Highlighted text – Verses that are similar or exactly the same in the Bible
We ended our last lesson with a question posed in Jacob 4:17 which is, “how is it possible that these (the Jews), after having rejected the sure foundation (the Messiah), can ever build upon it?” How can Jesus ever become Israel’s sure foundation? We will see through our study of Jacob Chapter 5 that the simple answer is this – The gospel will be rejected by the Jews, and it will be given to the gentiles, who will eventually bring it back to the Jews.
Jacob 5 is often referred to as “The Allegory of the Olive Tree.” An “allegory” is a story or parable which symbolizes things in real life. Stories that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden moral meaning or teach spiritual truth through symbols.
The Come Follow Me manual states “Jacob 5 is a long chapter – the longest in the Book of Mormon. Perhaps it would help to divide it into the following sections, which describe periods of the world’s history:
Verses 3-14 The scattering of Israel before the time of Christ.
Verses 15-28 The ministry of Christ and the Apostles.
Verses 29-49 The Great Apostasy.
Verses 50-76 The gathering of Israel in the latter-days.
Verses 76-77 The Millennium and end of the world.”
This allegory represents the past, and future history of the house of Israel.
It comes from the writings of Zenos – a prophet whose writings are not found in the Bible. While people are quick to assert that mentioned books, teachings, or writings – not included in the text of Scripture are proof that the Bible is incomplete – they fail to apply this same standard to the Book of Mormon – which has no less than 10 sources cited that are not included in the text.
These consist of:
Book of Lehi (116 pages)
Plates of Laban (1 Nephi 3:3-4)
Prophecies of Zenock (1 Nephi 19:10)
Prophecies of Neum (1 Nephi 19:10)
Prophecies of Zenos (1 Nephi 19:10; Jacob 5:1)
Teachings of Benjamin (Mosiah 1:8)
Teachings of Alma (Alma 8:1)
Words of Amulek (Alma 9:34)
Words of Alma (Alma 13:31)
Teachings of Helaman (Helaman 5:13)
Writings of the Brother of Jared (Sealed portion)
Are we to argue that the Book of Mormon is incomplete because these are not included? I doubt any Latter-day Saint would accept that argument.
In the Book of Mormon – there are three trees mentioned and taught about:
Lehi’s Tree of Life in 1 Nephi 8 – representing the love of God – which we have already covered.
Zeno’s Olive Tree here in Jacob 5 – representing the House of Israel, and
Alma’s Tree of Righteousness in Alma 5 and 32.
Jacob 5:1-2 *”Behold, my brethren, do ye not remember to have read the words of the prophet Zenos, which he spake unto the house of Israel, saying: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, and hear the words of me, a prophet of the Lord.” The phrase “Hearken, O ye house of Israel, and hear the words” is similar, to Hosea 5:1.
Jacob 5:3 *“For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive-tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay.” The tame olive-tree is supposed to represent the House of Israel – the master of the vineyard is Jesus Christ – and the vineyard is the world. The words “and it grew and waxed” is also in Luke 13:19.
Jacob 5:4 *“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.” The Lord’s covenant, people had grown into apostasy in their wickedness and false beliefs. The words “I will prune it, and dig about it” is similar, to Luke 13:8.
Now, before we get going too deep into Zeno’s allegory – I need to point out the serious problem it has. Jacob, around 500 B.C. has asked his audience if they remembered reading Zeno’s words – which I’m guessing must have been on the brass plates and written before 600 B.C. However, no record of Zenos appears in the Tanakh or Old Testament. So, was Zenos – real or was he a fictional character – along with Zenock and Neum? Jacob 5 contains material from Isaiah 5 – which is about a “vineyard.” Jacob 5 also contains material from Romans 11 – where Paul is speaking about an “olive tree.” Jacob 5 refers to olives 9 times and yet throughout – he is talking about vineyards, no less than 90 times.
According to Wikipedia – “a vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines.” Vineyards only produce grapes, which grow on vines. On the other hand, olive trees grow in groves or fields or even in gardens – famously, the Garden of Gethsemane. Olives grow on the branches of olive trees – not on vines or in a vineyard. The last thing you will find in a vineyard are olives growing on any vines. Now, Zenos correctly states that olives grow on trees – and yet he claims they constitute a vineyard (see Jacob 5:47). See the problem?
Jacob 5:6 ^The words “young and tender” is also in 1 Chronicles 22:5.
If you compare details in Jacob 5 with Isaiah 5 – which is about vineyards and Romans 11 – which is the allegory of the olive tree – you will immediately notice the issue with plagiarism.
Jacob 5:7 *“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; wherefore go and pluck the branches from a wild olive-tree, and bring them hither unto me; and 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.” The Lord here instructed His prophets to give the gospel to the Gentiles or non-Israel represented as the “branches from the wild olive-tree.” Apostate Israel – as the “main branches” will be “plucked off” and cast into the fire to reap the punishments and destruction of God. ^The phrases “the branches from a wild olive tree” is similar, to Romans 11:17 and, “bring them hither unto me” is similar, to Matthew 14:18 and, “and we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned” is similar, to John 15:6.
In Verse 8, the master of the vineyard seems to be scattering various groups of people and, also gathering some of them. *“And behold saith the Lord of the vineyard, I take away many of these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will; and it mattereth not that if it so be that the root of this tree will perish, I may preserve the fruit thereof, unto myself; wherefore, I will take these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will.” The words “And behold, saith the Lord of the vineyard” is similar, to Luke 20:13.
Jacob 5:9 *“Take thou the branches of the wild olive-tree, and graft them in, in the stead thereof; and these which I have plucked off I will cast into the fire and burn them, that they may not cumber the ground of my vineyard.” The Gentiles are going to replace the Jews. ^The phrases “the branches of the wild olive tree, and grafted them in” is similar, to Romans 11:17 and, “cast into the fire and burn them” is similar, to Ezekiel 5:4 and, “cumber the ground” is similar, to Luke 13:7.
Jacob 5:10 The words “the Lord of the vineyard” is also in Luke 20:15.
Jacob 5:13 The words “the natural branches” is the same in Romans 11:24.
Jacob 5:15 The words “go down into the vineyard” is similar, to 1 Kings 21:16.
Jacob 5:16 The phrase “the servant said unto his master” is also in Judges 19:11.
Jacob – speaking for the Lord in this allegory – tells the reader that the servants or prophets did everything according to the instructions given in the previous verses. They grafted in the branches of the wild olive tree. They digged around the tree and pruned it and nourished it. Then the Lord says He’s going to place the natural branches (Israel) in the farthest part of the vineyard in order to preserve them. This would specifically be talking about the Mulekites and Lehites in the New Word or the promised land.
In time, the Lord of the vineyard and His servant decided to go down to labor in the vineyard.
Jacob 5:17 *“And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard looked and beheld the tree in the which the wild olive branches had been grafted; and it had sprung forth and begun to bear fruit. And he beheld that it was good; and the fruit thereof was like unto the natural fruit.” Not exactly sure what the “fruit” represents in this story. It could mean – new converts or, the good works of its members. In Christianity it would represent fruits of love – toward God and mankind.
Jacob 5:18 *“And he said unto the servant; behold, the branches of the wild tree have taken hold of the moisture of the root thereof, that the root thereof hath brought forth much strength; and because of the much strength of the root thereof the wild branches have brought forth tame fruit. Now, if we had not grafted in these branches, the tree thereof would have perished. And now, behold, I shall lay up much fruit, which the tree thereof hath brought forth; and the fruit thereof I shall lay up against the season, unto mine own self.” So, the Gentiles or non-Jews “have brought forth tame fruit.” ^The words “the root thereof” is also in Job 14:8.
Then, the Lord of the vineyard said to his servant – let’s go see how the natural branches that were scattered are doing. As they visited these places – they found that even though the Lord planted these branches in very poor ground – He had nourished them, and they produced much fruit.
Jacob 5:19 ^The phrases “the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant” is similar, to Matthew 20:8 and, “the nethermost” is also in 1 Kings 6:6.
Next, we come to what seems to be Lehi’s group after they arrived in the promised land.
Jacob 5:24 The words “and behold another” is also in Daniel 7:5 and, “which I have planted” is also in Jeremiah 45:4.
Jacob 5:25 *“And he said unto the servant look hither and behold the last. Behold, this have I planted in a good spot of ground; and I have nourished it this long time, and only a part of the tree hath brought forth tame fruit, and the other part of the tree hath brought forth wild fruit; behold, I have nourished this tree like unto the others.” The tame fruit represents the Nephites and the wild fruit represents the unbelieving Lamanites. The phrase “planted in a good spot of ground” is similar to Ezekiel 17:8 and, “brought forth wild fruit” is similar, to Isaiah 5:2.
Jacob 5:26 *“And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Pluck off the branches that have not brought forth good fruit, and cast them into the fire.” The words “and cast them into the fire” is also in John 15:6.
Jacob 5:27 *“But behold, the servant said unto him: Let us prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it a little longer, that perhaps it may bring forth good fruit unto thee, that thou canst lay up against the season.” The words “it may bring forth good fruit” is similar, to John 15:2.
Jacob 5:28 *“And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard and the servant of the Lord of the vineyard did nourish all the fruit of the vineyard.” ^The words “and the servant of the Lord” is the same in 2 Timothy 2:24.
There seems to be a sense of urgency at this point, because the Lord says in Jacob 5:29 *“the time draweth near, and the end soon cometh.” ^The phrase “the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant” is similar, to Matthew 20:8 and, “the time draweth near” is also in Luke 21:8.
Jacob 5:30 *“And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard and the servant went down into the vineyard; and they came to the tree whose natural branches had been broken off, and the wild branches had been grafted in; and behold all sorts of fruit did cumber the tree.” These fruits that did cumber the tree would be explained by the Latter-day Saints as the various false doctrines, creeds, and practices that were being taught by false churches.
Jacob 5:31 *“And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard did taste of the fruit, every sort according to its number. And the Lord of the vineyard said: Behold, this long time have we nourished this tree, and I have laid up unto myself against the season much fruit.”
Jacob 5:32 *“But behold, this time it hath brought forth much fruit, and there is none of it which is good. And behold, there are all kinds of bad fruit; and it profiteth me nothing, notwithstanding all our labor; and now it grieveth me that I should lose this tree.” The phrase “it profiteth me nothing” is also in 1 Corinthians 13:3. In this verse and, also in modern Mormonism it teaches that various churches brought forth much fruit – but that it was not good. Joseph Smith in 1820 was told that all churches were wrong – their creeds were an abomination – their leaders and teachers were all corrupt – that they teach the commandments of men – having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (see Joseph Smith-History 1:19).
Jacob 5:33-37 In these verses, God is complaining that even though the grafted wild branches have brought forth good fruit – the tree as a, whole has brought forth much evil fruit – ripening in wickedness and heading for destruction.
Jacob 5:34 The phrase “And the servant said unto his master” is also in Judges 19:11.
Jacob 5:35 The words “bring forth evil fruit” is also in Matthew 7:18.
Jacob 5:38 The Lord now wants to check on the natural branches that he planted in the New World to see how they are doing.
More “and it came to passes”
Jacob 5:39 *“And it came to pass that they went down into the nethermost parts of the vineyard. And it came to pass that they beheld that 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.” God sees that the fruit of the natural branches had all become corrupt – referring to the Lamanites.
Jacob 5:40 *“And the wild fruit of the last had overcome that part of the tree which brought forth good fruit, even that the branch had withered away and died.” The Lamanites had destroyed the Nephites and the Church had completely died out.
Jacob 5:41 *“And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?” God feels like He has failed – which is kind of true.
Jacob 5:42 God says, *“and now all the trees of my vineyard are good for nothing save it be to be hewn down and cast into the fire.” ^The words “are good for nothing” is similar, to Jeremiah 13:10 and, “hewn down and cast into the fire” is the same in Matthew 3:10.
Jacob 5:43-46 He had prepared this choice spot or ground by cutting down the bad growth – the Jaradites – in order to plant this last branch – the Lehites. Part of the group – the Nephites – brought forth good fruit and, part of the group – the Lamanites – brought forth wild fruit. And, because God didn’t pluck out the bad branches – the Lamanites overcame the good branch which had turned bad – and the Nephites would become extinct.
Jacob 5:47 *“But what could I have done more in my vineyard? 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. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned.” Then the all-important question He asks, *“Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?” ^The words “I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it” is similar, to Luke 13:8 and, “I have stretched forth mine hand” is similar, to Romans 10:21.
And the servant has the answer, Jacob 5:48 *“Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard – have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good?” The “loftiness” is referring to pride which has caused the trees of the vineyard to become corrupt. The phrase “the servant said unto his master” is also in Judges 9:11 and, “of the roots thereof” is also in Daniel 4:23.
The Lord says, I’m done with it! Lets’ burn it all down!
Jacob 5:50 *“But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer”
Jacob 5:51 *“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.” The words “And the Lord said: Yea, I will spare it” is similar, to Genesis 18:26.
Next, we will see the gathering of Israel in the last days – according to the Book of Mormon. Here’s the plan…
Jacob 5:52 *“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.” Okay, I know it’s getting a little complicated to keep up with this allegory and it’s not easy to understand – but I think it’s talking here about the gathering and restoration of Israel in the last days. The words “from whence they came” is also in Hebrews 11:15.
Jacob 5:55-56 *“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. And they also took of the natural trees which had become wild, and grafted into their mother tree.”
Jacob 5:56 is similar, to Romans 11:24.
Jacob 5:57 the words “branches from the trees” is the same in Matthew 21:8.
Jacob 5:59 God says he will do all this in hopes that “the good may overcome the evil” which is similar, to Romans 12:21.
Jacob 5:60 *“…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.”
Next, we are told that Lord calls many servants to help God in the final gathering in the last days. And, He is working closely with those servants.
Jacob 5:61 *“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.”
Jacob 5:62 *“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.” Latter-day Saints believe that our day is the dispensation of the fulness of times.
Jacob 5:63 *“Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that they 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.” So, first to the Gentiles – then lastly to the Jews. The phrase “the first and the last” is also in Revelation 1:11.
Now, in these next few verses – the Lord through Jacob is told how to deal with apostates – those who experience a faith crisis.
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, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard.”
Jacob 5:66 *“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.” The words “For it grieveth me” is in Ruth 1:13 and “will I sweep away the bad” is similar, to Isaiah 28:17.
Jacob 5:67 The phrase *“The branches of the natural tree will I graft in again into the natural tree” is similar, to Romans 11:24.
Jacob 5:68 The words *“and they shall be one” is also in Ezekiel 37:19.
Jacob 5:70 The phrase *“and did as the Lord had commanded” is the same in Exodus 12:28.
Jacob 5:71 The words *“lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come” is similar, to 1 Timothy 6:19.
It will be the last time the LDS gospel will go forth to all the world, as the Second Coming arrives.
Jacob 5:72 *“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.” A great verse to motivate LDS missionaries to work hard and be obedient while serving their missions. Notice the grammatical error in the use of “mights” in this verse, instead of “might.” The phrase “obey the commandments of the Lord” is also in Deuteronomy 11:27.
Jacob 5:73 *“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.” This might be a picture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it began to grow and “thrive” “exceedingly.” The words “the Lord of the vineyard” is also in Luke 20:15. Church growth hit its apex during the 1990s with 4% annual increase in membership. With the invent of the internet around the year 2000, the public had easy access to information about the Church’s history and doctrine than ever before. Consequently, it had a detrimental impact on Church growth – slowing down to about 1% annually. Plus, the fact that tens of thousands are either resigning or being excommunicated. With a total world-wide membership of about 16 million – only about 30% would be considered active. Not counting the numbers who have left the Church, there are probably only about 5 million active members attending church world-wide. Less and less people are joining the Church every year. But, let’s move on with our study.
Jacob 5:75 *“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 if 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.” ^The phrase “he called up his servants, and said unto them” is similar, to 2 Kings 6:11 and, “beholdest that I have done according to my will” is similar, to 1 Kings 3:12.
The allegory and chapter finally, ends with the depiction of the Millennium and the final judgment.
Jacob 5:77 The words “evil fruit” is also in Matthew 7:17.
Now, Jacob will explain some basic teachings of Zeno’s allegory.
Jacob 6:2 *“And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.” According to Mormonism, this is speaking of the final missionary effort to gather the righteous before the Second Coming. ^The phrase “And in the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people” is similar, to Isaiah 11:11 and, “the Lord shall go forth” is also in Isaiah 42:13.
Jacob 6:3 *“And how blessed are they who have labored diligently in his vineyard” speaking of the missionaries “and how cursed are they who shall be cast out into their own place!” those who reject the Mormon gospel or don’t live up to all that it expects of its members – including apostates “And the world shall be burned with fire” at His Second Coming.
Jacob 6:4 The words *“he stretches forth his hands unto them all the day long; and they are a stiffnecked and a gainsaying people” is similar, to Romans 10:21.
Jacob begs his people to repent and to not harden their hearts – so that they won’t suffer spiritual death.
Jacob 6:5 The words “brethren, I beseech of you” is similar, to Galatians 4:12 and, “with full purpose of heart” is similar, to Acts 11:23.
Jacob 6:6 The phrase “today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” is the same in Hebrews 4:7.
Jacob 6:7 The words “the good work of God” is also in Hebrews 6:5 and, “hewn down and cast into the fire” is the same in Matthew 3:10.
Then, Jacob begins talking about Christ and the gift of the Holy Ghost – which is 500 years into the future. He wants them to believe in Jesus – centuries before Jesus was even born – or they will burn forever in hell.
It’s also important to mention that the two titles “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” are a product of the King James translation of the New Testament. We would not expect to see an 1830 translation of another ancient text produce the same two titles – unique to the King James New Testament. But in the Book of Mormon we do. The “Holy Spirit” is used 15 times and the “Holy Ghost” 84 times. What’s odd is that both titles are used here in the same sentence of Jacob 6:8 *“…and deny the good word of Christ, and the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and quench the Holy Spirit, and made a mock of the great plan of redemption.” ^The phrase “the good word of Christ, and the power of” is similar, to Hebrews 6:5 and, “the gift of the Holy Ghost” is the same in Acts 10:45 and, “quench not the Holy Spirit” is in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and, “make a mock” is in Proverbs 14:9.
Jacob 6:9 The words “and the resurrection” is also in Acts 17:18 and, “which is in Christ” is in Romans 8:39.
Jacob 6:10 The words “into the lake of fire and brimstone” is also in Revelation 20:10 and, “flames are unquenchable” are similar, to Matthew 3:12 and, “smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever” is also in Revelation 14:11.
Jacob 6:11 *“O then, my beloved brethren, repent ye, and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until ye shall obtain eternal life.” In Mormon terms it means repent, get baptized, keep all the commandments, and gain exaltation. The words “enter ye in at the strait gate” is also in Matthew 7:13.
Jacob finally stops preaching and says goodbye. Jacob 6:13 *“Finally, I bid you farewell, until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God, which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen.” Which is a strange thing to say – since he immediately returns in the next chapter. Also, he says he would meet us at the judgment bar. His brother Nephi has already told us that he’ll be there back in 2 Nephi 33:7, 11. Moroni will also tell us in Moroni 10:27 that he’ll be there as well. So, along with Joseph Smith and perhaps all these other Mormon leaders – it’s going to be quite a crowded bar. No cover-charge, I hope!
Notice as we begin the next chapter – 12 words etched in metal – which seem a bit repetitive. I thought they were trying to save space on the plates.
Jacob 7:1 *“And now it came to pass after some years had passed away,” see what I mean? “there came a man among the people of Nephi, whose name was Sherem.” Where did this guy come from – who shows up out of nowhere? Was he on the ship with Lehi, Nephi and Jacob? Or, was he already living in the New World when they arrived? Would be interesting to know.
Jacob 7:2 *“And it came to pass that he began to preach among the people, and to declare unto them that there should be no Christ. And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.” The words “the doctrine of Christ” is in 2 John 1:9. The word “did” was changed from the Original 1830 edition p. 140 which had the word “done”.
Sherem is the first of three “antichrists” whom we will meet in the Book of Mormon. The other two are Nehor in Alma 1 and Korihor in Alma 30. Although each of these three men had his own style and persuasive tactics – they were similar in their attempt to lead people away from Christ.
Jacob 7:3 *“And he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts; and he knowing that I, Jacob, had faith in Christ who should come, he sought much opportunity that he might come unto me.” Seems Sherem was guilty of causing public apostasy.
Jacob 7:4 *“And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil.” Sherem was very well educated and skilled in public speaking and debate and knew how to flatter people with his words. But of course – it was all influenced by the power of the devil. ^The words “perfect knowledge of” is also in Acts 24:22.
Jacob 7:5 *“And he had hope to shake me from the faith, notwithstanding the many revelations and the many things which I had seen concerning these things; for I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time; wherefore, I could not be shaken.”
Notice next, that Sherem calls Jacob “Brother.”
Jacob 7:6 *“And it came to pass that he came unto me, and on this wise did he speak unto me, saying: Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak unto you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ.” ^The words “and on this wise” is also in John 21:1.
Jacob 7:7 *“And ye have led away much of this people that they pervert the right way of God, and keep not the law of Moses which is the right way; and convert the law of Moses into the worship of a being which ye say shall come many hundred years hence. And now behold, I, Sherem, declare unto you that this is blasphemy; for no man knoweth of such things; for he cannot tell of things to come. And after this manner did Sherem contend against me.” Sherem is denying the existence of prophets. He’s at least calling Jacob a false prophet. The words “pervert the right way of God” is similar, to Acts 13:10 and, “no man knoweth of” is also in Deuteronomy 34:6.
Jacob then asks Sherem if he denies that Christ will come. Sherem answers that although he doesn’t’ believe it now, he might be convinced. Perhaps, he’s doubting his doubts. So maybe there’s hope for Sherem?
Jacob 7:9 This verse was changed from the original 1830 edition page 141, which read “neither hath been, nor never will be.” Since the 1964 edition it now reads “neither has been, nor ever will be.” From “hath” and “never” to “has” and “ever”. Not a significant change – still it’s one of thousands in the Book of Mormon.
Jacob asks him if he believes in the scriptures – meaning the Old Testament writings? And, he said yes.
Then Jacob says something that just isn’t true. Jacob 7:11 *“And I said unto him: Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ.” Old Testament prophets wrote and prophesied about a Messiah – but never of Christ.
Jacob goes on to say Jacob 7:12 *“And this is not all – it has been made manifest unto me, for I have heard and see; and it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.”
Jacob 7:13 *“And it came to pass that he said unto me: “Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much.” The words “shew me a sign” is also in Judges 6:17.
Jacob 7:14 *“And I said unto him: What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign in the thing which thou knowest to be true?” Jacob evidently, knows that Sherem is lying – because Sherem knows that Jacob is telling the truth. “Yet thou will deny it, because thou art of the devil.” I think he means – because the devil is a liar. “Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee,” this wasn’t exactly the kind of sign Sherem had in mind “let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come. And thy will, O Lord, be done, and not mine.” ^The phrase “What am I that I should” is similar, to Exodus 3:11 and, “In the things which thou knowest” is similar, to 2 Timothy 3:14 and, “Nevertheless, not my will be done” is similar, to Luke 22:42 and “God shall smite thee” is the same in Acts 23:3 and, “let that be a sign unto thee that” is similar, to 1 Samuel 2:34.
And wouldn’t you know it – that’s exactly what happens in the very next verse.
Jacob 7:15 *“And it came to pass that when I, Jacob, had spoken these words, the power of the Lord came upon him, insomuch that he fell to the earth. And it came to pass that he was nourished for the space of many days.” Seems pretty, harsh for someone who was only asking for some proof. We don’t know how Sherem was nourished. He wasn’t quite dead yet – so maybe he was given some, kind of aid.
It took another five verses in 16-20 and three “And it came to passes” for God’s sign to take effect – But Sherem finally dies. Not before he publicly “confessed the Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost,” – and admitted that he “had been deceived by the power of the devil,” – and, said he fully deserved and expected to go to hell. This is the message of the Book of Mormon and modern church leaders about what happens to people when they apostatize. Even Sherem worried that he might have “committed the unpardonable sin.” In Sherem’s case he seems to have remorse for his actions – so he might not be a son of perdition after all.
Jacob 7:20 The phrase “and he gave up the ghost” is also in Genesis 25:17.
Jacob 7:21 The people who witnessed all of this were overcome and fell down to the earth. The words “And when the multitude” and “they were astonished” are also in Matthew 22:33.
Jacob 7:22 *“Now, this thing was pleasing unto me, Jacob, for I had requested it of my Father who was in heaven; for he had heard my cry and answered my prayer.” We see that God doesn’t mess around in the Book of Mormon. You had better believe whatever the church leaders tell you. Because if you seek for evidence – God will give it to you all right – the sign of Sherem. There was no tolerance for those who questioned or voiced their doubts. The words “Father who was in heaven” is similar, to Matthew 5:45.
After God killed Sherem, things got back to normal.
Jacob 7:23 There was peace and love among the Nephites – who *“searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man.” The phrase “searched the scriptures” is also in Acts 17:11.
Jacob 7:25 The words “with all their might” is in 1 Chronicles 13:8 and, “God and the rock of their salvation” is similar, to Psalm 89:26.
Next, Jacob will lament the fact that they were unsuccessful in reclaiming and restoring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth. The Lamanites hated the Nephites and delighted in war. As a result, the Nephites had to build up their military defenses.
Jacob 7:26 Because Jacob is getting old, he concludes his writing on the Small Plates of Nephi.
Now Jacob is going to turn over the responsibility of guardian for the plates and engraving upon them to his son, Enos.
Jacob 7:27 *“And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.” That last word Jacob engraved on his plates was a strange one for a 6th century BC North American Israelite writing in reformed Egyptian to use. “adieu” is an original French word meaning “goodbye” that is commonly used in English when saying “I bid you adieu”. How could a modern French word have found its way into those ancient metal plates? The answer is probably obvious.
And, that ends the Book of Jacob.
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