"I will liken the United States of America 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" (Jacob 5:3)
This article is a serious case of likening the scriptures to ourselves. The words of the Prophet Zenos have multi-dimensional application. It might seem strange to some that I would replace the word House of Israel in Jacob 5:3 with the United States of America. But in reality, the insertion of our nation into this allegory is just as applicable today as it was to the Nephites in the days Jacob. If we examine this allegory from an Israelite perspective then it would also make sense to apply this parable to America today as in reality the whole of North America and specifically the United States of America contains one of the largest populations of both Jews, Ephraimites, and the The Ten tribes (not to mention the mixed multitude) in the world.
To understand the words of Zenos we have to approach it from and Israelite perspective. In Israelite symbolism a “Tame Olive Tree” is the ruling house or nation. The branches are servants and those people connected with them. The servants are those men and women who are the ruling political persons or entities, the spiritual persons or entities, and the social persons or entities that rule that nation. The parable/allegory is designed to explain how a kingdom (specifically a ruling covenant house) can be raised up again so that Messiah can be its Chief or Capstone once it has rejected him and the covenant relationship he offers.
The covenant kingdom is the structure built below the capstone and to which it is laid once the structure is in place. Like Israel the United States of America fits this allegory on the eschatological (prophetic or last days) level of Israelite interpretation. The prophet Jacob lays out the reason and they mystery of why he is including the words of Zenos in his record:
"And now I, Jacob, am led on by the Spirit unto prophesying; for I perceive by the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that by the stumbling of the Americans they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation.
But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Americans can build.
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? (i.e. their capstone)
Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you." (Jacob 4: 15-17-insertions added)
Let's begin by examining the word stone or eben (אֶבֶן). While the word for stone is eben it can also be mechanically broken down to mean "son (ben) of the father" in addition using another interpretive key we would reverse the word to navi (נָבָא) or to prophesy which is the base root for prophet. The Messiah as The Son of the Father and as The Prophet is the chief and cornerstone- or capstone of the kingdom.
In Israelite thought a tree can represent both a King and a Kingdom. The idea of being "tame" is related to the concept of ruling, birthright, and covenant keeping. A "tame olive tree" being likened to a ruling covenant house or kingdom. The roots of the tree represent the Fathers -not only the Patriarchs but also the Fathers of This Nation who entered into covenant with God. The trunk of the tree is the covenant that God Made with the Fathers and extends as the source of nourishment from which those branches receive their strength (gevurah/power). In the case of the United States of America the covenant is the Constitution which is a derivative of the Sinai Covenant.
The natural branches are those natural born citizens of the Kingdom who are the natural heirs to the covenant. In drawing their nourishment from the covenant established with God they are able to produce the natural or covenant fruit. After a period of time, the natural branches began to take the strength to themselves (i.e. instead of drawing their strength from the covenant/constitution the branches began to believe they were the trunk and became lofty). In other words, the natural born sons of the republic in the process of time began to believe they were the source and the secret in the sauce. Their introduction of non-covenantal principles produced bad or non-covenantal fruit. The process is still going on today.
To rectify the situation God grafted in wild branches (servants and people from other nations born outside the US Covenant). By grafting in the people or branches from non-covenant or foreign nations, God was able to save the trees at first and as they took their nourishment (i.e. abided in the terms and blessings of the covenant) the tree (nation) began to produce good or covenant fruit. Time passed, and those wild branches also took strength (power) to themselves. In other words those branches/servants/people began to disregard the covenant. They failed to uphold the terms of the covenant. They became a law or covenant unto themselves and once again the top of the tree became too lofty and the tree became weighed down.
The Tree Is In Danger of Dying:
“But behold, the wild branches (non-covenant keeping servants) have grown and have overrun the roots (the Fathers and the covenant that proceeds forth from them) thereof; and because that the wild branches have overcome the roots thereof it hath brought forth much evil fruit (non-covenantal works); and because that it hath brought forth so much evil fruit thou behold that it begins to perish; and it will soon become ripened, that it may be cast into the fire, except we should do something for it to preserve it.” (Jacob 5:37 (insertions added))
In Hebraic thought that which is evil are those principles, policies, and actions which lead us away from fulfilling God’s commandments. Because the servants and people have legislated iniquity or lawlessness, the tree begins to perish. When the tree becomes fully corrupted -branches, tree, and roots) the tree is become ripened with no possibility of salvaging the tree or kingdom. At that point, the tree or nation is good for nothing but to be case into the fire.
Preserving The Tree:
“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.” (Jacob 5:32)
God does not desire to lose his governing house/nation/ or Olive Tree. His intent in establishing The Olive Tree is to produce good olives. From Olives Israel of old produced the oil of anointing-the healing oil that was to heal and sustain not only his covenant people, but all the peoples of the world. To save the tree he and his servants must take action.
“And the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: What shall we do unto the tree, that I may preserve again good fruit thereof unto mine own self?
And the servant said unto his master: Behold, because thou didst graft in the branches of the wild olive tree they have nourished the roots, that they are alive and they have not perished; wherefore thou beholdest that they are yet good.
And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: The tree profiteth me nothing, and the roots thereof profit me nothing so long as it shall bring forth evil fruit. Nevertheless, I know that the roots are good, and for mine own purpose I have preserved them; and because of their much strength they have hitherto brought forth, from the wild branches, good fruit.” (Jacob 5:33-26)
When those wild branches or servants took upon themselves to sustain and uphold the terms of the covenant/constitution they were able to draw from the nourishment of the trunk and roots to bring forth the covenant fruit (all men created equal…life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness…One nations under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all, etc. etc and all the principles of justice and mercy we associate with our constitution/covenant/ and covenant land grant. When they took the strength (gevurah or power) to themselves they like the natural branches began to produce evil or non-covenant fruit.
To preserve the tree or nation, God must prune the tree. He must pluck off the non-covenant keeping servants and people and replace them with natural or covenant keeping branches again. In the case of the United States, the natural branches are those servants and people who will sustain and uphold the terms of the covenant/constitution associated with this covenant land grant. The wild branches are those who want to destroy the covenant/constitution and become a law unto themselves (the epitome of priest craft and king craft).
“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. And the branches of the natural tree will I graft in again into the natural tree; 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. 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.” (Jacob 5:66-69)
Pruning the tree involves plucking off the most bitter (non-covenantal) branches/servants/states/communities/individuals even as covenant keeping branches/servants/state/ communities/ individuals who connect in and uphold the terms of the covenant are nourished.
The American Tree is overgrown with non-covenant keeping branches. We are producing all manner of evil fruit . The United States of America as we have known it is experiencing its’ death throes. Like all nations who have experienced The Day of the Lord (YHVH) the cycles of judgment are being poured out. The purpose of these judgments is to cut off that which is most bitter so that the tree can have the chance to survive and thrive. The question remains-what will the tree look like once the top branches are leveled and the most bitter branches that weigh down the tree are pruned off.
Usually the top branches (ie. political leaders/governmental leaders/ top religious institutions/ and ruling families) get lopped off. The overgrowth is trimmed away and what we have is a much smaller but also much healthier tree in the long run. By plucking off the branches whose fruit is most bitter he can then nourish those leaders and people who want to establish the covenant in their land to once again produce the fruits of Zion- even life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all who will keep covenant with God.