A year and a half ago I did a short blog showing how the allegory in Jacob proves the doctrine of the three watches by clearly identifying each of the three watches.
That post was followed up by a three part series that provided an in depth analysis-
In it I demonstrated that the allegory was divided into several main parts.
Part 1 of the allegory is described by verses 1-14 and it addresses the Old Testament events leading up to the first watch that began in the meridian of time.
Part 2 is described by verses 15-28 and it describes the 1st watch when the Saviors earthly ministry first took the gospel to the Jews and then established the New Testament church which was taking the gospel to the gentiles. Eventually that church went into apostasy and what we refer to as the dark ages.
Part 3 is described by verses 29-69 . It describes the 2nd watch, which we commonly refer to as the LDS restoration movement, when the latter day gentile church was restored to the earth. Eventually it began to go into apostasy as well, however, the Lord and his servant decided to do SOMETHING to preserve the roots for an extended period of time so that Zion can spring forth in the last watch.
In that section it also describes the strategy for bringing forth the fullness of the Gospel at a later time, in the 3rd watch by grafting in the corrupted branches from the nethermost part of the vineyard into the tree of the restored church which had also become corrupted.
Part 4 is described by verses 70-77. It describes the 3rd watch, which the Book of Mormon describes as the Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Other scriptures in the New Testament and modern revelation refer to it as the dispensation of the fullness of times. Included in those few verses are an account of the return of Gods servants into the vineyard followed by a brief mention of the millennium and the little season.
It points out that the main servant brings other servants into the vineyard to nourish the vineyard for the last time in the 3rd watch. It also points out that the Lord himself returns to the vineyard AFTER the servants begin the last work.
It points out that in the 3rd watch there begins to be natural fruit in the vineyard again and the root and the top become EQUAL, and the tree becomes like unto ONE BODY, referring to the establishment of Zion.
It is interesting to note the following verse in section 100-
“For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness”
It would appear that although there are a few gentiles and other righteous remnants of the house of Israel that will repent and become a pure people, this period of time probably also includes the literal raising up of all of the righteous saints who have died in previous times and had not yet been resurrected.
Daniel speaks of this event as well, noting that at the final time of trouble, many of them that sleep in the dust shall awaken, some awaken to shame while others awake unto everlasting life-
1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
It would appear as if this last great battle of the Lord, as Joseph described it in his prophecy, possibly begins between mortals but eventually involves many of the righteous and the wicked that are returned from the dead.
In the parable in Jacob, eventually all of the bad branches were cast away… referring to the burning and cleansing of the telestial world in the day of transfiguration as it transitions into a terrestrial world.
In verse 36 the Lord says he has “preserved the roots” for his own purposes.
In one sense, the roots have been reserved in the spirit world, to come forth at the time of the great battle.
On the other hand, Joseph refers to the seed of the 12 olive trees which appears to be referring to the mortal descendants of the Nauvoo Saints who were of the twelve tribes of Israel.
This ties in well with section 86 wherein he tells his anointed servants that “your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things…”
Indeed, there always have been and always will be the literal descendants of the patriarchal priesthood on the earth until Father Adam and the other servants return.
Verse 36 reveals that some good fruits did initially come out of the gentile Church, the roots had “hitherto brought forth from the wild branches good fruit” yet in verse 37 we are informed that ultimately the wild branches have grown and “overrun the roots“.
It repeats the indictment with a little different terminology; “the wild branches have overcome the roots“. This results in the bringing forth of much evil fruit!
The initial bringing forth of good fruit took place during the 3 1/2 year period between 1831 and 1834 when the highest priesthood was restored to the earth and the light began to shine forth among a few of the righteous saints.
But ultimately, the church collectively failed to live the higher law and redeem Zion because of the tares that were mingled among the wheat.
From 1834 up until the Kirtland apostasy and the defiling of the Kirtland Temple, and beyond, all the way to the rejection of the church in Nauvoo, the wild branches of the restored church began to overcome the roots.
As the wild branches were overcoming the roots the incredible pronouncement by the Lord in the allegory is made that the tree was becoming ripened and would need to be cast into the fire unless they do SOMETHING to preserve it!
“…it will soon become ripened that it may be cast into the fire except we should do SOMETHING
for it to preserve it….”
Interestingly, the word “something” is not a common word in the four standard works. It only shows up 10 times total.
During the 2nd watch, after the gentiles had rejected the greater light of the fullness of the gospel, Joseph Smith stated that the Lord had revealed to him that SOMETHING NEW must be done for the salvation of the Church!
“the Lord has revealed to me that SOMETHING new must be done for the Salvation of the Church”
Of course, he was referring to the same thing that verse 37 of the parable in Jacob was referring to.
He realized that something must be done to preserve the testimony of Christ, the Book of Mormon and the D&C.
He also knew that the keys of the ministering of angels and Aaronic priesthood also needed to be preserved so that mortal man could eventually make contact with the higher light again in the 3rd watch.
According to the parable, the Lord also checked on his natural branches that were in the nethermost parts of the vineyard and sure enough, they had also become corrupt and brought forth evil fruit also.
All of the trees of the vineyard had become corrupted, including the restored church which had previously brought forth good fruit but had since become corrupted.
Just as the Lord of the vineyard was about to go with his servant and burn the vineyard, the servant pleaded with the Lord to spare the vineyard a little longer.
This is telling us about the incredible type of how the latter day Moses would make an intercessory offering that was similar to the one that Moses made in behalf of the children of Israel.
The SOMETHING that needed to be done for the salvation of the God’s people, which would preserve the roots of the restored church in the vineyard, had to do with the scapegoat offering that the latter day Moses would make which would enable the grafting in of the branches of the nethermost parts of the vineyard into the restored church from which they originally came.
The branches in the nethermost part of the vineyard represents the dispersed of Judah and the outcasts of Israel that were living in foreign lands.
These are the people that the quorum of the twelve and other missionaries were sent to take the preparatory gospel to.
52 Wherefore, let us take of the branches of these which I have planted in the nethermost parts of my vineyard, and let us graft them into the tree from whence they came; and let us pluck from the tree those branches whose fruit is most bitter, and graft in the natural branches of the tree in the stead thereof.
53 And this will I do that the tree may not perish, that, perhaps, I may preserve unto myself the roots thereof for mine own purpose.
54 And, behold, the roots of the natural branches of the tree which I planted whithersoever I would are yet alive; wherefore, that I may preserve them also for mine own purpose, I will take of the branches of this tree, and I will graft them in unto them. Yea, I will graft in unto them the branches of their mother tree, that I may preserve the roots also unto mine own self, that when they shall be sufficiently strong perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me, and I may yet have glory in the fruit of my vineyard.
55 And it came to pass that they took from the natural tree which had become wild, and grafted in unto the natural trees, which also had become wild.
56 And they also took of the natural trees which had become wild, and grafted into their mother tree.
57 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Pluck not the wild branches from the trees, save it be those which are most bitter; and in them ye shall graft according to that which I have said.
58 And we will nourish again the trees of the vineyard, and we will trim up the branches thereof; and we will pluck from the trees those branches which are ripened, that must perish, and cast them into the fire.
59 And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil.
60 And because that I have preserved the natural branches and the roots thereof, and that I have grafted in the natural branches again into their mother tree, and have preserved the roots of their mother tree, that, perhaps, the trees of my vineyard may bring forth again good fruit; and that I may have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard, and, perhaps, that I may rejoice exceedingly that I have preserved the roots and the branches of the first fruit—
The above passages in the parable are a remarkable explanation of what took place after the latter day gentile church rejected the fullness of the gospel.
The Lord sent ministering angels to the Kirtland Temple with the keys of the gathering of Israel and the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham containing the preparatory gospel.
As a result, Joseph then set up foreign missions and began gathering the other remnants of Israel from the nethermost part of the vineyard into the mother church in America.
He was also sending missionaries to establish branches right there in the nethermost parts of the vineyard.
The grafting in of the branches from the nethermost part of the vineyard is what was happening in Nauvoo when the converts from foreign lands began gathering to America.
61 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 other fruit.
62 Wherefore, let us go 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.
63 Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that the first may be last, and dig about the trees, both old and young, the first and the last; and the last and the first, that all may be nourished once again for the last time.
64 Wherefore, dig about them, and prune them, and dung them once more, for the last time, for the end draweth nigh. And if it be so that these last grafts shall grow, and bring forth the natural fruit, then shall ye prepare the way for them, that they may grow.
65 And as they begin to grow ye shall clear away the branches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to the strength of the good and the size thereof; and ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once, lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard.
66 For it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard; wherefore ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow, that the root and the top may be equal in strength, until the good shall overcome the bad, and the bad be hewn down and cast into the fire, that they cumber not the ground of my vineyard; and thus will I sweep away the bad out of my vineyard.
67 And the branches of the natural tree will I graft in again into the natural tree;
68 And the branches of the natural tree will I graft into the natural branches of the tree; and thus will I bring them together again, that they shall bring forth the natural fruit, and they shall be one.
69 And the bad shall be cast away, yea, even out of all the land of my vineyard; for behold, only this once will I prune my vineyard.
70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.
71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.
72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.
75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.
Those last passages provide an incredibly beautiful explanation of how Zion is going to be redeemed in the near future.
Although the bad overcame the good during the 2nd watch, the good will overcome the bad during the 3rd watch.
Looking through the lens of the history of the church, the grafting in of the natural branches was obviously taking place through the establishment of foreign missions!
Here is an interesting excerpt from the LDS Church website regarding this amazing pronouncement from Joseph Smith;
“During the last few years the Saints lived in Kirtland, many members and even some leaders of the Church apostatized.
The Church seemed to be passing through a time of crisis.
‘In this state of things,’ the Prophet wrote,
‘God revealed to me that something new must be done for the salvation of His Church.’
This ‘something new’ was linked to a revelation to send missionaries to England to preach the gospel.
Heber C. Kimball, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, recalled:
‘About the first day of June 1837, the Prophet Joseph came to me, while I was seated in … the Temple, in Kirtland, and whispering to me, said, ‘Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me, “Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my gospel and open the door of salvation to that nation.’
Elder Kimball was overwhelmed by the thought of such an undertaking:
‘I felt myself one of the very weakest of God’s servants. I asked Joseph what I should say when I got there; he told me to go to the Lord and He would guide me, and speak through me by the same spirit that [directed] him.‘
The Prophet also extended calls to Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, and Joseph Fielding in Kirtland, and to Isaac Russell, John Snyder, and John Goodson in Toronto, Canada.
These brethren were to join Elder Kimball on his mission to England. Gathering in New York City, they sailed on the ship Garrick for Great Britain on July 1, 1837.
This first mission outside of North America brought some 2,000 converts into the Church during the missionaries’ first year in England. Elder Kimball wrote joyfully to the Prophet: ‘Glory to God, Joseph, the Lord is with us among the nations!’
A second apostolic mission to Britain, involving most members of the Twelve under the leadership of Brigham Young, was directed by the Prophet from Nauvoo.
Leaving in the fall of 1839, the Twelve arrived in England in 1840. There they began a labor that by 1841 would bring over 6,000 converts into the Church, fulfilling the Lord’s promise that He would do ‘something new’ for the salvation of His Church.
From Nauvoo, Joseph Smith continued to send missionaries throughout the world.
Elder Orson Hyde landed in England in 1841 and later continued his assigned mission to Jerusalem.
On May 11, 1843, the Prophet called Elders Addison Pratt, Noah Rogers, Benjamin F. Grouard, and Knowlton F. Hanks to perform missions to the islands of the South Pacific. This was the first mission of the Church anywhere in that vast region. Elder Hanks died at sea, but Elder Pratt traveled to the Austral Islands, where he taught the gospel on the island of Tubuai. Elders Rogers and Grouard continued to Tahiti, where hundreds of people were baptized as a result of their labors.
Under the direction of Joseph Smith, the Saints were moving forward to fulfill the Lord’s command: “Go ye into all the world; and unto whatsoever place ye cannot go ye shall send, that the testimony may go from you into all the world unto every creature” (D&C 84:62).”
Joseph Smith was being cryptic when he said something new must be done for the Salvation of the Church. The Church membership did not realize that he was declaring that the gospel was now going from the Gentiles to the remnants of Judah and other branches… Joseph Smith was establishing foreign missions for the purpose of, in the terms used by Brother Zenos, grafting into the restored church which had become a wild tree, the natural branches which had also become wild, from the nethermost part of the vineyard.
During this time a large portion of the Gentile leadership and membership, including two of the three gentile witnesses to the book of Mormon started rebelling against Joseph the Seer.
At this time, the Lord makes it known that the Church has undergone a name change, he reveals that from this time forth, those who gather to the appointed places of refuge and live the higher law of consecration are to be called the Church in Zion while all other branches of the church that have not entered into the Law of Zion and are in a scattered condition are to be called the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints“.
Instead of accepting the fullness of the gospel, redeeming Zion and ushering in the dispensation of the fullness of times, the latter day church digressed and was given the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, which is the preparatory gospel.
The mandate given to the quorum of the twelve apostles as they were being sent to gather in the natural branches which had become wild from the nethermost part of the vineyard is most revealing.
In section 112 they were told to-
- Bear Testimony of the NAME of Jesus Christ
- Send that testimony abroad among all nations kindreds tongues and people
- Send forth His word unto the ends of the earth
The above mandate is very important; however it is quite different from what the mandate will be when the fullness of the gospel is sent forth during the dispensation of the fulness of times.
Verse 32 provides a veiled reference to the fact that the twelve were dispensing the preparatory gospel… even the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham to the inhabitants of the world
“For verily, I say unto you, the keys of the dispensation, which ye have received, have come down from the fathers, and last of all being sent down from heaven unto you.”
The DISPENSATION OF THE FATHERS refers to a past dispensation, one that was had during Old Testament Times. It refers to the gospel of Abraham.
It does NOT refer to the dispensation of the fullness of times!
The LDS missionnaries being sent to the nethermost parts of the vineyard were not ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times. They were functioning under the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham which takes place in the dispensation of the last times.
The dispensation of the fullness of times never existed anciently. It comes forth for the first time at the end of times because it incorporates all previous dispensations.
Clearly, the SOMETHING NEW that was going to preserve the tree and enable the fullness of the gospel to be ushered in during the third watch was the turning of the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children which, according to modern revelation means, turning “the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews”
Does the turning of the hearts of the Jews to the Prophets mean genealogy work like some people teach?
The turning of the hearts of the Jews to the prophets is referring to the sending forth of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and the publishing of his word among the nations to gather the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah!
It also has to do with the preservation of the Aaronic Priesthood so that the keys of receiving the ministering of angels would be available to actuate the final restoration of the fullness of the gospel in the 3rd watch!
The Aaronic priesthood was to remain upon the earth until the sons of Levi offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.
In the final part of this series we shall review another Old Testament prophecy that Joseph read to the people during his Nauvoo discourse on the parable of the olive trees.