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Messiah Ben Joseph?


inquiringmind

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There are many different traditions, but the gist of it is that the messiah ben Joseph is a messianic forerunner who will fight, suffer, and die preparing the way for the triumphal Messiah ben David.

Do these traditions have any value, is there any relation between the suffering of Messiah ben Joseph and "the suffering servant," and have any LDS presidents or general authorities commented on this?

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Do these traditions have any value, is there any relation between the suffering of Messiah ben Joseph and "the suffering servant," and have any LDS presidents or general authorities commented on this?

I like the questions you ask. As far as I'm aware of, no LDS president has commented on this, but quite a few scholars and apologists have. The first, IIRC, was Truman Madsen. The connection has been made between the role of this messiah and Joseph Smith. Kevin Barney has urged caution. Basically, some of the traditions reflect Joseph's role, others don't, reflecting the Christ of the New Testament better. The key point is that there were various traditions. There is a strong connection between the suffering servant and the MbJ. The traditions have a lot of value, but it is important to study them, not just see a single tradition instead of disparate ones with different ideologies and different historical developement.

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The most useful article on Messiah Ben Joseph Traditions is "Joseph Smith as Found in Ancient Manuscripts" by Joseph F. McConkie in Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament. , ed. Nyman, (Religous Studies Center, Provo, 1984). I think the article is findable on the LDS InfoBase CDs.

Also, John Tvedtnes somewhere tells the story somewhere of teaching a class in Israel about Mormonism to some rabbinic students, detailing some of Joseph Smith's achievements and life details, thinking he could then lead to a discussion about Messiah Ben Joseph. It happened that he didn't need to bring it up. He could hear the students murmuring "Messiah Ben Joseph" without him having to bring it up.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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There is an interesting article on the Messiah ben Joseph in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless. I am sure you can guess who the good professor postulates filling that role.

I don't know who Nibley is, and I can't guess who he sees as filling the role of Messiah ben Joseph, but is the article available online?

P.S. Is Nibley LDS, Evangelical, or Jewish?

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I don't know who Nibley is, and I can't guess who he sees as filling the role of Messiah ben Joseph, but is the article available online?

P.S. Is Nibley LDS, Evangelical, or Jewish?

Hugh Nibley was a central figure in LDS scholarship and apologetics from the mid-20th century until his death.

I think the article is available online through the Maxwell Institute page.

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“Ancient Hebrew traditions speak of two separate Messiahs that were foreordained to

arise among the covenant people of the Lord--one from the tribe of Judah (the Messiah Ben

David, or son of David) and one from the tribe of Joseph (the Messiah Ben Joseph/Ephraim).

According to Jewish lore the Messiah Ben Joseph concept first arose when Rachel, the mother of

Joseph of Egypt, prophesied that Joseph would be the ancestor of a Messiah who would “arise in

the last days”(Legends of the Jews 5:299). Scholars who have studied this legend have

determined that it was “a standard article of faith, early and firmly established and universally

accepted.” (‘The Messiah son of Ephraim’ Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 66, 1947, 253)

The Messiah Ben Joseph legends hold special interest for Latter-day Saints for two main

reasons. First, these Jewish legends claim that Joseph of Egypt uttered prophecies about the

Messiah Ben Joseph (Legends of the Jews 2:7) while prophecies by Joseph of Egypt found in the

Book of Mormon and JST speak of Latter-day seer who would be named ‘Joseph’ (2 Nephi

3:6-15 JST Gen. 50:26-36). Second, there are several elements found in Messiah Ben Joseph

legends that closely correspond to the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Following are ten points

of correspondence:

1. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be held in reserve to live on the earth in the ‘last days’

(The Messiah son of Ephraim, pg. 259, The Legends of the Jews, 5:299, 3 Enoch or the Hebrew

Book of Enoch, pg. 144) in Doctrine and Covenants section 132 verse 7 the Lord states that the

had appointed Joseph Smith to hold the keys of the sealing power of the priesthood ‘in the last

days’

2.The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be born through the lineage of Joseph of Egypt’s

birthright son Ephraim. (Legends of the Jews, 5:299, The Messianic idea in Israel, pg. 483, The

Messiah Texts, pg. 165)

In a meeting held in Nauvoo, Illinois, on 8 Jan. 1845, President Brigham Young stated

that Joseph Smith’s ‘descent from Joseph that was sold into Egypt was direct, and the blood was

pure in him. That is why the Lord chose him.’ (Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, vol.

11, July 1920, 107, J.D. 7:290).

3. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to live upon the earth prior to ‘when Messiah Ben David

(Jesus Christ) appears in all His glory’ (The Messianic idea in Israel, pg. 497) and is to act as his

‘forerunner’ (The Messianic idea in Israel, pg. 486)

President Lorenzo Snow reported that on e occasion Joseph Smith was...asked who he

was. The Prophet smiled kindly upon his interlocutor and replied, ‘Noah came before the flood. I

have come before the fire’ (Abraham H. Cannon journal, 1 Jan. 1892)--meaning the fire that will

accompany the second coming of Christ (see D/C 29:12; 133:40-41)

4. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be ‘the revealer of the true faith’ of Jehovah (The

Jewish Messiah, pg. 139). In one Jewish legend Joseph of Egypt prophecies that the Messiah Ben

Joseph will cause some erroneous elements of religious worship that have crept in among the

Israelite tribes to ‘vanish’ (The Legends of the Jews 2:7). Thus, he will perform his work after a

period of apostasy.

5. The Prophet Elijah is to return to the earth, as foretold in Malachi 4:5-6, during the

days of the Messiah Ben Joseph (The Messianic idea in Israel, pg. 498)

D/C 110:13-16 records the fulfillment of this expectation.

6. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to ‘rebuild the temple’ of Israel and restore its ‘true

worship’ (The Messiah Texts, pg. 170, The Messiah idea in Jewish History, pg. 124)

7. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to gather the children of Israel around him, including a

portion of the lost ten tribes. (Jewish Encyclopedia 1:683, 8:512, The Messiah in Jewish History,

pg. 211) (see D/C 110:11)

8. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be a warrior (The Messiah son of Ephraim, pg. 267,

269, The Messiah Texts, pg. 165)

On 10 March 1841 Thomas Carlin, governor of the state of Illinois, commissioned

Joseph Smith to the rank of Lieutenant General over the Nauvoo legion (History of the Church

4:309-310). By 1844 the Nauvoo legion is estimated to have been about 5,000 men strong. The

legion was not only the largest military unit in the state of Illinois but it was second only in size

to the United States army.

9. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to die as a martyr (The Binding of Isaac and Messiah, pg.

209

While it cannot be stated with certainty that Joseph Smith and the Messiah Ben Joseph

are one and the same person, it cannot be denied that the parallels between them are striking. It is

also of great interest that some of the Messiah Ben Joseph legendary elements are present in

revealed scriptural texts that clearly refer to the Prophet (2 Nephi 3:6-15, JST Genesis 50:

26-33).”

Joseph’s grandfather, Asael Smith, had a premonition that a prominent religious leader would

someday be born into his family. He said ‘It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants

will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.’ (Church History and Modern

Revelation, Joseph Fielding Smith 1:4) In speaking of this premonition, Joseph Smith stated: ‘My

grandfather, Asael Smith, long ago predicted that there would be a prophet raised up in his family, and

my grandmother was fully satisfied that it was fulfilled in me. My grandfather Asael died in East

Stockholm, St. Lawrence county, New York, after having received the Book of Mormon, and read it

nearly through; and he declared that I was the very prophet that he had long know would come in his

family”(All Things Restored, Matthew Brown, pg. 33,34-39,)

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The most useful article on Messiah Ben Joseph Traditions is "Joseph Smith as Found in Ancient Manuscripts" by Joseph F. McConkie in Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament. , ed. Nyman, (Religous Studies Center, Provo, 1984). I think the article is findable on the LDS InfoBase CDs.

http://rsc.byu.edu/archived/isaiah-and-prophets-inspired-voices-old-testament/1-joseph-smith-found-ancient-manuscripts Found it here, but it is rather basic.

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I don't know who Nibley is, and I can't guess who he sees as filling the role of Messiah ben Joseph, but is the article available online?

P.S. Is Nibley LDS, Evangelical, or Jewish?

To my knowledge, that article is not, but you can read a lot of his other stuff at the Maxwell Institute Website and your local library should be able to get a copy of the present text.

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There is an interesting article on the Messiah ben Joseph in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless. I am sure you can guess who the good professor postulates filling that role.

I found "The Timely and The Timeless," by Hugh Nibley online, but I can't find anything about "Messiah Ben Joseph."

Can anyone tell me what Chapter it's in?

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I

Has anyone read "Dnasty of The Holy Grail: Mormonism's Sacred Bloodline," by Vern G. Swanson?

http://books.google....rist%22&f=false

Does anyone have any thoughts on it?

I read the first couple of chapters before I had to return it to the library. (I had it on ILL.) If one reads it as the work of an inspired bard, like the work of Robert Graves or Iolo Morganwg, it is very good. I didn't get to find out if he supported his claims well enough to be taken seriously as "hard" history.

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John Tvedtnes is supposed to be working on a book on the Messiah Ben Joseph traditions and how they tie into Joseph Smith. If/when it will be released is anyone's guess (he is working on a number of texts, such as As Far as it is Translated Correctly; the Book of Mormon and the Ancient World; Animals in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and the Ancient World).

Robert "Dear John Tvedtnes--finish the above volumes" Boylan

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Details about the Messiah ben Joseph are not found until much later, but he has an established place in the apocalypses of later centuries, such as the Apocalypse of Zerubbabel, and in the midrash literature—in Saadia's description of the future (Emunot we-De'ot, ch. viii.) and in that of Hai Gaon (Ṭa'am Zeḳenim, p. 59). According to these, Messiah b. Joseph will appear prior to the coming of Messiah ben David. He will gather the children of Israel around him, march to Jerusalem, and there, after overcoming the hostile powers, reestablish the Temple-worship and set up his own dominion. Thereupon Armilus, according to one group of sources, or Gog and Magog, according to the other, will appear with their hosts before Jerusalem, wage war against Messiah ben Joseph, and slay him. His corpse, according to one group, will lie unburied in the streets of Jerusalem; according to the other, it will be hidden by the angels with the bodies of the Patriarchs, until Messiah ben David comes and resurrects him (comp. Jew. Encyc. i. 682, 684 [§§ 8 and 13]; comp. also Midr. Wayosha' and Agadat ha-Mashiaḥ in A. Jellinek, B. H. i. 55 et seq., iii. 141 et seq.).

Messiah ben Joseph

Wow. That sounds just like Joseph Smith. :search:

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Wow. That sounds just like Joseph Smith. :search:

If you'll look above you'll see that I conceded that not all traditions match. The Geonic interpretation of the Sefer Zerubabvel though isn't the only source of such traditions.

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8. The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be a warrior (The Messiah son of Ephraim, pg. 267,

269, The Messiah Texts, pg. 165)

On 10 March 1841 Thomas Carlin, governor of the state of Illinois, commissioned

Joseph Smith to the rank of Lieutenant General over the Nauvoo legion (History of the Church

4:309-310). By 1844 the Nauvoo legion is estimated to have been about 5,000 men strong. The

legion was not only the largest military unit in the state of Illinois but it was second only in size

to the United States army...

While it cannot be stated with certainty that Joseph Smith and the Messiah Ben Joseph

are one and the same person, it cannot be denied that the parallels between them are striking.

(All Things Restored, Matthew Brown, pg. 33,34-39,)

This parallel is actually pretty weak when we consider that the MbJ is depicted as fighting a war. Joseph never lead the Nauvoo Legion into battle. A sightly aper comparison is to Zion's camp, but even then the differences between the narratives are apparent.

Brown's list is divorced from the narrative's context, which considerably weakens its value.

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A prophet from the seed of Joseph will definitely appear in the last days.

2 Nephi 3

Gen 50 26-36

3 Nephi 20:43-45

3 Nephi 21 verse 9 and on.

Romans 11:27

Joseph in Egypt, Isaiah, Paul, and Christ prophesied of his coming in the last days. And no this does not refer to Joseph Smith

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A prophet from the seed of Joseph will definitely appear in the last days.

2 Nephi 3

Gen 50 26-36

3 Nephi 20:43-45

3 Nephi 21 verse 9 and on.

Romans 11:27

Joseph in Egypt, Isaiah, Paul, and Christ prophesied of his coming in the last days. And no this does not refer to Joseph Smith

Let me guess. You are either that prophet or else his Elijah.

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