Tag Archives: romans 11

Jacob 5: Phrases, Doctrines, and Metaphors beyond Isaiah 5 and Romans 11

Some dismiss chapter 5 of Jacob as simply a plagiarism of Isaiah 5 and Romans 11. The following is a list of Biblical references in Jacob 5 that are not found in Isaiah 5 or Romans 11. The purpose of this list is to illustrate the complexity of the allegory of the olive tree and how it has a deep foundation in Biblical imagery and doctrine not accounted for in Isaiah 5 or Romans 11, possibly providing evidence of its Semitic roots.

1. Planting trees in a vineyard = Some argue that it makes no sense that the allegory refers to an olive tree in a vineyard, with some attributing the supposed “error” to the mindless plagiarism of Isaiah 5 and Romans 11, and others arguing that this error is due to writer’s fatigue. Planting trees in vineyards, however, has its basis in other Biblical passages.

  • Jacob 5:3 = “a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard”
  • Luke 13:8 = “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard…”

2. Prune it, dig about it, nourish it, dung it = Had Jacob 5 been a simple plagiarism of Isaiah 5, then it would have only mentioned “pruning” and “digging.” Jacob 5 includes “dunging” and “nourishing,” which are not mentioned in Isaiah 5.

  • Jacob 5:4, 64 = “I will prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it…dig about them, and prune them, and dung them once more…”
  • Isaiah 5:6 = “it shall not be pruned, nor digged…”
  • Luke 13:8 = “till I shall dig about it, and dung it”

3. Shoot forth branches = It is unknown whether or not “shoot forth branches” was part of the vernacular of 19th century farmers, but regardless the phrase is found in various Old and New Testament scriptures.

  • Jacob 5:4 = “that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches”
  • Ezekiel 17:7 = “and shot forth her branches toward him…”
  • Ezekiel 36:8 = “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come”
  • Luke 21:30 = “when they now shoot forth, ye see and know…”

4. Those who abide in the vine/tree bring much fruit = The Lord of the Vineyard is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. Members of the LDS faith believe that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, making the verse in Jacob 5 a direct reference to the words of the Savior in the New Testament.

  • Jacob 5:20 = “this long time have I nourished it, and it hath brought forth much fruit.”
  • John 15:5 = “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit…”

5. Young and tender branches = Once again, it is unknown whether the phrase “young and tender” was part of the vernacular of 19th century farmers, but the phrase is found in its exact form in the Old Testament.

  • Jacob 5:4 = “shoot forth young and tender branches”
  • Matthew 24:32 = “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh”
  • Ezekiel 17:22 = “crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one…”
  • 1 Chronicles 22:5 = “Solomon my son is young and tender…”

6. Cast withered branches into the fire that they are burned = The wording between these two passages is very similar, including the unusual phrase “into the fire that they may be burned.” Most English writers would simply say “cast into the fire” and omit “that they may be burned” because it would be redundant. This may lend support to the Semitic origins of the Book of Mormon

  • Jacob 5:7 = “branches which are beginning to wither away, and we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned.”
  • John 15:6 = “he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

7. The main top begins to perish and will be destroyed= The perishing of the olive tree is a direct reference to prophecies about the scattering of Israel. There is no reference to the perishing of an olive tree in Isaiah 5 or Romans 11.

  • Jacob 5:6-7 = “it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish…we will pluck off those main branches which are beginning to wither away, and we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned”
  • Jeremiah 2:21 = “Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?”
  • Jeremiah 19:15/20:4 = “I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words…and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword”

8. Lord of the vineyard =

  • Jacob 5:8 = “And behold, saith the Lord of the vineyard…”
  • Luke 20:13 = “Then said the Lord of the vineyard…”

9. Lay up against the season = It is unknown if this was common vernacular during the time of Joseph Smith. Regardless, the language is consistent with that of the Bible.

  • Jacob 5:13 = “that I may lay up fruit thereof against the season, unto myself…”
  • 1 Timothy 6:19 = “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

10. Good spot of ground/soil =

  • Jacob 5:25 = “Behold, this have I planted in a good spot of ground…”
  • Ezekiel 17:8 = “It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.”

11. Planting tender branches into a new spot of ground =

  • Jacob 5: 24 = “Look hither, and behold another branch also, which I have planted…”
  • Ezekiel 17:22-23 = “I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent…and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit…”

12. Spare the tree a little longer =

  • Jacob 5:27, 50 = “Let us prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it a little longer…But behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer.”
  • Luke 13:8-9 = “Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”

13. None of the fruit is good =

  • Jacob 5:32 = “this time it hath brought forth much fruit, and there is none of it which is good.”
  • Psalms 14:3 = “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

14. Corrupt trees bring evil fruit =

  • Jacob 5:38-39 = “Let us go down into the nethermost parts of the vineyard, and behold if the natural branches have also brought forth evil fruit… the fruit of the natural branches had become corrupt also; yea, the first and the second and also the last; and they had all become corrupt.”
  • Matthew 7:17, 19 = “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire”

15. Trees are hewn down and cast into the fire =

  • Jacob 5:42 = “now all the trees of my vineyard are good for nothing save it be to be hewn down and cast into the fire.”
  • Matthew 3:10 = “every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”

16. Cut down that which cumbers the ground =

  • Jacob 5:44 = “I also cut down that which cumbered this spot of ground, that I might plant this tree in the stead thereof.”
  • Luke 13:7 = “Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?”

17. Stretched forth my hand all the day long =

  • Jacob 5:47 = “Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh.”
  • Isaiah 65:2 = “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.”
  • Romans 10:20-21 = “But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people”

18. Loftiness of the vineyard = Loftiness in the Bible is associated with pride. Isaiah 5 and Romans 11 mention nothing of the height of the tree nor that the loftiness of the tree overpowers the roots.

  • Jacob 5:48 = “Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good?”
  • Isaiah 2:12, 17 = “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty…and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down…”
  • Ezekiel 31:10-11 = (Note: This is a prophecy referring to the fall of Egypt. However, the metaphor is similar to that in Jacob 5) “Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness”

19. Labor with our might =

  • Jacob 5:61 = “that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard…”
  • Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 = “and in thy labor which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…”

20. Prepare the way = This is a clever use the phrase “prepare the way.” In preparing the way for the good fruit to grow, the writer also refers to prophecies of Isaiah.

  • Jacob 5:61, 64 = “labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit…prepare the way for them, that they may grow”
  • Isaiah 40:3 = “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God”
  • Matthew 3:3 = “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

21. First shall be last; last shall be first =

  • Jacob 5:63 = “Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that the first may be last…”
  • Matthew 19:30 = “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”

22. Let good and bad grow together = This similarity is particularly interesting because it shows two parables referring to different dilemmas (olive trees producing evil fruits vs. a wheat field being infested with tares) and yet teach the same doctrine about good and evil in the last days.

  • Jacob 5:65 = “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…”
  • Matthew 13:28-30 = “The servants said unto him; Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest…”

23. They shall be one =

  • Jacob 5:68 = “That they shall bring forth the natural fruit, and they shall be one.”
  • John 17:11 = “that they may be one, as we are.”

24. The laborers are few =

  • Jacob 5:70 = “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.”
  • Matthew 9:37 = “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his vineyard”

25. They will be one body =

  • Jacob 5:74 = “the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body…”
  • I Corinthians 12:13 = “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles…”

26. The fruits were equal =

  • Jacob 5:74 = “and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal…”
  • Matthew 20:12 = “These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us…”

27. Satan will be bound but will return for a short time =

  • Jacob 5:76-77 = “For behold, for a long time will I lay up of the fruit of my vineyard unto mine own self against the season, which speedily cometh…And when the time cometh that evil fruit shall again come into my vineyard, then will I cause the good and the bad to be gathered…and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire.”
  • Revelation 20:2-3 = “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season”

28. Good and evil will be separated in the last days =

  • Jacob 5:77 = “then will I cause the good and the bad to be gathered; and the good will I preserve unto myself, and the bad will I cast away into its own place. And then cometh the season and the end”
  • Matthew 25:32 = “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats”

29. The evil are cast away to their own place =

  • Jacob 5:77 = “and the good will I preserve unto myself, and the bad will I cast away into its own place.”
  • Acts 1:25 = “from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”