1 Nephi 10:12-14 — LeGrand Baker — Scattering and Gathering of Israel.

1 Nephi 10:12-14 

12 Yea, even my father spake much concerning the Gentiles, and also concerning the house of Israel, that they should be compared like unto an olive-tree, whose branches should be broken off and should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.
13 Wherefore, he said it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.
14 And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive-tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.

It appears that this may be Lehi’s abbreviated version of Zenos’s prophecy that Jacob quotes in Jacob 5. If it is, then it is also the key to interpreting the prophecy.

In ancient Israel, the olive tree was the living symbol of the tree of life, so there is a close relationship between the tree in Lehi’s dream (ch. 8) and the tree that he likens to the house of Israel.{1} The one in chapter 8 represents our coming to the Savior, and this one (10:12-14) is about scattered Israel’s coming to a knowledge of the Messiah. In chapter 11:21-22, Nephi tells us the tree represents the love of God. In chapter 15, Nephi ties all these ideas together by promising that as Israel is gathered, the people will “receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine,” for “they shall be grafted in, being a natural branch of the olive-tree, into the true olive-tree” (1 Nephi 15:15-16).


{1} See: 1 Nephi 8:10-12, Lehi’s description of the tree, the water, and the fruit.


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