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)

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.

Revelation 14

Revelation 14: The Restored Gospel

                John explains that he sees the 144,000 who were; “…redeemed from the earth.” (Revelation 14:3) He also sees an; “…angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people. Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come…” (Revelation 14:6-7) John says that this angel was followed by another angel who announced the destruction of Babylon because of their wine and fornication.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that this Angel, who brought forth the ‘everlasting gospel’ was Moroni, who first appeared to Joseph Smith to guide him in restoring the Church of Jesus Christ, that had been lost with time.

John explains that we need to “…Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap: for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Revelation 14:15) Essentially John is saying that it is time to move missionary work forward, because the harvest of men is ripe.

James 5

James 5: Anointing the Sick

                James explains that we should not focus on riches of the world, but rather riches of the gospel and of things not of this world. He urges us to learn patience, even as Job learned patience; knowing that the “…Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)

Are you afflicted? If so pray. Are you merry? Sing a song. “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…” (James 5:14-16) We learn that we can receive priesthood blessings when we are sick, with the anointing of sacred oil.

James also encourages us to convert others unto the Lord. If we do this, we can also be forgiven for many of our own sins. “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

2 Thessalonians 3

2 Thessalonians 3: Pray for the Missionary Work

                Paul asks the members of the Church in Thessalonica to help him and the brethren to preach the Gospel. “…pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1) Today we can apply this to Missionary Work and how it is important for us to pray for missionary opportunities to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2

1 Thessalonians 2: Purpose of Missionaries to Converts

                Chapter two of 1 Thessalonians is one of my favorite chapters. As a Missionary serving in Honduras I found this chapter to ring true. I have included the entire chapter below with my commentary.

 “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2: 1-4)

As a young Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I found that we would speak to all sorts of different people. Our message was simple; Jesus Christ lives! He Restored His Gospel and His Church on the earth. Today we have modern prophets that act as His mouthpiece. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can all be saved and one day return to live with our Heavenly Father. I found that although our message was simple, many people liked to speak harsh words and contend with us. But one thing was for sure is that we did not come to please the ears of men, but rather God. Our message was taught through the Holy Ghost and not through our words. Our words were just that, words. No one was ever converted by our words, but rather how they felt about our words.

                “ For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness: Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. “1 Thessalonians 2: 5-9)

                As a Missionary, never did I want to trick someone into believing something. Either you believed or you did not, either way I loved everyone I came into contact with. Those who converted and found Jesus Christ, I rejoiced with them. Because as Paul puts it, they were dear unto us.

“ Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judæa are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” (1 Thessalonians 2:10-16)

As representatives of Jesus Christ and His Church, were acted holy, just and unblameably before those who believed on Him. When the people listened to us, they heard God speak, not men. As a Missionary we are instruments in God’s hands and as such those who heard our words, heard them as the truth.

“ But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-20)

                I understand Paul greatly when he is saddened at not being able to be with those converts he so loved! When I left Honduras I was sad, and I desire to return and spend time with second family in Honduras. As a Missionary or Servant of the Lord, the greatest joy you can have is in those people you brought unto the presence of God!

Colossians 4

Colossians 4: Speech – Answers for All

                Paul urges ‘Masters’ to understand that they too have a Master in Heaven; “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in Heaven.” (Colossians 4:1) While Paul was most likely referring to literal masters and servants, I think this can be applied to anything that men or women may have dominion or responsibility over. For example, a Husband has a duty to watch after his wife, being just and equal… and vice-versa. A human has dominion over the environment and animals, but it doesn’t mean that we should destroy the environment or animals without purpose. For we will be judged for all our actions, while caring for the earth during our time here.

Paul urges the Saints in Colosse to season their speech with Salt, because Salt does not perish; “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6) In other words, our speech should always be long lasting, for positive reasons.

Paul ends his writings to the Colossians, but instructs them to read his epistles to them, to the church of the Laodiceans, and vice-versa;

“…when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Ladicea” (Colossians 4:16) Essentially, all scripture is good… even if it is not directed towards you.

Colossians 1

Colossians 1: Christ created all Things

                Paul addresses the Colossians in Colosse and both Him and Timotheus greet the saints there. Paul explains that because they are followers of Christ, Jesus has made them “…partakers of the inheritance…” (Colossians 1:12) Paul explains this to drive home the point that members of Christ’s Church, His Saints… His Followers are all part of the wonderful plan that God set forth before the foundation of the earth was laid. We as followers of Jesus Christ share the inheritance that God will give us, this was only made possible through the “…redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14) Through the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we have been given a path back to live with our Heavenly Father, and through Christ obtain our inheritance with the Father and the Son.

Paul goes on to address the saints and explain that Christ created all things;

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, of powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, by him all things consist… he is the head of the body, the church…” (Colossians 1:16-18)

Paul comforts the saints to continue in the faith; “…continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” (Colossians 1:23)

                He explains that in every dispensation (when the authority is on earth and a prophet is called) that God reveals the mysteries of the world to His Children through the mouth of His servants the Prophets. Paul explains that he is a minister in that dispensation;

                “…I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:” (Colossians 1:26)

Paul urges the members of the church to preach to every man and warn them with wisdom of the sins and wickedness of the world, so that they may stand blameless before God in the Judgment Day;

                “… preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28)

Ephesians 6

Ephesians 6: Children Love your Parents

                “CHILDREN, obey your parent in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother… that it might be well with thee, and thou mayest live long in the earth. And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4) Paul urges all sons and daughter to obey their parents and follow their loving guidance. He promises that if these children follow their parents, they will live long on the earth. The Lord is pleased by this, and will treat these children with respect as well.

Paul goes on to explain how all the believers in Christ, but more specifically those missionaries that are called specifically for that purpose; “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the devil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet show with preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (Ephesians 6:11-18)

                Paul goes on to urge members and missionaries to open their mouth boldly to declare the mysteries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ;

                “…that I may open my mouth boldly, to make know the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:19-20)

 

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2: “The Mormons” – We have the Mind of Christ

                When I was serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Honduras, I was often ridiculed for my faith. I would run into people that would tell me that I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. I would point out to them that the Church has the NAME of Jesus Christ in it. But usually that wouldn’t be enough. For those who are reading this now… I testify that Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.ka. “Mormons”) absolutely believe in Jesus Christ. He is central to the Plan of Happiness and ONLY through Jesus Christ can we be saved. I know He is my redeemer, He is MY Savior and He is YOUR Savior. For this purpose, I always called this chapter of 1 Corinthians “The Mormons” – We have the Mind of Christ. Because we do, we believe on Him.

                Paul comes to the Corinthians and explains that he is not perfect, but that through the Spirit and through the Power of God, he came to them as an Apostle of the Lord;

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

                Even in during this time, False teachers had come forth… enticing men by the slight of their words. Paul explained that he was a simple man, called of God to preach the Gospel. He knew that he was flawed, but knew that God was there for him. He came demonstrating the Power of God, not of Men.

Sometimes when we think of God and His dealings with us, we sell ourselves short. The bottom line is that, GOD LOVES US! We are His children and He would do ANYTHING for us. When we are sad, He is sad! When we are happy, He rejoices with us. Paul reminds us that; “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

                Paul goes on to explain that we can receive the Spirit of God, which is FREELY given to us. With this power we can have the ability to speak with the wisdom that comes from the Holy Ghost and not from the wisdom taught of men. Paul explains that Spiritual matters need to be compared, understood and taught I a Spiritual manner. Those who have the natural man, do not receive the Spiritual things of God, for they are foolishness to them!

                “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-15)

                Essentially Paul is saying that if you want to know if something is of God, you must come to that knowledge not through the wisdom of God, but through the wisdom of the Holy Ghost, the Spiritual Wisdom.

Paul closes by saying that the Church has the mind of Christ; “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)