My text for this post is D&C 101: 43-62, which is a parable. OWIW recently attempted to interpret it, followed by zo-ma-rah. I thought I’d give it a try, too. The following is what I noticed from the text of the parable itself. I haven’t done any deep, scholarly studies, so much of it may be totally off. Perhaps with more study, my views may change. These are just some quick impressions I had as I read over it today. It is not so much a scriptural exposition, as it is scriptural musings. I also haven’t confirmed anything with the Spirit. So, nothing to see here, just keep moving! ;) Okay, I think that is enough of a disclaimer. Here we go…
Parable of the Redemption of Zion
And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
A certain nobleman
This Nobleman is obviously Jesus Christ.
Nobleman has a very choice spot of land
had a spot of land, very choice;
Where is the very choice spot of land? Applying the parable to the cosmos (plasma theology), it could be interpreted as being Earth. Applying the parable to the Earth (earthly things), it could be interpreted as being North and South America.
Nobleman speaks to servants
and he said unto his servants:
These servants start out obedient and end up disobedient (apostatizing), eventually abandoning the Nobleman’s land (dying?). The servants are not prophets, seers or revelators. They are priests. They possess authority to act in the name of the Nobleman, but cannot see afar off (they have no vision, or are not seers or prophets). All they can do is counsel among themselves and when faced with a question about why the Nobleman commands this or that, they can’t get answers (they have no revelation, meaning they are not revelators). Nevertheless, they are authorized servants of the Nobleman (priesthood holders).
Nobleman commands servants to go to his vineyard
Go ye unto my vineyard,
Where is the vineyard? On the cosmic scale, the vineyard could be the solar system, with the choice land being the Earth. Speaking of earthly things, the vineyard could be the entire planet, with the American Continent (North and South) being the choice land. At any rate, the servants must go to the vineyard, meaning that they were originally not in the vineyard. So, this may indicate that the servants are in heaven and are being told to go to Earth to begin their earthly probation and missions.
Nobleman commands servants to go to very choice piece of land
even upon this very choice piece of land,
Here we have a very choice piece of land. This is likely the same land as the very choice spot of land. Again, the servants must go to it, so they originally were not in the choice spot. So, again, this may mean that they are to be born on the American Continent/planet Earth.
Nobleman commands servants to plant twelve olive-trees
and plant twelve olive-trees;
According to Joseph Smith, the twelve olive trees are twelve stakes of Zion. (See Twelve Olive Trees.)
Nobleman commands servants to set watchmen around trees
and set watchmen round about them,
The watchmen are not servants, but men hired by the servants to watch (see). These are prophets, seers and revelators. It is their job to see what is coming (the future) from afar off and to warn (prophesy to) the people of what they see (seership) and learn (revelation). The servants are to set (apart) the watchmen (prophets, seers, revelators) around the olive-trees (stakes).
Nobleman commands servants to build a tower
and build a tower,
This tower is not a temple, but is an observatory, as in an astronomical observatory. It may be set upon a temple or set alone, but its purpose is to be able to see afar off.
so that a watchman upon the tower can see the land around the very choice piece of land
that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower,
In an earthly sense, the “land round about” the choice piece of land is the land round about North and South America. In a plasma theological sense, it is the “land” round about the Earth, meaning the planets and stars, comets, meteors, etc. The one watchman to be placed upon the tower is, again, not a servant, but a prophet, seer and revelator. In a plasma theological sense, he is to be an astronomer, just as Abraham was an astronomer, looking at the skies for any sign that the enemy is approaching.
so that “the enemy” (plural) doesn’t destroy the trees when they come (as prophesied)
that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil
The enemy is a plurality of “baddies” and their purpose is to spoil the fruit of the vineyard. This part of the parable is a prophecy that: “the enemy shall come to spoil.” If they come and there is no watchmen (prophets, seers, revelators), no tower (astronomical observatory) and no watchman upon the tower (astronomer), the olive-trees (stakes) will be broken down.
so that they (the enemy) don’t take the fruit of the Nobleman’s vineyard
and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
“Themselves” indicates that the enemy is a plurality. This can be a plurality of astronomical objects whose close encounters with Earth will cause destruction. Or, speaking of earthly enemies, it could be a plurality of earthly enemies (mankind) who will attempt to plunder and rob and glut upon the fruit of the vineyard (Earth). Although most commentators would ascribe these elements to earthly things, plasma theology explains the imagery perfectly.
What is a vineyard composed of? Vines of grapes. And how are grapes arranged? In clusters, the grapes themselves being round spheres. If you look at the solar system, with its round planets orbiting a round sun, all of which are suspended, it kind of looks like a bunch of grapes. Add the invisible Birkland currents or power lines connecting all the planets, and we’d see the “branches” the grapes (planets) hang on.
The enemy is coming into the vineyard, meaning that the enemy is outside the vineyard, or outside the solar system. When they (the enemy) come in, their purpose is to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of the vineyard. The fruit are the planets in this solar system, the grapes. A large object coming in from outside the solar system can capture planets (“take upon themselves”) or spoil planets (plunder, rob, destroy, harm).
The main concern is not for the fruit of the vineyard, which will be spoiled and taken upon the enemy, but for the olive-trees which are found on the choice spot of land (Earth). The Nobleman does not want these trees broken down when these enemies enter the solar system, hence these commandments.
If the tower is an astronomical tower, looking to the heavens for these enemies that are to enter the solar system and disturb the planets, this parable makes perfect sense. However, if we interpret it as a tower that is to be used to look at the land round about North and South America for mortal enemies, it doesn’t make sense. A tower can only see so far around it and no size tower can see the land masses around North and South America (Europe and other continents and islands.) However, an astronomical tower can see outer space, the planets, stars, sun, comets, etc. In other words, using a tower in this manner, it is possible to see extremely great distances.
If the vineyard is thought in earthly terms to be Earth, the imagery of the fruit of the vineyard is lost. What is the fruit of the Earth? The parable here is not talking of the fruit of the olive-trees (which would be olives), but the fruit of the vineyard. The olive-trees are located in the choice spot of land, which itself is located in the vineyard.
Anyway I look at it, my mind can only see this fitting astronomically.
Nobleman’s servants are obedient
Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them,
Here the servants (priests) go to Earth/North or South America (are born?) and start obeying the instructions.
Nobleman’s servants plant twelve olive-trees
and planted the olive-trees,
They plant 12 stakes of Zion.
Nobleman’s servants build a hedge around trees
and built a hedge round about,
If we take this literally, then the servant-priests build a barrier of defense (or a wall) around the 12 stakes. When was the last time you heard of a stake of Zion having a wall around it? These 12 stakes sound more like cities of Zion with city walls built around. This follows the pattern of Jerusalem and other ancient cities which also had walls built around them.
Nobleman’s servants set watchmen upon the hedge
and set watchmen,
The watchmen are prophets, seers and revelators. They are set (set apart) by the servants (who hold priesthood) upon the hedge (barrier or wall) surrounding the olive-trees (stakes/cities of Zion).
Nobleman’s servants begin to build a tower
and began to build a tower.
Now the servants begin to build the astronomical tower. So, far so good. They have been perfectly obedient servant-priests.
Nobleman’s servants ask each other questions while laying the foundation of the tower
And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves:
The foundation of the tower (not the foundation of a temple) has not yet been fully laid when they start to ask themselves questions concerning all these instructions given by the Nobleman. Notice that they do not inquire of the Nobleman, but merely talk to each other in councils.
Nobleman’s servants ask each other why the Nobleman needs the tower
And what need hath my lord of this tower?
The servant-priests do not understand the purpose of the tower. They think it has as its purpose protection from mortal man and not an astronomical tower looking at the heavens.
Nobleman’s servants hold council for a long time
And consulted for a long time,
The servant-priests are not able to figure out the answer to their question. So they consult with each other in church priesthood councils as to what this tower is for. Perhaps they even consult with the “best minds” that they can find outside of their priesthood quorums.
Nobleman’s servants ask each other questions
saying among themselves:
They have lots of church councils in which they talk to each other, but they never talk to the Nobleman. They just talk among themselves.
Nobleman’s servants ask each other why the Nobleman needs the tower during this time of peace
What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
Again, the only conclusion they can come to is that the tower is for a defense against some man-made enemy, but as they live during a time of peace, to them (and to the others they have consulted with), the construction endeavor seems like an enormous waste of the Nobleman’s money.
Nobleman’s servants ask each other if the Nobleman’s money could be given to the bankers
Might not this money be given to the exchangers?
Gee, I wonder who gave them that idea? Could it be the “best minds” that they had consulted? Could it be that those “best minds” whom they consulted consisted of exchangers (bankers)? Surely by giving the Nobleman’s money to the bankers and investors, the Nobleman’s money will be multiplied exponentially, making the Nobleman’s very happy.
This is a seemingly noble goal. Unfortunately, the Nobleman doesn’t care about making more money. His instructions were to use his money in construction endeavors so that the twelve olive-trees (stakes) would be saved from destruction when the destroyer comes. In other words, the servant-priests were commissioned by the Nobleman to spend money on specific construction projects he had authorized, not to make money with the Nobleman’s money and fund other, unauthorized projects.
Nobleman’s servants conclude there is no need for tower, hedge and watchmen
For there is no need of these things.
The servant-priests conclude their long church councils over the question of whether to proceed and conclude that based upon the present conditions among men (the great peace in the land), it would be wasteful to use the Nobleman’s money per his instructions and build a useless tower.
Nobleman’s servants have disagreements
And while they were at variance one with another
The servant-priests, though, are not united on the conclusion and disagreements ensue.
Nobleman’s servants slow down their work to a crawl
they became very slothful,
Instead of altogether stopping the work of building the tower, they slow the work of construction to a near stand-still. In their view, they will still complete the tower, but it will take many, many years and over time eventually the tower will be finished.
Nobleman’s servants disobey Nobleman and stop working on the tower and paying watchmen
and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
Finally, they stop the work altogether and change the plans of how the Nobleman’s money is to be used. They stop paying the watchmen on the walls and relieve them of their duties (no more prophets, seers and revelators) and no longer work to build a tower. The money is diverted to other purposes, such as giving it to the exchangers. Satisfied that they have made the wise decision, the servant-priests go to sleep.
The enemy comes at night while the Nobleman’s servants are asleep
And the enemy came by night,
Unfortunately, during the nighttime, while the servant-priests are asleep, the enemy enters the vineyard (solar system).
The enemy breaks down the hedge (which has no watchmen upon it)
and broke down the hedge;
The enemy wreaks havoc among the vineyard but also in the very choice spot of land where the twelve olive-trees (stake/cities) are located. The passage through the solar system (vineyard) of the enemy causes the hedge (barrier/fence/wall) that surrounds the twelve olive-trees (stake/cities) to be broken down, exposing the olive-trees to the fury of the enemy.
Nobleman’s servants awake, are frightened and flee
and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled;
In this commotion, the servant-priests wake up and, seeing the hedge in shambles and the destructive fury of nature’s elements upon the stake/cities, mortal fear comes upon them and they run away, abandoning the olive-trees (stakes).
Notice there is no mention of the watchmen upon the hedge. This is because there were no watchmen upon the hedge when the enemy comes.
The enemy destroys the work of the Nobleman’s servants
and the enemy destroyed their works,
The enemy’s fury destroys the works of the servant-priests. This refers to the money of the Nobleman that the servant-priests diverted to other projects, unauthorized projects. These projects, these extra works of the servant-priests are destroyed by the enemy’s fury. These are the works of men (the servant-priests), not the works of the Nobleman which he commanded the servant-priests to do in his name and with his money.
The enemy breaks down the olive-trees
and broke down the olive-trees.
The fury of the enemy also breaks down the olive-trees (stakes/cities of Zion), leaving the land desolate.
Nobleman calls to his disobedient servants and speaks to them
Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them,
Where did the disobedient servant-priests flee to? Did they just leave the olive-trees and go to another part of the choice land? If so, perhaps they are still alive. Did they leave the very choice spot of land (North and South America/Earth)? If they left the choice land and we interpret that as the American Continent, perhaps they are still alive in Europe or other continents. If they left the choice land and we interpret that as Earth, then they are dead, having left the Earth, or their mortal probation. In that case, when the Nobleman calls upon them, he is calling upon them in the spirit world and talking to them while they are disembodied spirits, having disobeyed his instructions.
Nobleman asks disobedient servants how the enemy was able to do this
Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
The Nobleman chastises them by asking them what caused this destruction. Was it the enemy that caused this destruction, or was it the disobedience of the servant-priests?
Nobleman chastises disobedient servants for not building the tower
Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also,
They did everything correctly, but they failed to build the astronomical tower.
(Also notice that the vineyard/solar system is only considered “planted” when olive-trees are planted/present.)
for not setting a watchman upon the tower
and set a watchman upon the tower,
They failed to set (apart) an astronomer-seer upon that astronomical observatory tower.
for not watching
and watched for my vineyard,
They didn’t watch for the vineyard (solar system). Their eyes were on the Earth, not on the heavens (planets, stars, etc.) They were focused on the conditions among men on Earth and not on the conditions found in the heavens, as was their commission.
and for falling asleep
and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
Lastly, they even fell asleep. Instead of continuing to pay the watchmen (prophets, seers, revelators) to be set (apart) on the hedge, they stopped paying them and let them go (released them). So, they had no more prophets, seers and revelators among them. The only ones available to watch upon the hedge, then, were the servant-priests, but even in this they were lacking, because they chose, instead, to just go asleep, leaving no one upon the hedge. This makes sense because there is no need for watchmen upon the hedge, as the entire land is at peace (they thinking only of the conditions among men).
Nobleman explains to disobedient servants that the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was still far away
And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off;
Here the Nobleman explains that had they placed a watchmen on the tower, the celestial enemy would have been seen entering the solar system (for the signs in the heavens, among the planets, would have been noticed), giving them plenty of heads up.
Nobleman explains to disobedient servants that the servants could have prepared for the enemy
and then ye could have made ready
Once the celestial signs were noticed, they could have made preparations to protect everything owned by the Nobleman.
Nobleman explains to disobedient servants that servants could have stopped the enemy from destroying the hedge
and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof,
They could have then used their priesthood power and authority to stop the enemy from breaking down the hedge (wall/barrier/fence) that surrounded the twelve olive-trees (stakes/cities of Zion).
Nobleman explains to disobedient servants that servants could have saved the vineyard from the destroyer
and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.
In fact, they could have then used their priesthood power and authority to save the entire vineyard (solar system) from the effects of the destroyer.
Nobleman speaks to his servant Joseph Smith, Jun.
And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants:
Now the Nobleman turns to an altogether different servant-priest, who is also a spirit in the spirit world, even Joseph Smith, Jun. (See D&C 103: 21.)
Notice that Joseph was not among the first group of disobedient servant-priests. This is the very first mention of him.
Nobleman commands Joseph to gather together all the scattered servants who still serve the Nobleman
Go and gather together the residue of my servants,
Joseph is to go back to Earth and gather all of the servant-priests of the Nobleman who were not disobedient. This is the residue of the servant-priests that didn’t run away (die).
Nobleman commands Joseph to take all the young and middle aged servants among all the faithful servants
and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house,
From among all the gathered faithful servant-priests, Joseph is instructed to take all the strong warriors, consisting of the young men and the middle aged men. (There is no mention of old men. Apparently the Nobleman wants no more to do with old men. Or, whatever old men of the gathered, faithful servant-priests are present, are to remain behind.)
leaving only those of young and middle age whom the Nobleman designates are to remain with the gathered body of faithful servants
save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;
Some of the young and middle aged men are to stay with the gathered servant-priests who are not going with Joseph (the old men).
and commands Joseph and young and middle aged servant army to go immediately to the vineyard
and go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard,
Joseph is to take this army of young and middle aged servant-priests and go to the land of the vineyard, meaning the very choice spot of land (Earth/North and South America). This priesthood army may consist of both returned-from-the-dead individuals (such as Joseph), translated individuals, as well as mortal servant-priests.
and redeem it
and redeem my vineyard;
The priesthood army is to liberate the vineyard (solar system), which is held captive by the enemy (celestial objects which have entered the solar system, capturing planets, etc.) They are the only ones who can perform such works, as it is beyond the technology of mankind. They will be able to do these marvels by using the power of the priesthood.
because it has been bought with money
for it is mine; I have bought it with money.
The Nobleman owns this solar system, so it is within his right to take it back from the usurpers who entered and spoiled it (foreign celestial objects.)
Nobleman commands Joseph and servant army to go immediately to Nobleman’s land
Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land;
The Nobleman again commands Joseph to immediately go to the very choice piece of land.
Nobleman commands Joseph and servant army to break down enemy walls
break down the walls of mine enemies;
Now Joseph receives specific instructions on how he is going to liberate (redeem) the vineyard (solar system) from the enemy. Apparently, the enemy (now written in plural form, “enemies”) has “walls” in the solar system. In other words, when looking up to the heaven, there will be plasma phenomena that, to the human eye, looks like walls. These walls must be broken down by the power of the priesthood.
Nobleman commands Joseph and servant army to throw down enemy tower
throw down their tower,
Apparently, the entrance of the enemy into the solar system will create a stacked plasma phenomenon which, to the human eye, will look like a tower. This tower must be thrown down by the power of the priesthood.
Nobleman commands Joseph and servant army to scatter enemy watchmen
and scatter their watchmen.
Again, to the human eye, gazing into the heavens, there will be either plasma phenomena, or physical objects, which appear to be watchmen, or things watching and protecting the enemy, guarding them, etc. These “watchmen” celestial objects must be scattered by the power of the priesthood.
Enemy to gather against Joseph and servant army
And inasmuch as they gather together against you,
Some of these celestial objects will be gathered together, creating dangerous plasma manifestations to the detriment of Joseph and his priesthood army.
Nobleman commands Joseph and servant army to avenge Nobleman of all enemies gathered against them
avenge me of mine enemies,
When this happens, Joseph and army is to use the priesthood against the objects.
so that immediately afterward (by and by) the Nobleman himself can lead the rest of his people to the land and possess it
that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.
Soon (or immediately) afterward (which is what the term “by and by” means), the Nobleman will come with whatever is left of his house (saints, servants, prophets, tribes) and take possession of the very choice piece of land (North and South America/Earth).
Joseph asks the Nobleman when these prophecies will be fulfilled
And the servant said unto his lord: When shall these things be?
Nobleman tells Joseph it will be in his own due time
And he said unto his servant: When I will;
Nobleman commands Joseph and servant army to immediately go and obey his commandments
go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you;
Nobleman seals and blesses his servant Joseph
and this shall be my seal and blessing upon you—a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom.
Joseph goes immediately and obeys all of the Nobleman’s commandments
And his servant went straightway, and did all things whatsoever his lord commanded him;
After many days all the prophecies are fulfilled
and after many days all things were fulfilled.
The parable appears to have a dual fulfillment. It seems to me to be based, principally, upon plasma theology, dealing with things happening in the heavens. I’ve interpreted the servants, watchmen, earthly tower, etc., as all earthly elements of the parable, but even these may be celestial objects, for all I know. At any rate, what happens in the heavens also happens on Earth, so we may see an earthly counterpart and my interpretation of the servants, etc., as earthly men may be valid.
I will give it as my personal opinion that this parable has not, yet, been fulfilled in any part. I know that many think that the tower is talking of the temple and city of Zion in Missouri and I know that some believe the tower is the temple in Nauvoo, but none of these historical events fit perfectly into the parable, as I understand it. So, based upon this brief examination, I’d have to say that the fulfillment of the parable, every part of it, is still a future event.