I would like to start this post with a big thank you to Brother Mike Day, my instructor for my Book of Mormon Fundamentals of Religion course. He has posted a video with a great explanation of Jacob 5, the longest chapter in all of the Book of Mormon. I could sing his praise all day, he really is a fantastic instructor that goes well beyond his required duty for the benefit of his student.
Let’s venture into this chapter and I plan on focusing more on what this chapter has to tell us than looking for the principles. This is a really great chapter for symbolism, and I will share what I know as we go along (I learned most of this from Brother Day.)
Jacob is now in possession of the plates of brass, passed to him just prior to the death of Nephi. Jacob, as instructed, has spent his time preaching and studying these plates for the betterment of himself and the Nephites. Upon the plates of brass are writing from previous prophets, not just Nephi and Lehi, but those that came before in and around Israel. Zenos, is one of these prophets, a prophet of old. Jacob is sharing the words of Zenos to remind the Nephites of his teachings.
Jacob 5 has other names, and the other most prevalent name is “The Allegory of the Olive Tree.” I like the way this sounds, and I have heard the word allegory before, but what does it really mean? Google saved me and here is their definition. Moving on to much more important things, but one must know the meaning of the title in order to have complete comprehension, and even with understanding of the title, my knowledge is far from complete, but I am learning, and I pray that you are too.
My simplistic view of the verses in hopes to make this allegory make sense:
v3: Jesus Christ took excellent care of the house of Israel, but the people still fell away
v4: Since the people still fell away, Jesus tried to do everything he could to care for the people by giving them His word, His love, His tenderness and His grace
v5: Jesus cared for, fed, and loved the people
v6: Some people began to come back to Christ, but many did not and they were still fallen away
v7: Jesus was heart broken, he wants to save everyone so he went to gather others that would believe in him so that he could bring them up, when he did this, He cast out those that would not ever return to him forever.
v8: Jesus said that he would take many of these new followers and send them wherever it is that he sends them and it doesn’t matter if they are part of his original people of Israel or not, he wants to make sure that they raise up a righteous people.
v9: Take Gentiles or non-Israelites and mix them in with those that still have faith in me and those that have been lost I will cast off forever so that they don’t infest those that still are on the straight and narrow path.
v10: Jesus’ prophet did as he was asked with the new believers
v11: Jesus went to the tree that was dying, as he still hasn’t cast off the bad parts yet, and he told his prophet that he was grieving over the possible loss of his people, so he made sure that he fed them, cared for them, loved them and nourished them some more. He did all that could be done to try and save them from being destroyed.
v12: Jesus instructs his prophet to watch over the people and make sure to care for the people as he would
v13: Jesus says that he will place some in different places in the world and it doesn’t matter where he sends them, but he will send them elsewhere so that his word and teachings can be preserved and that their children will be reared up in righteousness, he would be grief stricken if he were to lose everyone.
v14: Jesus places people in different parts of the world, some in one place and some in another, wherever he wanted until he was happy with the placements
v15: A very long time went by and Jesus came to his prophet and they went together to check on His people and work with them.
v16: Jesus and the prophet went to the people and the prophet said “look, Jesus, here are your people.”
v17: Jesus looked around and saw the Gentiles and non-Israelites which had been mixed with the Israelites and saw that they were a righteous people, as good as the “original” Israelites.
v18: Jesus said to his prophet the gentiles and non-Israelites are doing great and they are a strong people. Because of their strength, their offspring are also strong and righteous. If we hadn’t mixed them in with the Isarelites, all of my people would have perished. Because of our love to all, we have many righteous people today.
v19: A while later, Jesus said to his prophet, let’s go to the other parts of the world where I placed others and check on them and see if they, too, have brought up righteous children.
v20: And they got to the other parts of the world and discovered that these people were also strong and righteous, I have fed them, cared for them, nourished them, and look; they are doing so well!
v21: The prophet then asked Christ “how come you placed the people here, they are in a horrible place on earth (perhaps for planting crops, or building, or geographically).
v22: Jesus Christ told the prophet do not give me counsel, I knew what I was doing and I took care of them, and loved them, and nourished them, and they are right where they need to be.
v23: Jesus then said to the prophet, look over here, in another place in the world, I put some people here too, and I knew that this place was worse than the one that we just visited, but I loved them, cared for them, and nourished them, and they are flourishing.
v24: Jesus showed the prophet a third place, where the same things have occurred.
v25: Jesus showed the prophet a fourth place and shows that he has placed these people in a good place and he loved the people, fed them, cared for them and nourished them, but they weren’t flourishing like the other people that he had placed about in other parts of the world.
v26: Jesus tells the prophet to get rid of those people in this fourth place that aren’t being righteous and they need to be cast off.
v27: The prophet says, Jesus, let us see if we can repair this problem, let’s feed them, nourish them, care for them, and love them, maybe we can get them to be a righteous people.
v28: Jesus and the prophet care for, love, nourish and feed the people of the fourth location.
v29: A very long time passes away, and Jesus said to his prophet, let’s go check on our people and work with them, the end of time is soon coming and we must make sure that the people are following commandments and being true to myself and God the Father so that they may return to us.
v30: So Jesus and the prophet went among the people of the world and first went to the Israelites and saw that the people had done much work
v31: and Jesus looked over the work of their lives and said I took care of these people, I loved them, fed them, cared for them, nourished them, and they have worked much
v32: Unfortunately, their work is awful. Jesus grieves over the possibility of losing souls because of their horrendous works here on earth.
v33: Jesus asks his prophet what they should do to preserve those that are still being righteous that are among the bad.
v34: The prophet said to Jesus, because you mixed the Gentiles with the Israelites, they have grown
v35: Jesus said to the prophet, these people are not being righteous, they have no good works, only works of the devil.
v36: Jesus continued saying, I know that these original people were good, and I have cared for them this very long time and for this reason (that I love them) and because they are a strong people, the Gentiles among them have brought forth righteousness
v37: But look, the Gentiles have overtaken things here and with that, they have spread evil teachings (obviously, not all gentiles are good, kind of a no-brainer, but thought I’d throw it in there) that all of these people will have to be cast out unless we do something urgently to save them.
v38:Jesus then said to the prophet, let’s go out to the other parts of the world where I planted some of my other people and make sure they aren’t being evil too.
v39: And then Jesus and the prophet went to visit those in the other parts of the world and found that they too, had become corrupt, even all of them
v40: Everyone across the world that Jesus had tended to over the many, many years had fallen away and spiritually died
v41: Jesus wept and asked his prophet “what more could I have done”
v42: Jesus said I knew everyone except the last people had become corrupt, and now these people are corrupt too, and now there is nothing left to do except to cast everyone out
v43: and now that they have become corrupt, even though I gave them a great place upon the earth, better than anywhere else
v44: and I made sure that their place was great and I put them here to grow strong
v45: and they were righteous and because unrighteous mingled among them, the unrighteous bled through unto them and now they are all corrupt
v46: even though I took great care of them and fed them and nourished them and loved them, they are no longer righteous, I really wanted to bring them back to Heavenly Father, but since they are now of the world they are of no worth, and must be cast out, I grieve because of this loss
v47: Jesus again asks what more he could have done for his people. He never stopped caring for them, he never stopped nourishing them, he never stopped feeding them, he never stopped loving them and he did so continually for a very very long time. Jesus grieves over the need to cast them out and asks who corrupted his people?
v48: And then the prophet asked Jesus, is it because of the pride of the people? The natural man has taken over the spiritual side of man, and has grown faster than their spirits. Is this the reason they are bad now?
v49: Jesus said to the prophet, let us go cast out the people so that they don’t corrupt more people for I have done all that I can for them. What more could I have done?
v50: the prophet then told Jesus to wait just a bit longer
v51: Jesus agreed to wait a little longer because it would grieve him so to lose his people.
v52: Jesus said, let’s take these people in the other parts of the world and mix them up with the people in the first parts of the world see if they become a righteous people again
v53: Jesus said that he will do this to try and save them so that they may return to Heavenly Father
v54: Jesus pretty much says “let’s try this again” so that the people can grow and come unto me and return to the Father
v55: And so Jesus and the prophet moved some of the “original” people and blended them with Gentiles and melded them
v56: And they took some of the original people that had become Gentiles and melded them
v57: Jesus said to the prophet only take the people that are doing good works and blend those people in
v58: Jesus said that they would nourish and care for and love and feed those that are wanting to do good and those that are not willing to do so, those will be the ones that shall be cast out
v59: And Jesus will do this in hope that they will grow in faith and strength and be able to overcome evil and change those that are not so good
v60: And since Jesus has saved them to this point, and he blended the not so good people with the good people that maybe they may all again become a righteous people; and then Jesus would have joy again and celebrate that his people are doing well.
v61: dear prophet, go and call all of our disciples so that we can help make the way and bring forth a righteous people.
v62: and then we will go one last time, because the end of time for man is coming close and this is the last time that I shall work with the people to help them become a righteous people.
v63: we will mix the people all together and we will care for them, nurture them, love them and nourish them and they will be one people.
v64: so let’s get to it, let us take care of them this one last time and then my prophet, you will pave the way for them so that they may become a righteous people, show them how.
v65: and when they grow, if they become bad, get rid of the places where the evil grows so that they do not interfere with those that are righteous; I do not want to lose all of my people
v66: Jesus would grieve if he lost all of his people, so let the evil be, and keep them away from the good people until the good overcome the bad and then the bad will be cast out forever so that they can no longer interfere with the righteous.
v67: I will then bring back my “original” people to the place of their birth.
v68: and these people will be put into the group with all of my people and they will all be righteous and be one people
v69: and the evil people will be cast away forever.
v70: and Jesus sent his prophet and the prophet went and got other prophets and there were only a few of them
v71: and Jesus said to these choice men, go and talk to the world with everything you have, teach them, nourish them, feed them, love them, care for them and show them the way back to me and the Father, the end of time is near, work with all that you have and do your best so that these people will come back to me.
v72: and the prophets went and did what Jesus asked them to do and the prophets obeyed all of the commandments given them
v73: And there began to be people following Christ once again and they were multiplying and doing very well and they were over taking those that were evil.
v74: and the prophets worked hard and worked according to the commandments given to them from Christ, until they had rid all the evil and once again all of the people on the earth were righteous, and these were the people that were most precious unto Christ since the beginning of time.
v75: and then Jesus saw that everything was good and he called to the prophets and said to them, everything is done and I have save those that are righteous, just like it was in the beginning and you, prophets are blessed because you worked so hard with my people, kept my commandments and brought righteous people unto me and you will have joy with me because you worked so hard.
v76: In a very long time to come, I will bring up the people again to the Father, and this time comes fast, I have finished my work helping the righteous, I will keep these righteous for a long time to myself
v77: and when the time comes that evil people shall again come into the world, I will make the b\good and the bad mix together and then I will save the good and cast out the bad forever and this will be the end.
This post is not perfect and is my very own translation and has no other backing from a religious group or otherwise. I have interpreted the writing of Zenos on my own and put it into words that I find are easier to understand for myself and perhaps to others who have difficulty understanding this original writing. This chapter can be read and re-read for more and deeper understanding and I would encourage everyone to do so. Thank you for reading, I leave this long post with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.