So, I was thinking about Jacob 5 today, studying it (it was our Sunday School lesson today). I had some questions.
We believe that when Jesus comes before the Millennium, the earth is going to catch on fire and melt with fervent heat – and it will do so again after the Millennium is over, at the very end of the earth's mortal existence. But when we read Jacob 5, which seems to be very chronological, it doesn't say that.
So, what is going to happen?
D&C 101:24 talks about every corruptible thing being consumed.
D&C 88:94 says the tares will be bound to be burned. And every other scripture that I found today seems to say the same thing: The tares/bad fruit will be taken away and burned.
D&C sections 45 and 64 both talk of burning, but of individuals, not of the earth as a whole. D&C 84 mentions plagues going forth until all who remain are those that know God.
Anyway, back to Jacob. This is what he says:
Verse 71 – The master of the vineyard (Jesus) says, in essence, “This is the last time I'll nourish my vineyard for the end is nigh at hand [near], and the season speedily cometh.”
So the servants labor with their mights. Angels? Humans? Both?
Verse 73 – There began to be natural fruit again. The natural branches (Israelites, though one might make a case for Abraham's seed) began to grow and thrive exceedingly.
My question is, “Is this happening yet?” The natural branches, after the Gentiles have turned somewhat bad, begin to grow, yet they are thriving exceedingly.
Well, we don't know where the lost tribes are. They could very well be growing. They could very well be thriving exceedingly. The D&C sounds like we won't know until they return with their prophets and their records. Hm. Their prophets. Their records. Notice the “s” on prophet. (D&C 133:26)
Anyway, back to Jacob again. So, as the natural fruit is beginning to grow, and is thriving exceedingly, the wild branches (the wicked people – no matter what their bloodlines in my opinion) begin to be plucked off, and cast away.
Verse 74 – The natural fruit became “like unto” one body and the fruits were equal. A clear statement of Zion, of being one, of having all things in common (no rich, no poor).
Zenos (who Jacob is quoting) says there is a balance between good and evil fruit. I thought about this, and this is my understanding of it:
As people are wicked enough to be destroyed, they will be destroyed. As people become righteous, they will be gathered to Zion. As people gravitate to one side or the other, ripening, those who are the most wicked will be destroyed. When they are gone, things may be relatively calm until the next batch of wicked people have become so bad that they must be destroyed, and on and on until there are no more wicked on the earth.
On the other hand, those who ripen toward righteousness, when they are “ripened” in righteousness they will be gathered, too. But, whereas the wicked are physically killed (disease, war, disaster, famine, etc.) the righteous are physically gathered to places of Zion until Zion fills the whole earth. (I believe the scripture for this is in the D&C, as well as Isaiah saying that the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.) Verse 75 of Jacob 5 – The vineyard is no more corrupt, but there is no mention of the vineyard (earth) being burned with fire.
Also, things are like they were in the beginning (i.e. the garden in Eden).
76 – Now, “for a long time” (said twice in this verse), there will be peaceful fruit. Sounds like the Millennium to me.
77 – When evil fruit returns, at the end of the period of peace, then the good and bad will be gathered, and after they are gone, the vineyard will be burned with fire.
Seriously, I think this “end of the world/wicked” thing and the “establishment of Zion” is going to be majorly different than we envision. It looks to me like it is going to happen very naturally. It seems to me that people will gather in specks all over the earth (see Nephi's mention of the dominions of those who belong to the church of the Lamb being small, even though they are all over the earth – and they are armed with the power of God). Eventually, those specks will gather and/or grow until the whole earth is in Millennial peace. At least that's how it looks to me after studying Jacob 5.