Daniel2020

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  1. You're entitled to you opinion. Mine--not that you care to hear it--is that many people on this board won't abide sound doctrine. What I'd prefer is the moderators stop deleting my posts when they disagree with them and/or lock threads because they don't like what I'm saying.
  2. Did you really not understand what I was saying?I was submitting a conclusion--based upon scripture and statements of the General Authorities--to those reading my post.
  3. Do these "later talks" also say Alma was wrong. That our thoughts won't condemn us? Face it, immoral thoughts--which include homosexual "yearnings"--need to be resisted and repented of.
  4. Soul is wrong. See the above post.As Alma says, our "thoughts will also condemn." Furthermore, the First Presidency has said, "immoral thought...also need to be resisted and repented of."
  5. I submit the doctrine of the Jesus Christ is: Nobody is born gay.Homosexuality is a sin.Immoral thoughts need to be resisted and repented of. Dallin H. Oaks says, in the "Same-Gender Attraction" article that appeared in the Ensign, Oct 1995, 7, that: The First Presidency has declared that “there is a distinction between [1] immoral thoughts and feelings and [2] participating in either immoral heterosexual or any homosexual behavior.” Although immoral thoughts are less serious than immoral behavior, such thoughts also need to be resisted and repented of because we know that “our thoughts will also condemn us.” (Alma 12:14) The scripture Elder Oaks cites says: For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence. (Alma 12:14) [Emphasis mine.]
  6. Do you think they'd tell a homosexual/embryonic homosexual it's OK to entertain homosexual thoughts if they aren't acted upon? I think not.
  7. Why are you trying to misrepresent my position? Do you think I believe a virgin loses her virginity through lustful thoughts? By definition a homosexual is a person who has engaged in a homosexual act. (And a repentant homosexual is a person who has confessed and forsaken his/her homosexual activity--it can be done.) It seems to me there is much to be said in following the counsel given in the verse we often sing in preparing to partake of the sacrament that says, Let your hearts and hands be clean and pure. Also, there's a lot of wisdom in the teaching: As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Do you think the Lord wants us entertaining lustful thoughts--homosexual or heterosexual--even if we don't act on them. I don't and consequently I don't give homosexuals a "pass" for having homosexual thoughts they don't act on.
  8. I feel vindicated.I remember the condemnation my posts received for my strong condemnation of homosexuality, my belief that homosexuals are not born that way, that homosexuals can change their sexual orientation, etc. Although Elder Packer's remarks were expressed with greater diplomacy than I use in expressing my views, the apostle's remarks are very much in keeping with the remarks I made that generated a firestorm of condemnation by many on this board. When I supported my belief that homosexuals are not born that way by referring to the teachings of then President of the Church Spencer W. Kimball many had reasons (such as advances in scientific research) to cast aside those teachings. We now have the President of the Quorum of the Twelve again saying homosexuality can be overcome. I continue to assert that the answers to questions regarding homosexuality are found in gospel teachings--and are not something to be determined and/or refuted by scientific research and theory, "political correctness" within and without the Church, etc. Once again, as I have previously posted: The teachings of the living and dead apostles and prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ are (1) that homosexuality is a grievous sin and (2) that homosexuals can change their sexual orientation. Let none by lead astray by the doctrines of men.
  9. Daniel2020

    Transgender

    Gender is an eternal characteristic. I see a person who wants/has had a transgender operation as being sort of like Jonah in that the person is running away from the role God assigned him/her in this world. This is to something I never encountered as a Bishop or member of the Stake Presidency. Those days are long past, and some things are done a little differently today. It's something I would have sought guidance by prayer. And from a higher ecclesiastical authority. Shooting from the hip--without the guidance of the HG--I'd say I'd have excommunicated a member having a transgender operation and would have required the operation to be reversed before allowing the person to be rebaptized. That’s the only way I can see that a person could be truly repentant. For all I know I might have required the person to get a reversal operation or be excommunicated. Had a person joined the church after a transgender operation I don’t think I’d have extended the person a calling. Again, shooting from the hip, without the operation being reversed I don’t see how I could have concluded the person desired to live in harmony with God by obeying his will. Had I been the person conducting the baptismal interview I would probably have required the person to get an operation reversing the transgender operation to be baptized. Had I found a member of my ward had committed willful murder and then been baptized I would probably excommunicate him/her concluding it wasn't possible for the person to have repented of his/her deed and thus was unable to be a member of the Church. Same sort of reasoning with a person who is unrepentant following a transgerder operation. As I said, these really aren't questions that can be answered in the abstract. The above, of course, is sort of an "Old Testament, letter of the law" conclusion that the Spirit might modify.
  10. Daniel2020

    Fig Leaves verse Coats of Skins

    Do you know what a fig leaf feels like? A garment made of fig leaves would be very scratchy and uncomfortable. A garment made of skins would be comfortable--and would last much longer than a garment made of leaves. What Satan offers is much like a garment of figs: it is most uncomfortable while appearing glamorous. The Gospel is like the garment of skins: it is comfortable and enduring. ----------- I probably shouldn't have stuck my oar in the water. One of the above posts explains this better than I did.
  11. As state above, most scholars believe Paul had some sort of physical problem Paul referred to it a weakness and also as an infirmity. Some believe it was vision related. The LDS scholar Sidney B. Sperry speculated it was malaria.
  12. I served my mission before Blacks were allowed to hold the priesthood and enter the temple. In those days many missionaries served as branch presidents. One day a young woman asked for counsel. She'd served a mission and received a patriarchal which spoke of her husband holding the priesthood and marrying her in the temple. She was in love with one of the most faithful young men in the district. However, because of his ancestry, this young man could not hold the priesthood. (He was a very honest young man. He didn't "look Black" and had he been willing to conceal his ancestry he probably would have been ordained.) She'd prayed earnestly about the situation and said the answer to her prayers was she should marry the young man. Because of what her patriarchal blessing said she was understandably confused, but after much prayer married the young man. (Based on her patriarchal blessing I didn't think she should. Neither did the mission president.) Of course, a few years later due to revelation given to Spencer W. Kimball this young man would be able to receive the priesthood and they would be able to be married in the temple. Does his help?
  13. Daniel2020

    Could someone translate this?

    I just re-read what others posted. It's fine, so I'll delete my post.
  14. Daniel2020

    Jacob 5: The Lord of the Vineyard, and the Servant.

    The allegory concludes with: 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 I will cast into its own place. And then cometh the season and the end; and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire. (Jacob 5:77.) This, of course, represents the end of the world: The resurrection and the final judgment of mankind. The allegory teaches several important principles: · Due to disobedience Israel will be scattered thought the world. · In due course Israel will again be gathered. · Gentiles will have the opportunity to receive all the blessings of Israel. · God loves his children; he has great patience in affording them the chance to repent. · All mankind sins and needs to become reconciled with God. · Christ’s atonement provides the way for all to “bear fruit” and return to the Father In chapter six, Jacob explains the allegory. The following verse is especially touching. It also provides great insight into the primary theme of the allegory: And how merciful is our God unto us, for he remembers the house of Israel, both roots and braches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are a stiff necked and a gainsaying people; but as many of them as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God. (Jacob 6:4.) There have been three major dispersions of the House of Israel: · About 721 B.C. when the Assyrians took the ten tribes captive. · About 586 B.C. when the Babylonians took the Jews captive. · About 132 A.D. when the Romans expelled the Jews from the land of Palestine. (Starting with A.D. with the destruction of the Temple and ending about A.D. 132 when the Jews were expelled from the entire land of Palestine.) There have been two major gatherings of Israel: · About 525 B.C. when Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon. · The modern Zionist movement that culminated in 1948 wiht the founding of the modern state of Israel. The scriptures indicate yet another gathering of Israel will occur when the ten tribes come bringing their records to be blessed by Ephraim. This is probably indicative of receiving the blessings associated with temple work. (Opinions differ as to whether this event will precede, coincide with, or follow the commencement of the Millennium.) The author gives below the chronology often used by Church members to correlate the allegory of olive tree with historical events. The author wishes to express his reservations about accuracy of this correlation. In his opinion it reaches beyond the mark and has a “square peg round hole” fit. The author believes the allegory was intended to teach a general truth and not to give an historical overview of the House of Israel. (The author of this paper has intentionally elected to omit the geographical associations that often accompany this allegory. In his opinion they are highly speculative and he feels they actual produce very misleading information. He does not believe there is a geographical correlation with the good soil, poor soil, nethermost regions, and other figures of speech used in the allegory—however popular such correlations may be among Church members. In contrast he considers the attempt to search for historical correlations to produce benign misunderstandings.) Period....Verses..............Events A..........Jacob 5:4-14......Founding of the House of Israel from the time of Abraham (about 2000 BC) until the Ten Tribes were taken captive in 721 B.C. B.........Jacob 5:15-28......This is a long time after the first period. The scattering of Israel (721 BC – 90 AD) has been completed. Good fruits are found around the mother tree and in at least three other places in the vineyard. C.........Jacob 5:29-49......This is though to be a long time after Period B. It includes the coming of Christ, destruction of Jerusalem, destruction of the Nephites and the great apostasy. D.........Jacob 5:50-73.......This is the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. The last time the vineyard is pruned. E.........Jacob 5:74-77........The Millennium. Although this is the standard correlation often taught by church members, the author sees numerous problems with it. Time period C, according to the allegory, is a long time following the period of bearing fruit. In reality, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Nephites occurred very soon after the bearing of fruit. Worse the great bearing of fruit (prior to the dispensation of the fullness of times associated with period D) occurred before the scattering of Israel was completed in about A. D. 132! Also, according to the allegory the main tree bore fruit in period C. The main tree, obviously, is located in Jerusalem. Yet the only time that Palestine bore fruit was immediately following Christ’s mortal mission—about 33 A.D. to 70A.D. This was an event that preceded the final scattering of the Jews by the Romans in 132 A.D.—which is part of period A and B. How can period C arrive when period B is not finished? Period C is associated with “the time [that] draweth near, and the end soon cometh”—language usually associated with the Second Coming or the end of the world. In point of fact the universal apostasy did not occur near the Second Coming—it occurred nearly 1800 years prior to Period D, the dispensation of the fullness of times. The author believes the allegory teaches the principle that Israel was scattered throughout the world to preserve it until the appropriate time for it to again be gathered together in Palestine. For reasons cited above (and others not cited), the author feels that attempts to correlate the allegory to historical events and geographical locations produces misleading information. Again, he considers it to be similar to looking at a painting of a house and trying to determine the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house. Jacob attributes the allegory of the olive tree to an Old Testament era prophet named Zenos. The works of Zenos are not recorded in the Old Testament, as we know it today. (It is possible that the fifth chapter of Isaiah reflects Zenos’ influence.) We must turn to the Book of Mormon for information about him. It teaches: [15] Behold, I say unto you, Yea, many have testified of these things at the coming of Christ, and were slain because they testified of these things. [16] Yea, the prophet Zenos did testify of these things, and also Zenock spake concerning these things, because they testified particularly concerning us, who are the remnant of their seed. (3 Nephi10:15–16) [19] And now I would that ye should know, that even since the days of Abraham there have been many prophets that have testified these things; yea, behold, the prophet Zenos did testify boldly; for the which he was slain. [20] And behold, also Zenock… (Helaman8:19–20) It appears that Zenos and Zenock were both of the tribe of Joseph, so dating them to some time between the reign of the judges and the Babylonian captivity seems appropriate. There are, however, those that think one or both of these prophets lived during the time of Abraham or shortly thereafter, say in the time of Job. Judging by his style I think Zeno wrote prior to Joel, the earliest of the literary prophets. His writing does not contain the apocalyptic style that is used by Joel and so many of the prophets who followed him. Since Zenos is of the tribe of Joseph it is probable his ministry was in the Northern kingdom of Israel. Because of the animosity that existed between Israel and Judah, coupled with his labors being performed in the northern kingdom, it is easy to understand why it is likely there were few copies of his writings in Jerusalem. My speculation is that his work did not survive the Babylonian captivity. Indeed it is likely his works were not widely known in Judea and had been forgotten by most people before the Babylonian captivity began. His work was clearly recorded on the brass plates kept by Laban; however, there seems to be some evidence that his work was unknown to Nephi and Jacob before they read the brass plates. If this is correct it supports the theory he was not a popular prophet, such as Isaiah. Had he been popular among the Jews one would expect him to have been quoted by Jews during the Babylonian exile as his message contains hope for the restoration that the Jews yearned for during their captivity in Babylon. If I had to guess when Zenos was killed I would pick the reign of Ahab. During this period Jezebel and the priests of Baal sought to take the life of the prophet Elijah and there are Biblical references to many unnamed prophets laboring during the time of Elijah and Elisha. Both the literary style of Zenos and his martyrdom fit well into this era. This, of course, is speculation based upon the meagerest of data. The following seems apparent regarding Zenos and his prophesies: · He spoke of three days of darkness as a sign of Christ’s death. · He spoke of destruction that would accompany the death of Christ, including thundering, lightning, tempest, fire, smoke, vapor of darkness, the opening of the earth, and the mountains being carried up. · He prophesies that the kings of the isles of the sea would exclaim, “The God of nature suffers” at the death of Christ. · He said the people of Jerusalem would be scourged by all people because the crucified Christ. · He stated that those who crucified Christ would wander in the flesh and be a “hiss and byword” hated by the peoples of the earth. · He prophesied the Lord with remember his covenants with the House of Israel. · He promised the Lord would gather the House of Israel from the four quarters of the earth. · He prophesied that all nations would see the salvation of Christ. Zenos provides 4,261 words out of 269,329 in (the English version of) the Book of Mormon, which is about 2% of the total. His message is given in a style that we find understandable today. A basic knowledge of the olive tree helps in understanding the message of Zenos and the many symbols he uses. They are worth exploring. The olive tree has long represented the House of Israel. An apple tree is often used to symbolize the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that was found in the Garden of Eden. (When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge they transgressed God’s law, became mortal, and were cast out of the garden.) In addition to representing the House of Israel, the olive tree often is used to represent the Tree of Life—which Cherubim was sent to guard so that Adam did not partake of it and live forever in his sins. When God decided to destroy the world by flood, to see if the flood had abated Noah sent forth the dove, which returned with an olive branch. This explains in part the reason the olive tree represents the tree of life. It also explains why the olive branch symbolized peace. It is a sign of reconciliation indicating that God was no longer trying to destroy man. Since the dove—the symbol of the Holy Ghost—brought the olive branch to Noah it became associated with the Holy Ghost. Olive oil was burned to produce light. In the parable of the ten virgins the oil in their lamps is associated with the spiritual preparedness that comes through the Holy Ghost—the oil representing the Holy Ghost and the light he brings into the lives of those who are obedient to God’s law. The olive tree was grown primarily to extract oil from the olives, not for the fruit per se. Olive oil had a multitude of uses anciently. It was used for cooking, it was burned to give light and heat, and it was used for cleaning. In ancient Israel people washed their body and hair using olive oil, not soap. Oil was spread on the body and then scraped off using a curved stick called a stergile. The oil would lift off dirt as it was removed from the body. Today a person is anointed with oil as a sign of being clean and ready for the companionship of the Holy Spirit and worthy of God’s blessing. The olive tree has a remarkably long life. There are trees in Palestine today that are over 400 years old. This is another reason it is a fitting symbol for the tree of life. Also, the fruit bearing trees are grown from cuttings taken from other trees; hence the life of the olive tree is perpetuated by planting its cuttings. A natural or wild olive tree produces little or no fruit. What fruit it does produce is small and bitter. Hence wild olive trees are not used to produce olive oil. For the same reason, olive trees are not grown from seeds, as seeds produce wild trees that do not bear fruit. (For this reason in the allegory of the olive tree seeds are not planted. In the allegory, growing olive trees from seeds would be the equivalent of destroying man by fire or flood so that God has to begin again as he did in the days of Noah.) Hence fruit bearing trees—tame olive trees—are grown either by grafting a branch from a fruit bearing tree onto a non fruit bearing tree or by planting a cutting taken from a fruit bearing tree. Again, because of these practices the olive tree is seen as living forever, making it a fitting symbol for the tree of life. Left untended olive trees grow very tall producing stout branches that do not bear fruit. Lofty trees in Old Testament times were used as symbols of “proud and haughty” people who did not submit to the will of God. Bowing down, was associated with being humble and following the will of God. For an olive tree to produce fruit it must be pruned back, almost to the ground. (Much like rose bushes must be pruned to prevent them from producing wood instead of flowers.) The ground in which an olive tree grows must be fertilized (dunged in the allegory) or the soil will lack the necessary nutrients for it to bear fruit. The parallels to man requiring humility and constant nourishment by the Holy Spirit should be obvious. In the Old World, the olive tree is found throughout the Mediterranean lands. In the New World, it is only found in California, Arizona, Chile and Argentina. The allegory of the olive tree is used by Jacob fairly soon after the arrival of the Lehi in the New World. It is a symbol that does not appear later in the Book of Mormon probably indicating the Nephites ceased to have contact with olives and probably did not readily understand the symbolism—much like modern Church members. In spite of our lack of familiarity with the olive culture, it is a beautiful symbol for the truths being taught. To again summarize, Zeno’s allegory of the olive tree teaches several important principles: · Due to disobedience Israel will be scattered thought the world. · In due course Israel will again be gathered. · Gentiles will have the opportunity to join and receive all the blessings of Israel. · God loves his children; he has great patience in affording them the chance to repent. · All mankind sins and needs to become reconciled with God. · Christ’s atonement provides the way for all to “bear fruit” and return to the Father One might want to especially focus on the words of the Master of the vineyard as he struggles to preserve the olive tree: And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard saw it, and he said unto his servant: It grieveth me that I should lose this tree… (Jacob 5:7) And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard went forth, and he saw that his olive-tree began to decay; and he said: I will prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it, that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not. (Jacob 5:4) Additionally, do not forget to read Jacob’s explanation of the allegory. A part of which is: And how merciful is our God unto us, for he remembers the house of Israel, both roots and braches; and he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are a stiff necked and a gainsaying people; but as many of them as will not harden their hearts shall be saved in the kingdom of God. (Jacob 6:4) Our Father in Heaven is a loving, patient god who goes to great lengths that we might be able to grow into a righteous people worthy to dwell with him. Indeed, great is the worth of a soul in the eyes of God.
  15. Daniel2020

    Jacob 5: The Lord of the Vineyard, and the Servant.

    What follows is part of what I prepared for a Gospel Doctrine class. Hope it helps. (As you can tell, I hate proof reading. I'm having trouble posting this due to the 20000 character limit and because the post won't retain format codes, such as those for need to post tables.) ---------------------------------- The Allegory of the Olive Tree An allegory, like a simile and metaphor, is a figure of speech that authors use to make their meaning better understood. A simile is a comparison between two unlike things using the word “like” or “as.” Saying something is “big like a house” or “burns like fire” employs a simile. A metaphor achieves comparison by transferring a term associated with one object to another object that without the comparison would be inappropriate, for example: the sunset of our life. Days end with a sunset; life does not. However, by comparing the objects we understand the author’s meaning that life is about to end. A parable is a simple story illustrating a moral or religious truth. Allegories generally use longer, more involved stories involving one or more parallels to teach one or more truths. By drawing implicit parallels, an allegory uses an event or story to convey a deeper meaning. For example, the search for the Holy Grail by King Arthur’s knights of the round table may be used to illustrate the search for spiritual truth. There is a great tendency when reading parables and allegories to try to overextend the parallels used until a conclusion the author did not intend is obtained. Consider the above example of the search for the Holy Grail representing a search for spiritual truth. If the reader were to conclude that spiritual truth had to be sought on horseback while wearing a coat of chain mail then the reader would be overextending the allegory to reach a conclusion never intended by the author. An allegory or parable is like a painting in that it conveys an impression intended by the author. Compare a blueprint of a house to a painting of a house surrounded with flowers with smoke ascending from the chimney. Using the blueprint it is possible to know how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. the house contains. The painting of the house would not provide any information of this nature. However, the painting might well convey the feelings of the painter that a home is a place of peace and refuge from the problems of daily life—something the blueprint would not be able to convey. The author of this paper has seen various attempts made to use the allegory of the olive tree to determine how many times the House of Israel has been scattered It is his opinion that trying to answer historical questions such as when the House of Israel was scattered and when it will be gathered is overextending the allegory. Worse, this author has seen the allegory used to support answers to questions such as the current loctation of the lost ten tribes and other scattered branches of the House of Israel. The author feels these are attempts to obtain information from the allegory that it was never intended to provide. It is akin to using a painting of a house to answer questions regarding the number of bedrooms and bathrooms within the dwelling. He cautions students of the scriptures against reading things into this allegory that it does not contain and against seeking answers to questions it was not intended to provide. This allegory beautifully teaches some important gospel truths. This author feels students of the scriptures should be content to use the allegory for the insight into the truths it was intended to symbolically teach—and that one should not attempt to answer historical and geographical questions using the content of this allegory. An understanding of the following symbols will help in reading the allegory. Symbol: Meaning Vineyard: The world Master of the vineyard: God the Father Tame olive tree: Covenant people, House of Israel Wild olive tree: Gentiles, those not born into the House of Israel Branches: Groups of people Fruit: Personal righteousness, Keeping commandments and convents Servants: Jesus Christ, his prophets, and those laboring to further his work The master of the vineyard is often said to be the Lord Jesus Christ. However Jesus is our advocate with the Father. (1 John 2:1 and D&C 29:5.) Based on Jacob 5:50 it is more fitting to say God the Father is the master of the vineyard and his son Jesus Christ is the servant. The allegory opens with the master of the vineyard finding that his tame olive tree is beginning to decay. The tame olive tree represents God’s covenant people, the House of Israel. Decay represents individual unrighteousness and collective apostasy. The master of the vineyard then prunes and nourishes the tree. It begins to send forth some new, fruitful branches. However, the main portion of the tree does not respond and continues failing to bear fruit. The master cuts of the main branches of the tree and burns them. He graphs onto the tree a number of braches from wild olive trees. Additionally, he takes many of the new, fruitful braches and plants and graphs them onto wild olive trees in various parts of the vineyard. (Grafting is a process through which part of one plant is joined to a second plant in such a manner that it becomes a permanent part of the second plant.) This represents the scattering of the House of Israel throughout the world. Also, the process through which gentiles are converted and baptized becoming part of the covenant people. (See Jacob 5:1-15.) The Lord of the vineyard then went away and returned after the passage of time. He found that the wild branches that had been grafted on the tame olive tree were bearing fruit and that its fruit was the same as that of the natural branches. He also found that the natural branches that had been scattered through the vineyard were bearing good fruit. This, of course, represents people who responded to the preaching of Jesus Christ and his servants. (See Jacob 5:16-24.) It should be noted that horticultural this is inaccurate. Were one to graft wild branches onto a tame olive tree one would get wild fruit. Not tame fruit as depicted in this allegory. The allegory, however, teaches a great truth regarding the miracle of conversion. When a person is baptized and enters into all of the gospel covenants that person in all ways becomes the equal of those born into the House of Israel. This teaching that one is judged upon personal righteousness, not the circumstance of birth is taught throughout the scriptures. Ishmael, not Isaac, was Abraham’s first born. Esau, not Jacob, was Isaac’s first son. Joseph was not the first born of Jacob. Manasseh, not Ephraim, was the first born of Joseph. Yet, the greater blessings were given to Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Ephraim. Jesus taught in the parable of the laborers of the vineyard (see Matthew 20:1-16) that those who worked all day, part of the day, and the last hour of the day all received the same wage. To enter the celestial kingdom it does not matter when or how one receives the gospel, only that after receiving the gospel one adheres to it. As the Lord of the vineyard and his servant tour the vineyard they find branches planted in both good and poor soil bearing good fruit. It should be noted the some branches planted in poor soil brought forth more fruit than some branches that were planted in the best soil. The lesson is that some people are born in a time and place where it is easy to live the gospel, whereas others live in times and places of persecution and difficulty in living the gospel. Yet it is possible, and indeed expected, for all to keep their convents no matter how hard or easy a task it may be. In finding branches that were not bearing fruit the master of the vineyard again tried to prune and nourish them. This teaches us of the great love and patience that God has for his children. His nature is not punitive; rather, it is his desire that all become righteous and return to him. (See Jacob 5:25-28.) The Lord of the vineyard returns a third time. He finds that the fruit of the entire vineyard has become corrupt and is like wild fruit. None of the braches are bearing good fruit. This is symbolic of universal apostasy and wickedness. It should be noted that the branches grew faster than the roots were able to support and the tree became overgrown. There are parallels here to the natural man and the need to grow grace by grace. Without humility and the nurturing guidance of the Holy Spirit man follows his own course (symbolized as being big and overgrown) becoming an enemy to God. (See Jacob 5:29-48.) The master of the vineyard now decides to hew down the trees and burn them. The servant pleads for the master to give the tree another chance. The master yields to the pleas of his servant. The parallel is that all sin and without the atonement of Christ none can return to the Father. (Any attempt to read into this allegory dissention between the Father and the Son is inaccurate. The dissention depicted in theses verses is a literary deceive used to explain the universal need of all mankind for a Savior and the atonement of Christ. [see Jacob 5:49-51.]) The master and his servant now pluck the wild braches from the tree and graft back onto the tree the tame branches that were previously scattered throughout the vineyard. This is symbolic of the gathering of Israel, which has been scattered throughout the world. Other servants join in the task of nourishing the vineyard. (See Jacob 5:52-74.) Jacob 5:57 states “Pluck not the wild branches from the trees, save it be those, which are most bitter”. This illustrates once again the loving patience God has for his children as well as his desire for all to repent and return to his presence. The nourishing and pruning done by the servant, assisted by other servants, is successful. The vineyard produces good fruit for a long season. This is indicative of the millennial period, which has not yet arrived. (See Jacob 5:75-76.)