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- XIV -
The Allegory of the Olive Tree

One Week of Studies
  1. Recite 2 Nephi 32:3.
    Read Jacob 5:1-14.
    • This is the longest and most unique chapter in the Book of Mormon! This is Jacob quoting the prophet Zenos. Zenos is quoted a lot in the Book of Mormon, yet we donít know when and where he lived. Apparently, there was a record of Zenos in the brass plates. Most of the brass plates are the same as what we have in the Old Testament, but it appears that some parts were left out of the Old Testament.
    • This chapter is known as the allegory of the tame and wild olive tree. Everything in the allegory is a symbol for something else. It is an overview of the history of the Israelites, including their past, present, and future.
    • Here is the decoder for the entire allegory:
    Symbol: Meaning
    Vineyard: The World
    Master of the Vineyard: Jesus Christ
    The Servant: Prophets
    Tame Olive Tree: Israel
    Wild Olive Tree: Gentiles
    Branches: Groups of People
    Fruit: The Works of the People
    Grafting: Scattering and/or gathering the Israelites
    • Verse 3: Israel is falling into apostasy.
    • Verses 4 & 5: The Lord is trying to revive Israel by calling them to repentance.
    • Verse 6: It sounds like the Israelite leaders were still wicked.
    • Verses 8-14: Grafting is planting a portion of one plant into another plant. This is symbolic of scattering Israel throughout other nations.

  2. Recite 2 Nephi 32:8-9.
    Read Jacob 5:15-28.
    • Verse 25: This sounds like the Nephites and Lamanites.

  3. Recite Jacob 2:18-19.
    Read Jacob 5:29-49.
    • These verses describe the period of time known as the Great Apostasy. The gospel was not on the earth anywhere.
    • Verse 40: It sounds like the Lamanites killed off the Nephites.

  4. Recite 2 Nephi 32:3.
    Read Jacob 5:49-77.
    • Verses 52-69: This is about the gathering of Israel in the Latter-Days.
    • Verses 70-74: This is about missionary work.
    • Verse 76: This is the Millennium.
    • Verse 77: This is the end of the world.

  5. Recite 2Nephi 32:8-9.
    Read Jacob 6.
    • This chapter is Jacobís commentary on the allegory in chapter 5.
    • Verses 5-12: This is how you can apply the allegory to your life.
    • Verse 12: Donít you just love this verse?

  6. Recite Jacob 2:18-19.
    Read Jacob 7.
    • Verse 2: Sherem preaches against Christ, so he is an anti-Christ.
    • Verse 4: If a person is very skilled with using words to persuade others, it does not mean they are right. Just because a person gives the best argument, it does not mean what they are saying is true. There are many confusing messages in the world. How can you know what is true?
    • Verses 10-12: Jacob told Sherem three basic ways that someone can learn the truth about Christ. Can you identify them?
    • Verse 13 & 14: We should seek miracles through our faith, obedience, and humility. If you ask for a miracle as a sign that God is there, you are challenging God to prove that he exists. He doesnít need to prove himself to you, but you do need to prove yourself to him. We need to show faith. If we wonít believe until after weíve seen a sign, we might receive one to our own condemnation. This is what happened to Sherem.
    • Verse 20: Add Sherem to the Heroes/Anti-Heroes chart. Tell the story of Sherem the anti-Christ.
    • Verse 27: Add Enos to the Golden Plates Progression Chart.

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© 2003 Heather Martinson