Of all the material Jacob could have adopted as his prophecy, his selection of Zenos’ allegory of the Olive Tree is telling. The account is a journey through various dispensations of the Gospel, tracking a bloodline of chosen people. To Jacob’s credit, he realized the work of salvation was devoted primarily to rescuing the descendants of a chosen line beginning with Abraham. The allegory is a family story. The use of the olive tree is a deliberate symbol of a family and of the tree whose value was beyond question in the culture from which the allegory sprung. To understand the story, it is necessary to settle on meanings. The tree is a family line belonging to the house of Israel (Jacob 3:7). The work of the Lord of the vineyard and his fellow laborers is designed to cause the chosen family line to produce fruit worthy of preservation. The “fruit” is people, or more correctly, children raised in righteousness who comprehend and accept the Gospel and abide by its teachings.1See also FRUIT.
1 “Jacob Chapter 5,” March 23, 2012, blog post.