The Lord of the vineyard wants to “have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard.” (5: 60.) This is an interesting connection by the Lord of “joy” in His “fruit” or joy in His posterity; for the redeemed are the children of God and He dwells in them. (1 John 4: 4.) The purpose of having children is to have “joy” with them. In this instance, the Lord of the vineyard is describing not only His “work and glory” (Moses 1: 39) but also what pleases Him most. He explains that producing such fruit worthy of preserving would be so “that I may rejoice exceedingly that I have preserved” these souls. (5: 60.) It is a compelling thought: A Lord who would “rejoice exceedingly” at our success!
The effort required to accomplish this is not inconsequential. There will be many “servants” called to labor in the vineyard. It will require some to descend without disclosing their true identities and to “labor diligently with our might in the vineyard” to bring about the potential for fruit. (5: 61.) Servants sent into the Telestial condition to labor in the vineyard with their might is a careful description, I think. Perhaps it is worth careful thought to consider how such servants might come among us to do the labor needed to rescue us from the coming harvest.
The effort is to “prepare the way” for the vineyard to be able to “bring forth again the natural fruit” of the original, natural tree. The effort is the return of covenant, adopted Israel sealed to the fathers and able to endure the return of the Lord. Such a people are not only “good” but also “the most precious above all other fruit.” (Id.) This is because such people are not merely mortal, but also immortal, even infinite because they have no end. (D&C 132: 20.) It is through such rare “most precious above all other fruit” that the universe itself expands. The infinite itself grows.
The Lord, however, acknowledges that both He and His servants must “labor with our might this last time” to salvage some few. (5:62.) What an image comes to mind when you consider the Lord of the vineyard laboring with “His might” to bring again some natural fruit in His vineyard. How great an undertaking! How foolish it is for the saints to believe ourselves chosen. How foolish to think that our careless church activities will save us. How arrogant a proposition it is for the saints to point with pride at our institutions and think it reflects credit upon us. It is, in a word, fruitless.
Because the living must be redeemed for the dead to be saved, the labor begins with the last and goes to the first. The work begins with the living, who are last in the vineyard. (5: 63.) They must be grafted back to the fathers who are in heaven. (See, e.g., D&C 132: 29, 37.) God’s children living today must be sealed to those who now sit upon thrones in the heavens. Then the deceased ancestors may be sealed to the living so the whole earth is not smitten with a curse at the return of the Lord.
Joseph’s instruction about adoption to the “fathers in heaven” was short lived. As I pointed out in Passing the Heavenly Gift, many of the surviving church leaders who were taught this by Joseph didn’t believe it when he said it. Brigham Young said he never understood it. The allegory of Zenos makes it apparent that there must be a connection, and that connection must produce natural fruit. The thing that will be saved will be the “fruit” and not the roots, trees and branches. There must be children born into the covenant, raised in righteousness who will live an order that can bring to pass the Savior’s great petition in prayer. The Lord’s prayer instructed us how to pray and what to pray for: “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6: 9-10.) Zion will return.
How can fruit be harvested and laid up against the day if we cannot endure His presence at His return?