Identifying the 2nd Watch in Jacob Five
Someone recently asked me if I could identify all three watches in the allegory found in Jacob 5.
They wondered if I could show the LDS Foundation movement in the 2nd watch as a separate, distinct, identifiable event from the 1st and 3rd watches in the allegory of the olive tree found in Jacob five.
It is interesting how generally vague the Book of Mormon is regarding the latter day restoration of the church during the time when the foundation for the Marvelous Work was being laid in the 1830’s.
This allegory is no exception unless you really drill down into the history of the church and do key word searches using the key words provided in the allegory.
I found an interpretation of the allegory that is pretty representative of how many LDS scholars interpret the allegory in Jacob. It may be viewed at the following website; http://www.gospeldoctrine.com/Jacob5.htm
Here is a quote from that website;
“This allegory tells the story of the Lord’s dealings with the house of Israel. This relationship is of utmost importance because it is so commonly dealt with in other scriptures. Anyone who proclaims to understand the scriptures and the dealings of the Lord with his people must understand this allegory.
Joseph Smith once revealed a secret to understanding a passage of scripture, “I have a key by which I understand the scriptures. I inquire, what was the question which drew out the answer, or caused Jesus to utter the parable?” (Teachings, p. 276-7).
If we apply this rule to understanding the allegory of the olive-tree, we only have to look at Jacob 4:17-18, And now, my beloved, how is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner? Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you. This is the question which prompted the recital of the allegory of the olive-tree, “how can the house of Israel ever be established in Christ after having rejected Him?” The Lord will demonstrate how to get good fruit out of once wicked branches.
By way of introduction, the allegory must be divided into three main sections. Section 1 is described by verses 1-14. Section 2 is described by verses 15-28. And section 3 is described by verses 29-75. Each of these sections is divided by the passage of a long time period, see verses 15 and 29. Therefore, there are three main visits of the Lord and his servants to the vineyard. Each visit is separated by the passage of a lot of time. Keep this in mind as you read for the chronology of the allegory is important and will help us with the correct interpretation.”
From the commonly accepted interpretation it appears that there are two dispensational “watches” when the Lord of the Vineyard and his servant go down into the vineyard which is the world.
The 1st watch, or gospel dispensation is identified in verse 15 and occurs after ancient Israel of the Old Testament times has gone into apostasy.
Notice how the Lord of the Vineyard says to his servant “Come, let us go down”.
We know that there was a period of about 400 years from the last Old Testament Book of Malachi until the Savior came into the world. According to this commonly accepted interpretation of the allegory, the 1st watch begins in verse 15, after a LOT OF TIME passed by.
It represents the meridian of time when the Savior came to earth. During the 1st watch, the Savior visits four different branches of Israel, including the Jews in Jerusalem and the Nephites in America. Christ had told the Jews that he had other sheep that he must visit. When he visited the Nephites he said; “And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
He then went on to explain that he had other sheep beside the Nephites, the Jews and the Gentiles that he needed to take his gospel to;
And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have aother sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
2 For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
3 But I have received a acommandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall bhear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.
The 2nd watch, or gospel dispensation is identified in verse 29 and occurs after the apostasy of the branches of Israel that the Lord of the Vineyard visited in the 1st watch.
Again, notice how the Lord of the Vineyard says to his servant a second time “Come, let us go down”.
We know that approximately 1500 years of apostasy passed before the Lord prepared the world with the reformation and eventually the restoration of the Church through the prophet Joseph Smith. Indeed, LOT OF TIME passed by between the 1st and 2nd watches.
I am now going to point out that there are actually three dispensational watches identified in this allegory wherein the Lord of the vineyard and his servant go into the vineyard.
The 3rd watch, or gospel dispensation is identified in verse 70.
Unlike the other two watches, there is not a LOT OF TIME between the 3rd watch and the previous one.
This time, instead of saying “Come, let us go down” like he did in the 1st and 2nd watches, we are informed 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”
One verse later the Lord says to the servants;
“..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”
Therefore, we know that the Lord does in fact labor in the vineyard during the 3rd watch just as he did in the first two watches although it appears that he first sends his servants to prepare the way.
I will be providing a much more detailed version of this interpretation, but just wanted to get this brief summary posted for anyone who would like to start cutting their teeth on this allegory using this summary.