(Note: the following is a transcript of the Video above. It was my first attempt at making a blog by making a video first. I may or may not do this again. The video is much better than the text below. Please just watch it as you will get a better feel for the message than this text below.)
Hello, this is Kelly Smith, and I wanted to talk a little bit about a spiritual lesson I learned, a very powerful, interesting, spiritual experience that I thought was worth sharing. As you can see back here, I’ve got a bunch of pictures of olive trees. For those who have read the Book of Mormon, there’s a chapter in Jacob chapter five called about the Allegory of the Olive Tree. It’s from, Zenos a prophet that lived before Isaiah and we don’t have a lot of other records about him, but the Book of Mormon has several things about him. He’s quite an important prophet and he’s actually quoted by several prophets in the old and new Testament, but there’s no attribution to who it was. He was a very great prophet, with very powerful teaching and I’ve been impressed just to give you a little bit of a story.
When I was growing up, I went to seminary but wasn’t very good at attender. I didn’t graduate seminary. I went on my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-Day Saints when I was 19 and had a very tough time doing that but I went and I just kept going and going and with the help and Lord I made it through, but I remember very distinctly one day, well here’s my mission scriptures that I had. I was trying to understand them, trying to grasp what they mean and trying to figure out how they all worked and what the teachings of the Lord were. I knew the gospel. I knew the principles, but I just didn’t know where things were. So somebody gave me an outline of Jacob chapter five and it just enthralled me.
I just dove in and I marked it up like crazy. You can see it very well marked. I marked it up so much that it comes right out of my scriptures. It’s the only pages that fall out of my whole scriptures. It’s got marks all over the place and if you look real closely you can see all kinds of markings on them. It’s just a wonderful thing! And I was just so amazed at the intricacies of it and shows how the prophecy from wherever his time was all the way to end of the world, about the history of the world and what’s going to happen and how he takes a tree, he plants a tree, a tame olive tree, and it goes bad, he cuts off branches. He grafts into other ones, and he plants them at different places all over the world.
And you can deduce from the locations in front of the things he says, these are the lost tribes. This is, these are the Lamanites and Nephites. These are the Jewish people. He even mentions the Jaredites too! And so from a kind of a different perspective, you get to see how the Lord worked regarding the house of Israel. And I just loved that chapter. I’ve studied it many times since. I recently got a book from James Prout called Last Days Timeline about Jacob five and about the prophecy of the tame and wild olive trees. And he does a pretty good job trying to show that there’s a number of things in it in relation to the signs of the times that we live in. And some things are gonna happen in the near future regarding the gathering of Israel, the second coming of Jesus Christ and such.
And I enjoyed the book. I liked it a lot. I’m not saying anything bad about it. I was sitting there reading my scriptures going back and forth with it. And all of a sudden the spirit says, “put down the book.” Okay. So I put it down. I was going back through it the second time and it said, put down the book. So I went back to reading and pondering on my own. And then I started looking, wondering, okay let me learn everything I can about olive trees. So I got on the internet. I spent two solid hours. I mean I know that’s not a big deal of time to study a subject. I understand that, but it’s amazing how much you can learn in two hours on the internet with videos, with blog posts, with all kinds of things. I learned a lot about olive trees and orchards and growing them and how you prune them and how you harvest them and such.
In fact, what I did is I started this little notebook here and I started writing notes of everything that I had learned. I wrote down a number of things about Olive trees, and I was just really impressed by this. I don’t want to go through all the details, but I’m just here to tell you, there’s a lot of things about Olive trees worth noticing. And I wrote them down, everything about harvesting and growing and pruning Olive trees. Very impressive. And then I just started going through my scriptures again, I started going through them and analyzing them in a very detailed way and pondering the words. And I noticed things. As I said, I had studied this many times before, but not to this depth. And so I started really studying in-depth and I would go along and I would take notes and I’d write down something about this verse.
And I’d noticed something about that verse. And I know something about that person. I just kept going through and I noticed patterns and I noticed words and phrases and things. And I just kept going through and I wrote 46 pages of notes, obviously this a little book, but I wrote 46 pages of notes. And a lot of times I’d go back and cross things out because it didn’t fit once I understood the whole overall scheme of things and trying to figure out a number of things that are going on, trying to figure out what are the roots? What are the branches? What are all these types of things?
And then it hit me. First of all, we have been taught a number of things about the Master, the Lord of the vineyard, and the Servant.
And I had always been taught that the master was, was Jesus Christ. And the servants were the prophets. I come to find out the Master is God, the Father, and the Servant is Jesus Christ throughout the entire parable from the very beginning. The master, the Lord, is God the Father. He’s the one that takes the Lost 10 tribes. He’s the one that moves the Lehite group to America. He’s the one that directs everything. And Jesus Christ, the servant does whatever the master tells him to do. Once you understand, that’s the basic parable that the Master and Jesus Christ and all of the servants, then it gives a different perspective on things. And I kept trying to go through and analyze all the details. Cause there’s like James Prout’s book and he tries to point out about the number of things that are going to happen with the second coming of Jesus Christ and the return of lost 10 tribes and things like that.
This is not a chapter that shows a lot of details. It does show some, and there’s one very specific thing that I want to get to. But the whole book of Revelation is contained in just 15 verses of this chapter. It doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but it does show one thing better than anything else. I started writing down all the things regarding the master and his plans for the olive tree. And he would plant the tree and he had hoped for it to grow and he got some fruit and then it started to decay. So he got a little nervous. God grieved, he didn’t want to lose this tree, he put some effort and energy into this. So he cuts off some branches and goes and plants them in different places and they grow and he’s happy the next time he comes back and Oh, there’s fruit here!
And then they come back a second time and it’s all rotten. All the fruit is no good. It’s not good for eating or anything. Let’s go back to the analysis I did of how trees grow and what they have to go through. And the length of time. You know an Olive tree, it grows almost anywhere that has fairly dry soil. It doesn’t like wet soil. That’s a big problem. And it doesn’t like cold. Olive trees don’t do well in freezing cold. They have to have a period of cold, but not really, really cold, but they’ll endure a lot. They’re very hardy trees, and they will endure a lot of problems. In fact, you can burn the whole thing down, it’ll come back. He planted these trees all over the world, expecting harvest to come in.
We are the harvest.
And he goes through and he shows his feelings regarding this from hope to grief, anticipation, anger, happiness, frustration, weeping, grieving, to all these kinds of emotions. And it goes over and over. He really describes his emotions as God, the Father.
And then all of a sudden I realized this chapter contains more words of God, the Father, than all other scripture combined, it’s HIM talking. And once that realization hit me, it’s like, Oh wow!
And so I looked at it from that perspective and it describes his feelings, how much he hopes for us, how much work he’s done for us. It’s astonishing how much work he’s done for you and me to try to help us get back to him. It’s amazing how much work he has done. He’s here right now on the earth he’s working right now. He isn’t in some far off distant planet somewhere just directing things, not caring about it, “just yeah, whatever, bring it in!” It’s not like that at all!
He’s down here working, he’s calling servants, the missionaries and the 144,000, all those things are all coming but it was the beautiful realization that God is here, that he loves us. And he weeps when things don’t work the way he wanted, he really hopes for us. He’s like a hopeful businessman trying to put forth the effort and energy to get us to gain a profit for him: a profit is a fruit that is sweet, tender, and good for consumption. We’re the fruit. And we’re the ones that are good fruit. The ones that he can plant throughout eternity and increase his dominion. It’s such a beautiful passage. Once you realize these things. And yes it gives details about the second coming and some of these things like that are very interesting, but I don’t think that’s the main message.
It just gives you kind of a couple of things to put it all in context and put it in a different way. But I just was so touched when I realized this is God, the father speaking. And there’s more of his words contained in this chapter than all other scripture combined. And that he’s down here, he’s working right now. He’s here helping, trying to bring out the best in all of us. He wants us to have the best. He wants us to succeed. He wants us and he grieves when we grieve and he just does all he can to make sure that you and I are going to come back to us. He’s working. He is physically working here and trying to dig and prune and dung and nourish and all those kinds of things that are described over and over again.
And once I made that realization, this chapter, even again, became a beautiful testimony to me. The one chapter that got me in the scriptures all those years ago, the one that made me fall in love with the scriptures, that’s what started it all. And I’m still learning from this chapter after all those years, my mission was in 1977 and there are beautiful principles. So that’s all I wanted to share with you. I hope this has been beneficial for you, and I hope that this has helped you realize just how much he cares about you. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Yes! As with Isaiah & Revelation, this allegory is very layered. And I remember when I first had the paradigm shift you’re describing here. It still is wondrous to me. The central theme is At-One-ment & the fulfilling of His Plan of Salvation. It is very clearly demonstrated that Father is nOt just a passive, but powerful, bystander. He is our loving, committed, involved doing all He possibly can to bring aLL His children home!
I suspect you would very much enjoy “Jacob’s Allegory: The Mystery of Christ” by
M. Catherine Thomas. It is one of the entries in the book “The Allegory of the Olive Tree”, exited by Stephen D. Ricks, John W. Welch. It’s available to read for free on Deseret BookShelf.