(Jacob 5:32–46)

The part of the allegory when all the trees bear evil fruit seems to represent the period of the Apostasy, prior to the restoration of the gospel. When the Lord spoke to Joseph Smith in the First Vision, He told Joseph that he should join none of the churches of that day because they were all “wrong” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19).In Jacob 5:48, we read; “…Is it not the loftiness [Pride] of thy vineyard – have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? …behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves…” Essentially in this one verse we can see how easily churches after Christ was crucified began to pop up without any legitimate authority of power from God. However, they had some of the basic roots… but they began to lose their roots when they took strength upon themselves. The same people who claim that God won’t call another prophet, and that His word is complete the Bible.

Jacob 4

Jacob 4: Prophets

                Jacob explains that he spoke a lot of things to his people; however, because of the difficulty in engraving upon the plates… a lot of what he said is not recorded. Nevertheless, he hopes that when people in the future read these words that they will; “…receive them with thankful hearts, and look upon them that they may learn with joy and not with sorrow, neither with contempt…” (Jacob 4:3)

Jacob explains the purpose of the plates and really all of the Book of Mormon; “…for this intent have we written these thing, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming…” (Jacob 4:4) Jacob tells us that him and his people and those who came before him in the Americas knew of Jesus Christ, and worshiped God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. His people also followed the Law of Moses, because; “…we search the prophets, and we have many revelation and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountain, or the waves of the sea.” (Jacob 4:6)

Jacob explains that God will give us and show us our own weaknesses that we might know of the true power of God, but also understand our potential and power as His children.

Jacob exclaims; “Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” (Jacob 4:8) The mysteries of God are great, and we will never truly understand his ways. Denying that He has commanded more than just the Bible to be written is not only denying the power of God, but also saying that we know more than God or that we know His ways. Do we know all of His ways? No. The Book of Mormon was written by men who were commanded of God to write. For it was His will to insure that His children in the New World as well as the Old World would have access to His word. In modern days, The Book of Mormon serves as yet ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRST.

Jacob gives us great counsel; “…seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand…” (Jacob 4:10) In other words, stop trying to deny His great works. The Bible is not the ONLY word of God. Jacob continues to explain how God has called prophets throughout the ages to manifest His word unto us. God has done it in the past, and He will do it again… for God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“…he that prophesieth let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not… these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls… we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old…. The jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand… because they desired it God hath done it, and they may stumble.” (Jacob 4:13-14)

Jacob 3

Jacob 3: Jacob Warns of Sin

                “…behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction.” (Jacob 3:1)

This is a great promise that we can all lean on when we are afflicted. If we come to God with a pure heart, he will guide us. Jacob speaks to the Nephites and explains that the Lamanite righteousness had exceeded that of their own righteousness; “…ye shall remember your children, how that ye have grieved their hearts of because of the example ye have set before them…” (Jacob 3:10) We never know who is watching us, and because of that we need to be an example to everyone around us, wether that is our own children, friends, family, co-workers etc.

Jacob finishes this chapter off, by making know the seriousness of fornication, lasciviousness and of all sins, in the eyes of God.

Jacob 2

Jacob 2: Un-Chastity is bad, Seek riches to help your fellow men

 

Jacob speaks to his people saying that he wishes to rid the people of their sins, because he is; “…weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of [their] souls…” (Jacob 2:3)

Jacob was inspired from God to tell the people that they were sinning, for many of the people were focused on the riches of the world and looked down on those who did not have as much as they did. Jacob explains to them that; “…before ye seek riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:18-19) So, is money bad? No. Money is only bad if you are greedy, if you desire to obtain riches for good then it is ok. It is when money becomes your God that it is bad.

However, Jacob continues to speak to his people about a larger and more serious sin, he explains; “…This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms…” (Jacob 2:23) Jacob explains that in times of old David and Solomon had many wives, which was an abomination to the Lord. God has commanded that men only have one wife, however God can also in some times allow for polygamy to happen; “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things [having one wife].” (Jacob 2:30) In other words unless God commands otherwise, Polygamy should not happen.

What is Polygamy?

                Polygamy occurs when there are more than two partners in a marriage. In this case, seven women marrying one man (or taking hold of one man) would constitute ‘Polygamy’ and more specifically; ‘Polygyny’; which is when a man has multiple wives.

Polygamy in the LDS Church:

                When someone wants to attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days [LDS]; or more commonly known as “The Mormons”, Polygamy is almost ALWAYS brought up! Why? Because the LDS Church practiced Polygamy. However, are the “Mormons” the only ones who have practiced Polygamy throughout time? No.

At various times, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. However, like the scripture above, Polygamy was to be used within the laws of God, in other words it has only been instituted when and IF God commands. God has initiated this practice, when population of his people was at risk for extinction or in cases such as the scripture above, when women married men to take away the ‘reproach’. Early in the History of the LDS Church, so many people persecuted the church and its members that men were actually killed at an alarming rate. This left many women as widows with children. But as anyone knows women in the 1800’s were not given as many rights as men, and especially not as many rights as married women. Because women had basically no rights as single unmarried women (regardless of being widows) the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. Church leaders regulated the practice. Those entering into it had to be authorized to do so, and the marriages had to be performed through the sealing power of the priesthood.

Many of the men who participated in it did so for legal reasons, and many men kept “one wife”, but had many other legal wives that did their own thing. Like the scripture mentioned above; “…We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.” – In other words give us your last name and be legally called your ‘wife’, but I will take care of myself. Some who were chosen to practice polygamy were also commanded to have children with their multiple wives; however this was not the common practice throughout the church. Anyone who disobeyed the commandment of God and used Polygamy to have control over women or simply for sexual lust were disciplined by the church.

Contrary to what many people think, the LDS Church does NOT practice Polygamy today! In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage;

To Whom It May Concern:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—

I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.

One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.

Wilford Woodruff

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:

“I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, 1890, and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 1890

Jacob 1

Jacob 1: Wickedness Prevails Among the Nephites

                Jacob picks up the story of the Nephites nearly 55 years after Lehi had left Jerusalem with his family to travel to the Promised Land (America). Nephi gives command to his brother Jacob to continue the history of the people, known as the People of Nephi, or, the Nephites.

Jacob explains that he and his people; “…labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest…” (Jacob 1:7) Jacob explains that his brother Nephi was growing old and because his people loved him as a king, they were desirous that future kings be called after him in the manner of 1st, 2nd, 3rd Nephi and so forth. Jacob explains that Nephi did grow old, and did die.

We learn from Jacob that there were many groups; Lamanites, Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Leumeulites and Ishmaelites. However, Jacob chose to categorize the people who were against the Nephites as “Lamanites” and those people for the Nephites as “Nephites”.

“It came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices… they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.” (Jacob 1:15-16)

                Jacob, seeing this great wickedness went to the Temple to teach the people, explaining that he and his priests would take; “…upon [themselves] the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon [their] own heads if [they] did not teach them the word of God with all diligence…” (Jacob 1:19)

Jacob begins his Seven Chapter section of the Book of Mormon…

Summary of 2 Nephi

Summary of 2 Nephi

Lehi opens Second Nephi with his prophecies concerning the future of his posterity. Lehi explains that Jerusalem will be destroyed, and he bestows a general curse and blessing upon Jerusalem.  We learn about the redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ, Lehi also speaks about how there is no good without evil and that everything has its opposite. Without the ability to choose for ourselves, there would be no point for us here on earth and without the Fall of Adam and Eve; we would not have had the ability to be saved by a Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Lehi speaks about Joseph, which included Joseph of Egypt. Lehi speaks about how the Lord would raise a prophet named Moses who would free the people of Israel. Interestingly, Lehi also speaks of a seer that would come forth in the Last Days to Restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this, he is referring to Joseph Smith.

Nephi continues the narrative of 2 Nephi by recording the death of his father, Lehi. After his passing, the brothers of Nephi (Laman and Lemuel) rebel against him and try to kill him. Because of this there is a division among the people and Nephi ends up forming his own land, where his people elect him to be king. The people of Nephi adhere to the Law of Moses and even build a Temple like the Temple of Solomon, they prosper exceedingly!

Nephi ordains his younger brothers, including Jacob and Joseph. Nephi puts them in charge of teaching the people. Throughout the remainder of the text for 2 Nephi is the teaching of both Nephi and Jacob. From chapters 6-10 they quote much of Isaiah, Nephi even explains how the words of Isaiah will slowly come to understanding as time goes on… for they are difficult to understand without the spirit.

Nephi ends his record by pleading with his people and the future readers to follow the Savior’s example and be baptized. Here, Nephi explains that there is more to baptism than just baptism. One must have faith, repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost and endure to the end in order to be saved in the Kingdom of God. He urges everyone to read the scriptures and pray daily!