Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jacob 4-5

1. If "minister" and "ministry" reflect an underlying "'avad" and "'avodah", referring to Temple service, then 4:1 gains a really interesting nuance -- Jacob had performed priestly temple service "in word".

2. Lots of temple hints through chapter 4: the power of the name (v. 6), "mysteries" (v. 8), creation of the earth and man (v. 9), taking counsel ("sod"?) and "wisdom" (v. 10), "glory" (throughout), "atonement" (v. 12), the stone that is the foundation (the eben shetiyyah, like in Matthew 7 / 3 Nephi 14, vv. 15-16).  Jacob is writing on the small plates, and riffing on the small plates' themes.

3. Jacob then copies out of Zenos.  That an Israelite prophet would prophesy using plant imagery is strictly traditional (Isaiah 5:1-7, 6:13, 11:1, 60:21, 61:1-3; Jeremiah 1:10, 2:21, Psalms 80:9-19, 1 Enoch 10:3, 10:16-21, 84:6, 93:2, 5, 8 and 10, 4 Ezra 5:23, 2 Baruch 36-37, and various NT passages).  I especially like Isaiah 61:3, whose those who mourn are given oil and garments and become "trees of righteousness", but many of these passages have temple connections.  I am reminded also of the plants in the first chapters of genesis.  I wonder what physical analog in the temple might underly all the plant talk?  There's the candle, of course, which is a tree (Exodus 25:31-37).  What else?

4. Remember that the purpose of the parable is to show how the Jews, having rejected Christ, can still build on him (4:17).  So this parable is all about mercy and second chances and the Lord's patience.

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