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Messiah Ben Joseph As A Warrior & The Nauvoo Legion


volgadon

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In "All Things Restored", Matthew B. Brown states that "there are several elements found in Messiah Ben Joseph legends that closely correspond to the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith." Italics mine. I want to take a closer look at one of Brown's "points of correspondence." Bolded for convenience.

"The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be a warrior."

Brown provides the following corollary from Joseph Smith's life.

"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."

One wonders why Brown sees this as a close correspondence between Joseph Smith and the Josephite Messiah of Jewish lore. Joseph never led the Nauvoo Legion into battle. Parades, drills, manuevres, ceremonies, yes, but no battles. When I raised this point in an prior thread, Brown stated that there was "no statement made about JS or MbJ 'fighting a war' or leading anyone 'into battle.'" That is precisely the problem. The Jewish sources depict the Messiah Ben Joseph as being a warrior in the full sense of the word. He leads Israel from the Galilee and captures Jerusalem. In most sources he carries out a war against the nations surrounding Israel. He then falls in battle by the monstrous Armilus. Brown quotes Raphael Patai as saying that the Messiah Ben Joseph is "imagined as the first commander of the army of Israel."

Here is the quote from the "Messiah Texts," Patai, pp. 164-165. "He is the warrior-Messiah... In the Future to Come, the Anointed of War will arise from Joseph... is imagined as the first commander of the army of Israel in the Messianic wars. He will acheive many signal victories, but his fate is to die at the hands of Armilus in a great battle in which Israel is defeated by Gog and Magog... was to raise the armies of Israel against their enemies..."

I ommited nothing which alters Patai's statement, the ellipses are there for brevity.

Brown's list is divorced from the narrative context, considerably weakening its value. The Messiah Ben Joseph's primary role was to fight wars and win battles.

Far from this merely being my opinion, I can demonstrate it over and over again from the primary sources.

In later strands of Kabbalah the role was spiritualised. R. Isaac Luria (the Arizal) had his birth foretold by Elijah. His role was to reveal heavenly secrets and to battle the kelipot, or shells. In mid 17th century Poland (Ukraine, really), R. Samson of Ostropol percieved himself as the Messiah Ben Joseph who would wage a spiritual war against the shells and Edom, that is, Christianity. Reciting the Shema before martyrdom had theurgical power, as it was equivalent to the word takeh- strike. The classic Messiah Ben Joseph however engages in actual war. The closest we get with Joseph Smith is Zion's Camp. Even then the parallel isn't that strong. Zion's Camp did not fight and it failed in its primary mission.

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The closest we get with Joseph Smith['s being a battle-tested warrior] is Zion's Camp. Even then the parallel isn't that strong. Zion's Camp did not fight and it failed in its primary mission.

I disagree about the primary misson of Zion's camp being to fight a war to restore the Saints to their lands and rights. It was the announced purpose, but the primary purpose was to try the brethren and identify those who would be leaders for the Saints in even more trying times.

That said, while it is true there were no battles fought with weapons, the Battle of Little Fishing River was won by the Saints of Zion's Camp. The Lord fought the battle, and the enemy was routed entirely.

Lehi

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Brown stated . . . . .

Oops. You conveniently left out what else Brown stated in that thread -- namely, the quote from John Tvedtnes which demonstrates that not everyone agrees with your particular point of view.

Brown said: "The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be a warrior . . . . Joseph Smith [was commissioned] to the rank of Lieutenant General over the Nauvoo legion" [no statement made about JS or MbJ 'fighting a war' or leading anyone 'into battle']

John Tvedtnes said: MbJ "is destined to be a military leader who dies in combat . . . . Joseph Smith seems to fit this description . . . . A lieutenant-general and commander of the Nauvoo Legion, he was slain by a mob comprising mostly Illinois and Missouri militiamen."

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"The war in Heaven continues on earth." Joseph fought a spiritual war that is still raging. He's still our leader in the last days. At least, that's one way we can see him as a warrior.

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Oops. You conveniently left out what else Brown stated in that thread -- namely, the quote from John Tvedtnes which demonstrates that not everyone agrees with your particular point of view.

Brown said: "The Messiah Ben Joseph is to be a warrior . . . . Joseph Smith [was commissioned] to the rank of Lieutenant General over the Nauvoo legion" [no statement made about JS or MbJ 'fighting a war' or leading anyone 'into battle']

John Tvedtnes said: MbJ "is destined to be a military leader who dies in combat . . . . Joseph Smith seems to fit this description . . . . A lieutenant-general and commander of the Nauvoo Legion, he was slain by a mob comprising mostly Illinois and Missouri militiamen."

You mean the Tvedtnes quote? It isn't accurate either. You though post on these boards, he doesn't. I didn't leave out anything of your reply, apart from your dismissal, that is. We can take a look at the primary sources, and if you can refute my position then please do. Merely saying that you disagree with my point of view isn't a particularly robust rebuttal.

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"The war in Heaven continues on earth." Joseph fought a spiritual war that is still raging. He's still our leader in the last days. At least, that's one way we can see him as a warrior.

The point though is that the MbJ of Jewish lore was an actual warrior, fighting wars in which people were killed and cities taken. Later Jewish mystics spiritualised the MbJ.

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I disagree about the primary misson of Zion's camp being to fight a war to restore the Saints to their lands and rights. It was the announced purpose, but the primary purpose was to try the brethren and identify those who would be leaders for the Saints in even more trying times.

That said, while it is true there were no battles fought with weapons, the Battle of Little Fishing River was won by the Saints of Zion's Camp. The Lord fought the battle, and the enemy was routed entirely.

Lehi

I knew someone was going to quibble about the primary purpose. It hardly makes a difference to my point, which was comparing Joseph's military activities to those of the MbJ. Little Fishing was won by the Lord on behalf of the Saints, not by the Saints.

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I disagree about the primary misson of Zion's camp being to fight a war to restore the Saints to their lands and rights. It was the announced purpose, but the primary purpose was to try the brethren and identify those who would be leaders for the Saints in even more trying times.

Lehi

Wow, I'll bet you never lose arguments.

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Here is what the Sefer Zerubabel has to say about the MbJ's role. http://religiousstudies.uncc.edu/people/jcreeves/sefer_zerubbabel.htm

"The rod which the Lord will give to Hephtzibah, the mother of Menahem [ben] ‘Amiel, is made of almond-wood; it is hidden in Raqqat, a city in (the territory of) Naphtali. It is the same rod which the Lord previously gave to Adam, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and King David. It is the same rod which sprouted buds and flowered in the Tent (of Meeting) for the sake of Aaron. Elijah ben Eleazar concealed it in Raqqat, a city of Naphtali, which is Tiberias. Concealed there as well is a man whose name is Nehemiah ben Hushiel ben Ephraim ben Joseph.’ Zerubbabel spoke up and said to Metatron and to Michael (sic) the prince: ‘My lord, I want you to tell me when the Messiah of the Lord will come and what will happen after all this!’ He said to me, ‘The Lord’s Messiah—Nehemiah ben Hushiel—will come five years after Hephtzibah. He will collect all Israel together as one entity and they will remain for <four> years in Jerusalem, (where) the children of Israel will offer sacrifice, and it will be pleasing to the Lord. He will inscribe Israel in the genealogical lists according to their families. But in the fifth year of Nehemiah and the gathering together of the ‘holy ones,’ Šērōy the king of Persia will attack Nehemiah ben Hushiel and Israel, and there will be great suffering in Israel. Hephtzibah—the wife of Nathan the prophet (and) mother of Menahem ben ‘Amiel—will go out with the rod which the Lord God of Israel will give to her, and the Lord will place “a spirit of dizziness” upon them (i.e., the Persian army), and they will kill one another, each (slaying) his companion or his countryman. There the wicked one (Šērōy) will die.’

When I heard (this), I fell upon my face and said, ‘O Lord! Tell me what Isaiah the prophet (meant) when he said: “There the calf will graze, and there it will crouch down and finish its branches” (27:10)?’ He answered me, ‘This calf is Nineveh, the city of blood, which represents mighty Rome.’

I continued asking there about the prince of the holy covenant. He held me close and they (sic) brought me to the ‘house of filth’ [and scorn]. There he showed me a marble stone in the shape of a maiden: her features and form were lovely and indeed very beautiful to behold. Then he said to me, ‘This statue is the [wife] of Belial. Satan will come and have intercourse with it, and a son named Armilos will emerge from it, [whose name in Greek means] “he will destroy a nation.” He will rule over all (peoples), and his dominion will extend from one end of the earth to the other, and ten letters will be in his hand. He will engage in the worship of foreign gods and speak lies. No one will be able to withstand him, and anyone who does not believe in him he will kill with the sword: many among them will he kill. He will come against the holy people of the Most High, and with him there will be ten kings wielding great power and force, and he will do battle with the holy ones. He will prevail over them and will kill the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph, Nehemiah b. Hushiel, and will also kill sixteen righteous ones alongside him. Then they will banish Israel to the desert in three groups.

But Hephtzibah, the mother of Menahem b. ‘Amiel, will remain stationed at the eastern gate, and that wicked one will not enter there, thereby confirming what was written: “but the remainder of the people will not be cut off from the city” (Zech 14:2). This battle will take place during the month of Av. Israel will experience distress such as there never was before. They will flee into towers, among mountains, and into caves, but they will be unable to hide from him. All the nations of the earth will go astray after him except for Israel, who will not believe in him. All Israel shall mourn Nehemiah b. Hushiel for forty-one days. His thoroughly crushed corpse will be thrown down before the gates of Jerusalem, but no animal, bird, or beast will touch it. Due to the intensity of the oppression and the great distress, the children of Israel will then cry out to the Lord, and the Lord will answer them.’"

Nothing so far approximating Joseph's role as commanding officer of the Nauvoo Legion. MbJ here is not a warrior. He is the ruler of Israel, but Hephtzibah, the Messiah Ben David's mother, is the one who does most of the fighting.

He does fight in one battle against Armilus and his allies and loses. The only military connection involves actual combat.

Here is the next relevant portion. The Messiah Ben David resurrects the MbJ. YHWH himself destroys Gog and Magog, and the MbD slays Armilus by miraculous means. The armies are all destroyed. "However, some survivors will escape and they will all regroup at Zela‘ ha-Elef: five hundred men, and (another) one hundred thousand wearing armor. (Opposing them will be) five hundred from Israel with Nehemiah and Elijah, and you, O Zerubbabel, will be their leader. They (sic) will kill all of them: one man will pursue a thousand.

This will be the third battle, for three battles will take place in the land of Israel. One will be waged by Hephêibah with Šērōy the king of Persia, one will be fought by the Lord God of Israel and Menahem b. ‘Amiel with Armilos, the ten kings who are with him, and Gog and Magog, and the third will be at Zela‘ ha-Elef, where Nehemiah b. Hushiel and Zerubbabel will see action. The third battle will take place in the month of Av."

The only other military context is still that of combat.

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Here is the 'Legend of the Messiah'. http://religiousstudies.uncc.edu/people/jcreeves/aggadat_hamashiah.htm

"‘… it will crush the corners of Moab’ (Num 24:17). R. Huna repeated in the name of R. Levi: This verse teaches that Israel will assemble in Upper Galilee, and there within Galilee the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph will be revealed to them. They will go up from there—he will be accompanied by all Israel—to Jerusalem in order to fulfill what scripture has stated: ‘and the forceful ones among your people will lift themselves up to fulfill the vision, but they will stumble’ (Dan 11:14). He will go up and rebuild the Temple and offer sacrifices, and the fire (for kindling these offerings) will descend from heaven. He will crush all the nations of the world. He will come to Moab and slaughter half its population, whereas the remainder will endure captivity and bring him tax revenue. He will eventually establish an accord with Moab, as scripture says: ‘I shall restore the prosperity of Moab’ (Jer 48:47), and they will dwell untroubled for forty years, eating and drinking, ‘and foreigners will serve as your farm-laborers and vineyard-tenders’ (Isa 61:5).

‘… and it will demolish all the children of Seth’ (Num 24:17). For he will destroy all the nations of the world who are named after Seth, as scripture states: ‘for God has established another seed for me’ (Gen 4:25). And after all this, Gog and Magog will hear and come up against them, as scripture says: ‘the kings of the earth stand together, and rulers sit in council together against the Lord and His Messiah’ (Ps 2:2). He (i.e., Gog) will enter (the city) and kill him (i.e., the Messiah b. Joseph) in the streets of Jerusalem, as scripture predicts: ‘and it will be a time of trouble’ (Dan 12:1). Israel will see this and say, ‘the Messiah has perished from among us, and another Messiah will not return (for us)!’ Four clans will mourn him, as scripture promises: ‘the land will mourn him individually by clans: the clan of the family of David individually, [the clan of the family of Nathan individually, the clan of the family of Levi individually, and the clan of Shim‘i individually]’ (Zech 12:12)."

Here the MbJ is depicted as warrior. He invades Moab and slaughters half the populace. He then destroys other nations until Gog sacks Jerusalem and slays the MbJ. If Matthew Brown (AKA Helorum) would care to show how this corresponds to the Nauvoo Legion, he is welcome to do so.

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Signs of the Messiah. http://religiousstudies.uncc.edu/people/jcreeves/otothamashiah.htm

"The sixth sign:

...When the nine months are completed, the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph—whose name is Nehemiah b. Hushiel—will appear accompanied by the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, and some of the tribe of Gad. Israelites who dwell in every region will hear that the Lord’s Messiah has come, and a small number from every region and every city will assemble around him to fulfill what is said in Jeremiah: ‘Come back, O apostate children—utterance of the Lord! For I have been your Lord, and I will take one of you from the city and two of you from a family and bring you to Zion’ (Jer 3:14).

The Messiah of the lineage of Joseph will come and fight a battle with the ruler of Edom. He will win a victory against Edom, kill great heaps of them, and also kill the king of Edom. He will devastate the province of Rome. He will recover some of the Temple vessels which had been deposited in the palace of Julianos Caesar and come to Jerusalem. Israel will hear (about this) and gather themselves to him. The ruler of Egypt will make a peace treaty with him. He (Nehemiah) will slay all the people of the regions surrounding Jerusalem up to Damascus and Ashkelon, and all the people of the world will hear (about this), and a great fear will fall upon them.

The seventh sign:

...At that time he will send for Nehemiah b. Hushiel and for all Israel, saying to them: ‘Bring to me your Torah and bear witness to me that I am God!’ Suddenly they will grow fearful and be perplexed. But at that time Nehemiah b. Hushiel will arise with thirty thousand warriors from among the forces of the tribe of Ephraim, and they will bring a Torah scroll and read aloud before him: ‘I am the Lord your God! You shall have no other gods before Me!’ (Exod 20:2-3). He (Armilos) will say to them: ‘There is nothing like this at all in your Torah! Come and bear witness to me that I am God just as all the gentile nations have done!’ Immediately Nehemiah will rise up to oppose him. He (Armilos) will command his attendants (saying) ‘Seize him and bind him!’ But Nehemiah b. Hushiel will arise, along with the thirty thousand who are with him, and do battle with him, and they will kill two hundred thousand of his (troops).

The anger of Armilos the wicked will increase in intensity, and he will assemble all the forces of the nations of the world in ‘the Valley of Decision’ (Joel 4:14). They will do battle with Israel, and they (Israel) will slay great heaps of them, whereas they will fatally strike only a small number of Israelites, but the Lord’s Messiah will be killed. The ministering angels will come, take him, and conceal him among the ancestors of the world. The courage of Israel will immediately fail and their strength will dissipate. Armilos the wicked will not know that the Messiah is dead, for if he knew (that were the case), he would not allow Israel to have a single survivor or fugitive. At that time all the nations of the world will expel Israel from their territories and will not permit them to dwell alongside them in their countries. They will say: ‘You see this despicable and lowly people who rebelled against us; can they possibly raise up a king?’ Israel will experience trouble the like of which has never happened to her before during the days of the world up to that time."

The MbJ takes over Jerusalem, wages war against Edom, slaughters the gentiles around Jerusalem up to the traditional borders of the Israelie kingdom and does battle with Armilos until he is slain by the latter. Once again we see the MbJ in the context of war, not a military leader who doesn't lead into battle, as Brown would have it.

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Hai Gaon's Responsum on Redemption. http://religiousstudies.uncc.edu/people/jcreeves/resphaigaon.htm

"At that time [at God’s instigation] there shall arise from among the descendants of Joseph a man who will be called the Lord’s Messiah, and many people will assemble around him in Upper Galilee, and he will become their ruler. Other people will continue gathering themselves to him, two or three coming from this province, and four or five from that one. Regarding this time Scripture states: ‘I will take you—one from a city, and two from a family’ (Jer 3:14). However, most of Israel will remain in their places of exile, for they will not realize that the appointed time has come.

Then the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph will go up from Galilee to Jerusalem together with the people who had gathered themselves to him, and they will kill the official appointed by the ruler of Edom and the people associated with him. Regarding this time Scripture states: ‘I will enact my vengeance against Edom by the agency of my people Israel’ (Ezek 25:14). He will dwell in Jerusalem for a brief time.

When all the nations hear that a king for Israel has arisen in Jerusalem, they will rise up against them in the rest of the provinces and drive them out. They will say to them: ‘Up to now you dwelt loyally with us, since you had no ruler or prince of your own. But now that you have a ruler, you can no longer dwell in our land!’ Many Israelites will go out into the wilderness regions adjacent to their (former) homelands—regarding this time Scripture says: ‘I shall make you enter the wilderness of the peoples’ (Ezek 20:35)—and they will dwell there in tents, as Scripture says about this time: ‘I shall make you live in tents again’ (Hos 12:10). Many of them will lack food and water, and they will experience suffering based on their (previous) deeds. Scripture states about this time: ‘I will make you pass beneath the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant’ (Ezek 20:37). Many will abandon the covenant with Israel, for they will be weary of their lives (as Jews), and about them Scripture has stated: ‘I will purge from among you those who rebel and those who offend Me’ (Ezek 20:38).

It will happen that when the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph and all the people who are with him have made their dwelling in Jerusalem, Armilos will hear the news about them. He will come and prepare charms and enticements so as to lead many astray by them. He will come up and do battle against Jerusalem, and he will defeat the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph and his people. Some of them he will kill, whereas others he will take captive, and he will divide their spoil. Regarding this time Scripture states: ‘I will gather all the nations at Jerusalem to do battle’ (Zech 14:2). Even the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph will be slain, and Israel will experience great distress. Scripture reveals about this time: ‘and they shall look to Me about the one whom they pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one would mourn an only child, and feel bitterness about him as one would feel bitterness about (the death of) a firstborn son. On that day the mourning will be great in Jerusalem’ (Zech 12:10-11).

Why will Armilos be granted the power to kill the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph? (This will occur) in order to break the heart(s) of the dissenters among Israel; i.e., those who have no faith. They will say: ‘This is the man for whom we have been waiting? He has come and been slain! No more deliverance remains for [for Israel]!’ They will abandon the covenant of Israel and cling to the Gentile nations, but these latter will kill them, for Scripture says about them: ‘all the sinners among My people will die by the sword’ (Amos 9:10). Consequently those who remain in Jerusalem will be refined and purified, and also those who went out to the wilderness areas will be tested and refined; about two parts will be left over from these and about a third will be left of those. About them Scripture testifies: ‘and it will come to pass in all the land—utterance of the Lord—that two portions in it will be cut off (and) will expire, and only a third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part into the fire, and I will refine them like one refines silver, and I will test them like one tests gold’ (Zech 13:8-9). During that time all the ‘messianic birth-pangs’ will pass over them, those things which have been expounded in numerous places from Scriptural verses and the teachings of our Sages, may their memory be blessed. Afterwards they will cry out, and the Holy One, blessed be He, will hearken to their cry, as Scripture promises: ‘and he will call upon My name, and I will answer him.’ (Zech 13:9)."

The MbJ leads Israel to Jerusalem and captures it, slaying the Edomite ruler. He is killed in battle by Armilus.

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So far, none of the primary texts support Brown's parallel. I think they top his Tvedtnes quote. If this is merely my point of view, then at least it is one shared by the texts themselves. Perhaps Brown would be so kind as to state exactly which source closely corresponds to Joseph's leadership of the Nauvoo Legion. Otherwise it is obvious that he lost this one and no mere dismissal of my point of view will suffice.

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Lets look at some of the earliest texts.

Here is David Mitchell's translation of the Targum Tosephta on Zechariah 12:10.

"And I shall cause to rest upon the house of David and upon the dwellers of Jerusalem a spirit of prophecy and true prayer.

And afterwards Messiah bar Ephraim shall go forth to engage in battle with Gog, and Gog will slay him before the gate of Jerusalem."

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Exodus 40:11.

"You shall anoint the laver and its base, and consecrate it for the sake of Joshua, your attendant, the head of the

Sanhedrin of his people, by whose hand the land of Israel is to be divided, and of Messiah bar Ephraim, who will proceed from him, and by whose hand the house of Israel will conquer Gog and his horde at the end of days."

There are two possibilities with this text. Either this is a straight-up battle, or else the MbJ's death (unmentioned here) brings about Gog's destruction and Israel's deliverance. The idea of the MbJ as general of a large military organisation which he never leads into battle is peculiarly absent.

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I blogged on the Messiah Ben Joseph tradition once, here:

http://bycommonconsent.com/2008/08/30/the-messiah-ben-joseph-tradition/

My post wasn't really specific to LDS thought on the tradition, but a report of an article in BAR to the effect that Jesus may have thought of himself in that tradition as opposed to the Messiah Ben David tradition.

It is a good essay, I stumbled across it after reading the BAR article. There is a fairly long-standing strand of thought regarding the MbJ as atoning for Israel by his death and suffering. It could very well be that Jesus saw himself as fulfiling both roles. In Judaism they weren't always sharply distinguished.

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It is a good essay, I stumbled across it after reading the BAR article. There is a fairly long-standing strand of thought regarding the MbJ as atoning for Israel by his death and suffering. It could very well be that Jesus saw himself as fulfiling both roles. In Judaism they weren't always sharply distinguished.

Great references here Volgadon. I'm sure you know alot more about this than I do.

I wish I could remember exactly where I read it, but when I learned the concept that the Jewish writers may have confused or tried to reconcile what seemed to be two different Messiah narratives and that gave rise to the idea of two different Messiahs, rather than two separate comings, it just made alot of sense to me once I came to doubt Joseph Smith's place in the role of Messiah ben Joseph.

The material you have presented obviously doesn't fit either "coming" perfectly but from what I am seeing, Messiah ben Joseph matches much more closely to Christ's second coming than Joseph Smith at any time of his life.

I know you're still a strong believer. Please don't take offence at my reading on this topic.

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Great references here Volgadon. I'm sure you know alot more about this than I do.

I wish I could remember exactly where I read it, but when I learned the concept that the Jewish writers may have confused or tried to reconcile what seemed to be two different Messiah narratives and that gave rise to the idea of two different Messiahs, rather than two separate comings, it just made alot of sense to me once I came to doubt Joseph Smith's place in the role of Messiah ben Joseph.

The material you have presented obviously doesn't fit either "coming" perfectly but from what I am seeing, Messiah ben Joseph matches much more closely to Christ's second coming than Joseph Smith at any time of his life.

I know you're still a strong believer. Please don't take offence at my reading on this topic.

I don't take offence at that, I enjoy your POV even when I disagree with it. There are elements in the MbJ traditionS which at times fit Jesus better, and at times, Joseph. Some of the traditions fit neither. I've actually got a lot more I want to write about MbJ traditions and Joseph Smith, but before I do so I would like to put to rest several superficial, inaccurate and misleading interpretations and parallels.

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Well I just have to say that I love "All Things Restored" (and other books like it), and now you're ruining it for me Volgadon! Just kidding ;)

If you know of any parades in the area, I can rain on them too.

"ATR" does have some good points, but it stretches things to fit Joseph too much for my liking.

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The Ten Signs.

"The sixth sign: the Holy One, blessed be He, will produce at that time the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph, whose name is Nehemiah ben Hushiel. He will be accompanied by warriors ‘from the descendants of Zerah the son of Judah’ (cf. Neh 11:24). He will come with all the forces of Israel who are in those places and fight a battle with the king of Edom and those rulers allied with him. He will kill the king of Edom and the remainder (of the latter’s army) will flee. He will approach Jerusalem and capture it, and all Israel will hear (of this) and gather themselves to him. The king of Egypt will conclude a peace treaty with him. He will kill all the nations who are in the environment of Jerusalem: all the (remaining) nations will hear (of this), and a great fear will overcome them.

The seventh sign: Armilos will emerge from that stone statue of a woman which is in Rome. They say about him that the stone will give birth to him. He will be twelve cubits tall (literally ‘long’) and two cubits wide, and there will be between his eyes a space equaling one span. He is the Messiah of the descendants of Esau. He will gather all the nations, and then say to the descendants of Esau: ‘Bring to me the Torah which I gave you ….’ All Israel will suddenly be confused, but Nehemiah b. Hushiel will arise, he and thirty warriors with weapons (concealed) beneath their garments, and they will take a Torah scroll and bring it to him (i.e., to Armilos). They will read out before him: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me!’ (Exod 20:3). He will say to them: ‘This is not (my Torah) at all!’ Nehemiah will say to him: ‘You are no deity, only Satan!’ He will quickly flee, but he (Armilos) will command his servants, (saying), ‘Seize him and hang him!’ (Nevertheless he will effect his escape) and fight a battle with him and kill a large number of them. Then the wrath of Armilos will intensify, and he will assemble all the nations and come to do battle with Israel ‘between the seas and the beautiful holy mountain’ (Dan 11:45). Israel will effect a great slaughter among them, but he (Armilos) will kill the Messiah, and when Israel perceives that the Messiah has been slain, their courage will melt away and they will flee. The world will experience great trouble. They will hide themselves for twenty-five days in caves and in pits, and the rest will lock themselves within Jerusalem. He (Armilos) will turn toward her (Jerusalem) to wage war and destroy it for the second time, but he will not succeed (in doing so)."

Here is a fragmentary variant text.

"… they will flee before him (i.e., Nehemiah b. Hushiel). He will enter Egypt and capture it, and he will kill all the (gentile) nations in the vicinity of Jerusalem. All the nations will hear (about this), and fear and dread will fall upon them.

The seventh sign: Armilos the Satan will emerge from the stone statue that is in Rome. They say with regard to him that the stone will give birth to him. He will be twelve cubits long, and between his two eyes is (the distance of) a span. He is the Messiah of the party of Esau. He will assemble all the nations and say to them: ‘I am God,’ and all the nations will believe him. He will say to the party of Esau: ‘Bring me the Torah which I gave to you!’ Then they will bring him their book of lies, and he will assent, saying: ‘Truly this is what I gave to you!’ Israel will suddenly be confused, but Nehemiah b. Hushiel will come, he and thirty warriors accompanying him with weapons (concealed) beneath their garments, and they will take a Torah scroll and come to him and read aloud before him: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me!’ (Exod 20:3). He will say to them: ‘This is not (my Torah) at all!’ Nehemiah will say to him: ‘You are no deity, only Satan!’ Immediately he (Armilos) will cry out against him and say to his servants: ‘Seize him and hang him!’ He will do battle with them and kill many of them. Then the anger of Armilos will intensify, and he will gather all the nations and advance to make war on Israel ‘between the seas and the beautiful holy mountain’ (Dan 11:45). He will strike a great blow against Israel and will kill the Messiah. At that time the Holy One, blessed be He, will issue a command to the sun and it will at that time remain underground, and the world will be dark. Israel will experience great distress. When Israel sees that the Messiah is dead, their courage will fail and they will run away, and the world will experience extremely great distress. Israel will conceal themselves in caves for forty-five days, sustaining themselves (during that time) on weeds. Why was Armilos given the power to kill the Messiah of the lineage of Ephraim? It was done so as to break the hearts of those dissidents among Israel who said: ‘The Messiah for whom we were waiting has come and been killed. There is no longer any redemption for us in the wilderness.’ Many of these will immediately commit apostasy and become joined with the gentile nations. But the gentile nations will slay them nevertheless, as scripture foresees: ‘they will kill with the sword all of those among My people who commit sin’ (Am 9:10)."

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The Signs of R. Shimon b. Yohai. http://religiousstudies.uncc.edu/people/jcreeves/ototrsimonbyohai.htm

"The eighth sign: the Holy One, blessed be He, will ‘suddenly’ bring forth Nehemiah b. Hushiel, who is the Messiah of the lineage of Joseph. ‘Suddenly’ accords with what scripture says: ‘suddenly the Lord whom you seek will enter His Temple’ (Mal 3:1). He will do battle with the king of Edom and kill him, and will then put on the crown which the king of Edom had returned to Jerusalem. The fame of Nehemiah will become widespread in the world.

The ninth sign: a man will come forth from the city of Rome whose name is Armilos b. Satan, spawned from a stone statue located in Rome. The statue is that of a woman, and Satan will come and have sexual intercourse with it, and it will give birth to this man. On the day when he is spawned he will be as if he is one hundred years old. He will come and wage war at Alexandria and destroy the entire sea-coast. Woe to the one (unlucky enough) to be seized by his hand! He will come to Gaza by himself and establish his throne there. [These are his signs]: he will be ten cubits tall …. He will sit there upon his throne and utter profanities and blasphemies. He will say to the gentile nations: ‘I am God! Bring me my Torah which I gave to you!’ They will bring him the images of their idols, and he will respond: ‘this is indeed the Torah which I gave you!’ He will then say to the children of Israel: ‘Bring your Torah!’ Thirty people from the leadership of Israel will enter along with Nehemiah b. Hushiel, and they will bring him a Torah scroll. He will say: ‘I do not believe in this Torah!’ They will answer (him): ‘If you do not believe in this Torah, then you are not God but Satan! “May the Lord rebuke you, O Satan!”’ At that time he will seize those thirty Israelites who came with Nehemiah, and he will burn them together with the Torah. Then he will say to Nehemiah, ‘Now do you not believe in me?’ He will answer him: ‘I put my faith in no one but the God of Israel, the God of heaven who gave His Torah through the agency of Moses our teacher! He is the One in Whom I believe!’ He (Armilos) will issue an order to execute him (Nehemiah) in the Temple of his God, for he had immediately set his foot within the sanctuary. So they will kill Nehemiah in Jerusalem, and his corpse will be discarded in Jerusalem. Israel will mourn for him, as scripture states: ‘and the land will mourn, every family separately’ (Zech 12:12). At that time Israel will experience great distress:* some will hide themselves in pits, and some of them will flee into the wilderness, where they will remain for forty days. Others will follow after them, and they will (all) cry out due to their distress. ‘At that time Michael, the great prince who watches over the sons of Your people, will arise’ and say before Him: ‘Master of the Universe! Remember the oath which You swore to their ancestors, as well as what You promised them; (namely), “I will pardon those whom I let remain” (Jer 50:20)!’ And He will hearken to the prayer of Michael, the prince of all Israel."

The MbJ is depicted as a warrior, IE, fights a war. This one is interesting because he doesn't fall in combat.

I could go on, the evidence overwhelmingly supports my point of view. The MbJ is a warrior, but not in the way you intended in your book, Helorum. It is clear that the "military man" as envisioned by the sources was one who fought wars.

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