81 - The Allegory of the Olive Tree | BYU Studies

81 - The Allegory of the Olive Tree

Section 6: Messages of the Book of Mormon


The longest allegory in scripture is Zenos's allegory of the olive tree. In Jacob 5:3, Zenos explains that the tame olive tree represents the house of Israel. From this interpretation, conclusions may be drawn concerning other symbols in the allegory. For example, the young branches taken from the olive tree most likely represent inhabitants of the Americas, the Jews, the lost ten tribes, and a remnant of the house of Israel; and the wild olive tree symbolizes the Gentiles and the nations of the earth. The numbers on the top half of this chart (1–6) represent the six main stages that Zenos addresses in his allegory: (1) the decaying of the top, (2) the grafting in of the wild tree, (3) the planting of young branches in other parts of the vineyard, (4) the returning of the branches to the main tree, (5) the bitter fruit burned by fire, and (6) the good fruit being gathered and stored. On the bottom half of the chart, these same stages are shown graphically, arranged clockwise around the central figure of the tame tree.