Lesson 47

Jacob 5:52–77; 6:1–13

“Lesson 47: Jacob 5:52–77; 6:1–13,” Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher Manual (2017)


Introduction

In the previous lesson, students began studying Zenos’s allegory of the tame and wild olive trees. In this lesson, they will study the final portion of the allegory, in which the master of the vineyard labors with his servants for the last time to help the trees produce good fruit. They will also study Jacob 6, in which Jacob comments on the allegory and admonishes his people to repent.

Suggestions for Teaching

Jacob 5:52–60

In the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees, the master of the vineyard saves the trees and helps them produce good fruit

Remind students that in the previous lesson, they began studying Zenos’s allegory of the tame and wild olive trees in Jacob 5. To review the previous lesson, divide the class into pairs. Ask each pair to discuss their responses to the following incomplete statements (you may want to write these statements on the board before class and invite students to refer as needed to the chart from the previous lesson):

  1. The master of the vineyard represents …

  2. The efforts of the master of the vineyard to save his trees represent …

  3. One thing I learned about Jesus Christ from the words or actions of the master of the vineyard is …

After students have discussed these statements as pairs, briefly review their responses as a class. As students report their answers to the first two statements, be sure that it is clear that the master of the vineyard represents Jesus Christ and that his efforts to save his trees represent the Savior’s efforts to help His people return to Him.

Remind students that as recorded in Jacob 5:29–42, all the trees in the vineyard were bringing forth wild fruit, which likely represents the Great Apostasy. The master of the vineyard then decided to spare the vineyard “a little longer” (Jacob 5:51).

Explain that today’s lesson covers the final portion of the allegory, which represents the last days, including the Restoration of the gospel.

Summarize Jacob 5:52–60 by explaining that the master of the vineyard grafted branches from the scattered natural trees back into their original tree—the tree representing the house of Israel. Then he grafted branches from that tree into the other natural trees. Explain that he knew that as the roots would take strength, the branches throughout the vineyard would change, “that the good [might] overcome the evil” (Jacob 5:59). He also cast the most bitter branches into the fire.

Jacob 5:61–77

The master of the vineyard labors in the vineyard with his servants

Point out that the servant mentioned throughout the first part of the allegory represents the Lord’s prophets.

Invite students to read Jacob 5:61–62 silently, looking for what the master of the vineyard instructed his servant to do and why he asked him to do it. Ask students to report what they find.

  • Who might be represented by the multiple servants in Jacob 5:61? (Help students see that these servants can represent all members of the Church: prophets and apostles, general and local Church leaders, missionaries, home teachers, visiting teachers, and anyone who participates in the Lord’s work.)

  • What truth can we learn from the master of the vineyard’s use of the words we, our, and us in Jacob 5:61–62? (Help students identify the following truth: The Lord labors with us as we do His work.)

  • What are some ways in which the Lord labors with us as we do His work? (One possible answer is that the Lord can bless us with inspiration, guidance, and strength through the Holy Ghost.)

  • According to Jacob 5:62, what is unique about the time in which these servants were called to labor? (It was the “last time” the master would prune the vineyard. Prophets have referred to this “last time” as “the dispensation of the fulness of times.” For example, see Ephesians 1:10 and D&C 128:20.)

To help students see how this part of the allegory relates to them, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dean L. Larsen, who served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy:

Elder Dean L. Larsen

“[Now] is the period during which the Lord and his servants will make the final great effort to take the message of truth to all the peoples of the earth and to reclaim the descendants of ancient Israel who have lost their true identity. …

“You have come to the earth when the foundation has been laid for this great work. The gospel has been restored for the last time. The Church has been established in almost every part of the world. The stage is set for the final dramatic scenes to be enacted. You will be the principal players. You are among the last laborers in the vineyard. … This is the service for which you are chosen” (Dean L. Larsen, “A Royal Generation,” Ensign, May 1983, 33).

  • What are your thoughts about being among the last laborers in the Lord’s vineyard before His Second Coming?

Ask a student to read Jacob 5:70–71 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord of the vineyard promised to the servants who labored with him.

  • What did the Lord promise to His servants who labored with their might with Him?

  • Using your own words, how would you state the Lord’s promise in Jacob 5:71 as a principle? (Students may identify a principle such as the following: If we labor mightily with the Lord, then we will be blessed with joy.)

  • What are some opportunities you have to serve with the Lord in His work? (Students may mention Church callings and assignments; helping and encouraging family members, friends, and others to draw closer to the Savior; serving the Lord as a full-time missionary; and participating in family history and temple work.)

  • What are some ways we can labor mightily with the Lord in these various opportunities?

Invite a student to read Jacob 5:72, 74 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened to the trees and the fruit as the servants labored mightily with the Lord.

  • What happened to the trees and the fruit as the Lord and His servants labored together?

  • In verse 74, what might the trees becoming “like unto one body” and the “fruits [being] equal” represent? (The righteousness and unity that exist among the Lord’s people as they obey His commandments and do His work. See also Moses 7:18.)

Explain that the Lord of the vineyard spoke to his servants after their work was complete. Ask a student to read Jacob 5:75 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord of the vineyard told his servants.

  • What feelings would you have if you heard the Lord say to you, “Blessed art thou”? Why?

  • When have you felt joy because you labored mightily with the Lord in His work? (You may also want to share an experience.)

Conclude this part of the lesson by asking students to answer the following question in their study journals or class notebooks (you may want to write it on the board):

  • What is one way you will labor more mightily with the Lord in His work?

After students have had enough time to write, you might ask one or two of them to read their responses to the class.

Summarize Jacob 5:76–77 by explaining that after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, righteousness will prevail for a “long time” (during the Millennium). When evil again enters the world, God will separate the righteous from the wicked and cleanse the earth by fire.

Jacob 6

Jacob teaches of the Lord’s mercy and justice and invites his people to repent

Explain that Jacob 6 contains a number of truths and principles Jacob wanted his people to learn from Zenos’s allegory. Write the following scripture references on the board:

Jacob 6:4–6

Jacob 6:7–10

Divide the class in half. Assign one half to silently study the first group of verses on the board and the other half to silently study the second group of verses. As students study their verses, encourage them to write down answers to the following questions. (You may want to write these questions on the board or create a handout containing the questions.)

  • What is a truth or principle that Jacob wanted his people to understand?

  • How does the allegory in Jacob 5 help us understand that truth or principle?

  • Why do you think it is important for us to understand that truth today?

After students have had enough time to study these verses and record their answers to the questions, invite a few of them to report their answers to the class. Truths or principles students identify could include the following:

  • God remembers us even when we are sinful and offers us the opportunity to repent. (See Jacob 6:4.)

  • We will receive God’s mercy if we repent and come unto Him with full purpose of heart. (See Jacob 6:4–5.)

  • Those who persist in evil and do not repent will someday stand with shame before God. (See Jacob 6:7–9.)

  • In what ways does God show mercy to us as we repent and come unto Him? (One possible answer is that God forgives our sins.)

Invite a student to read Jacob 6:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional counsel Jacob gave.

  • Based on the truths in Jacob 6, why would it be wise to follow Jacob’s counsel to repent?

Testify that God will be merciful to us as we repent and come unto Him.