The prior post on Jacob 5 discussed God condescending into the world and we introduced the scriptures speaking of God setting his hand the second time to finish his work during the GMW. In this paper we want to look more closely at the verses in Jacob 5 which delineate both the first and second times that God will do his work during the tumultuous times described by the holy prophets to show us what is coming in the Isaiah Story. These themes will be expanded more and more in future posts as we explore what the prophets have taught regarding the specifics of this story. For our purposes here, we will limit this discussion to the book of Jacob.
The First Time God Sets His Hand
49 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire, that they shall not cumber the ground of my vineyard, for I have done all. What could I have done more for my vineyard? (When Isaiah’s Servant stands up the first time, it is to the Mormon people (known as the O Jerusalem people) as we described in “Mapping the Great and Marvelous Work.” They rejected the truths in the Book of Mormon (BOM), rejected the servant sent to them, and have done all else that we described about them and God considers them worthy of being hewn down.)
50 But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer.
51 And the Lord said: Yea, I will spare it a little longer, for it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard. (This time while these particular trees are spared a little longer is the first phase of the “Servant’s” work until he is killed by these same people. They kill the “Servant” because he knocks down the precepts among the Mormon Church; what has been shall be. We’ll discuss this prophecy in great detail in coming posts and show how all the prophets wrote of this event.)
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. (This is the first work of the Servant to gather true believers from among the Mormons. They will be few.)
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. (The reader could certainly think of Nephi’s glorious theophany and the tree of life as these righteous Mormons are gathered by the “Servant” and grafted back into the true vine.)
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.(When Zenos speaks of nourishing the trees he certainly had reference to nourishing them by The Word of God and the records which will be coming forth at that time. We will write about the records coming in future posts.)
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. (This is beautiful imagery.)
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— (At this point of the Isaiah story, almost all of the prophets speak of the Servant being killed and then standing back up to finish the work when God sets his hand the second and final time to gather the righteous and harvest the earth. Those forthcoming references will astound.)
The Second Time God Sets His Hand
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. (The last time that God works in the vineyard is the last 3 years of the GMW after arising from the dead again. This comprises the majority of the Isaiah Story.)
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. (As mentioned in the prior post, we will discuss this provocative statement regarding the first and the last in a future post.)
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. (Verses 64 and 65 contain beautiful prophetic imagery of God’s work during the final pruning of the vineyard. Other prophets will speak in very specific terms as to the details of this work.)
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. (This clearing away of the bad is a description of the coming division which Nephi describes in 2Nep 30:8-11.)
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. (The righteous are gathered to be with God.)
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. (This verse speaks of the servants who will reap the earth in the day of the harvest. They are the good branches Zenos has been writing about.)
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. (God is clearly in the midst of the people doing this work alongside of his servants.)
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. (These things are so easy to understand because of the knowledge we have garnered from the scriptures regarding the GMW.)
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.
76 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 for the last time have I nourished my vineyard, and pruned it, and dug about it, and dunged it; wherefore I will lay up unto mine own self of the fruit, for a long time, according to that which I have spoken.
77 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 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; and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire.
We trust that Jacob 5 is more alive to you now than ever before. It’s our first introduction of some of the components of the GMW. As your eyes become accustomed to looking for these events in scripture, you’ll begin to see this story being told in numerous places, and the most pleasant surprise awaits you in that once you learn the details of the story, you’ll find those details being described by all of the prophets because there is only One Story!