Messiah ben Joseph (LDS Church)
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Messiah ben Joseph, in Latter-day Saint (LDS) studies, refers to an ancient eschatological figure that appears in both traditional Jewish and non-canonical texts (allusions to which appear also in the Hebrew bible). Some scholars in the LDS faith have speculated that Ben Joseph is personified in a modern historical figure foundational to their religion — the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr (1805-1844). Notwithstanding Smith having suffered a martyr's death, the end-times role for the Prophet, in the LDS worldview, has not yet been consummated.
Ancient ancestral prophecies concerning the House of Joseph (many of them, according to Latter-day Saints, now 'restored' through Joseph Smith from their lost or 'corrupted' state) center upon what some members and scholars of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in recent decades, have come to view as a messianic figure at the core of those prophecies — an 'anointed one' of Jewish tradition and legend who is variously called 'Messiah ben Joseph' or 'Messiah ben Ephraim'. This figure, set to 'prepare the way' for the coming of the great and atoning 'Messiah ben David', represents a Josephite 'restorer' and 'deliverer' from the tribe of Ephraim. Because Ben Joseph mirrors in significant ways, in his messianic-forerunner characterization, the earthly mission of the LDS Church's founding prophet, many LDS scholars believe that Ben Joseph's identification is to be found in the life and mission of Joseph Smith.
Within this millennia-old messianic tradition, the ancient texts foretell that in the latter days, by the grace of God, the tribes of scattered Israel (having by God been 'led away' or having dwelt in captivity and dispersion among the nations of the world through a long night of general apostasy) would be "gathered" again — by a 'chosen and anointed' deliverer — into "one" fold of the 'elect of God' in the Promised Land of Joseph's 'double portioned' inheritance. Latter-day Saints believe this 'second' promised land to comprise the whole of the American continent of North and South America (with North America serving as the center of the latter-day 'Zion') which God has consecrated to house, in a future day, His holy city of the 'New Jerusalem'.
In Jewish tradition, the restoration of Israel (its lost tribes), which included a special appearance (or 'return') of Elijah, was always associated with this Josephite mashiaḥ (messiah: 'the prophet who restores') of the tribe of Ephraim. Elijah's return is one that Latter-day Saints profess has already taken place (D&C 110:13-16).
For Latter-day Saints, the personification and the vouchsafing of the messianic-forerunner mantle to the House of Joseph, in the person of Joseph Smith, symbolizes the glorious restoration of light, power, and knowledge (collectively called 'Wisdom' by the ancients) that thereafter, in its authorized dissemination to the rest of the world, became the central, divinely appointed mission of Joseph of Egypt's numerous latter-day progeny — which Church members consider themselves generally to be.
Latter-day Saints — representatives of the House of Joseph bearing the record of Joseph, the Book of Mormon — view themselves collectively as the counterpart to their brethren of the House of Judah, who hold and have gifted to the world their own record, many of the books of which were brought together to form the Bible. Together, these two tribal or familial sticks (Ezek 37:16-19) are today, according to LDS belief, being brought together, divisions and breaches are being healed, and their records are becoming "one" in the hands of many — a "marvellous work and a wonder" (Isa 29:14) made possible through the key instrumentality of a latter-day Joseph, one 'anointed' of God (mashiaḥ) whose coming, foretold in both scripture and legend, has been anticipated by prophets and wise men for millennia.
|THE LEGENDS AND PROPHECIES OF A JOSEPHITE PRINCE|
Facsimile frontispiece to Menasseh ben Israel's The Hope of Israel (1652), telling of some alleged descendants of Israel's lost Ten Tribes living among the Andes' Indians of South America. According to legend, in a future day these remnants would welcome the return of one 'Messiah ben Joseph', who would lead them to victory against Gog and Magog, and who, as a resurrected being, would be crowned 'viceroy' to 'Messiah ben David' in the Messianic Age. Engraved portrait of Ben Israel by Salomo d'Italia, 1642.
- 1 Ancient 'roots' of Ephraim's messiah
- 2 Promised 'anointed one' from the House of Joseph
- 3 Key points of Ben Joseph's life & mission
- 4 Martyr-witness for God's kingdom
- 5 Polymessianic & Qumranic witnesses
- 6 A raging aurochs at Megiddo: the risen & conquering hero
- 7 Reunion in Zion: where heaven & earth meet
- 8 Myth becomes history: Joseph Smith
- 9 Joseph ben Joseph: Latter-day ensign-bearer for the House of Israel
- 10 Mashiaḥ Joseph: true prophet, priest, and king
- 11 Into the fire: a 'modern Moses' leads saviors upon Mount Zion
- 12 The 'warrior'-messiah yet to come
- 13 Joseph's continuing 'call' for Israel to 'gather home'
- 14 References
Ancient 'roots' of Ephraim's messiah
Thou shalt take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and shalt consecrate it, for the sake of the crown of the kingdom of the house of Judah, and of the King Messiah who is destined to redeem Israel at the end of days. And thou shalt anoint the altar of burnt offerings and all its vessels, and consecrate the altar, that it may be an altar most holy for the sake of the crown of the priesthood of Aaron and his sons, and of Elijah the High Priest who is to be sent at the end of the captivity [or at the gathering of the Israelites from long exile]. And thou shalt anoint the laver and its base, and consecrate it for the sake of Joshua, thy ministering attendant, head of the high council ['sanhedrin'] of his people, by whose hand the land of Israel is to be divided, and of Messiah bar Ephraim, who shall spring from ['nafiq' proceed from] him, and by whose hand the house of Israel will conquer [or vanquish] Gog and his confederate horde at the end of days ... (Targum Yerushalmi, or 'Pseudo-Jonathan', to Exodus 40:9-11)
Calling the Nephite people to whom He appeared in "the land of Joseph" following His resurrection "a remnant of the house of Joseph," the Lord Jesus Christ, speaking by command of the Father, said: This people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob — promising them also that a "New Jerusalem" would be built upon this, their land of promise ... (3 Ne 15:12; 20:14, 22)
Joseph of Egypt's parting words to his brethren and to his posterity (as recorded in Joseph Smith's 'restored' translation of the bible), when he blessed and prophesied to them concerning latter-day Israel, take on added meaning and significance in the light of modern 'Messianic Age' scholarship. For, as McConkie (1980) wrote: "Joseph of Egypt knew of the role of his latter-day descendant ben Joseph" (p. 165; see JST Gen 50). Indeed, even prophets from among that 'Lehite branch that was broken off from Israel and carried far away into a 'second' promised land, prophesied of a messiah-like 'Joseph' (2 Ne 3).
The title messiah is simply the anglicanized form of the Hebrew mashiaḥ. It is equivalent to the Greek Christos (Christ), meaning 'anointed one' (whether prophet, priest or king). And, in the context of this "prophet of promise" and messiah from the House of Joseph, ben means 'son of' — that is, the 'anointed son of Joseph'. Ancient Hebrew tradition (e.g., the Pesikta Rabbati) speaks of two separate messiahs that were pre-appointed, in celestial realms, before the earth was created — that is, foreordained — to come forth upon the earth in order to fulfill critical missions on behalf of humankind. But this was to be particularly and especially for the covenant people of the Lord, from whose bloodlines they would arise — one from the tribe of Judah (Messiah ben David) and one from the tribe of Joseph (Messiah ben Joseph/Ephraim).
Talmud Bavli (Babylonian recension) says that the prophet Zechariah, in the preserved oracles, makes reference to Messiah ben Joseph. An eighth-century midrash (Pirqei de Rabbi Eliezer) says also that Moses spoke of him: "Ben Joseph, his horns are taller than those of all kings, and he will gore [goad or push together] in the future [in the unified tribal gathering of all Israel] towards the four corners of the heavens. And concerning him Moses said: "The firstborn of his shor, majesty is his; and the horns of a rem are his horns [— that is, of the great white-bull gatherer of God's elect who becomes the slaughter-lamb of 1 En 90:37-38]. With them he shall gore [gather, unite] the peoples, all as one, even to the ends of the earth" (Deut 33:17).
In 1882, Edward G. King stated that "the germ of this belief [in Messiah ben Joseph] exists even in the Book of Genesis, and ... it runs through the whole of Jewish history, disappearing at times but always breaking out again with increased vividness." Mitchell (2016) notes that biblical scholars G. H. Dix and C. C. Torrey maintained that the doctrine of the Two Messiahs (Ben Joseph and Ben David) was a "widely accepted idea in Judaism several centuries before the Christian era," even "a standard article of faith [of Jewish theology], early and firmly established and universally accepted."
In fact, the "Messiah ben Joseph of the Rabbis steps forth from the Pentateuch fully formed, dying as a sacrifice and resurging again." The Ben Joseph tradition, Mitchell maintains, almost certainly predates the Babylonian exile, for the record of Jacob's great and lavish blessings upon Joseph's head can scarcely be imagined as originating in Judahite compositions, for those blessings "make Judah look pale and small in comparison with Joseph. So they could not have been written by Judahite monarchs or prophets or scribes. They must predate not only the Kingdom of Judah, but the united monarchy of David and Solomon as well." The presence in those writings, moreover, of the ancient aurochs (or rem 'wild-ox'), which became extinct by around 1100-700 BC, holds profound implications, Mitchell further notes, for the age of the Israelite tradition-texts themselves, the messianic texts as well as others (not the least of which are the Pentateuch and the Psalms).
As for ultimate origins for this 'second' messiah tradition, ancient Jewish lore, as preserved by Ginzberg in his Legends of the Jews, suggests that the Ben Joseph concept was 'given birth' with the progenitress of the House of Joseph herself — Rachel — when this mother of a future prince of Egypt prophesied that Joseph would be the progenitor of a messiah who would "arise at the end of days." But Mitchell professes that the Ben Joseph legend is neither a rabbinic, Judean, nor a Jewish idea at all. He asserts, rather, that the messianic figure fundamentally exists in "the ancient promise made to the Ephraimites, inherited by the rabbis from Israel's earliest traditions — from the ancient blessings [given by Jacob and Moses] on Joseph."
Promised 'anointed one' from the House of Joseph
Another king, not originating of the seed of David, goes before him, and they call him Messiah ben Joseph ... (Isaac Aboab)
First will come Messiah ben Joseph and after that Messiah ben David ... The house of Joseph, who committed folly ... will be restored ... (Isaiah Horowitz)
For he shall be a mighty man of valour, of the tribe of Joseph ... captain of the Lord's host in that war ... but in that war he shall die ... (Isaac Abravanel)
Ben Ephraim [another name for Ben Joseph], who for a while held sovereignty and executed judgment over Israel ... was taken away, because the Gentiles will resolve to slay him ... (Abraham Laniado ha-Darshan)
The ancient seer Jeremiah prophesied that, in the end times, the Lord God of Israel would establish a true Prince to rule over His people (in the same way that Joseph was a Prince over Egypt, and also over his brethren). Jer 30:21 (which some Jewish writers claim to be a prophecy about Messiah ben Joseph) reads: "And their nobles shall be of themselves [i.e., they will rise from their own tribe], and their governor [their prophet, presiding high priest, and king] shall proceed from the midst of them [that is, from the house of Joseph]; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord." Edward G. King, finding the verse-translation obscure, provided his own (Yalḳuṭ, p. 87): "His Mighty One [Messiah ben Joseph] shall proceed from himself [Ephraim, of the house of Joseph] and his Ruler [Israel's rightful king, presiding high priest, and Restorer-prophet] come forth from his own midst [from his own tribe]" (emphasis added).
The Jerusalem Bible similarly reads: "Their Prince will be one of their own, their Ruler come from their own people. I will let him come freely into my presence and he can come close to me; who else, indeed [but Messiah ben Joseph], would risk his life by coming close to me? — it is Yahweh [Jehovah] who speaks." The New English Bible reads: "A Ruler shall appear, one of themselves, a Governor shall arise from their own number. I will myself bring him near and so he shall approach me; for no one ventures of himself to approach me, says the Lord." Thus, a singular leader from Ephraim, Messiah ben Joseph, would be brought into the presence of the Lord Jehovah and then assume the presiding role in the latter-day gathering of Israel.
The prophet Habakkuk, too, foretold of a prophet who would do a work that would cause men to "wonder marvelously" (1:5), a work which most would not believe. Yahweh Himself, in like manner, would say of His Josephite servant: "For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man [Messiah ben Joseph] shall declare it unto them. But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred [persecuted, unjustly imprisoned, tortured and reviled] because of them. Yet I will heal [revive] him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil" (i.e., if God heals, revives, and, even after his prophesied martyrdom, then resurrects His suffering servant, is that servant ultimately 'hurt' or destroyed? No. See 3 Ne 21:9-10). "This" indeed, said E. G. King, "is the Messiah ben Joseph to whom victory comes through death," or who, as a "forerunner ... prepares the way by his own death ... He sees that sufferings are in a special way the lot of God's chosen people, and he resolves not only to suffer with them but for them" ("Appendix A: Messiah ben Joseph," pp. 88 note 1, 103).
The apocryphal Hebrew book of Enoch (3 Enoch) speaks of — and even names (45:5) — a latter-day prophet who would bring about a 'marvelous work and a wonder' of salvation for God's children, which was spoken of by Isaiah (Isa 29:14). The Hebrew Enoch recounts how Rabbi Ishmael, who — having ascended to a mountaintop, and thence to the Seventh Heaven on the wings of the Spirit looked upon the great Veil that was placed before the Holy of Holies of God's seventh heavenly temple:
"Lord of Eternity ... grant me in this hour the crown of the priesthood ... And deliver me from Satan. And Metatron [Enoch] who served the Great Angel [Yaoel-Yahweh, or Jaoel-Jehovah], the Prince of the Presence, came to meet me with great joy. And he took me with his hand ... and he raised me up." Rabbi Ishmael then saw the events of the last times, singularly marked by the appearance of one Messiah ben Joseph and He who would follow him, Messiah ben David.
Hugo Odeberg, who translated 3 Enoch, observed that "the end of the course of the present world is marked by the appearance of Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David, in whose times there will be wars between Israel and ‘Gog and Magog’; the final consummation will then, so it seems, be brought about by the Holy One Himself" (p. 144).
The Book of Dreams' "Animal Apocalypse" of 1 Enoch — also linked to the Ben Joseph tradition, having as its context a grand overview of world history — uses animals to symbolize men: "And I saw that a white bull was born [Messiah ben Joseph, a faultless tsadik, or 'righteous one'], with large horns [that is, having great inherent majesty, authority, and power], and all the beasts of the field and birds of the air [Gentile citizens] feared him and made petition to him continually [all creatures revered him and sought his wise counsel and judgment]. And I saw till all their kinds were transformed [converted to righteousness], and they all became white cattle. And that first white bull [firstborn] became a rem 'wild-ox' [or aurochs, being transformed also (as from Deuteronomy's innocent, servile shor) into a divinely appointed prophet, priest, and warrior-king] and that [wild-ox] was a great animal [a mighty 'anointed son' of God], and had great black horns on its head [was consecrated and endowed with great power and authority to carry out a mighty latter-day mission]. And the Lord of the sheep [El Elyon, or Elohim the Father, God Most High] rejoiced over them [all his creatures], and over all the cattle [or oxen — His chosen, converted ones]" (90:37-38).
The 'white bull' was the ancient symbol of a 'son of God' (ben ʼĕlōhîm). But the great horns of the 'wild-ox' "are the emblem of Messiah ben Joseph." And with his two 'horns' of power, as Deut 33:17 declares, Ben Joseph was to "push the people together to the ends of the earth [gather them into a unified body]: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh" (i.e., who, as the sons of Joseph, are represented by the Patriarch's 'horns' and who, therefore, will lead powerfully in that great effort; see D&C 110:9).
Babylonian tales of Ben Joseph
In the last days, wrote Ḥai ben Sherira Gaon (939-1038 C.E.), "there will arise from the sons of Joseph a man called the Messiah of the Lord. Many people will assemble around him ... and he will become their ruler. Others will gather themselves to him, two or three coming from this province [of the nations of the earth], and four or five from that one. Of this time, it is said: I will take you, one from a city, and two from a family (Jer 3:14) ... Then Messiah ben Joseph will go up ... to Jerusalem along with those who gathered to him ... He will dwell in Jerusalem for a brief time. When all the nations hear that a king has arisen for Israel in Jerusalem, they will rise up against them ... [And Gog] will ascend to make war against Jerusalem, and will defeat Messiah ben Joseph... and drive [his people] out ... Some of them he will kill ... and he will divide their spoil ... Messiah ben Joseph will be slain, and Israel will experience great distress ... Why will [Gog] be given the power to kill Messiah ben Joseph? So as to break the heart of the doubters among Israel, that is, those who have no faith [i.e., in order to test them] ... Many Israelites will go out into the wilderness regions [from] their homelands [and] dwell there in tents, as it is said: I shall make you live in tents again (Hosea 12:9). Many of them will lack food and water, and will suffer ... Many will abandon the covenant with Israel and cleave to the nations, for they will be weary of their lives [with the requirements of strict discipleship], as it is said: I will purge from among you those who rebel and those who offend me (Ezek 20:38) ... Those who remain [with Israel] will be refined and purified [in] the wilderness [Ezek 20:35, 37] ... tested [for '40 years' but dwelling "securely, undisturbed for a long time. They will construct houses, plant vineyards, and enjoy prosperity in business and trade"] ... Of them it is said: I will refine them like one refines silver, and I will test them like one tests gold (Zech 13:9). At that time Elijah will appear ... among those in the wilderness, and he will restore their hearts [of fathers to children, and children to fathers - Mal 4:6] ... [Gog eventually rallies "wicked and destructive men" intent on annihilating Israel — conspiring nations who gather at the Valley of Decision from "the utter reaches of the north and all [Magog's] flanks — a vast horde" - Ezek 38:6; "but others, some of the best of the nations ... plan to gather beneath the wings of the Shekhinah [the radiant spiritual Presence of God]" in Israel's defence.] Messiah ben David [then appears] and raises [Messiah ben Joseph in resurrection] by the Lord's command ... for he will come to life again ... Then the Lord will come forth and wage battle against those nations ... At that time a mighty earthquake will also shake the Land of Israel ... A loud blast will sound on the shofar [trumpet] (Isa 27:13), the earth will shake, and the dead of Israel will arise [in every land: "All those ... who were completely righteous and those who even though they sinned made repentance"], as it is said: You will know that I am the Lord when I open your graves and bring you out of your tombs, O my people! (Ezek 37:13) ... The temple [the heavenly Jerusalem] will be revealed ... it will descend to its site from heaven, as it is said: Jerusalem built-up like a city joined together (Ps 122:3) [and] the Shekhinah will descend from heaven ... like a column of fire ... All who seek [Jerusalem] will be guided by its light (Isa 4:5, 60:3) ... The moon will be ashamed, and the sun abashed, for the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem (Isa 24:23) ... ["The spirit of the Lord shall be poured out on Israel and heaven and earth shall be renewed" for a thousand years] ... The Holy One, blessed be he, will create another set of heavens and earth ... and the righteous will make their dwelling among them for all eternity (Isa 66:22) ..." (in Gaon's Responsum on the Redemption, cited in Mitchell, pp. 218-225).
A Jewish 'Ben Joseph' apocalypse
In Tefillat Rav Shimon ben Yoḥai, Rav Shimon, after praying that the Almighty reveal to him the secrets of "the end time of wonders" and when the great Messiah, "the redeemer of Israel," would come — and "how he will gather the exiles" of scattered Israel, but also of their great battles with the Enemy "after their ingathering" — God theophanically in vision "opens the gates of heaven" to Rav Shimon, to whom appears the archangel Metatron. The course of Israelite history is laid before Rav Shimon, and he sees the Edomites, the sons of Esau [Edom or Gog, servant of Belial], make great war upon Israel. On creation's "sixth" day a "star" springs forth "from Jacob" (Num 24:17) and "shines" for "two hours" in the "first watch of the night" (prefiguring a latter-day Messiah). But seeing the continued wars and devastation, and the rise of the "brazen-faced" Gog, Rav Shimon, like Enoch, weeps bitterly, and he asks Metatron when there might be deliverance for Israel: "Will there be no escape for the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob during his [Israel's] days?" Metatron replies that God's chosen people will "escape" to Mount Zion, for there, "there will be deliverance" and "help and relief for Israel" (Joel 2:32). Yet there would continue to be "strife and war in the world," when "the people of the Lord shall be displaced" and when Gog would turn some "to apostasy," a "time of trouble" such as there never was (Dan 12:1). In "great distress" the "children of Israel will flee" into the wilderness (Ezek 20:25) at the time when Elijah "comes forth" to heal and "to proclaim peace." The elect of God suffer privations for "forty-five days." But in time, Israel hears "a heavenly voice" that proclaims "in all the places where the Israelites are: Go forth and avenge the vengeance of the Lord against Edom (Ezek 25:14). Thereupon the young men of the sons of Israel will gather together and obey. They will make king over them a king of the seed of David." And they will do unto Edom and to "the nations of the world ... as Joshua did to Jericho."
Praying and fasting in sackcloth and ashes for "forty days," Rav Shimon again beholds Metatron, who, "from the doors of heaven," says: "Ask, O righteous one! What would you ask?" And Rav Shimon inquires: "How will all Israel be gathered together from the four corners of the earth?" Metatron answers: "The Lord will bring a great and strong wind ... and a cloud ... and from the midst of that wind the Holy One ... will disperse the tribes in each and every city. With regard to them it is said, Who are these who fly as a cloud? (Isa 60:8) And they will gather to Mount Zion, where their Messiah [ben Joseph] will have arisen to "perform miracles in accordance with the will of the Lord." But another will also have arisen to "become a religious heretic. He will give the appearance of being a servant of the Lord, but his heart will not be true to him. A mighty trembling will go forth throughout the world, and all the world will fear it" as Israel gathers herself to this Messiah, whom Gog later slays "in midday darkness." The rise of Gog in the world will be terrible, himself proclaiming, "I am your Messiah, I am your God!" and they will believe him, who deceives many and gathers the nations of the world to him to fight and again "make war with the sons of Israel," thousands of whom he slays. But then Gog turns his face to Jerusalem, where he and his mighty horde encamp "at the beautiful holy mountain" (Dan 11:45). "And the Holy One, blessed be he, will fight on behalf of Israel" (Zech 14:3). And then, suddenly, "Michael the great prince" is heard to blow "three blasts on the shofar (Isa 27:13) ... [which is] the right horn of the ram of Isaac ... and Messiah the son of David ... will be revealed [and] the fear of the Lord will fall upon ... all the nations. Israel will come back with the Messiah ... to Jerusalem. They will ascend the steps of the House of David [the Temple of the New Jerusalem] ... and the Messiah will take his seat there ... He will say to the Messiah [ben Joseph], Sit at My right hand (Ps 110:1). And the Messiah will say to Israel, 'Assemble yourselves and stand and see the deliverance of the Lord! (Exod 14:13; Adolf Jellinek's translation cited in Mitchell, pp. 265-276).
Key points of Ben Joseph's life & mission
"For more than two thousand years," observed Trevan G. Hatch, "many Jewish scholars and rabbis have attempted, with only a certain degree of success, to explain and even comprehend the Jewish traditions of the Messiah ben Joseph, the man who would come forth in the last days as a restorer and a forerunner to the Messiah [ben David]." It was a messianic tradition that, in the words of Aharon Agus, "survived ... because of its old roots," and "a currency of knowledge" about this tradition as it is transmitted from the ancient texts is, therefore, "assumed," but which, however, "is not readily apparent" to the modern reader "either in its currency or its meaning" (p. 289 note 1). But a thoroughgoing review of the most salient and generally recognized 'uniform' or central points that emerge from what might be viewed as the 'distilled essence' of the messianic Ben Joseph figure, as shown forth in the legendary texts and rabbinic literature, has been an instructive and illuminating venture for many scholars.
The 'Messiah ben Joseph' of ancient Jewish tradition appears throughout literature — written by Jews for Jews — of every genre and period, according to David Mitchell. But this 'Josephite' messiah-figure (a latter-day 'restorer', 'gatherer', and savior-martyr) was unknown to Christian scholarship until the last couple of centuries. Beyond his Josephite title, he remains, in all ancient sources, nameless, of unknown parentage and mysterious origins. Greenstone calls him "that obscure figure." And while those origins find a canonical basis in Genesis 49 (Jacob's blessing) and Deuteronomy 33 (Moses' blessing), the 'goings-forth' of Micah's Ephraimite moshel 'ruler' are 'from olam...' or eternity — that is, they are pre-existent. Ben Joseph is like Him for whom he prepares the way, whose name is 'Yinnon' (without beginning of days or end of years), and, according to LDS belief, like all of God's spiritual offspring, eternally preexistent and everlasting.
Transformer: from 'white bull' to 'wild-ox'
The ancient texts show Ben Joseph to appear, eschatologically, as a servile, suffering firstborn shor (bos taurus — the white bull or domestic ox that is "bound to" death, or to consecrated sacrifice), and which, after making possible the transformation of God's elect in its image as a true 'son of God', is martyred, but who then, in a post-mortem resurgence or resurrection, becomes (as per Moses' blessing) a mighty all-conquering rem, or aurochs (bos primigenius 'firstborn bull' — the fearsome Eurasian wild-ox, a giant beast of tremendous power and speed, with great 'upright' black horns — horns that, even before this mighty change, are representative of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh). Thus is the lowly sacrificial shor transformed through its heroic resurgence into the triumphant, majestic rem.
Josephite king & Restorer-forerunner
Ben Joseph, throughout the various canonical and non-canonical messianic traditions, is presented as a Josephite king reigning over an "interim kingdom" and an 'Elias' forerunner to the great 'Messiah ben David' who — having in the end times 'gored' or 'pushed' together the nations of the earth (that is, by gathering out from those nations God's elect and uniting them 'all as one'; see Isa 11:10-16; Jer 3:14) — is ultimately exalted to heaven, robed in divine glory, and apparently, in some sense, granted a "universal kingship."
In recounting the heroic mission of Messiah ben Joseph, the very early sources agree on several key points and, in general, their sequence:
As an Ephraimite (a name meaning 'twice fruitful'), Ben Joseph comes from a "northern land" bearing the name 'Upper Galilee', which by its many waters connotes a consecrated land of revelation (i.e., the thundering waterfalls of the Lebanon foothills of Mount Hermon — Psalm 29's 'young wild ox' — called also the 'waters of Dan', which feed the Galilee and are the source of the Jordan). His mission is to gather 'all Israel' to him. He ascends to that land deemed holy by God — 'Jerusalem' — where he is to re-establish a Temple for consecrated offerings of ancient ritual sacrifice that was once had among God's 'holy ones' in the world. Ben Joseph and his people subjugate the surrounding lands for the establishment there of a "temporary" messianic kingdom (Ps 72; Testament of Joseph 19:11-12; Aggadat Mashiaḥ). The great evil of Gog in the world, however, rises up in hostility to attack and make war on the elect of God.
Brethren that betray
Ben Joseph, by his own 'brethren' (in what the messianic texts describe as a 'silver pieces' kind of betrayal), is treacherously delivered into the hands of the enemy, who afflicts him with a death-like bondage from which, however, he is able to arise in brief triumph before he is slain.
The 'warrior'-messiah battles 'Gog', is pierced through and slain
Messiah ben Joseph is that 'promised one' of Josephite-Ephraimite descent who is destined to "suffer [and die] in conflict to liberate mankind." This life-and-death struggle is, apparently, fought with an ageless beast that has risen anew in the world against a re-emergent Israel, and is called variously 'Edom' or 'Gog'. The apocalyptic midrash called Aggadat Mashiaḥ describes this monstrous latter-day Despot as a "brazen-faced king" who will arise over a world long-depraved of spiritual light, seizing his "kingship" by trickery as at Dan 11:21. Viewed as a second 'Joseph' or 'Josiah', and a "greater Joshua" ("at the head of," or leading Ephraim and Manasseh), from whose princely line he is also descended — that is, "a mashiaḥ of the ETERNAL [who] made the sun stand still" — Messiah ben Joseph is that 'chosen one' of the "latter days" (Gen 49:1) who the patriarch Jacob promised to Joseph would not only be a 'fruitful plant' (49:22; see Amos 9:15), but also a Shepherd-Rock from 'Shaddai', from the Might of Jacob (49:24) — an 'anointed' warrior-king of strength, refuge, and defense for the people of God. His mortal destiny, however, is to be finally 'pierced through' and martyred by the Enemy of God's elect.
'40 Years': wilderness-driven Israel & the Refiner's fire
Ben Joseph's disciples, after mourning his death, are driven by the enemy into the wilderness for an allusory period of "40 years," continuing in relative peace as God, in His wisdom, "cleanses" or "purifies" and makes ready a people for the consummating salvation of their redeemer-Messiah. The return of Elijah and Moses (and also, according to the apocalyptic midrash called Pirqei Mashiaḥ, the "miracle" of the restored "heavenly secrets" of temple Wisdom, ritual, and covenantal signs) and, eventually, the summons of Messiah ben David to rally at 'Jerusalem', all precede the final end-time battle with Gog and his hostile horde. These events prepare the world for the coming thousand-year reign of God's great atoning Messiah.
Martyr-witness for God's kingdom
Thus it is in the messianic texts that, after opening a Temple-sanctuary "fountain to cleanse" the people and to "make way for the coming kingdom of the house of David" (Zech 13:1 — that is, after "opening the way" via clear, revelatory, purifying waters, in order for the atoning advent or parousia of Messiah ben David to be efficacious for humankind), Ben Joseph also appears in some sense to make a 'representative' sacrifice, offering up his own life, to stand against the 'blood-guilt' of his generation for its persecution of God's re-emergent, chosen people — thus becoming a 'Day of Judgement' witness against the native land-dwellers, especially, of the latter-day 'Jerusalem' that, according to the ancient texts, Ben Joseph establishes. His testimonial sacrifice would, one dreadful day, stand against those vile inhabitants (referred to in some texts collectively as "Gog") who viciously expelled Ben Joseph and God's 'holy ones' bearing His righteous priesthood from their midst.
The full inauguration of the Messianic Age begins, according to Mitchell, with the sacrificial death of a firstborn shor, to which fate Messiah ben Joseph was ever destined (According to Pseudo-Jonathan, at Zech 12:10, Ben Joseph is, by the monstrous 'Gog' [Edom] — but only "after many victories and miracles" — pierced, slain, and mourned by his people "before the gate of Jerusalem," or Zion: "And they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son"). Yet, like an irresistible rem triumphantly conquering the world, he becomes a firstborn also in inheritance, receiving with his people "the double portion" of both posterity (two tribes, each with a full inheritance in its own right) and promised lands (which are themselves 'tokens of covenant', the retention of which, however, is contingent upon righteous living).
Descent to Sheol
This latter-day nāzīr 'prince', by his ultimate sacrifice, manifests himself as "a firstborn, a fruitful plant, and a pierced innocent" — a king, like Joseph of Egypt, "attacked ... shot at ... hated" (Gen 49:23) and ultimately 'pierced through' by ruthless foes who murder him "at the gate of Jerusalem." And this, after suffering a 'silver pieces' betrayal in which he is treacherously delivered by his "brethren," in innocent Josephite fashion (Gen 37:28), to hostile "foreigners" — only to be, like Joseph, consigned to 'chains', to suffer a death-like underworld 'descent' to Sheol (Ps 88:3-5). This is a humiliating near-death subterranean incarceration, it seems, wherein Ben Joseph is "buried in a living death of pit and dungeon" (Gen 37:24; 39:20; see Ps 89:39, 45, whereat the Messiah's princely status is shamed and his youth is cut short).
It was an imprisonment and affliction, however, from which this Josephite figure was to be raised to even greater "honour" (Gen 41:39-45; 4Q372) and which ultimately "gave life to Israel" (Gen 50:20; 4Q372). The early homiletic midrash called Pesikta Rabbati speaks not only of Ben Joseph's ordination to his messiahship before the creation of the world ("of old you took this upon yourself") — a premortal assignment and solemn agreement by which he would "give light to the eyes of Israel and deliver his people" — but it also alludes to the "bitter pains" of Ben Joseph's oppressive suffering in treachery-induced bondage "for the benefit of Israel." It was thus to be a predestined ordeal and test by which, sitting bound in the "darkness, gloom, and affliction" of his prison, he would also endure the world's scorn, contempt, and derision.
Rising redivivus to teach & build God's Temple
Yet after that terrible trial, albeit just before his martyrdom (which, like Temple-restorer King Josiah's death at Megiddo in 609 BC, would be bitterly lamented by his people), he rises redivivus to become "a master, a lord, a ruler, and prince." Ben Joseph's 'rising again' to "rebuild the temple" and re-establish its ancient ordinances — or, as Klausner (1956) says of Ben Joseph's mission, to "restore everywhere the true Law to its former validity" (p. 484) — is attended, according to the texts, by the concurrent appearance of Elijah, who Malachi (3:1, 4:6) prophesied would return (as with the Lord Himself, "suddenly to his temple") to "turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers" (see "The Eighth Sign" of the apocalyptic midrashim called Asereth Otot and Otot Rav Shimon ben Yoḥai).
Indeed, the biblical prophets, in their "one voice" prophecy of "the restoration and resurgence of the house of Joseph" under the leadership of the Ephraimites after Israel's 'scattering' (a result of unrepentant idolatry and sin) and centuries-long captivity and apostasy (4 Ezra 5:1, 7:28-30: referenced by the archangel Uriel, who tells Ezra, "the way of truth shall be hidden, and the land shall be barren of faith"), "seem to speak of a Josephite king who will lead their restoration," gathering a "sifted and purified" people again to their promised lands. Isaiah foretold of an end-times 'healing of the breach' between the Israelite brethren Ephraim and Judah, who in the latter days would reunite to conquer their enemies: the lost tribes would return to worship on Mount Zion (or 'Lebanon,' the ancient code-name for a Temple-crowned Jerusalem: see Isa 60:13). "Israelites scattered among all nations" would be "brought back to Jerusalem by foreign peoples," led by "a distinct individual" who would "gather" them (Isa 49:3, 5) — and who would, in wonderful similitude to Messiah ben David his master, become that "innocent victim, like a lamb led to slaughter; one despised, afflicted, and pierced-through, poured out to death, cut off from the land of the living, dead and buried (53:3-9, 12)."
People of righteousness 'transplanted'
Micah's moshel, from Bethlehem-Efrata (an archaic form of 'Ephraim' = fruitfulness wrought out through sorrow) where Joseph's mother Rachel died giving birth to second-son Benjamin, is like a raḥel — a ewe-lamb silent before its shearers, a name that recalls Rachel the shepherdess herself — "whose life is poured out" in sacrifice. The "wounded and banished" Rachel (Micah 4:6-7) represents her "stricken and exiled children" that make up the Ephraimite confederation. After a period of grief-borne exile, these were to be "brought back to the fold" (re-united in joy with Judah) and made "into a strong nation" — into "one flock ruled by the ETERNAL from Zion" (Micah 4:7-8, 13). This Josephite confederation was to be gathered "through the sea" into that shepherds' watch-tower set on a hill, the 'Tower [or Temple] of the Flock' — "Migdal Eder, hill of Daughter Zion" (the offspring-offshoot of old-world Zion) — amidst the abundant 'Temple-flock' pasture-land set apart for "consecrated sacrifice". To achieve that renewed 'sanctuary service,' collective Israel — "repatriated" in 'Lebanon' (a new land of Zion once again temple-crowned) — would reinstate the kingship of its "former" or "first" dominion (Micah 4:8; Zech 10:5-12). This meant a return to the rule of Ephraimite 'kingship', such as Israel originally had with Joseph of Egypt and with Joshua when Israel first entered the Promised Land, before the establishment of its Judahite monarchy. Which is to say, that "the authority of Jerusalem shall cede her authority to Migdal Eder," and by that action latter-day Israel, consisting as it would be initially of a majority of Josephites, will become "the kingdom of Daughter Zion" — the "temporary" kingdom of a greater Kingdom eventually to come (see Torrey, p. 265).
The Targum Yerushalmi (Pseudo-Jonathan) of Genesis 35:23 affirms this 'relocation' of God's latter-day kingdom: Jacob "spread his tent beyond Migdal Eder, the place where the King Messiah will be revealed at the end of days." The prophet Micah adds also his testimony (5:4) that the coming moshel will be "a shepherd who will pasture his flock in the strength of the ETERNAL" — the Might of Jacob. With origins from olam or 'eternity', the promised Ephraimite ruler over this "temporary" kingdom was destined to come, "like a Shepherd-Rock, to the Tower of the Flock," whereupon "the kingship of the house of David [would] devolve upon him," who would be, according to the Targum of Ezekiel 17:12, but a youth, or a "child" (yoneq: Jeremiah's "lovely lad" - Jer 31:9, 18-20). Indeed, the appearance of this youth in the world would "set in motion" the great gathering of Israel (Ps 50).
Royal psalmody for God's 'anointed'
Between Psalms 60 and 108 there exists, according to Mitchell, a messianic inclusio or 'Josephite core' (especially Psalms 80 to 92 with its "great theodical crux" at Ps 89), "a nucleus of Josephite language and imagery" (including a majority of the priestly Josephite 'Asaph' and 'Korah' Psalms) that ultimately prefigures the mighty Davidic deliverance of both exiled and faithful modern Israel in the latter days. The core's closing "coda" — Psalms 105 and 106 — "eulogizes Joseph [of Egypt] as Israel's suffering saviour before the exodus, and presents him as a type of one to precede a greater exodus to come" — a latter-day gathering out of exiled Israel from the nations of the earth (led also "out of the North country"), famously foretold by Jeremiah (23:7-8; 30-33), that would eclipse the Exodus from Egypt (Ps 77:15). A paired reading of Psalms 1 ('blessed man') and 2 ('king') reveals a conflated image of Josephite and Judahite messianism — envisioning "a greater Joseph-Joshua and a greater David combined" — and it occurs again at Psalm 89. "Strangest of all," says Mitchell, "Psalm 81, in the middle of the Joseph core, spells the name of Joseph as 'Yehoseph', that is, Joseph merged with [Yahweh's] Tetragrammaton [YHWH], and perhaps with Judah. This Josephite-Judahite king descends to Sheol in Psalms 88 and 89, anticipating Joseph's imprisonment spoken of in Psalm 105, and then reappears triumphant in Psalm 110, 'the man of the right hand' [Ps 80:17 likewise references Jacob's blessing on Ephraim], to conquer the nations" (see also Barker, p. 255).
Polymessianic & Qumranic witnesses
The pseudepigraphic text of 1 Enoch 90 "borrows from Deuteronomy 33:17" to present Messiah ben Joseph as "a firstborn ox who transforms all nations into his image [or is the enabling agent through which all might be transformed into white 'purified' bulls], and then rules like a sovereign aurochs." The Israelite, pre-Christian Testament of Naphtali (5) also points to several "expectant deliverers." In it, the Patriarch Joseph is, from the Mount of Olives and in godly glory (exaltation), "borne heavenward on an aurochs, representing the triumphant messianic [seer, his descendant], in the presence of Levi [whose high priest progeny seize the greater-glory sun] and Judah [whose kingly progeny seize the lesser-glory moon], after which a 'holy writing' announces the captivity of the twelve tribes of Israel," from which oppressive dispersion Messiah ben Joseph is prophesied to liberate by gathering them 'all as one'. In this sense, Ben Joseph does perform at-one-ment.
Similarly, in the Babylonian Talmud (a commentary on the Mishnah), the 'Four Craftsmen' baraitha presents, in its various iterations, four 'redeemer' heroes — prophet (Elijah), Davidic king (Ben David), priest ('Righteous Priest' or Melchizedek), and Josephite warrior (Ben Joseph). And another polymessianic testimonium — the Qumranic 4Q175 — reveals this same redeemer 'quartet' of end-times apocalypticism — a Moses-like prophet, a king, a priest, and a Joshua-like hero (showing that, just like its Talmudic counterpart, Qumranic 4Q175 springs from an exegetical tradition of Zechariah 2:3 that predates 100 BC). The Dead Sea texts, as Mitchell notes, feature "a latter-day priest who will 'teach righteousness at the end of days' (CD 6:11) and preside over the eschatological battle liturgy (1QM 15:4; 16:3; 18:5) and banquet (1QSa 2:12-21)." Likewise, the Testament of Benjamin (3:6-8) prophesies of a coming 'son of Joseph' who, "as spotless for the lawless will he be given up, and as sinless for the godless will he die," the death of a 'faultless' tsadik ('righteous one'; wholly innocent) which, therefore, in some undelineated way, opens wide the gate to final messianic redemption and which ushers in Davidic kingship, victory, and renewal (see '4 Ezra 7:26-35, 43-45; Mitchell, pp. 12, 60, 68, 148).
Ezra, Uriel, and a kingdom-Lion that roars
The apocalyptic passage of 4 Ezra 12:30-34 is particularly germane to the Josephite messiah tradition. It is also, as with other Ben Joseph/Ben David traditions, very likely dualistic in its interpretation, with multiple levels of meaning.
Ezra, mourning over "the desolation of Zion" after its ruin in 586 BC — troubled as he gazes "upon the wealth of them that dwell in Babylon," their "impieties without number" (4 Ezra 3:1-2, 29-31), and perplexed concerning God's purposes for Israel — prays unto the Lord and is given a series of dreams under the supervision of the archangel Uriel (4:1, 10:59, 13:53-56), who helps illuminate Ezra's mind so that he can understand their interpretation — particularly concerning God's "small [Josephite] kingdom" of 'righteous ones' ("a plant of a great people" - 4 Ezra 9:21) that "the Highest" will establish at a time "full of trouble" in the latter days (see also 4 Ezra 8:50, 9:3; Dan 12:1). The kingdom's 'forest lion' leader of "roaring" righteousness — one who 'speaks' to "the eagle ... rebuking her for her unrighteousness" — is the Almighty's messianic "anointed one" — a prophet, priest and king who sits in mighty end-time judgement to "reprove ... correct [and] deliver with mercy those that have been pressed upon my borders [oppressed, driven to the boundaries of God's Zion], and he shall make them joyful [who have "fallen into danger [and] come into great perils" yet "have works, and faith toward the Almighty" to courageously endure them - 13:19, 23] until the coming of the day of judgment."
Ezra beholds that Israel's 'little' kingdom has become a great "Mount Zion" that is "graven without hands" (not made by man: Daniel's latter-day "kingdom" that began as a "small stone cut out without hands," or without human impetus or intervention, and rolled forth to fill "the whole earth" - Dan 2:34-35), and he sees also Daniel's 'Son of Man' rising up from the midst of the sea — "whom God the Highest hath kept a great season," created from His own Being, who comes to "order them" of the "multitude with peace" (gathering Israel; 4 Ezra 13:5-7, 12, 25-26, 39, 47, 51-52). Ezra learns that, in the time when "the most High" begins marvelously to "deliver" the nations from their long night of apostasy, the righteous who commit to brave the "danger" and the "great perils" of the fiery latter-day storm and tempest (of both temporal and spiritual warfare) that arises concurrently with His Restoration, fare "easier" and are "more blessed" than the wicked who "pass away as a cloud out of the world" without engaging in the battle (4 Ezra 13). It will evolve into a most ominous conflict involving not only the 'eagle nation' and its consecutive, successionary leaders (as also the Lion's 'little kingdom' within it that simultaneously battles the great spiritual Enemy of the world), but also other overwhelming conspiratorial forces from both within and without itself, culminating in that last battle with Evil's confederation at world's end as it arrays itself against the Son of Man and His destroying host (11-12). Uriel then, as he similarly does Enoch, commands Ezra to "write all these things that thou hast seen in a book, and hide them: And teach them to the wise of the people, whose hearts thou knowest may comprehend and keep these secrets" (12:37-38; see also 14:6-8, 26, 45-47)
Joseph's 'City of Refuge'
Joseph and Aseneth calls its narrative's "firstborn son of God ... Joseph" — the ideal connubial 'mate' prefigured, as it were, for God's 'City of Refuge' (in similitude of the Lamb's bride, "the holy Jerusalem" sanctuary for God's sanctified heirs; Rev 21:7, 9-10). Such a refuge of safety, according to the Josephite legends, would be sorely needed by the people of God who followed Ben Joseph, for, as foretold by Ezra, both they and their leader would be despised, hated, and driven to Zion's borders by the Enemy. Sefer Zerubbabel describes Messiah ben Joseph as "a man despised" (ish niḇzeh). Qumranic 4Q372 eschatologically reveals one called 'Joseph' fallen into the hands of enemies attacking a united latter-day Israel dwelling amidst an end-time Zion or 'Jerusalem', which, after the foreign Enemy attacks is left in ruins — its surrounding areas raped, and its temple-locations idolatrously desecrated. In his distress and near-death circumstances of oppression, Ben Joseph "cries to God his father to deliver him" (4Q372, lines 15-17; Psalms 22:1; 38:12, 21; 89:26, 39), questioning why he has been 'forsaken' into the hands of enemies seeking his life (see Isa 49:14-16; Mark 15:34), but then, acknowledging God's universal strength and promising to praise Him if He will avenge them of their overpowering enemies and mercifully deliver the poor and afflicted of His people, Ben Joseph anticipates not only God's justice and righteous vindication, but also his own subsequent "kingship," his teaching of "divine law," and his establishment of sacred ritual worship for God's people — all of which, according to Mitchell, requires the "wisdom, authority, and power" of a "righteous ruler" (4Q372, lines 23-27). Thus is Ben Joseph, though "mortified and bound over to death," able to rise from the oppressive depths of that Sheol-like test, and return to "comfort Zion" (11QMelch 1:20), but also to "make [her] understand [the Wisdom of] all the ages"; see Isa 11:2-3, 9; 61:2-3; Hab 2:14)
In the Qumranic 4Q521, a priestly Messiah 'son of Joseph' — one "to whom the heavens and the earth will listen" and in whose time "the Lord will proclaim good news to the poor, heal the wounded, and raise the dead" (Mitchell, p. 99) — appears in some sense to sacrifice himself "for his generation." "Messiah bar Ephraim" (using the Aramaic patronymic 'bar' rather than the Hebrew 'ben') is in the Targumic Tosefta (to Zech 12:10) slain by Gog at "the gate of Jerusalem" (Zion), reflecting the Babylonian Talmud's assertion that Ben Joseph is to be slain, not only before his people's '40-year' trial in the desert, but also, therefore, before the final confrontation with Gog and the appearance of Messiah ben David (who is sometimes identified with 'Menahem ben Ammiel' — a name, however, that is applied at other times to Ben Joseph, for it means "Comforter, son of God's people"). The Tosefta concurs that God's elect mourn their messianic prophet but are driven by Gog into a wilderness exile (Psalms 90-106), where for '40 years' they are tried, tested, "purified and sorted like silver and gold, so that their patience and their faith will become known... Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant (Ezek 20:36-37)" (Sa'adya Gaon, Book of Beliefs, VIII: On the Redemption, Sect V). Through that Refiner's 'fire', however, every vestige of apostate 'dross' is allowed to fall by the wayside. For "those whose faith is weak [will] desert their religion ... And I will purge out from among you the rebels and them that transgress against me (Ezek 20:38)" (cited in Beliefs).
A raging aurochs at Megiddo: the risen & conquering hero
Thus is foretold Ben Joseph's martyrdom by a foreign and hostile Enemy (whereas, conversely, Ben David, as Christians believe, is slain by His own house of 'Jerusalemites'). But then, as several messianic texts attest, Ben Joseph returns, resurrected, to himself raise the spirits of earth's dead. "The first to rise will be Ben Joseph, by virtue of his being a righteous and well-tried servant of God, greatly rewarded by his Master" (Sa'adya Gaon, Book of Beliefs, VIII: On the Redemption, Sect VI; see also "The Ninth Sign" of the apocalyptic midrash called Asereth Otot).
As seeming prelude to this miraculous advent of the resurrection of the righteous, Qumranic 11QMelch reveals "a heavenly warrior" and "exalted" High Priest (a Melchizedek 'King of Righteousness') and hero-conqueror identified with the 'cut off' mashiaḥ-prince of Daniel 9:25-26 and with Isaiah's "herald of good news [52:7], and mashiaḥ of the spirit" (see Luke 4:18-19). Gabriel's Revelation (GR) also features "a Messiah called Ephraim," one who descends with chariot-riding Michael and is personally directed by the Davidic Servant to "place the sign" amidst the battling end-time nations at Jerusalem, who in collusion, and under the machinations of Gog, have come against the prosperous promised lands of the kingdom of modern Israel (GR lines 13-14, 16-17, 26-28).
"Then Gog and Magog will hear about Ben David and the excellence of his people and country and the abundance of their wealth, and how they feel themselves secure without locks or fortifications or aught resembling them. They will, therefore, covet them, as it is said ... And you shall say: I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will come upon them that are quiet, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates (Ezek 38:11). [Gog] will thereupon gather around himself people from the sundry nations, crossing countries in order to reach them, as Scripture says: And you shall come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you, and many peoples with you ... to the valley of Jehoshaphat ... Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (Joel 3:12, 14)."
After the prophesied 'forties' period of purification of God's 'holy people', then (its 'true' length being, by its eschatologically symbolic nature, indeterminable), Mashiaḥ bar Ephraim, that 'conquering heavenly hero' now resurrected, leading the arrayed hosts of Israel, and in concert with Judah, at long last vanquishes Gog — a scene in which, as "the wild-ox is the warrior Messiah," one might well imagine a raging aurochs at Megiddo (Ezek 38-39; see 4 Ezra 13:5, 8-11, 27-28, 33-35, 37-38, 49-50).
Reunion in Zion: where heaven & earth meet
Another point of general consensus in the messianic texts is that, under the supreme command of Messiah ben David, the Josephite forces route Gog's horde of conspiring nations and "ascend to Jerusalem, displacing the invaders from the holy city." All of this, according to the Targum Yerushalmi, is reflective of Ben Joseph's rem-like achievement as the apocalyptic and exegetic midrashim's 'War Messiah' or Mashuaḥ milḥamah — a title meaning "one Anointed for War" (i.e., anointed by others), by whose principal "hand" the adversarial Kingdom of Edom will "fall". In the Targum to Song of Songs 4:5, Messiah bar Ephraim — who a Lamentations targum calls "the King Messiah of the House of Joseph of the House of Ephraim" — appears as "co-deliverer" with Messiah ben David, the two messianic figures being described as "twins" who are likened to Moses and Aaron, by whose joint "merit" Israel was fed, sustained, and "well"-watered for 40 years in the wilderness. The comparison suggests that Ben Joseph would stand as the presiding latter-day High Priest for Israel, symbolically "making atonement" for them, as did Aaron, at sacred altars (Lev 16:24, 32-33) — from which consecration would proceed latter-day Israel's miraculous sustenance and purification in their '40 year' wilderness sojourn amidst the 'Shekhinah' of the great Refiner. This ancient 'Day of Atonement' sanctuary allusion points to a further (symbolic) sense in which this restorer-prophet, High Priest, and mashiaḥ-king of righteousness performs at-one-ment for and in behalf of God's people.
In his co-deliverance of a united Israel, then, Messiah ben Joseph reappears finally triumphant — resurrected — in his aurochs 'warrior' incarnation in the Valley of Jehosaphat, the Valley of Decision (Joel 3:12, 14; Micah 4:13: his armature complete with "iron horn" and "brazen hoofs" to thrash the nations), to route the forces of Gog and Magog — the nations of the earth hostile to God and to His people Israel (Ps 83-86; Joel 3:1-2, 9-14; Micah 4:11-12; Zech 12:2-3). Deliverance comes (as with the messianic "Holy One" of Zech 14:4-8) with the Bridegroom-king's descent upon Mount Olivet (the 'Mount of Anointing') with the heavenly hosts (Ps 45, 110; Isa 40:5; Dan 7:13). The spirits of the righteous dead are, by messianic command (an authoritative order of miraculous manifest power that is issued variously, in the Josephite texts, either by Ben David, Ben Joseph, Elijah, or a combination of the three), 'caught up' in resurrection to meet their Deliverers. Gathered Israel exults in the holy city: Israel's Daughter of Zion, the New Jerusalem (having embraced, or received unto herself, the 'heavenly' Jerusalem), stands with her heroic Messiahs exalted and triumphant (Ezek 40-48; see the apocalyptic midrash called Nistarot Rav Shimon ben Yoḥai, vv. 30-32).
Messiah ben Joseph's other titles include 'Ephraim Messiah Tsidqi [Righteous One]', 'Messiah ben Ephraim', and 'Ephraim ben Joseph'.
Myth becomes history: Joseph Smith
These Jewish legends of Messiah ben Joseph, given in summary above, hold very special interest for Latter-day Saints. This is because, in the legends' inherent claims that Joseph of Egypt uttered prophecies about a future Messiah ben Joseph, those claims essentially mirror a similar profession put forth by Latter-day Saints as to their own divinely revealed prophecies once uttered by Joseph of Egypt. These, they profess, were recorded anciently upon metal plates (the source records for The Book of Mormon) by the American prophet Nephi (their content conveyed by his father, the Josephite colonizer Lehi - 2 Ne 3:6-15). Other Josephite prophecies, including several lost or corrupted verses from the book of Genesis, were likewise restored by revelation (JST Gen 50:26-33) through the Prophet Joseph Smith — to whose life, as Latter-day Saints readily recognize, the 'Messiah ben Joseph' legends closely correspond at many points.
Foremost is the legend and prophecy that the Messiah ben Joseph, born through the lineage of Ephraim ben Joseph ben Jacob, was destined to appear upon the earth in "the last days," yoked with great authority and power to perform a unique mission that was foreordained in eternity before the creation of the world. On this point, Ben Joseph's name surfaces even in the Hekhalot literature of the Merkabah school of Jewish mysticism: Rabbi Ishmael, in his ascent to the seventh Heavenly Temple, beheld upon the Veil placed before the Holy of Holies "the events of the last times. The end of the course of the present world [was] marked by the appearance of Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David."
The Jewish rabbis were well aware from their own traditions that the mighty warrior-king forerunner Messiah ben Joseph, as an Ephraimite descendant of Joseph of Egypt, was set to appear "in the last days" that preceded both the coming of Elijah (Mal 1:3; 4:5-6; Matt 17:11) and of Messiah ben David — to commence the "gathering" of the remnants of the Ten Tribes and to "restore the true faith" of Israel that had been lost to them through long years of Apostasy. He, like his forefather Joseph of Egypt, was to "save" the world from a great "famine" in the land — "not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). In the new "promised land" of the Josephite birthright (America, "the land of Joseph"), which had been "added" as part of Joseph's 'double' "firstborn" portion, he would (as a "fruitful vine" over-spilling its walls or boundaries) "plant" Zion and the 'New Jerusalem' in a new world, and — under this new Josephite (but also, apparently, Judahite) king (see below) — this restored church and kingdom would grow like Daniel's Rock "cut out of the mountain" without human "hands" or intervention, to roll forth until it "filled the whole earth" (Dan 2:34-35, 45).
The 'messianic' Jewish legends and traditions of a great end-times 'gatherer' and 'restorer' thus seem for Latter-day Saints to point strongly to the restoration of a latter-day Kingdom of God — the Church of Jesus Christ — under the founding leadership of a latter-day Prince of all Israel (David-Ephraim) who is called Messiah ben Joseph.
Joseph ben Joseph: Latter-day ensign-bearer for the House of Israel
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple ... (Malachi 3:1)
He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. (JS–H 1:33)
The Pharisee Josephus [as also previously the apocalyptic prophets Daniel, Enoch, Ezra, and Baruch] had already seen Adam, the first man, as a prophet whose vision encompassed not only the flood of Noah's day but also the flood of fire at the end of time and thus included all of history (Antiquities, 1:70) ... Likewise, the priest of the End of Days (the priestly Messiah) who appears in the Habakkuk commentary of the Dead Sea sectarians [Messiah ben Joseph] will be able to interpret the visions of the ancient prophets regarding the total course of the history of Israel as all of their features now [in the new Messianic aeon] become fully visible ... (Gershom Scholem)
Noah came before the flood. I have come before the fire ... (the Prophet Joseph Smith, to an individual inquiring after his identity, as reported by Lorenzo Snow)
Joseph Smith, Jr. — the son of Joseph Smith, Sr. — in his lifetime, and on numerous occasions, was approached by individuals earnestly inquiring after his identity. "Who are you?" they would ask, hoping perhaps to glean some deeper insight into what lay behind the clearly charismatic facility possessed by this Prophet of the Restoration who was revealing God's word anew and drawing thousands to him from out of Europe's northern nations and isles of the sea. To one such inquiring mind, and as reported by future apostle and church president Lorenzo Snow, the Prophet replied: "Noah came before the flood. I have come before the fire" — meaning the boiling, melting conflagration (Isa 64:2) set to accompany the coming of the 'Son of Man' to reign for a thousand years, then judge the world.
'No man knows my history'
While such statements as the Prophet made about himself appear rather 'cryptic' in nature, Smith's reluctance to broach the subject of his 'eschatological' identity, as strongly supported by his own documented statements, was rooted in a divine restraint that had been imposed upon him. Early church leaders, on multiple occasions, recall the Prophet saying to them, in effect, that he desired, but was by the Lord restrained from, revealing his true or 'eternal' identity to the world: "You do not know me. No man knows my history ... I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it ... If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself ... Would to God ... I could tell you who I am! ... You would call it blasphemy ... When I am called by the trump of the archangel [meaning Michael, who was for him Adam, the father of the race] and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then." Such were his statements at Nauvoo on 6 April 1844, only weeks before his martyrdom.
On another occasion, as recorded by Wilford Woodruff, a later successor as president-prophet for the church and one of the faith's prolific diarists, Joseph said: "Brethren you do not know me, you do not know who I am ... I would to God that I could unbosom my feelings in the house of my friends!" (JD 21:317). In remarks given at a meeting of the Relief Society, the church's nascent women's organization, the Prophet, as Elizabeth Lightner recalled, said: "People little know who I am when they talk about me, and they never will know until they see me weighed in the balance in the kingdom of God. Then they will know who I am and see me as I am. I dare not tell them and they do not know me." 
Brigham Young, Smith's immediate successor as church president stated on 8 Jan 1845 at Nauvoo: "You have heard Joseph say that the people did not know him. He had his eye on the relation to blood-relations ... The Lord had his eye upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood [Noah], from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man!  ... Joseph Smith, Jr., was foreordained to come through the loins of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and so on, down through the Prophets and Apostles ... He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation" (JD 7:289-90, 9 Oct 1859; emphasis added).
Notwithstanding the Prophet Joseph's reluctance to disclose more than he did about his precise 'eschatological' identity, it is a matter of record that he, on one occasion, declared solemnly, but boldly, that he had been called of God "to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this dispensation, and [to] testify of His revealed will to scattered Israel" — at a later time emphasizing, moreover, that that kingdom to which he referred was "the kingdom of Daniel"; that now "already" it had been "set up," and that he was "the king over it."
Royal prince 'from eternity'
Finally, there are the discursive remarks of a one-time traitor to the Prophet, now returned to full fellowship, W. W. Phelps, who not only wrote the honorary hymn "Praise to the Man" but also gave the Prophet's funerary oratory in the days following his violent death and martyrdom. Phelps said on that occasion: "Surely, as one of the holy ones (Abr 3:22-23) commissioned by his Father among the royal seventy, when the High Council of Heaven set them apart to come down and 'multiply and replenish this earth,' he was the 'last,' and who knows but the 'greatest,' for he declared we knew not who he was! So, I may say, as the last is to be first, and the first last in eternal rotation, that Joseph Smith, who was Gazelam in the spirit world, was, and is, and will be in the endless progress of eternity — The Prince of Light."
Joseph Smith's successor, Brigham Young, only months later stated that the Prophet's descent was "direct" from "Joseph who was sold into Egypt ... the blood was pure in him" (JD 7:290). But more than this, Heber C. Kimball, who later was a member of the church's First Presidency, bore witness that Joseph Smith had a legitimate right to rule as king over Israel, for the Prophet was, he said, "near kindred to ... Jesus Christ" because he shared the same "lineage" (JD 4:248).
"Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins," declared the Lord to His "servant" Joseph "— from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph ... As I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph: In thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed” (D&C 132:30; 124:58; emphasis added).
The significance of these lineage statements of the Prophet's patriarchal descent, in light of ancient scripture as outlined below, translates to a collective pronouncement that Joseph Smith descended, in part, through the priestly birthright line, as an Ephraimite of the House of Joseph, and partly through the royal kingship line of Jesse of the House of Judah:
And there shall come forth a rod [the direct offspring of royal Davidic heirs, culminating in Joseph Smith] out of the stem of Jesse [Jesus Christ, the 'Root of David'], and a Branch [Joseph again, according to some, but which also may refer to the 'true and living church' of Christ of Isa 4:2; 2 Ne 3:5; D&C 1:30] shall grow out of his roots [the distant-future offspring of Christ — Joseph Smith Jr, the Davidic heir, a Judahite-Ephraimite] ... (Isa 11:1; Rev 5:5; 2 Ne 21:1)
Latter-day Saint scripture reveals the identity of Isaiah's 'stem of Jesse' as being the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa 11:1-5; D&C 113:1-2), and the 'rod' and the 'root' of Jesse spoken of (Isa 11:1, 10; D&C 113:3-6) as being "a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse [through the royal Davidic line] as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph [the priestly birthright line], on whom there is laid much power ... unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days" (113:3) — which is to say, Joseph Smith — the direct offspring of both Judah and Joseph.
Consequently, the significance of the angel Moroni quoting the entire 'identity' chapter of Isaiah 11 (and many other 'restoration' passages including Malachi 4:6 and Acts 3:20-26) to a young Joseph Smith in 1823, emphasizing his lineage, is better understood.
Thus does Joseph Smith become the two-house descendant of Judah and Joseph who, it was long-prophesied, would be the instrument God would use to heal the brothers' ancient tribal breach and — through the restoration of Christ's "only true and living Church" and gospel kingdom (D&C 1:30) — begin to restore the world's wasteland to its primeval paradisaical state, the future Garden of the Lord ...
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse [Joseph Smith], which shall stand for an ensign of the people [the bright banner to which the descendants of both Ephraim and Judah — the priestly birthright and royal ruling-right lines — and all Israel will rally]; to it shall the Gentiles seek [the lost ten tribes scattered among the nations or 'led away' by God]: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord [the Root of David] shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant ['firstborn' and royal-priesthood elect] of his people, which shall be left ... And he shall set up an ensign for the nations [the Branch of God's chosen people, or true Church and gospel kingdom restored through Joseph — himself the rod/root of Jesse] and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah [the Jews] from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah [for its kingly scepter-right of royal blood], and Judah shall not vex Ephraim [with its claim to the priestly 'firstborn' birthright — the ancient breach will at last be healed, and the desolate wasteland restored to its primeval paradisaical glory as the Garden of the Lord] (Deut 30:4; Isa 11:10-13, 13:5; Matt 24:31; 2 Ne 21:10-13, 23:5; 3 Ne 15:15; Art of Faith 1:10)
Like Father, like son
The Lord promised Joseph of Egypt that "I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name [the latter-day Restoration prophet's] shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father [Joseph Smith, Sr, but also Joseph of Egypt]; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation" (JST, Gen 50:33).
This prophet-son of Joseph of Egypt, who would play such a dominant role in latter-day events, was, as LDS scripture proclaims, the same 'root'-and-'rod' servant of Christ (Christianity's Messiah ben David, who was Himself 'the stem of Jesse'), the same 'unlearned' man, Latter-day Saints believe, who would read a 'sealed book' that the learned [Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia College] could not read and from which the spiritually blind would "see out of obscurity, and out of darkness," of which Isaiah prophesied (Isa 11 & 29). This 'anointed one', a messiah called Joseph — whose Hebrew name, Asaph, means 'he who gathers,' 'he who causes to return,' or 'God gathereth' — was the same who would initiate in the last days what the ancient prophets called the 'gathering' of scattered Israel and the 'restitution' or 'restoration' of all things (Acts 3:21) spoken of by Peter. That gathering of the Israelite exiles would usher in the great Millennium, both advents seen and foretold by all the holy prophets since the world began.
Isaiah 49, one of the 'suffering servant' prophecies, has, McConkie (1980) suggests, a dual application to both Messiah ben David and Messiah ben Joseph. While its application to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (the 'Messiah ben David' of Christianity) is well known and attested, Isaiah's 'suffering servant' passages are seen by some LDS scholars to also describe, in such a dual application, Joseph Smith and his role as the legendary Josephite 'anointed one' of the latter-day 'restoration'.
The Book of Mormon translation of this Isaianic chapter (2 Ne 27) gives added insight to the standard bible text, for, after first giving "a warning voice to Israel," which is scattered now among every nation, kindred, and tongue, "they are told to give heed to the voice of the Lord as he speaks through the mouth of his servant. The servant is to declare that 'the Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.' So we look for a prophet," McConkie summarizes, "one declaring his own foreordination, with the added claim that his name was known to Israel even before his birth ... As Israel knew the name of the prophet who was to liberate them from their Egyptian bondage, Israel also knew [as apparent from the restored verses of Gen 50] the name of the prophet who would 'bring them out of darkness into light [an Illuminator role]; out of hidden darkness, and out of captivity unto freedom [a Deliverer role]' (JST, Gen 50:25) in that day when they were scattered among all the nations of the earth" — even this Messiah ben Joseph, that prophet who was to be, as Christ was, "like unto Moses" (JST, Gen 50:29), and, with his partly Judahite lineage, another 'Lion of the Lord'. "Surely it is more than coincidence," says McConkie, "that D&C 1, the revelation given by the Lord to introduce the compilation of revelations declaring authority to gather Israel, would use the very language of Isaiah to introduce Joseph Smith and the Restoration (see D&C 1:1-4, 17, 24, 29, 38; Isaiah 49:1)."
Latter-day Saints believe that Joseph Smith, Jr., is that Josephite-Judahite 'root' and Ephraimite-Judahite 'rod' (Isa 11:1, 10) who, in the last days, according to Jewish legend, was set to appear as forerunner to the Millennial King Messiah ben David, who they believe is Jesus Christ, the rightful 'stem' of Jesse (JST Gen 50:26-33; 2 Ne 3:6-15, 21:1; D&C 113:3).
Joseph of Egypt, in the divinely ordained pattern of his father Jacob, gave a father's blessing also to his own sons, in which he revealed that the world would be greatly blessed through their posterity: "I have obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of my loins [Ephraim-Manasseh] the Lord God will raise up a righteous branch ..." (JST Gen 50:24). Joseph knew that the Lord would raise up a "choice seer" in the latter days. He would be named "Joseph,' the son of "Joseph," and would come from "a righteous branch" (a chosen people: a "plant of righteousness" or "righteous branch of my planting") of his loins (JST Gen 50:30; Isa 60:21; 2 Ne 3:15). This descendant and "anointed" leader from the House of Joseph (and of Judah) — as described with such precision in 'restored scripture' — many Latter-day Saints believe also to be the 'Messiah ben Joseph' or 'ben Ephraim' of ancient Jewish tradition.
"According to the Talmud, the Messiah [of the Parousia — which, for Christians, however, is Christ's second, not His first, coming] will be a descendant of the House of David and will be preceded by a secondary Messiah from the House of Joseph" — springing principally from the exiled Israelite tribe of Ephraim. Raphael Patai affirmed: "Talmudic legend unhesitatingly identifies him with the Messiah, and understands especially the descriptions of his sufferings as referring to Messiah ben Joseph"
An Ephraimite in the Promised Land
Latter-day Saints affirm, moreover, that Isaiah's "Branch" — Enoch and Ezra's "plant of righteousness" — indeed took root in the house of Joseph's second Promised Land of the latter-day Zion (the Americas), to branch, and finally to "blossom" (Isa 27:6, 35:1-2; D&C 49:24). Its "fruit" was that mighty rod and root of Jesse, Joseph Smith Jr., the 'rightful' scion of Ephraim and the 'lawful' royal heir of David and Jesus Christ, but that 'fruitful' designation also included all of the 'chosen seed' of Joseph's house that would gather to that land.
It is interesting that, notwithstanding Joseph's partly Judahite heritage, Brigham Young ever maintained, when speaking of the Prophet's lineage, that "Joseph was a pure Ephraimite" (JD 2:269). But the Lord Himself, as Latter-day Saint scripture attests, bore a more comprehensive witness in identifying Joseph, beyond his Ephraimite heritage, as the Judahite 'rod' and 'root' of Jesse of Isaiah 11:1, 10 (D&C 113:3-6), emphasizing, moreover, in addressing priesthood authority, that a 'rightful' lineage was important: "The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made" (D&C 107:40; emphasis added). Concerning that 'right' of the "chosen seed," inherent in the House of Joseph, Brigham Young said: "Ephraim is the character who has the pure blood of promise in him. The Lord has respect unto it. This doctrine is perfectly plain and simple. Those who have the right will redeem the nations of the Earth" (8 Jan 1845, Nauvoo).
Speaking more broadly of Joseph's holistic heritage, President Young said: "The decrees of the Almighty will be exalted — that blood which was in him was pure and he had the sole right and lawful power, as he was the legal heir to the blood that has been on the earth and has come down through a pure lineage. The union of various ancestors kept that blood pure." Concerning the entire Smith family, Brigham later declared: "He [God] has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain [from Adam to Abraham to Jacob, from Joseph and Judah] to the birth of that man ... Joseph Smith, Jr" (JD 7:289-90, 9 Oct 1859).
"God, by appropriate unions of ancestors," wrote Truman G. Madsen, "had watched over that blood until it came pure and unsullied into Joseph [Smith]." Of the Prophet Joseph's own strong desire that a 'rightful' and 'lawful' lineage be properly established, McConkie wrote: "There have been countless religious leaders and reformers, but one alone who thought it necessary to establish his claim to authority by virtue of lineage" — Joseph Smith having declared himself, canonically and in discrete statements to his closest brethren, that he was a literal descendant of Joseph of Egypt and of Judah's royal house.
When Shiloh comes
When, in the 1920s, the Jews of Palestine inquired if they could now build a temple (destroyed since the year AD 70), they were answered with the words of the great 12th-century Rabbi Moses Maimonides, who said, in effect, that the priestly rights were gone and that the Jews awaited the Messiah ben Joseph: "to him will be given the keys to the gathering of Israel: He will restore temple worship" — a comment that is in precise alignment with the priesthood authority and Restoration roles of Joseph Smith, Jr., whom Latter-day Saints often refer to as 'the Prophet of the Restoration' (see also D&C 27:12-13; 81:2; 97:14; 115:19; 128:20). Cleon Skousen noted that the "advent" of Joseph Smith answers a puzzling Jewish tradition: "From the most ancient times, Jewish tradition has proclaimed that a great servant of God from the House of Joseph would come in the latter days to prepare the way for the coming of Shiloh ['Man or Child of Peace whose right it is to rule '], the Great Messiah" — for "unto him shall the gathering of the people be" (Gen 49:10).
This precursor or 'Elias' (forerunner) would come as a messiah ('anointed one' or 'deliverer') in his own right, just as Qumran's 'Messiah ben Aaron', or John the Baptist, was, as all Christians believe, forerunner to Christ at His first coming, and his mission would commence, it was said, near the time that the prophet Elijah returned in the latter days, as promised in Malachi (3:1; 4:5-6). Elijah's chief activity was to restore the purity of the family, as Louis Ginzberg said in 1911. Latter-day Saints believe, however, that Elijah has already come, with his appearance to Joseph Smith at the Kirtland Temple on 3 April 1836 — during the sacred Passover season — to restore the "keys" of sealing families together eternally (see D&C 110:13-15).
The mighty "Repairer/Restorer" of whom Isaiah prophesied (58:11-12) finds genuine applicability to God's 'other' messiah, Ben Joseph — that 'other' great restorer of truth and repairer of tribal breaches in the latter days.
All of the holy prophets appointed to administer to the inhabitants of the earth from before the foundation of the world prophesied of a great ruler who would preside over Israel in the last days. Having come to the earth in the fulness of times, Joseph Smith — that rightful heir to the throne of both the house of Judah and the house of Joseph, as Latter-day Saints believe — discovered the modern Gentile world in a degenerate state, and he thus went forth, endowed with great authority and power from on high, to fully restore God's kingdom to the earth and to enable the redemption of His people Israel.
Mashiaḥ Joseph: true prophet, priest, and king
We mean to be understood as speaking of ... the gathering of the elect of the Lord out of every nation on earth, and bringing them to the place of the Lord of Hosts, when the city of righteousness shall be built, and where the people shall be of one heart and one mind, when the Savior comes: yea, where the people shall walk with God like Enoch, and be free from sin ... (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 93; see Moses 7:18, 69)
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. (D&C 135:3)
A Lion in winter: bondage at Liberty, descent to Sheol
After several winter months of languishing unjustly (from a 'silver pieces' brand of betrayal by some of his own dear brethren) within vile dungeon circumstances at the ironically named "Liberty Jail" in bitterly cold 1838-39 Missouri, and in the very midst of his oppressed people being viciously driven by murderous mobs from the lands that they had dedicated, at God's command, to be His 'New Jerusalem' (D&C 57:1-2; 84:1-2; see also Ether 13:3-6, 10; 2 Ne 20:22; and Art of Faith 1:10) — which in a future day, it was promised (Mos 7:62-65), would welcome the return of the heavenly 'City of Enoch' that John the Revelator saw in vision (Rev 3:12; 21:1-5) — the latter-day seer Joseph Smith, in great distress, raised his prophetic voice to the heavens:
O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them? [see 1 Ne 21:14-16] O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol — stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us. Let thine anger be kindled against our enemies; and, in the fury of thine heart, with thy sword avenge us of our wrongs. Remember thy suffering saints, O our God; and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever ...
Whereupon the Lord answered him:
My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes ... Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord ... It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea. Wo unto all those that discomfort my people, and drive, and murder, and testify against them, saith the Lord of Hosts; a generation of vipers shall not escape the damnation of hell. Behold, mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof, for them all; For there is a time appointed for every man, according as his works shall be ... Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.
The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee; while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand. And thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors ... thou shalt be had in honor; [this test is] but for a small moment [see 3 Ne 22:7] ... and [then] thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever. If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; if thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring ... and if then [they] shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; and if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for [thine enemies' ] bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever ... (D&C 121:1-8, 16, 22-25, 45-46; 122)
The Prophet Joseph and his cell-mates had on several occasions, in what he called "a hell surrounded by demons," been poisoned, given filthy, contaminated food unfit for any living creature, tortured and derided mercilessly by their captors, and, consequently, were driven in their extremity of suffering and by such reprehensible abuse into a delirium, from the depths of which none seemed to care whether they lived or died. Joseph truly had been left to writhe in the squalor and stench of the dregs of death.
Renewal & rebirth in the 'City of Joseph'
But after four tortuous months, his freedom at last won on 6 April 1839, the Prophet went on (despite all the deprivations, wrongs, even rape and massacre that had been inflicted) to reassemble his people, 'modern Israel', a few miles to the north at Commerce, Illinois, where they established their 'City Beautiful' — Nauvoo (est. 1840) — on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, and there, upon a high bluff overlooking the city, they at last built the temple to their God which they could not build in the land that had been dedicated for the future 'Zion of the Lord'.
The great challenges inherent in building an entire city from barren marsh and swampland — the ultimate cause also of deadly outbreaks of cholera and malaria in 1839-40 — were ameliorated by the united efforts of Joseph's people to overcome all obstacles with patience, and with the grace of heaven's power attending. Indeed, Joseph, though weak and afflicted with the cholera himself, arose with other priesthood brethren to attend to the sick, blessing and commanding them to be made whole again, and even in at least one documented instance, wherein the Prophet personally ministered to one William D. Huntington, calling his soul back again from the dead. By the early 1840s Nauvoo’s population numbered more than 12,000 — second only in size to Illinois' largest city, Chicago.
Having come from what certainly had been (at Liberty Jail) among the most depraved depths of human experience imaginable, Joseph, renewed by his God, swiftly rose in glory in the eyes of his people, working alongside them, cheering the downcast, caring for the orphan and widow, healing the sick and performing other miracles, discerning and casting out evil spirits, communing with angels and expounding the restored gospel in its fullness, all while receiving continued revelation for the church. But Joseph reached his zenith as a blessing to his people as a powerful teacher of ancient dispensational Wisdom, sacred ritual ordinances, and salvational doctrines newly restored for the sanctification, justification, sure election, and ultimate exaltation of the Lord's true church and kingdom (see D&C 121:26-33).
Meanwhile, the Saints' burgeoning city grew at an astonishing rate with the Prophet's official 1841 call having gone forth to the nations of the earth (and in light of the Apostles and other missionary forces having been or soon to be dispensed to Europe and beyond) that they yield up Israel's long-scattered children. Soon, immigrant-proselytes from Canada, northern Europe, and the British Isles came pouring into American ports, making their way west to Nauvoo.
Joseph Smith — a self-professed "lawful" heir (an heirship long hidden "from the world with Christ in God") to the princely thrones of the house of Judah and the house of Joseph — believing that he had been sent to the earth in its final dispensation, or in "the fulness of times," discovered (as he records in his history) the earth's peoples living in a degenerate, apostate world over which the power of the great Enemy (Satan/Leviathan) had grown monstrously strong. Having in early spring 1820 been given his prophetic calling in vision by God the Father's personal appearance with His Messiah Son (JSH–1), the boy-prophet Joseph (later a recipient of both the lesser and higher priesthoods under the hands of the resurrected John the Baptist and Christ's chief apostles Peter, James and John) went forth into the world, endowed with great authority and power from on high. His divinely decreed mission was to restore the fullness of God's kingdom with its saving ordinances and primordial doctrines that would bring efficacy to the Davidic Messiah's redeeming atonement made at the meridian of time, and thus consummate salvation for God's chosen people and for all the world, if they would believe, repent, accept His eternal covenant and everlasting gospel, and endure faithfully to the end.
The return of Elijah & Moses
On 3 April 1836, the Lord Jehovah appeared to Joseph 'suddenly' in the Kirtland Temple with the prophets 'Elias' (a forerunner-messenger believed to have been Noah, the archangel Gabriel of LDS theology: D&C 27:6-7), Elijah, and Moses, to restore the priesthood keys of the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, the keys of temple 'sealing' ordinances that would bind generations of "fathers to their children," and the keys of gathering scattered Israel from the nations of the earth "and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north" (D&C 110:11). Thus did Moses, according to Latter-day Saint belief, "commit" unto Joseph Smith the restoration "keys" to lead from 'the north' and gather all Israel to the gospel kingdom's standard for the last time before the coming of the Lord.
Legion-commander & Warrior-prince
In the spring of 1841, the Governor of Illinois Thomas Carlin commissioned the mayor of Nauvoo, Joseph Smith, Jr., as Lieutenant General over the Nauvoo Legion, which, within three years had risen to become, at 5,000 men strong, "not only the largest military unit in the state of Illinois but it was second only in size to the United States Army."
In the midst of his national campaign in 1844 for the Presidency of the United States, the Prophet, in his capacity as military commander — in fact, "the first commander of the army of Israel" — addressed the Nauvoo Legion for the last time, with words that championed human liberty and civil rights: "Come, all ye lovers of liberty, break the oppressor's rod, loose the iron grasp of mobocracy, and bring to condign punishment all those who trample under foot the glorious Constitution and the people's rights."
Then, drawing his sword, and presenting it to heaven, he said: "I call upon God and angels to witness that I have unsheathed my sword with a firm and unalterable determination that this people shall have their legal rights, and be protected from mob violence, or my blood shall be spilt upon the ground like water, and my body consigned to the silent tomb. While I live, I will never tamely submit to the dominion of cursed mobocracy. I would welcome death rather than submit to this oppression" (History of the Church, 6:500).
Apostle Parley P. Pratt recalled one instance (among many) of the Prophet's great intolerance for oppression, injustice, and the amorality of 'mobocracy', in Pratt's sharing upon a time a jail cell with Joseph as they were, once again, unjustly detained. He recorded that they, and the other brethren imprisoned with them, had:
... listened for hours to the obscene jests, the horrid oaths, the dreadful blasphemies and filthy language of our guards ... as they recounted to each other their deeds of rape, murder, robbery, etc., which they had committed [against our people] while at Far West, [Missouri] and its vicinity. They even boasted of defiling by force, wives, daughters, and virgins, and of shooting or dashing out the brains of men, women, and children. I had listened till I became so disgusted, shocked, horrified, and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards; but had said nothing to Joseph, or anyone else, although I lay next to him and knew he was awake. On a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering as near as I can recollect, the following words: 'SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still. I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT.' He ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible majesty. Chained, and without a weapon; calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel, he looked upon the quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the ground, whose knees smote together, and who shrinking into a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon and remained quiet till a change of guards. I have seen the ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes, and criminals arraigned before them, while life was suspended on a breath, in the courts of England; I have witnessed a Congress in solemn session to give laws to nations; I have tried to conceive of kings, of royal courts, of thrones and crowns and of emperors assembled to decide the fate of kingdoms, but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri" ...
'King of All Israel'
And in [those] days ... shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever ... (Dan 2:44)
On 11 April 1844, as recorded by church scribe William Clayton, the Prophet Joseph Smith — just weeks before his wholly innocent but violent death, and in a solemn assembly of Nauvoo's Council of Fifty ("Princes of the Kingdom") — was crowned "King of All Israel." This action, performed by election and solemn proclamation (with a holy shout of accompanying 'Hosannas') constituted an unqualified acceptance and holy sanction by the earthly Kingdom of God's presiding brethren, its ruling political body, as Joseph Smith Jr. was ordained and ceremoniously anointed to the high honor of "Prophet, Seer, Revelator, Priest, Ruler and King," to rule in righteousness over the newly established kingdom of God on earth. Thus it was, Brother Clayton recorded in his journal, that the Prophet Joseph, as "lawful heir" through revelation to both Ephraim's birthright and Judah's sovereignty, attained to Israel's high kingship; and in one other recorded entry Clayton wrote that Joseph had ordained the Council to be "the governing body of the world with himself as its King" (William Clayton Journal, entries of 11 April 1844 and 1 January 1845). Indeed, the Council of Fifty had been established at Nauvoo as a political organization of the kingdom of God over which Joseph Smith, as also the church and kingdom's chief High Priest, presided. It was a council established to govern the temporal affairs of God's earthly kingdom, and it was to be the Lord's instrument for theocratic government, or in the Prophet's own words, a "THEO-Democracy" serving both God and His people.
Finally, at the conclusion of five years of consecrated toil and most remarkable sacrifice to build a fully ordinal Temple to their God, in divinely revealed similitude to Jerusalem's first Solomonic temple, the Saints were able to at last participate fully in sacred ritual worship, performing saving ordinances for themselves and for their deceased loved ones — even as their determined enemies began, once again, to subject them to the most bitter hostilities — relentlessly seeking thenceforth to abuse, pillage, and oppress them.
Messianic martyr: Joseph's testimony sealed with his blood
On 27 June 1844 at Carthage, Illinois, their monstrous conspiracy now ripe and ready, an organized but lawless, bloodthirsty mob (composed mostly of Illinois and Missouri militiamen) stormed Carthage Jail, where Joseph and others of his closest brethren were unlawfully held, and brutally took the young life of the 'Prophet of the Restoration' (his 38-year-old body, which had fallen from a two-story window, was found pierced by lead bolts many times through). His brother Hyrum lay dead also, a joint-witness and martyr, Latter-day Saints believe, to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter days.
Into the fire: a 'modern Moses' leads saviors upon Mount Zion
The vigilantes turned then, in the dead of winter, to mercilessly drive a grief-stricken Latter-day Saint people — in deep mourning and disillusionment over the loss of their revered Prophet — from their beloved homes and city, setting also the Lord's holy temple aflame — just as 'Edomites' had done long ago to Solomon's Temple (1 Esd 4:45).
The Latter-day Saints were thus driven into the wilderness, where many languished in sickness and disease, and died from exposure; many others fell away in apostasy. But led on by Brigham Young — God's renewed 'mouthpiece' who veritably became for them a 'modern Moses' — the Saints eventually found their refuge far to the West, in the midst of the Rocky Mountains near a great salt sea. President Young boldly took up the Prophet Joseph's mantle and his divine commission to enlarge Zion's borders (Isaiah's "tent"), "strengthen her stakes," and "put on her beautiful garments" (Isa 52:1, 54:2; D&C 82:14). It was from this 'blossoming desert' in the 'valley of the mountains' (Isa 35:1-2), enjoying as it were the ancient templed-glory of 'Lebanon', that modern Israel, in the years that followed, strove steadfastly to submit to the will and purifying power of the Great Refiner's fire, promising in high and holy places ("interim" temples that the Saints thereafter built to God and in which they served as "saviours on Mount Zion" - Obad 1:21) to continue in faithful, consecrated devotion to the restored 'gospel kingdom' until that time when the Messiah's voice would call them back to the dedicated lands of the 'New Jerusalem', there to literally now 'build up' the Holy City, make ready to receive the great Bridegroom of Zion and to embrace the people of Enoch. But instead of its previous 'interim' or 'temporary' role, it thenceforth promised to be an "everlasting" Kingdom of God on earth.
'New Jerusalem' & the last battle
That Kingly summons to Zion would come, their 'living prophets' assured them, at a time when the earth staggered in upheavals and commotions of every kind (D&C 88:87-91), when hostile nations by their evil machinations against modern Israel and the American 'Zion' finally had assembled themselves at Megiddo to wage war — there, in the Jezreel Valley, and at Jerusalem, in the ancient Valley of Decision (Jehosaphat; see Joel 3:1-2, 9-14; Micah 4:11). It would be at a time when the mighty archangels of God's Presence had sounded their trumps of dire warning to the world (Rev 8:2, 6, 13; D&C 88:92), and when Old Jerusalem prepared then to cede her authority to a newly established Zion on earth — having united itself with Enoch's heavenly city — which thereafter would serve the mighty Shepherd-King of David as the millennial watch-tower for His flock (Micah 4:7-8).
Messiah ben David: return of the Millennial King
Thus would Micah's prophecy (4:2) stand fulfilled which foretold of the establishment, in both the East and West, of two world capitals ruled by the Son of Man in the Millennial Day, wherein "the law shall go forth [out] of Zion [the transplanted 'mount Sion', the 'New Jerusalem'], and the word of the Lord from [the ancient Holy City] Jerusalem." Latter-day Saints look forward to that bright, future break of day when, by mighty Messianic voice, "the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever" (D&C 133:56; see Heb 12:22-24 for "mount Sion" thereafter becoming "the heavenly Jerusalem" amidst "an innumerable company of angels" — God's kingdom-fold consisting of "the general assembly and church of the firstborn").
The 'warrior'-messiah yet to come
Our prophet [Joseph] bears the right name, he was of the right lineage, he was in reality anointed, he did the right works, he taught the right doctrines, and he died the violent death anticipated by the [Messiah ben Joseph] traditions. All of this he did without ever hearing of the legends of which we speak, and in doing so he stood singularly and uniquely alone among the religious leaders of the world ... (Joseph Fielding McConkie)
These correspondences of the life of the 'founding father' of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to "the scattered threads of Hebrew legends and traditions as they relate to Messiah ben Joseph" form themselves, as McConkie said, "into a remarkable likeness of the Prophet Joseph Smith."
Latter-day Saints believe that, in the eschatological sense, the Prophet Joseph's earthly mission as head of the Lord's final gospel dispensation did not end with his mortal death. They await his glorious return in resurrected form to heroically 'conquer' the arraigned Enemy and to formally organize, as Messiah ben David's 'vicegerent', and thereafter to help govern, a literal City of Zion amid the righteous and, indeed, all among the noble of the earth who wish to join themselves with the true fold of God. Apostle Orson Pratt, in declaring that "God's arm is not shortened that He cannot raise [Joseph] up even from the tomb," noted that the Saints of the latter days were "living in the dispensation of the resurrection [when some would] wake from their tombs for certain purposes ... decreed by the Great Jehovah; and if the Lord sees proper to bring forth that man [Joseph] just before the winding up scene to lead forth the army of Israel, He will do so" (JD 15:263, 9 Mar 1873; Orson's apostolic brother Parley likewise stated in November 1832 that it will be through Joseph Smith that Christ will succeed in the latter days - The Evening and Morning Star, Nov 1832).
President Young elucidated the post-resurrection work of Joseph Smith at that final day: "When we return to Zion and build the great Temple which Joseph saw and the center of Zion is established [the New Jerusalem, which will operate under the Order of Enoch], the glory of God will rest upon it by day and by night and those that are prepared will see the face of the Son of Man and they will see Joseph and Hyrum [the Prophet's brother and fellow martyr] in the flesh in their resurrected bodies. Then will the armies of Israel be terrible to all Nations. Then will one chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight [see Deut 32:30; D&C 133:58-59]. Who will resurrect Joseph's body? ... One who has or will receive the keys of the resurrection ... who [will then hold such] keys of this dispensation ... But the world will not see it or know [of] it, for wickedness will increase ... Joseph [that 'Messiah ben Joseph' of prophecy and legend] will lead the armies of Israel whether he is seen or not, whether visible or invisible as seemeth him good ..." (as recorded by Apostle and later Prophet-President Wilford Woodruff in his Journal 4:390-91, 13 Jan 1856; emphasis added).
In a patriarchal blessing pronounced upon the Prophet Joseph's head in 1835 under the hands of Oliver Cowdery, then Assistant President of the Church, the promise was made that, in rallying the Saints to the dedicated lands of the American 'Zion', which stood still to be fully redeemed, Joseph would yet lead Israel's armies in great battle under the banner of the Most High: "For with the voice of his thunder shall he strike terror to their hearts, as with the wings of an eagle shall [my servant Joseph] be carried beyond all harm by the power of the Anointed ... Go thou, and say to the strength of my house, 'To your tents, O Israel: build up the wastes and raise up the foundation of desolation that this generation has made' ... Thus shall he be honored of the Lord, and thus shall it be recorded of him, that the generation to come may bless his name, in Israel, saying, 'The Lord make thee as Joseph the Seer, who was of the house of Ephraim' [see Brigham Young, JD 7:290] ... His loins shall be like iron, girded by the hand of the Lord; and his feet shall be swift to execute the commandment of the Most High when He shall say 'destroy'  ... His learning and wisdom [in his capacity of Messianic 'viceroy'] shall astonish the great, for they shall acknowledge that by his intelligence he has far surpassed their learning and their science ... He shall sit in the great assembly and general council of patriarchs [at Adam-ondi-Ahman], and execute the will and commandments under the direction of the Ancient of Days, for he shall have his place and act in his station. Behold my [servant] Joseph is blessed, blessed are all who bless him, and blessed are all those whom he blesses. Behold there is no end to the vision, of the multiplicity of blessings and glories, which shall come upon my [servant] Joseph ... Thus closes the vision, and thus it shall be. Even so: Amen."
Charles Torrey, in speaking of the Two Messiahs, Ben Joseph and Ben David, said: "Here are two divinely anointed beings, each connected in the closest way with the fate of both Israel and the nations of the world. It is hardly possible to believe that the Rabbis could have adopted and given out this very significant article of faith merely on the basis of speculation, without definite prophetic authority" (p. 257). Such a remarkable feature of Jewish eschatology — a firmly rooted rabbinical tenet of significant import, seen in the Talmud, Targum, and Midrash — reflects an Latter-day Saint belief of the origins of this dual-messianic tradition (that of two supremely pre-eminent 'anointed ones', foreordained in heaven's premortal councils to their heroic missions to save and redeem mankind) as contained in the prophecies of Joseph of Egypt, restored by God through Joseph's princely descendant himself, the Prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Joseph's continuing 'call' for Israel to 'gather home'
I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth ... (Isa 43:6)
Yea, and surely shall he again bring a remnant of the seed of Joseph to the knowledge of the Lord their God ... [when] the envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim ... (3 Ne 5:23; Isaiah 11:13)
And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them ... (Zech 10:6)
For Latter-day Saints who "have the luxury of the antitypical Joseph having already appeared, making comparisons between Joseph [of Egypt]" or between Jewish tradition's 'Messiah ben Joseph' and their own 'Joseph ben Joseph' is exceptionally facile (Sigvartsen, p. 87). Like his forefather Joseph of Egypt, Latter-day Saints hold that Joseph Smith Jr. was a guileless, pure-hearted visionary — "the receiver of dreams and keeper of Divine secrets." He was "filled with God's spirit and knew his Father's will." By his own 'brethren' "practically given over to death" through tortuous imprisonment, Joseph Smith was betrayed, suffered some of mankind's cruelest derision and persecution, and in martyrdom was many-times "pierced," sealing his valiant testimony with his blood. As the restored church and kingdom's foremost "saviour on Mount Zion" (Obad 1:21), Latter-day Saint belief holds Joseph Smith to be a true 'prince' over his brethren — was in fact 'anointed' by them as prophet, priest, and king — and he will yet, according to that same belief, gloriously return one day to take his rightful place beside the Son of Man, the great 'Second David' of Jewish tradition, and King of kings and Lord of lords.
The very purpose for restoring Christ's primitive church and the record of the house of Joseph (the Book of Mormon), as revealed to the latter-day "Restorer" himself by the Savior-Redeemer of the world, was so that the Lord might gather the "elect from the four quarters of the earth, even as many as will believe in [Him], and hearken unto [His] voice" (D&C 33:5–6) — that is, to "gather in, from their long dispersion" the "house of Israel" (3 Ne 21:1), "the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord" (Mormon 8:15; compare 3 Ne 21:26–27). "As Joseph Smith dedicated the first temple of our dispensation," wrote Millet and McConkie, "he prayed that 'all the scattered remnants of Israel,' whom he said had 'been driven to the ends of the earth,' might 'come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, and be redeemed' (D&C 109:67)."
Joseph Smith's 1841 call to latter-day Israel, scattered throughout the world, to gather to Zion — made particularly to those of Europe's north countries and adjacent Isles of the Sea — was renewed by Brigham Young, his successor in the First Presidency of the restored church and kingdom of LDS faith. Thus to the 'elect of God', then living among the Gentiles who for centuries had served as their "nursing fathers" and "mothers" (Isa 49:23; 1 Ne 22:6), came the renewed proclamation to 'come home': "Ephraim has become mixed with all the nations of the earth, and it is Ephraim that is gathering [those of his own tribe] ... It is Ephraim that I have been searching for all the days of my preachings, and that is the blood which ran in my veins when I embraced the gospel. If there are any of the [lost] tribes mixed with the Gentiles, we are searching for them ... You understand who we are; we are of the House of Israel, of the royal seed, of the royal blood" (JD 2:268-269b, 8 Apr 1855). In other words, Ephraim ben Joseph was gathered first, that he might begin to gather 'home' (in the period of the anticipated, foretold return of) the lost tribes of Israel to the lands of their inheritance.
Led by their 'living' prophets, Latter-day Saints today bear their solemn witness, expressed often to friends and associates but also through the church's worldwide missionary program, not only that Joseph Smith was God's long-prophesied "Restorer" of the last "dispensation of the fulness of times," but also that "the Lord has set his hand again a second time to gather his people Israel ... first to Christ and his [restored] gospel and then to the lands of their inheritance (2 Ne 9:2) [— gathering] Abraham’s descendants into the true fold of God, and in so doing is preparing a people for the return to earth of the King of Zion, who is the Holy One of Israel."
They remember Christ's words to the ancient Nephites of the American continent when He recalled for them the prophet Micah’s striking Josephite imagery, for Latter-day Saints continue the mission of Micah's moshel — taking as their model that majestic symbol of a white bull "having horns of iron and hoofs of brass" to "thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit" and to "push" Israel together "as one" (D&C 35:13, 133:59; Micah 4:13). They claim to be leaders of modern 'Israel' (a name that means 'soldier of God'), and to be all enlisted to "march in the army of the Lord."
For Latter-day Saints, the house of Joseph is engaged vigorously still in what they consider to be their special "gathering" mandate from the Lord, renewed in modern times by Joseph Smith, but which God appointed anciently to His Ephraimite-Manassehite servants of the House of Joseph. Their belief holds them a Heaven-proclaimed "people of destiny."
- King, Edward G. (1882). The Yalḳuṭ on Zechariah. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell and Co. Translated from the Hebrew (Yalḳuṭ Shimʻoni), with notes and appendices, by E. G. King, Vicar, and Hebrew lecturer at Sidney Sussex College. The 'Yalkut of Simeon' of Frankfurt is the best known and most comprehensive midrashic anthology, covering the whole Bible.
- Greenstone, Julius H. (1906). The Messiah Idea in Jewish History. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America. Search this book on
- Ginzberg, Louis (1998) [1909-1938]. The Legends of the Jews. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Originally published by The Jewish Publication Society of America: Philadelphia. ISBN 978-0567085863. Search this book on
- Torrey, Charles C. (1947). "The Messiah Son of Ephraim". Journal of Biblical Literature. 66 (3). Atlanta, Georgia. pp. 253–277. JSTOR 3262583.
- Scholem, Gershom (1995) . The Messianic Idea in Judaism: And Other Essays on Jewish Spirituality. New York: Schocken Books. ISBN 978-0805210439. Search this book on
- Dillmann, August (2010) . Das Buch Henoch. Whitefish, Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Originally published by Vogel: Leipzig, Germany. ISBN 978-1166778286. Search this book on
- Charles, R. H. (1913). . The Book of Enoch. London: Oxford University Press. Centenary Edition by Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1578635238 Search this book on .
- Montgomery, James A. (1907). The Samaritans, The Earliest Jewish Sect: Their History, Theology and Literature. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John C. Winston Company. Search this book on
- Odeberg, Hugo, ed. (1973) . 3 Enoch or The Hebrew Book of Enoch, by Rabbi Ishmael Ben Elisha, the High Priest. Brooklyn, New York: KTAV Publishing House. Edited and translated by Odeberg. Originally published by Cambridge University Press, England. Search this book on
- Klausner, Joseph (1956) . The Messianic Idea in Israel: From Its Beginning to the Completion of the Mishnah. London, England: George Allen & Unwin. Originally published by The Macmillan Company: New York. Search this book on
- Patai, Raphael (1988) . The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press. Originally published by Avon Books: New York. ISBN 978-0814341919. Search this book on
- Mowinckel, Sigmund (2005) . He That Cometh. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. Originally published by Abingdon Press: New York. ISBN 978-0802828507. Search this book on
- Odom, Robert L. (1985). Israel's Preexistent Messiah. Bronx, New York: Israelite Heritage Institute. Search this book on
- Neusner, Jacob; Green, William S.; Frerichs, Ernest, eds. (1987). Judaisms and Their Messiahs at the Turn of the Christian Era. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521349406. Search this book on
- Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (2000). The Jewish Messiah. New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark. ISBN 978-0567085863. Search this book on
- Ben Avraham, Elhanan (2006). Mashiach Ben Yosef. Clarksville, Maryland: Messianic Jewish Publishers. ISBN 978-0981873015. Search this book on
- Mitchell, David C. (2016). Messiah ben Joseph (PDF). Newton Mearns, Scotland: Campbell Publications. ISBN 978-0981873015. Search this book on
- Sigvartsen, Jan Å. (2018). Messiah ben Joseph: A Type in both Jewish and Christian Traditions. Wilmore, Kentucky: GlossaHouse. ISBN 978-1942697435. Search this book on
- McConkie, Joseph F. (1980). His Name Shall Be Joseph: Ancient Prophecies of the Latter-day Seer. Salt Lake City, Utah: Hawkes Publishing. ISBN 978-0890361528. Search this book on
- McConkie, Joseph F. (1984). "Joseph Smith as Found in Ancient Manuscripts". Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament. Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center. pp. 11–31.
- Madsen, Truman (1989). Joseph Smith the Prophet. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft. Search this book on
- Brown, Matthew B. (2000). All Things Restored: Evidences and Witnesses of the Restoration. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications. Search this book on
- Hatch, Trevan G. (2007). "Messiah ben Joseph: Jewish Traditions and Legends of a Latter-day Restorer". Selections from the Religious Education Student Symposium, 2007. Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center. pp. 37–56.
- Collier, Fred C., ed. (2011) . Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets and Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: Collier's Publishing Co. Two vols. (Vol II published in 1993). 3rd enlarged edition. Patriarchal blessing, pronounced 22 Sept 1835 by Oliver Cowdery upon the head of Joseph Smith, Jr., is also catalogued with the Joseph Smith Papers project; LDS Church archives: "Patriarchal Blessings Book" 1:15-16. ISBN 978-0934964005. Search this book on
- McConkie, Bruce R. (1982). The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-0877478966. Search this book on
- Bushman, Richard Lyman (2005). Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling — A Cultural Biography of Mormonism's Founder. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-1400042708. Search this book on
- Millet, Robert L.; McConkie, Joseph Fielding (2010) . Our Destiny: The Call and Election of the House of Israel. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. Originally published by Bookcraft. ISBN 978-1933317632. Search this book on
- Paul the apostle, too, referenced a "Deliverer" in a forerunner role who would "come out of Zion" in the latter days, preparatory to the Lord's coming (but after the "times of the Gentiles" had been fulfilled), in order "to turn ungodliness away from Jacob," so that the great atoning Messiah might at last "take away their sins" (Rom 11:25-27; Paul references here Isa 59:20, which itself may dually reference a mercifully extended opportunity for repentance and salvation both in the 'meridian' and in the 'fulness' of times; see McConkie, 1980, p. 20).
- Whitehead, E. L. (1972) . The House of Israel: A Treatise on the Destiny, History and Identification of Israel in All the Five Branches. Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press. Originally published by Zion's Printing and Publishing Company: Independence, Missouri. Search this book on
- See D&C 57:1-2; 84:1-2; Ether 13:3-6, 10; 2 Ne 20:22; and Art of Faith 1:10.
- Underwood, Grant (1999) . The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0252068263. Search this book on
- The 'restorative' connotation of Joseph of Egypt's name was expanded by Pharaoh who bestowed upon his young vizier, or viceroy, the Egyptian name Zaphnath-paaneah 'secrets-revealer,' or seer, revelator. Joseph's name in Samaritan, moreover, is Taheb 'Restorer' — bearing the same connotative meaning of 'he who restores' or 'causes to return'. In Hebrew, his name is Asaph 'God gathereth' or Yosef 'he shall add'. (See Patai, p. 165; Gen 41:45; 2 Ne 3:7, 15).
- Barker, Margaret (2005) . The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity. London: Sheffield Phoenix Press. Originally published by SPCK: London. ISBN 978-1905048199. Search this book on
- Greenstone, in a fascinating side note, mentions Marrano adventurer Antonio de Montezinos (a Sephardic Jew who later called himself 'Aaron Levi'), who had traveled to the Americas, where he discovered "some Jewish tribes among the American Indians." He concluded that these native jungle dwellers of the Quito Province of Ecuador were descendants of the lost Ten Tribes of Israel. "The fact was corroborated by the records of many other travellers and by the writings of many historians and geographers." In 1644, Montezinos met and related his adventure to Manasseh ben Israel (1604-1657), a Portuguese rabbi and kabbalist who eagerly awaited with his Jewish fellows the arrival of the Messianic kingdom. Convinced by the Portuguese traveler's story among the Andes' Indians of South America, Ben Israel wrote a book in Hebrew (c. 1648) entitled Mikweh Israel ('The Hope of Israel'), first printed in Latin at his own Amsterdam press (Specs Israelis, 1650). He therein indicated all of the apparent signs of the approach of the Messianic Age. Most arresting in his earnest telling is the retention of the figure of the 'Messiah son of Joseph' or 'of Ephraim', who would gather the Israelite remnants and, with the blast of a trump, lead the chosen people in war against the evil Gog. In that conflict, tragically, he would be slain by the Enemy. Happily, however, after a glorious resurrection, this son of Joseph would reign as viceroy to the 'Messiah son of David'. In 1652, Ben Israel's book was translated into English by his friend and associate John Drury and printed by Moses Wall in London (pp. 210-211).
- Elijah, as prophet and priest (see JS–H 1:38-39), is "charged with the mission of ordering the coming time aright and restoring the tribes of Jacob"; he is to help resolve familial and genealogical difficulties and mend tribal and familial breaches (Ginzberg, 4:233; emphasis added). When Elijah comes, observes McConkie (1980), "he must adjust 'all matters of law and Biblical interpretation' and correct 'all genealogical records.' He is to destroy the power of Satan and to be 'instrumental in bringing Israel to genuine repentance,' establishing peace, and turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers (p. 162; citing also Greenstone, p. 96; emphasis added). 'Elijah’s chief activity,' it is stated, 'will consist in restoring the purity of the family' (Ginzberg, 6:339)."
- "'Messiah' (mashi'ah) means 'anointed'," so the Encyclopaedia Judaica affirms, "and in the Bible can refer either to a king or priest," 11:1411, but it can also refer to a "prophet" (Patai, p. xxii).
- Roth, Charles C., ed. (1972). Encyclopaedia Judaica. New York: Macmillan Inc. Search this book on
- Singer, Isidore, ed. (1901). The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk and Wagnalls. 12 volumes. Search this book on
- Agus, Aharon (Ronald E.) (1988). The Binding of Isaac and Messiah: Law, Martyrdom, and Deliverance in Early Rabbinic Religiosity. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0887067358. Search this book on
- Messiah ben Joseph's metamorphosis from submissive 'lamb' and servile shor to heroic 'horned beast' that conquers is the transformation he makes between martyrdom and resurrection (see Mitchell and Agus).
- "Messianic eschatology," Sigvartsen suggests, is indeed the framework of the entire Pentateuch, which, in its overall structure, is chiastic — with God's sanctuary (Leviticus) serving as its literary 'center'. As shown by Sailhamer, Davidson, Shea and others, within that structure are 'chiasms' within 'chiasms', with the messianic 'atoning sacrifice' situated at the center of Leviticus 16, which is itself, as the 'Day of Atonement' chapter, at the center of the book of Leviticus. These scholars concur, moreover, that the use of the phrase "the end of days," at three "macro-structural junctures" in the Pentateuchal narrative, points to its central message (which is seen even in the physical structure of the 'two square' sanctuary, with its two central 'altars' of sacrifice and the covenantal Ark/Throne of God) — that chiastic-core message being: Obedience and sacrifice will usher in "the ideal or Messianic future," "the prophetic hope in a coming messianic king" and his "eternal kingdom" (Sigvartsen, pp. 56-63).
- This seems to be in accord with King: "Already in the sixth century B.C. we find the Messianic hope running in a twofold [ben David/Ephraim] channel." Increasingly thereafter, a priestly emphasis replaced the kingly. "Accordingly in the Book of Malachi we find no allusion to a Messiah ben David. In the horizon of this prophet's view the Coming One is a great Reformer, a second Moses" attendant with the return of Elijah. Isaiah 49:5-6 proclaims: "And now saith the ETERNAL that formed me from the womb to be His servant to bring back Jacob unto Him, and that Israel may be gathered to Him, and I am honoured (compare Ben Sira 48:4; c. 200 BC) in the eyes of the ETERNAL and my God is become my Strength. For He said, It is a light thing that thou should'st be my servant to set up [or raise up] the Tribes of Jacob and to bring back [or restore] the imprisoned [or preserved] ones of Israel. For I will make thee a light to the Gentiles, [that thou mayest be] my salvation unto the ends of the earth" (pp. 93-94, 97, 107).
- Sigvartsen notes that the Moses oracle of Deut 33:17 "describes Joseph as a king [nāzīr] who would not only rule over his brothers, but have power and influence over the entire world." See "The Royal Joseph," pp. 69-73.
- Barker, Margaret (1992). The Great Angel: A Study of Israel's Second God. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster/John Knox Press. Originally published by SPCK: London, England. ISBN 978-0664253950. Search this book on
- Orlov, Andrei A. (2017). Chapter 1: Antecedents and Influences — Mediators of the Name: "The Angel of the Lord as the Mediator of the Name," "High Priest as the Mediator of the Name," "The Son of Man as the Mediator of the Name," and "Little Yao [Jeu] as the Mediator of the Name," in Yahoel and Metatron: Aural Apocalypticism and the Origins of Early Jewish Mysticism. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck. pp. 9-60. ISBN 978-3161554476 Search this book on .
- 3 En 45:5 (Odeberg tr.): "And I saw," Enoch says, "all the fights and wars that the nations of the world wrought against the people of Israel in the time of their [restored latter-day] kingdom. And I saw Messiah, son of Joseph, and his generation and their works and their doings that they will do against the nations of the world. And I saw Messiah, son of David, and his generation and all ... their works and their doings that they will do with Israel ... And I saw all the fights and wars that Gog and Magog will fight in the days of Messiah [the 'Messianic Age'], and all that the Holy One, blessed be He, will do with them in the time to come" (see Sigvartsen, p. 22).
- The prophet Enoch, in his 'Animal Apocalypse' (1 Enoch), suggests that the conversion to righteousness of the 'Gentile' beasts and birds — made possible apparently through Messiah ben Joseph's 'restored' truth and ordinances of salvation, which bring efficacy to the Messiah ben David's salvific advent — is a transformation completed through faithfulness, whereby the 'elect' are purified and reborn in the messianic image. It is thus by way of purity that they become 'white' and so inherit or take upon themselves the 'image' of their redeeming Messiahs (which, in LDS belief, equates to becoming 'joint-heirs' with them of eternal life: see Rom 8:17; Gal 4:7; Mosiah 15:11; D&C 84:38, 137:7–8, 138:58–59
- Mitchell intimates that Enoch suggests God rejoices especially over those who had transformed themselves and who are thereby protected from becoming prey to rebellious beasts (p. 68).
- The earliest sources of Jewish tradition held that Messiah ben Joseph was to die a martyr's death at the hands of the enemies of Israel, personified in the figure of Gog or Edom, in the last days — "at the gates" of Zion, or 'Jerusalem' (Mitchell, pp. 170, 176, 178-179, 229, 241).
- This valley, called also Jehoshaphat 'Jehovah is Judge', is that portion of Jerusalem's Kidron Valley lying between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. Mankind's final battle, amidst the great conflict of Megiddo (Armageddon), will be fought there and brought to a decisive end by a great Messianic descent and final routing of Gog and Magog that will be led, according to prophecy and legend, by Ben Joseph under the supreme command of Messiah ben David (see Joel 3, Zech 14, Rev 16).
- This 'rising star' of the sixth 'day' or millennium springs forth as it does in Samaritan Taeb prophecy — "a particular son of Zion and Elyon ... made strong" (Psalms 86, 87). The messianic star's collective Enemy, as referenced by Barker (2005/1987), is "a ruling group [of 'mighty ones'] destined for destruction by Israel's star-ruler" (pp. 250-252; see Obad 1:18, 21).
- Radak (1160-1235) said of Exod 17:9: "All that Moses and Joshua did with [the seed of Esau] in former time, Messiah ben Joseph and his seed [his Josephite-Ephraimite brethren] will also do to them" (cited in Mitchell, p. 235; Sigvartsen, p. 38).
- Related to such an 'eternal', eschatological view (see Alma 13:3, 7, 9), the Samaritans held a dual-interpretation of the 'Star of Jacob' texts (Num 24:7, 17), inferring beyond their central Davidic Messiah application, a secondary Josephite meaning of "His kingdom shall be higher than Gog [Edom]" and the "star of thy prophet" — who would "come of the house of Joseph, the first 'king' of Israel, and inherit that leader's royal qualities." A "descendant of Joshua," the Messiah-Taheb was to appear "at the 6000th year from Creation." As "the 'restorer', or 'returner, or 'converter' (of the nations)" he was to arise "from [his] own people" to "deliver" and "conquer" the nations (through gathering and conversion), then, as "ruler" of a "temporary kingdom," he would "usher in the messianic age [Ridhwan]" of the Millennium (Shabbat) and would later return "prominent," among the first in the resurrection of the just (Montgomery, pp. 242-249; Mitchell, pp. 263-264). A lengthy Samaritan midrash commentary on their Josephite "Messiah-Ta'eb" as he appears in a Samaritan hymn is given in outline, as follows: "The advent of Taeb shall be in peace and his star shall shine in the heavens. When he has reached adult life, YHWH [Yahweh] will call him, teach him his laws, give him a scripture, and invest him with prophecy. He shall dwell upon the Holy Hill [Mount Zion]. Then shall be revealed the Tabernacle [Temple] with all its furnishings, and the ancient ritual [royal temple liturgy and ordinances] will be restored in the full ministrations of the priesthood. [In the last days, Israel, ultimately] shall dwell in safety and security, and perform its solemn feasts [sacred rites and observances] in peace, and the Taeb shall have a perpetual [everlasting] kingdom ... Israel shall continue to increase most marvellously, and the saints shall enjoy all prosperity" ... "It is thus the chief function of the Taeb to introduce the Millennium, which ... is to be disturbed by the grand final conflict [of Armageddon] between God and the forces of evil. Here we have the replica of the Jewish and Christian notions of Gog and Magog and of Anti-christ ... Then will come the Day of Vengeance, the Great Day, accompanied with cosmic cataclysms [... but] the Eternal Hill will be left in the midst of the Garden, i.e. [New Jerusalem's temple-crowned] Paradise, for the residence of the saints" (Montgomery, pp. 248-249 note 175; emphasis added).
- In the Sibylline Oracles — to give just one ancient-text example — Ben Joseph is slated to "come again" from heaven.
- The tips of the horns of the fearsome aurochs rose 3 metres from the ground. The aurochs was only slightly smaller than an elephant, according to Julius Caesar who wrote of the monstrous aurochsen of the Black Forest. This "sovereign" creature with "kingly corona," once "bound to life", is now extinct, since c. 1,200-600 BC in the Levant. Joseph's Deuteronomic majesty (Deut 33:17) is reflected in his "crown of horns" — the horns of a rem (aurochs). Mitchell (2016, p. 23 note 29) notes that, like Latin cornus and corona, Hebrew qrn 'horn' supports "an image-cluster embracing crown, kingship (Ps 148:14), anointing (1 Sam 16:1), and radiance (Exod 34:29-35)."
- See 1 Enoch 90:37-38, wherein the white bull becomes a great black-horned nagar, which August Dillmann in 1853 excellently conjectured was the aurochs (pp. 287-88) and which Torrey suggested in 1947 represented Messiah ben Joseph, the white bull transformed (p. 267). It must be noted that both Torrey and McConkie (1980/1984) use Charles' term buffalo in place of Charles' other suggested word for the translation, wild ox, which is, as per more recent scholarship, the correct term for the apocalypse's great horned "nagar", or Deuteronomy's "rem". Torrey and McConkie also, erringly, make the first animal to represent 'Messiah ben David', making it an altogether separate beast from the 'second' — but the creatures are simply "two different manifestations or avatars [of the same animal that represents Ben Joseph], the sacrificial and the sovereign" (see Mitchell, pp. 63-68). Current scholarship also agrees that this passage of 1 En 90:37-38, while it references a messiah — because the 1 Enoch pericope is set in the latter days and the ancient prophet does not, in his "Animal Apocalypse" (Book of Dreams), deviate from his sequential 'historical' flow — clearly indicates 'Messiah ben Joseph' of the end times and does not, in its latter-day context, 'leap backwards' to the meridian of time and, for Christians, its 'Messiah ben David'. As Mitchell notes: In Israelite messianic tradition "Ben David never precedes Ben Joseph. The principle is always [that] 'he ['Joseph'] came first [as in Egypt] and he will come first in the age to come" as a messianic forerunner, and "it is unlikely [moreover] that Ben David would be symbolized by an ox," for His central symbol is the 'Lion' of Judah. Most commentators today agree that the white bull 'became' a nagar, rather than 'was' a nagar, for this is consistent with the transformation of the other beasts and birds into white cattle or oxen, or in like image to their leader-exemplar — "the lesser become great, the great become greater," as Mitchell notes. The Ethiopic word nagar mentioned by R. H. Charles was used for Deuteronomy's rem (the Aramaic rēma) — a word the Aramaic translator didn't recognize, however, because the animal was long since extinct, so he simply transliterated it, according to Dillmann, into the Greek rēma (ρημα), meaning 'word'. The Ethiopic translator, in turn, seeing 'word' in the Greek, simply gave his native Ethiopic term for 'word', nagar, for though he could by the passage's context and description understand it was some kind of a great animal, he didn't know precisely what it was either (the beast, in fact, had never inhabited Ethiopia), and so he provided at least a gloss for it, explaining it was "a great beast with great black horns on its head"; moreover, since no one had seen or knew of a rem or aurochs, we have, in the Septuagint, the Greek translators substituting 'rem' with monokerōs, 'rhinoceros' or 'unicorn'. Hence, Ben Joseph's appearance as a 'white unicorn' in the KJV is reflected also in the early church fathers' view of the Septuagint's rem as the monokeros — that quasi-mythical rhinoceros-unicorn. Remarkably, the Prophet Joseph Smith, in his re-translation of KJV Isaiah 34:7, replaced "unicorns" with "re’em" returning it to its correct Hebrew form as 'wild-ox', the transformed white bull (see under "Washing and Anointing," chapter 4, Matthew B. Brown, The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple, 1999, Covenant Communications). And it is, perhaps, because both 'white bull' and 'aurochs' — the species' domestic and wild animal incarnations — are biblical symbols for a transformed hero from Joseph-Ephraim, that the author of 1 Enoch so chose to represent that figure, or was inspired to do so (Mitchell, pp. 63-68).
- The Josephite messiah texts, in both Samaritan and other Jewish traditions, declare unequivocally that Ben Joseph will be a king, that he is to 'establish' or "set up his own dominion" as a rightful king in Israel (Jewish Encyclopedia, Singer ed., 1:683, 8:511). As for the role of 'Elias', the Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God ... When God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the 'power of Elias, it [is] called the doctrine of Elias ... That person who holds the keys of Elias hath a preparatory work" (TPJS, pp. 335-336; emphasis added). Early latter-day apostle Parley P. Pratt also testified: "Joseph Smith was the Elias, the Restorer, the presiding Messenger, holding the keys of the Dispensation of the fulness of times ... to prepare the way of the Lord" (cited in Brown, p. 35; emphasis added).
- Isaac Abravanel (1437-1508) wrote that the Targum Yonatan and "all the sages" taught that "Messiah ben Joseph will come at the beginning of the deliverance but will die at the outset of the struggle." In Abravanel's great messianic compendium Mashmi'a Yeshu'ah, he records that "this Messiah will be from the tribe of Ephraim, which is the tribe of Joseph." In the foundational text of Jewish mysticism's 'Kabbalah' called the Zohar, its many-referenced Messiah ben Joseph — though acknowledged as God's firstborn 'bull' — is represented alternatively by a "low hill" with "no life in itself" that, upon its death, "gathers life from the higher hill" (Messiah ben David) whereby it is able to "rise" in resurrection (all citations in Mitchell, pp. 235-237).
- Clifford, Richard J. (2010) . The Cosmic Mountain in Canaan and the Old Testamenty. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock. Originally published by Harvard University Press: Cambridge. ISBN 978-1608997176. Search this book on
- The earliest of the Josephite midrashim, the Aggadat Mashiaḥ, seems to be aware of holy cities and temples of "refuge" to which God's latter-day people would turn in response to the formidable rise of the "brazen" Gog. An inquiry is made, for example, to the text's rabbinic sage: "Master, where shall we go to be safe?" And the rabbi answers symbolically: "To Upper Galilee, as it is said, For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape (Joel 2:3, 32) ... and it shall be holy (Obad 17) ... Israel will be gathered in Upper Galilee," in the area of Mount Hermon, a name linguistically linked — and, it follows, symbolically or metaphorically also — with 'oath' or 'covenant-making'. Anciently, 'Hermon', like Jerusalem, was called 'Sion' (Zion). For Latter-day Saints, this symbolic location — an 'Upper Galilee' of Palestinian symbolism that is acknowledged today — holds correspondence with the very center of the Lord's latter-day kingdom restoration in 'the Promised Land of the New Jerusalem' (see George W. E. Nickelsburg, "Enoch, Levi, and Peter: Recipients of Revelation in Upper Galilee". Journal of Biblical Literature. 100 (4). pp. 575-600; and Richard J. Clifford's Cosmic Mountain, pp. 182-192). This latter-day 'Zion' location, in its wider context and application, constitutes Joseph of Egypt's firstborn 'double portion' of land, included in his birthright blessing to the 'fruitful branch' of his posterity who migrated there c. 588 BC — the continents of North and South America. More specifically, the latter-day Restoration began, like the Ben Joseph prophecies, in a land of "waters" — the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York beneath Lake Ontario (in the township areas of Palmyra and Fayette). "There Messiah ben Joseph will appear to them ... and they will ascend from there, and all Israel with him, to Jerusalem, to fulfill what is written [that is, to establish the latter-day Zion, which corresponds for Latter-day Saints to the dedicated 'New Jerusalem' lands of western Missouri - D&C 84:2-3. The term 'Jerusalem' is also in LDS parlance, as it was for the Old World, a general reference to the broader 'land of Jerusalem' or to a greater area than simply the city. For the Saints, this translates to the bordering Missouri-Illinois area of the original latter-day 'Zion']. And the forceful men of your people will lift themselves up to fulfill the vision [of establishing a new Zion in the latter days] but they shall fail (Dan 11:14)." For Latter-day Saints, this initial failure to fully re-establish Zion resulted because of personal weakness and disobedience to the Lord's command that the people not migrate to 'Zion' without the Prophet Joseph's express permission, neither that they boast to the native inhabitants of Missouri of God's intentions for the land, for it was the subsequent violation of these directives by 'forceful' and careless individuals that irreparably stirred up violent opposition against the Saints (see Bushman). God thus permitted that their 'vision' go unrealized until after He had 'purified' and made ready a 'Zion' people to meet her Millennial King and 'Bridegroom'. The Saints' era of purification (the symbolic 40 years of prophecy) precedes and will warrant the Lord's future summons (the call from Messiah ben David) to return to literally build up Zion in preparation for His coming (see D&C 45:72). But, returning to the Aggadat traditions, once Israel has been chastised for her initial failure to fully build up Zion within the boundaries of the 'New Jerusalem', "After all this, Gog and Magog ... go up against ... the Lord and His Messiah [and Gog] forces entry and kills him [Ben Joseph] ... as it is said, And there will be a time of trouble (Dan 12:1; the Sefer Zerubbabel records that after Ben Joseph has gathered "all Israel as one man," Israel remains "four years" in 'Jerusalem' where "they offer sacrifice," but that when the Enemy goes up against them and slays their Josephite Messiah and other "righteous ones with him," there is "great distress"). Israel sees this and says, 'Messiah is perished from us, and no other messiah will come.' And [Zion's] families mourn for him, as it is said, The land will mourn, each family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself (Zech 12:12: a prophecy which seems to indicate that the Josephite messiah harbors also Davidic blood). And the Holy One, blessed be he, goes forth and fights with them ... [and all] Israel flee and make their escape, as it is said, And you will flee to the valley of my mountain (Zech 14:5) ... And after this Israel will be exiled to the wilderness of marshes to feed there for forty-five days on sea-purslain [salt herb] ... And clouds of glory surround them, and there Israel will be hidden [in safety; the apocalyptic midrash called Otot Rav Shimon ben Yoḥai says that those in the gentile world, upon witnessing the frightening heavenly "portents" and 'signs' of the end times, will grasp hold of Israel's garments and exclaim: 'Let us come with you, for we have heard that God is with you!' see Zech 8:23] ... And many from Israel go over to the Canaanites [or Gentiles, in apostasy; the apocalyptic midrash called Asereth Melakhim says that when Israel is driven into the wilderness, three-quarters of the Israelites go into exile, while one quarter choose to remain behind], and they will have no portion with Israel in the age to come [Many Israelites "will go astray by following them, but they are in fact not authentic Israelites ... The Holy One, blessed be he, will purge them all, as it is said: I will purge them as one purges silver (Zech 13:9) ... [and] will wrap Israel in strength in that day (1 Sam 2:4; 2 Sam 22:40) ... I will be like the dew to Israel: he will blossom like a lily [in the desert] and extend his roots like Lebanon [Temple foundations]. His shoots will spread [in abundant posterity and influence], and his beauty will be like that of an olive tree [from which consecrated oil is pressed], and his fragrance like Lebanon [Temple cedars] ... The Lord will shine upon Israel (Isa 60:2, 13) - Otot Rav Shimon ben Yoḥai]. However, to those who are prepared to fare meagerly [frugally] on sea-purslain for forty-five days, comes at the end of that time a heavenly voice, saying to them, 'Go down to Babylon!' [before which Gog and his horde are assembled] As it is said, And you will go down to Babylon; there you will be rescued (Micah 4:10). And a heavenly voice proclaims a second time, 'Go to Edom and execute there my vengeance!' As it is said, And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel (Ezek 25:14). And Israel goes [forth to Babylon, to do battle with Edom, or Gog]. And a heavenly voice proclaims a third time, 'Do to her as Joshua did to Jericho!' And they surround the [Enemy] city and blow the trumpets, and the seventh time they raise a battle-cry: Hear Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one! (Deut 6:4) And the walls of the city fall ... And thereupon the King Messiah is revealed to them ... And a seventh heavenly voice proclaims, Comfort, comfort my people! (Isa 40:1). And Elijah announces to Israel, Your God has become king! (Isa 52:7)" (cited in Mitchell, pp. 161-162; see Ginzberg, 6:340).
- "Messiah ben Joseph would engage in conflict with Gog and Magog, the enemies of the Israelites. Although he would be killed in battle," wrote Cohn-Sherbok, there would eventually be victory, "and with his coming the dispersion of Israel would cease. All exiles would be returned to Zion" (p. 43).
- Torrey notes that Ben Joseph's kingdom, though 'temporary', will merge, as it were, into the kingdom of the Messianic Age (p. 265).
- Ben Joseph's latter-day betrayal was foreshadowed not only by the '20 pieces of silver' betrayal carried out by Joseph of Egypt's brethren, but also in similar betrayal by Judas Iscariot as depicted in the New Testament (Gen 37:28; Lev 25:5, 27:3-5; Zech 11:12-13; see Mitchell, pp. 44, 107, 123-125, 244). Moreover, Ben Joseph's associates generally — who likewise might be vaguely viewed as 'brethren', but in a manner very like Jacob's sons — do not recognize Ben Joseph for who he truly is ("And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew him not" - Gen 42:8). By concession, all of these so-called 'brethren' have permitted themselves, it would seem, to fall under the baleful, oppressive influence of the great Enemy.
- Gog is often depicted in the ancient Judeo-Christian texts as the earthly representative, as it were, of Belial, the great Satan or 'Anti-christ', or of that primordial chaotic monster of the 'deep', Leviathan, who stirs up in plotting rebellion "the kings of the earth ... and rulers ... against the Lord and his Mashiaḥ" (Ps 2:2). Gog reigns from the land of Magog in Edom, called also 'Babylon'. For this reason Gog is often equated with Edom, land of the children of Esau, such as were the Amalekites, whose unprovoked attack upon the children of Israel (Exod 17) stands as "the first attack of the kingdoms of the world upon the kingdom of God" (McConkie, 1980, p. 166). Greenstone notes that the battle of Joshua (an Ephraimite son of Joseph) with Amalek "foreshadows the warfare that ... the Messiah son of Joseph will wage against Edom" in the last days (p. 168). Thus Esau/Amalek, like Gog/Edom, or Idumea — or Babylon, Egypt, or Rome — came also to be identified with 'the kingdoms of the world', or the archetypal 'World-Power', which a very old Jewish tradition says "can only fall by the hands of Joseph" (see King, pp. 91-92; Ginzberg, 3:58-59). "It was ... the province of the Messiah son of Joseph to conquer Israel's enemies" (Greenstone, p. 320). Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews declares that the transformed "bull [aurochs] Joseph will subdue the horned beast, the kingdom of wickedness, before the Messianic time [the Millennium]" (2:147). The two mighty witnesses of the book of Revelation (who may appear as the returning prophets Enoch and Elijah: for in their 'translated' state of a 'higher mortality', according to LDS belief, they may yet be martyred, then resurrected) will hold back the armies of the nations for 3 ½ years (Rev 21:1-4, 9-27; 22:1-5); the World-Power militants of Esau/Edom, tradition says, will be defeated by the Israelite forces led by a resurrected Messiah ben Joseph, a conflict settled by fire: "And the house of Jacob [Israel] shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph [Ephraim] a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it ... And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s" (Obad 1:18, 21). "Our sacred sages had a tradition," wrote the esteemed rabbi 'Malbim' Weiser (1809–1879) in his famous bible commentary (on Ezek 37), "that in the beginning [of the end times] would arise a Messiah from the house of Joseph [Ephraim] who will reign over the Ten Tribes. He will wage wars and all Israel will be gathered together under his banner. [This will continue] until later on, a descendant of David will appear and he will reign over them ... A transformation will take place. The ten tribes and the stick of Joseph will draw themselves closer to the stick of Judah [healing their age-old breach], and this too will be through the agency of a Prophet and by miracles." Edward G. King wrote that the restoration of the Ten Tribes to their own land, the return of Elijah, and the defeat of Esau were "always associated with the Messiah ben Joseph," whom he also associated with the wild-ox, calling the great beast "the warrior Messiah" (Yalkut of Zechariah, 1882, pp. 91, 97; see Torrey, p. 267). "Israel's first battle," observed McConkie (1980), "typifies her last battle ... Victory can only come as Israel marches under the banner of the Lord, sustained by the power of heaven and led by her prophet, with the prince of Ephraim at her head" (p. 167). Latter-day Saints affirm that the Lord, in His inaugural end-times proclamation and warning to a world ripe in iniquity, announced the imminent coming of the great Messiah: "Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth" (D&C 1:12-13), echoing the words of Isaiah: "For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment" (Isaiah 34:5; emphasis added). In a paraphrase of Isaiah and Moses, the oracle continues in its 'voice of warning': "And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people; for they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; they seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall" (D&C 1:14–16; for LDS belief on 'translated' beings, see President Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:165, 5 vols, 1957-1966).
- Moses ben Nahman (1194-1270) saw at Zech 12:10-12 a warrior-messiah anointed by his people, the house of Israel, who had gone to the lands of Jerusalem to 'build up' Zion: "And the house of Israel will anoint for themselves a Messiah ... ben Joseph ... as it is written, [God] gathers the exiles of Israel" (Ps 147:2). But he will die in battle. And of him it is said, In that day the mourning will be great in Jerusalem. And ...they will look to him whom they have pierced. And after that will come the ordinary dispersed [of Israel] from among the people and [eventually] they will set over themselves another king and he is Messiah ben David" (Mitchell. p. 235; Sigvartsen, p. 38).
- Some messianic texts employ, instead of 40 years' duration, '45 days' following the Josephite martyrdom, but the idea for this eschatologically symbolic period of strict discipline, fasting and purification that comprises the era of Messiah ben Joseph's "temporary kingdom" of "safety" and "peace" for God's chosen faithful (but also, in some texts, the 'duration' of time between Ben Joseph's and the other martyrs' death and resurrection, which remains yet unknowable in a literal sense) is the same. As Mitchell notes, "forties cluster around him" (Mitchell, pp. 114-115, 161-163, 165, 169, 174-175, 177-178, 182-183 note, 185, 188, 193-194, 199, 201, 205, 218, 220, 228, 266-267, 271, 275). Key to that 'discipline' and 'purification' for Latter-day Saints (as also for the ancient elect and their prophets of the 'land of Joseph' in the Book of Mormon) is "putting off" the "natural man," as it were an offering of sacrifice to attain spiritual life (Mosiah 3:19), or what Jewish tradition calls "killing" the "evil inclination." For as Agus says, "Repentance ... is a partial martyrdom. And the 'killing' of the evil inclination as ushering in the messianic era" (Agus, pp. 171, 174-175, 207-210, 218-220, 290).
- Geza Vermes, in his Jesus the Jew (London: Fontana/Collins, 1977), cites Deuteronomy Rabba 3:10 in its commentary that Moses and Elijah would arrive together at the Passover celebration at the "end of time," p. 97; see the apocalyptic midrash called Pirqei Mashiaḥ and its "Chapters on the Messiah" (5:47) whereat is revealed "The first miracle: He will bring to them Moses ..." But also Ginzberg, wherein Moses' coming with Elijah is to "prepare Israel for the final deliverance" (3:141; 6:167). R. H. Charles noted the ancient belief that Moses, upon his being translated, was taken to heaven where the "heavenly Jerusalem and the Temple were revealed to him, and he was told these would descend to earth after God had gathered Israel a second time from the ends of the earth" (cited in McConkie, 1980, p. 22).
- Of Zech 12:10 — "a picture of bitter lamentation in Jerusalem for a slain hero," one which "Jewish tradition ... expressly declared to refer definitely to the death of the warrior Messiah, the Son of Ephraim" — Torrey notes: "The whole chapter deals with the closing scenes of the great conflict of Israel with the hostile nations of the world [the collective 'Gog']. Yahweh says in 12:9: 'In that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.' Before this destruction takes place, however, there is an interlude, pictured in verse 10, in which the people are plunged in grief and remorse, mourning over the death of a leader [an eschatological "royal figure"] who has fallen ... [They] 'shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born [i.e., the slain king is an Ephraimite]. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem' ... In the Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a, Rabbi Dosa [ben Archinos, who lived while the Jerusalem Temple still stood; see King, p. 69 note 5] ... is quoted as saying that the mourning predicted by the prophet Zechariah is for the Messiah son of Joseph, who was slain ... 'whom they pierced' — dying 'for his people through no fault of his'..." Torrey further identifies Ben Joseph as representing, in Zechariah's vision of the Temple menorah candlestick, one of the two "Anointed" olive trees on either side of it (pp. 272-275). As validation of Torrey's scholarship, Avraham Ibn Ezra, too, saw a "pierced" Ben Joseph at Zech 12:10 (as does Sigvartsen), but also saw the Josephite messiah at Zech 13:7 [the hero "close" to God], Ps 80:18 [the man of God's "right hand"], and Mal 3:1 [the forerunner "messenger" to Ben David's "Messenger of the Covenant"], and also perceived at Gen 49:23 a Ben Joseph who receives "power" from the Mighty One of Jacob as "the shepherd of the Stone of Israel," Messiah ben David (G. H. Dix also believed the Genesis 49 'shepherd' verse to be "a prediction of the Messiah ben Joseph," as cited in McConkie, 1980, p. 28 note 3; Sigvartsen, pp. 35-37, 67-68: Joseph of Egypt "became the 'shepherd' and savior of his father's house ... divinely appointed and trained [as at Ps 105:17-23] to save his people in time of severe famine. Through him [as seemingly it would be also for the eschatological Ben Joseph], God's redemptive purpose was carried to another step" — a Ben Joseph/Ben David "dual interpretation or tension [of Gen 49:23 that] would not be unfamiliar in Eastern thought").
- Ben Joseph's imprisonment mirrors other messianic texts, such as Qumran's 4Q372, which is believed to be "the earliest surviving post-biblical text to feature a suffering Josephite mashiaḥ [c. 200 BC]" (Mitchell, pp. 86, 99). Sigvartsen notes that the Hebrew word used at Gen 49:23 for "attacked" is śātam 'try to do him in', using a "prophetic perfect verb" suggesting a distant future event, as would occur in "the last days," and it is a word, moreover, that "occurs only six times in the Old Testament ... Joseph [of Egypt]'s suffering foreshadows and anticipates later events, a future antitypical Joseph, [an eschatological Joseph, as if God] had this literary technique in mind for the entire oracle." He notes, too, that it is "at Joseph's darkest hour ... when God's name YHWH occurs" — the only time "when God's personal name is used in the entire [Joseph] narrative" — portraying thereby "a God who is loving, caring, and shows attention to individuals, especially when a person is most vulnerable" but whom God will stand by and "protect" as that person stays "loyal to Him even during the worst hardships" (Sigvartsen, pp. 30, 54, 65-66; emphasis added).
- Ben Joseph's premortal acceptance of his earthly mission, according to the Pesikta Rabbati, simultaneously fills Satan and the world's "shepherd-kings" with unspeakable terror, for in Ben Joseph they recognized their ultimate downfall and the utter destruction of cosmic evil (see Mitchell, pp. 146, 148). Such a perceived threat from the netherworld recalls Joseph Smith's 1820 experience in a quiet grove near his home that immediately preceded his glorious theophanic vision of the Father and the Son, when, as a 14-year-old boy, having knelt to pray, that he might draw near to the mind and will of God, he was "seized upon by some power which entirely overcame [him], and," in his own words, "had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction." The young Joseph exerted, he said, "all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me," and was only delivered by the heavenly glory that presently set the grove ablaze with light "at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction — not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being." Joseph Smith, in this initial act that, as Latter-day Saints believe, would result in a literal bursting open of the 'floodgates of salvation' for untold millions, both living and dead, presented an ominous threat, it would appear, to the unseen denizens of the cosmos' darker realms (see JSH–1:15-16).
- Torrey affirms that Messiah ben Joseph "restores the city and the worship of the temple," only to be attacked "again" by Israel's "hostile" Enemy "in greatly increased numbers" (p. 269).
- Messiah ben Joseph was to be "the revealer of the true faith" of Yahweh (Cohn-Sherbok, p. 139) and would also re-establish God's holy sanctuary by rebuilding "the temple" of Israel (Patai, p. 170) and restoring its "true worship" as was revealed anciently to the prophets (Greenstone, p. 124; Singer, 1:683). God had revealed to Moses on Horeb-Sinai the divine pattern for His earthly Tabernacle-sanctuary, which reflected the celestial pattern of the heavenly temple (Exod 25:9). Ben Joseph likewise, taking up the divine 'measuring rod' and holy standard of David and Solomon in their laying the foundations of the Jerusalem Temple, would reintroduce the hallowed liturgy, priesthood ordinances, and saving ritual of the royal temple-cult, which by the Almighty had been ordained and established from the foundations of the world (1 Chron 28:11-19). In a similar restorative vein, Jewish lore speaks of Joseph of Egypt's prophecies that were to have become corrupted through apostate errors against truth and right worship. Young Joseph of Egypt, as one legend has it, "dreamed a dream, and he could not refrain from telling it to his brethren." He explained to them that, in this dream, as they all were gathering fruit, "Your fruit rotted, but mine remained sound ... Your seed [in a spirit of great apostasy] will set up dumb images of idols, but they [with all their erroneous meanings and false messages] will vanish at the appearance of my descendant, the Messiah of Joseph" (Ginzberg, 2:7; emphasis added). In accord with that prediction of 'vanishing' error at Ben Joseph's hand, the Lord declared at D&C 35:17: "I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph." Ben Joseph was ordained, therefore, to come forth 'from eternity' (olam) not only to correct these corruptions, causing them to "vanish," but also — as the ancient Samaritan 'Restorer' traditions of the Ephraimite Messiah Ta'eb attest — to restore the true understanding of the doctrine of repentance (Samaritans have always maintained that theirs was the 'true form' of ancient Israelite worship; the Samaritan Aramaic word taeb means 'to restore' or 'to cause to return'; its root, as in Hebrew, is used also to suggest the 'change of heart,' or repentance), so that Ben Joseph was to be that Messiah who would not only 'restore', but also 'cause to return' through repentance (Montgomery, pp. 246-249; Klausner, p. 484) — an allusion perhaps also to his role as the latter-day shepherd or 'gatherer' of scattered Israel. The Josephite Messiah's would be a doctrinal restoration, moreover, that would have the power to "convert all peoples" to the primordial laws and statutes of the kingdom of God (Klausner, p. 484; the participle spelling of Samaritan "taeb" — ha-Tab — means 'one who converts the people'). Solomon Shelemiel (late sixteenth century) wrote that the "sole mission on earth" of the Messiah ben Joseph would be "to bring about the Redemption and fill the whole earth with the Messianic kingdom" (cited in Hatch, note 38; emphasis added).
- The midrashim describe Israel's dark night of apostasy before the end times as one in which "the gates of wisdom are hidden" and there is "no king and no prince in Israel ... [a time] without sacrifice or pillar [temple] (Hosea 3:4) ... no faithful shepherds or pious believers, and no wonder-workers" (Otot ha-Mashiaḥ, emphasis added; see 2 Kings 17:4-23; 18:9-16; Ezek 39:23-29; Hosea 3:4-5; Zech 13:7-9).
- Such messianic perceptions about Ben Joseph resonate profoundly with Latter-day Saints, who recognize in them Joseph Smith's prophetic words to the Saints at Nauvoo a few days before traveling to Carthage to "deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law." His statement about his unlawful incarceration and imminent martyrdom were canonized into scripture: "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me — he was murdered in cold blood" (D&C 135:4). Joseph's martyrdom was marked by a transcendent personal peace of mind and spirit that recalls Mowinckel's note on the Samaritan Messiah-Taheb (or 'Restorer'-king) — that, at the dawn of "the new aeon" of restoration ushering in the Messianic Age, he would "rule over Israel ... and then will die in peace" — clearly not in the context of external circumstance, but as personally possessing an internal harmony and reconciliation of soul (p. 326). Latter-day Saints believe that Joseph Smith died for mankind — not in an atoning sense, for that was not his role, but in a redemptive one — for he was the instrument by which God "restored" or "returned" to the earth through revelation all of the correct doctrines (such as "repentance") and the required, proper ordinances (such as the true form of baptism after one's "gathering" and "conversion"; but also the Solomonically royal Temple "washings," "anointings," "endowments" and "sealings") for the salvation of humankind — without which, these "lost ones" of God would be lost still, for such doctrinal ordinances, according to LDS belief, are essential and absolutely necessary in order for the Son of Man's vicarious, atoning sacrifice to be fully efficacious in the lives of men; even a Sinless One was required to be baptized by the right ordinal form of immersion and authentic priesthood authority to "enter in at the strait gate" to the Kingdom of God and thereby "fulfil all righteousness" (Luke 13:24; Matt 3:15, 7:13). See also T. Joseph 19:8, 11, showing clearly, with T. Benj, a dual-application for a "lamb of God" who would arise from the seed of Joseph (a prophet), Levi (a priest), and Judah (a king), and who would be God's instrument for "opening" the purifying paths necessary — Zechariah's "fountain to cleanse" (13:1) — to "take away the sin of the world," but who would also offer in sacrifice or "give up" for the salvational benefit of even the "lawless" and godless (whose hearts might be "turned back" or "changed") his own consecrated life (which restored the true doctrine of repentance) and, in martyrdom, his life's blood to "save all the nations" (Sigvartsen, pp. 11-19; see also Robert L. Millet, "Because of Joseph Smith," in Precept upon Precept: Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Doctrine, 2016, Deseret Book; and W. Jeffrey Marsh, ed., Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration, BYU Religious Studies Center, 2005).
- E. G. King maintains that "Bethlehem is chosen [by Micah] to carry our thoughts to David ... as Ephratha is intended to hint at Ephraim" (pp. 90-91 note 2).
- Therefore will [God] give up the Ten Tribes (Micah 5:3) "until ... the [birth] pains have done their work, then Messiah [ben Joseph] is born, and Ephraim is born, so that ' the remainder of his brethren, i.e. the Lost Tribes, return and are added so as to become One with Judah and her kindred Tribes" (King, p. 91 note 1). Because this Efrata-affiliated messiah leads "a confederation of estranged Israelites," notes Mitchell (2016), the 'brothers to the Jews' that the passage references must surely be, then, Josephites (pp. 18, 35-40, 244).
- Ezra envisions, too, a latter-day kingdom of Israel "transplanted" in another promised land — consisting of a "gathered ... peaceable multitude" of the "ten tribes" who "go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt [coming finally to the Americas, traversing great waters or 'deeps' in a lengthy journey to arrive, often by miraculous intervention from "the Highest"], that they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land [ancient Palestine]" (4 Ezra 13:12, 39-47).
- A messianic forerunner to this shifted or relocated Kingdom of Zion features in the Targums (ancient Aramaic translations of the Hebrew scriptures) on each of the three biblical sections: Pentateuch, Prophets, and Writings (Mitchell, p. 116).
- According to Greenstone, after Messiah ben Joseph is resurrected he will then be "made viceroy to Messiah son of David" (p. 211). A viceroy or vizier is a king's ruling representative, or vicegerent — a person who rules by authority in the place of, in the name of, or over a designated portion of — and perhaps for only a specified duration — the dominion or kingdom of a ruling monarch, such as was Joseph of Egypt for Pharaoh (Sigvartsen, p. 1).
- Ben Joseph — who in the apocalyptic midrash called Sefer Zerubbabel is detained in the netherworld until his "appointed time ... [hidden] until the time of the end" — is described by 'Zerubbabel-Nehemiah', to whom (in vision, and with Metatron, he makes an appearance) as one "perfect in beauty and loveliness, a peerless young man."
- The ancient Jewish texts and legends say that Messiah ben Joseph, in holding aloft his Master's ensign to the nations by reestablishing God's earthly kingdom, will "gather" to him a portion of the remnants of the house of Israel — the "lost ten tribes" who then sacrifice much to rally around that standard (Singer, 1:683, 8:512; Ginzberg, 5:299 note 201; Greenstone, p. 211).
- Aharon Agus writes that "Messiah ben Joseph will appear before the advent of Messiah ben David" and that "he must die in battle. His descent from Joseph through the house of Ephraim ... implies that he does not merely precede ben David chronologically, he is the incarnation of an aspect of messianism different from that of the Davidic scion ... [In some sense, that Josephite messiah] must die for the advent of the [Davidic] deliverance ... Suffering [likewise is] important for [that] advent of deliverance ... The dying Messiah ben Joseph seems to epitomize this happening of messianic deliverance. It is not 'merely' his suffering and death but the fact that he stands heroically in 'battle' where it is clear beforehand that death must be the result. In other words, his death is a martyrdom, not a vicarious martyrdom ... but a heroic death suffered by the messiah along with others ... [His] martyrdom [is] for the sake of deliverance" (Agus, pp. 208-209, emphasis added, but also as it stands in original at "clear beforehand" and at death "must" be the result).
- Of Ben Joseph's depiction in 4 Ezra, as a "roaring lion," Charles Torrey said: "Here, while [Edom-Gog] is still standing, and holding all the world in subjection, the roar of a lion is heard from the wood, and the beast appears, speaking with a human voice and announcing the end of the [evil] empire — and indeed, of the present Age. The angel [Uriel] who interprets the vision says [at 12:31]: 'This lion is the Anointed One [mashiaḥ], whom the Most High has kept unto the end of days' ... This must be the Son of Ephraim ... not the Son of David ... The author of the apocalypse is dealing [here] only with the Ephraimite Messiah ... I think this passage of [4 Ezra, which shows itself to be "all logical, self-consistent, and in agreement with the Rabbinical tradition"] will eventually be recognized as giving the most important testimony to the doctrine of the 'other' Messiah to be found anywhere in the Old Testament literature" (Torrey, pp. 261-263, emphasis in original; the 'roaring lion' motif is a titular 'son of man'-messianic allusion to an 'anointed one' who dispenses mighty judgment, or to one appointed to be a messenger of just judgment — as was Enoch: 1 Enoch 71:14, an appointment distinguished, however, from the Son of Man of 1 Enoch 70:1, of whom Enoch himself stood, like the Josephite 'Lion of the Lord', in similitude — see Mos 6:57; 7:24, 47, 54-56, 59, 65; 4 Ezra 11:37, 12:31-34).
- See 4 Ezra 14:20-25, 37-48 for Ezra's divine commission to restore scripture, as Ben Joseph would, that Israel might receive anew its holy record by the spirit of prophecy and revelation, which God promises to Ezra through the Holy Ghost, who will "light" within his heart an undying "candle of understanding" until his work is done; he is to accomplish the task with the assistance of 5 scribes and by setting apart 40 days of consecrated time.
- This latter-day "teacher of righteousness" is referenced also at Joel 2:23 ("he hath given you a teacher of righteousness") and Hosea 10:12 ("till he come and teach you righteousness"), where the verb 'to rain' is identical to the verb 'to teach', and therefore gives "teacher of righteousness", which becomes a suggested 'alternate reading' in some translations.
- Even so, despite this hard-won liberation and escape from Israel's enemies, at this point in several messianic narratives, Ben Joseph has been cast with his brethren into unfamiliar territory from their former 'Jerusalemite' lands — some of the elect, apparently, having, in their expulsion, suffered massacre. See Dan 8:17; 11:35-40; 12:2-9; Mitchell, pp. 87, 97-98.
- Sa'adya Gaon's Beliefs is one of the messianic source texts that recognizes multiple attacks by Gog the enemy. Both Torrey (1947) and Mitchell (2016) note these attacks (one of which is made when "the city is rebuilt again ... even in troubled times"), at the conclusion of which "a Messiah dies" (slain at a 'darkest hour' when "literally, 'he has no one'" [and] Gog ... will destroy the city and the sanctuary"), but then, finally — after Israel's "indefinite" 'wilderness' period of "distress" and purification (see Torrey, p. 269) — in the final confrontations, "where a Messiah triumphs, and ... crushes all opposition" ( Torrey, p. 271; Mitchell, p. 210 note 146). Not all of these confrontations of the Warrior Messiah with Gog are necessarily physical, for if the enemy's name is also representative of the supernatural evil of its Master, there may well be within the texts unseen battles of the spiritual realm that are implied (see Hatch, under the heading, "The War of Gog and Magog and the Death of MBJ"). Certain it is, as Agus (1988) observed, that in that confrontation in which the Enemy kills him, Ben Joseph "stands heroically in 'battle' where it is clear beforehand that death must be the result. In other words, his death is a martyrdom" (Agus, p. 209, emphasis in original).
- The Pirqei Mashiaḥ says that "Messiah Ephraim" will be resurrected by "King Messiah," and the esteemed Jewish scholar Raphael Patai noted that when Messiah ben David comes "his first act" will be "to bring about the resurrection of his tragic forerunner," Messiah ben Joseph. "He will bring him back to life ... and [Ben Joseph] will lead Israel to the ultimate victory, the triumph, and the Messianic Era of bliss" (p. 166). Greenstone references sources that, alternatively, have the prophet Elijah resurrecting both Ben Joseph and the righteous dead. And finally, Mitchell references Otot ha-Mashiaḥ, which states that Messiah ben David and the prophet Elijah together will "revive" Messiah ben Joseph (p. 229) — but all scenarios, notwithstanding their variance, are in accord with Odom's statement that "The reign of that future king of divine appointment [Messiah ben David] would not begin until after the resurrection of the righteous dead and the destruction of the [wicked]" (p. 40).
- The figure of 'Messiah ben David', notes Greenstone, is "surrounded with a halo of Divine and supernatural qualities, and the age of his coming [is] associated with marvellous deeds and supermundane beings." Greenstone's resources distill Ben David's acts as a revealing to the world of "Moses and the generation of the wilderness" (modern Israel), to whom He will restore the ancient law (i.e., "the old paths" and royal "ways" of Jer 6:16) through 'Messiah son of Joseph' (who is the "restorer" and "repairer of the breach" of those same ancient "paths" spoken of at Isaiah 58:12), whom He will "revive"; restoring also through Ben Joseph "the three mysteriously lost objects of the sacred utensils of the Temple" — the Ark of the Covenant (sacred oaths), the vessel of Manna (revelation), and the vessel of sacred oil (priesthood anointing, ordination); revealing "the great mystery" (the secret Knowledge of 'sacred space and time': the heavenly Wisdom of the Temple); displaying also the sceptre given to Him by God (rightful Kingship); and, at His coming (sounded by the trumpet's "first blast") and the appearance of "the primitive light" (when the mountains are crushed "like straw"), with the trump's "second blast," the raising of the righteous dead.
- Sa'adya Gaon, Book of Beliefs, VIII: On the Redemption, Sect VI; Ezek 38:2-4, 8-23; 39:1-22; see also Isa 66:13-16, 18-19 and Rev 19:19, 20:7-9. The Davidic Messiah-directed "sign" of Gabriel's Revelation seems to be Messiah ben Joseph's ability, by raising the Lord's 'ensign' of righteousness and power, to break the power of evil on the "third day" and, perhaps also at that time, to order the resurrection of the righteous dead (GR lines 19-21).
- The Messiah ben Joseph traditions, Patai wrote, almost invariably elevate the Ephraimite messiah to a mighty 'warrior-king' status — showing him, in fact, to be "the first commander of the army of Israel" (p. 165). Ben Joseph seems to fulfill John the Revelator's image of the Son of Man's "iron rod" by which "He shall rule" the nations (a vicegerent-like "rod"), but also the "sharp sword" that He will first send forth from "His mouth" — a spearhead to the "armies" of heaven "upon white horses" arrayed — "that with it He should smite the nations," slaying their "remnant." Ben Joseph is that "angel standing in the Sun" — Milton's "Brightest Seraph" perhaps — orchestrating God's 'battle liturgy and banquet'. John's vision recalls the 'roaring', resurgent 'righteousness' of Ben David's 'anointed' forerunner set to 'come again' from heaven (Rev 19:15, 17, 21; see 19:11-21).
- The Zohar sees Ben Joseph dancing with his progenitress Rachel at 'Jerusalem's gate,' reflecting perhaps Jeremiah's 'triumph of Rachel's children' (Jer 49:20).
- Judah is described as Yahweh's "splendid war-stallion" (Zech 10:3; 12:8-9; see Jer 51:19-20).
- Gog's death, perhaps, will be similar to the form his Evil master's will take. Isaiah prophesies that Satan (or Belial), that great Leviathanic dragon, will be "cut to the ground" and "thrust through with a sword" (Isa 14:12, 19; see also Hatch, note 76). On the other hand, by observing the scene through a rather more annihilistic lense, 4 Ezra's apocalyptic image at 13:11, in which entire armies are cremated, and which — it comes as no surprise — strikes the seer with fear, looks very much like an atomic blast or nuclear explosion (Torrey, p. 262).
- In the Lamentations 4:21-22 targum, Messiah ben Joseph emerges as a "humble noble" of "greatness" descended from a "noble family" and destined "to gather in the people of the Exile" in a great work of marvelous "redemption" in which, "by the word of [his] mouth," nations, kingdoms, and isles of the sea that are subservient to Edom (Gog, or to its master Satan-Belial-Leviathan) will be "conquered" as this warrior-messiah "smashes" their foundations and brings their "loftiness" low (a passage that clearly shows the Josephite Messiah's 'warrior' aspect to exist also as one that is "typological," or figurative). In that 'wondrous' day of gathering, Ben Joseph is to foil the "devastation wrought by the destroyer." Moreover, "great miracles and mighty acts" are also to be performed, causing "those redeemed from their exile" — who bear a "constantly radiating light" — to joyfully exclaim: "Rejoice and exult, O Congregation of Zion!" This corresponds to the latter-day proclamation that the returning lost tribes "shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy" (D&C 133:33; D&C 45:71; see Mitchell).
- "The Holy One, blessed be he, will lower the temple from heaven" (Midrash Vayosha on Ex 15:17). The return of the celestial Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, in the end times is a common idea in early Israelite literature that, for Latter-day Saints, references the descent of the translated 'City of Enoch' (Moses 7:62-69) to merge with the earthly Zion that has been built up by the Saints of God: 1 En 90:28-29; Gal 4:26; Rev 3:12, 21:2, 10; 2 Bar 4:2-6; 4 Ezra 7:26, 8:52, 10:27-50, 13:36. See Mitchell (2016), p. 202 note 128.
- Skousen, W. Cleon (1997) . The Third Thousand Years. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing. Originally published by Bookcraft. ISBN 978-0934364249. Search this book on
- An associate of the Prophet Joseph, Oliver B. Huntington, recorded that "when Joseph was sitting [one day] in Dimick [Huntington]’s shop waiting for something, he got on a wonderful strain of relating the history of the world in the past, recounting many strange things I never had read or heard of before. When he came to the present times, he did not stop, but went on and related the principal events that will transpire in the history of the world down to the time when the angel will declare that time shall be no longer. Although I did not see the events with my natural eyes, the vividness of their appearance to my mind was next to reality. He declared the succession of events with as great clearness as one of us can repeat the events of our past lives" (cited in Andrus).
- Andrus, Hyrum L.; Andrus, Helen Mae, eds. (2004) . They Knew the Prophet: Personal Accounts from over 100 People Who Knew Joseph Smith. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications. Originally published by Bookcraft: Salt Lake City, Utah. Referenced accounts: "Parley P. Pratt" (autobiography), "Anson Call" (autobiography), "Benjamin F. Johnson" (journal), "Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner" (journal), and "Oliver B. Huntington". ISBN 978-1591566670. Search this book on
- Eminent Yale professor and Jewish literary scholar Harold Bloom, in his study of the life and revelations of Joseph Smith, marvels at the Prophet's ability to have produced writings on Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Joseph of Egypt, and other prophetic figures that were so "strikingly akin to ancient suggestions." He attributes Smith's prophetic works to a "charismatic accuracy" by which "I hardly think that written sources were necessary." But while expressing "no judgment, one way or the other, upon the authenticity" of Smith's professed revelations from antiquity, Bloom finds "enormous validity" in these writings and can "only attribute to [the Prophet's] genius or daemon" his ability to "recapture ... crucial elements in the archaic Jewish religion ... that had ceased to be available either to normative Judaism or to Christianity, and that survived only in esoteric traditions unlikely to have touched [Joseph] Smith directly" - The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (New York: Chu Hartley Publishers, 2013; originally published by Simon & Schuster, 1992), pp. 98-101.
- Allen, James B.; Esplin, Ronald K.; Whittaker, David J. (2009) . Men with a Mission: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 1837-1841. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. ISBN 978-1590389980. Search this book on
- D&C 133:41: "... the presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which causeth the waters to boil."
- The Prophet Joseph held the archangels Michael (called also by him 'the Ancient of Days') and Gabriel to be the patriarchs Adam and Noah, respectively. LDS theology holds that the Son of Man will again appear to Adam and His chosen servants in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman at the time He comes in "the clouds of heaven," there to receive an accounting of their priesthood stewardship and accept back from Adam the "keys of the kingdom" (see Dan 7:13-14; D&C 107:53, 116:1; Smith's History of the Church 3:386; and Bruce R. McConkie, under "He Cometh to Adam-ondi-Ahman," chapter 47, The Millennial Messiah.
- Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 366; History of the Church 6:568-69. Joseph Smith had long-envisioned, in fact, the establishment of a civil theocracy within the United States that would be held up as a light to the benighted nations of the world — a religious and civil sovereignty united in harmonious relationship, having as its foundation, what he perceived to be, the divinely inspired Constitution of the United States. A 'Theo-democracy', as he called it, was the Prophet's vision of the ideal system of government, allowing humankind, first, the power to govern themselves through the spirit of the Lord. Then finally, on 12 May 1844, Joseph's words, pronounced publicly, at last declared the establishment "by the word of the Lord" of just such a theocratic kingship — the very one, in fact, prophesied of by Daniel (2:44) — one by which, through peaceable means and without coercion, "I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the whole world" (cited in Underwood, p. 109; Bushman, pp. 560-561). The doctrine of kingship is inherent in the latter-day church: "The Church is a kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Eternal King, and the President of the Church ... is the earthly king ... the king of the kingdom on earth" (LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 415-16).
- The name Gazelem (or Gazelam) means 'God-seer, or God-stone' — one to whom God had gifted the Urim and Thummim 'Lights and Perfections' seer-stones - JD 16:156 (see Alma 37:23: "I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light"; for Latter-day Saints, the name's significance is similar to Christ's re-naming of Simon Peter 'Cephas,' meaning 'a seer, or a stone' - JST John 1:42). It seems that Phelps in his oratory used the name, which had been revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, to emphasize the high premortal status of this 'Seer-stone' prophet, for 'Gazelam' was apparently a name by which the Prophet had been known premortally in eternal realms before the creation of the world (see "Gazelam", Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 307-308). Joseph used the name 'Gazelam' also as one of his 'code-names' which were employed scripturally for security purposes against rabidly hostile enemies, appearing in printings of all pre-1981 editions of the canonical Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 103:21-22, 35; 105:16, 27; see Bushman). Among other such names, used as self-referencing pseudonyms by the Prophet in correspondence or publication, are those of 'Enoch' and 'Baurak Ale' (Barachiel/Barakiel). These last two are rather arresting, as they are names that appear in Near Eastern Enochian traditions (including 1 Enoch and the Book of Giants) that tell the story of the ancient patriarch but also give his interactions with certain righteous or rebellious 'Watchers' or archangelic 'gatekeepers' of the celestial realms. The Hebrew name Bārkiʼēl (ברכיאל), meaning 'God-lightning' or 'lightning of God', was unknown generally in Joseph Smith's day (i.e., the early 1830s), but it finds application as the name of two separate archangels with slightly variant spellings — one of them righteous (Barachiel, Barakiel), and the other rebellious (Baraqiel, Baraq'el). Barachiel is one of the seven Archangels in Eastern Orthodox tradition — whose apocryphal symbols are a book (wisdom), white rose (purity), rod of life (royal-regenerative power), and nourishing bread (spiritual-temporal sustenance). Barakiel is also the angel who governs the tribe of Ephraim (which would seemingly make 'Messiah ben Joseph' his earthly referent) and, in astrology, Barakiel is identified with the planet Jupiter — a referent to God: variously, for Christians, the Father or Christ. Astrologically, Joseph Smith's 'Decan' birthdate and year were ruled by Jupiter, the god of lightning and thunderbolts, but Jupiter is also the name of the planet ruled by the archangel Barakiel. In the Hebrew book of 3 Enoch, Barachiel/Barakiel is one of the great angelic princes, with myriad thousands of ministering angels attending him and one of the four ruling seraphim (the very position held by Uriel, in other traditions). As for Joseph's code-name 'Enoch,' a small portion of this ancient patriarch's story (two brief chapters of the Book of Moses) was, in fact, revealed to the 25-year-old Smith in 1830-31 (see Mos 6-7; Bushman). Enoch was, after Adam's paradisaical dispensation, the first of this telestial earth's dispensational 'gospel' heads, according to LDS theology. Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints believe, is the last of those dispensational heads, leading 'the Dispensation of the fulness of times'. Smith's intimate connection with the Enochic story that has slowly come to light through discoveries at Qumran and elsewhere over the last century is remarkable, especially given his unexplained knowledge of such names as 1 Enoch's 'Barakiel' and the Book of Moses' 'Mahijah' (Smith's counterpart to the character of 'Mahway' in the Enochic Qumran tale of the Book of Giants, the discovery of which 'book' began, however, only as recently as 1948) — but also, given what even more remarkably appears to be an awareness of the salient points of the Enochic storyline as now more fully developed and understood today, and which hold some startling parallels to Smith's own Enochic revelations (similarities that defy all explanations offered, as these remain quite beyond the source materials that would have been accessible to Smith in 1830-31, as noted by Harold Bloom of Yale University). Enoch was the erstwhile star-traveler with a cosmic guide named Uriel (see 1 Enoch). The mighty archangel Uriel ('God-fire' or 'fire of God'; God's "Regent of the Sun," "gloriously bright ... Interpreter ... Brightest Seraph" - Milton) was overseer of the 'heavenly bodies' of the cosmic creation and of the fallen angels of the underworld (1 En 20). Beyond serving as Enoch's "star"-guide through the cosmos, he was also — according to Jewish tradition, as a foremost Angel of the Presence, or high priest of the celestial Temple — that great angel with flaming sword (a seraphic Watcher) placed by the gods to guard the gate to the pre-existent Edenic paradise and its Tree of Life. He is God's "strong ally" and the "angel of repentance and salvation," but on the Day of Judgment, it is said that Uriel will "break the monstrous bars framed of unyielding and unbroken adamant of the brazen gates of Hades, and cast [the proud and unrepentant] down straightway, and bring forth to judgment all the sorrowful forms, yea, of the ghosts of the ancient ... giants, the Nephilim, and all whom the flood overtook ... and all these shall he bring to the judgment seat ... and set before God" (Sibylline Oracles). Because of rebellion, archonic beings were, from their angelic stations or status, primordially "cast ... as profane out of the mountain of God ... from the midst of the stones of fire [from their positions amidst the stars, or from heaven's angelic host]" (Ezek 28:16). Uriel was set to ward off the demonic host (or those beings deemed unworthy, or unprepared) that might profane the sacred precinct. Uriel, who "helped Solomon repel demons from the Temple," was that archangel who, as he did for Enoch but also for the prophet Ezra, acted as the "interpreter" of heaven-sent visions and books — an "illuminator of the mind." In the end times, it is said, Uriel will, in warning declaration, blow his archangelic trump to usher in the boiling, melting conflagration (Isa 64:2) set to accompany the coming of the 'Son of Man' to reign for a thousand years, then judge the world. The prophet Isaiah, speaking for the Lord of Hosts, declared: "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work [to ingather God's elect and defend them against hostile or demonic powers]; and I have created the [archangelic] waster to destroy [in the cleansing inferno at earth's harvest]" (Isa 54:16). Jewish tradition's end-time "warrior" 'Messiah ben Joseph' is cast in very similar terms, or in like mold, to Uriel, who had rained "fire, naphtha, and brimstone" upon the Watchers and nephilim. As a messianic or forerunner figure, Ben Joseph serves well, in this sense, as an earthly referent or counterpart to the fire-of-God archangel: ultimately, Ben Joseph rains destruction on the wicked at Jerusalem and calls forth in resurrection the spirits of the netherworld, over portions of which Uriel holds stewardship as cosmic warden. After Enoch's heavenly ascent, it was the primordial Uriel who instructed and guided the ancient patriarch in Wisdom and astronomy as they journeyed together through the cosmos. It is curious that Uriel's name, especially, as one of the seven great Angels of the Presence (and one of that celestial cadre's principal four), is conspicuously absent from the list that the Prophet included in an 1842 letter delineating the angels who historically had ministered to him. But within the context of "illuminative" meaning-similarities of Smith's various 'pseudonyms' (lightning, seer), the name 'Barakiel' (God-lightning) connotatively aligns with that of 'Uriel' (God-fire) — the fire of God. The commonalities these archangelic names share suggest for some a single "Uriel-Barakiel" referent to the personality of Enoch's 'star guide' through the cosmos. Interesting, too, is that, beyond Michael and Gabriel, 'Raphael' is the only other archangelic name that the Prophet Joseph ever mentions canonically (while again, incidentally, omitting the name 'Uriel' which otherwise would have given a complete grouping of God's four principal 'Presence' angels) — for nowhere else is Raphael's name found in LDS scripture except at D&C 128:21 — "And the voice of Michael [Adam], the archangel; the voice of Gabriel [Noah], and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood." Indeed, latter-day Apostle Bruce R. McConkie believed that Raphael was to be identified with the prophet Enoch - Mormon Doctrine, p. 618; and if that proposition is valid, this would make Raphael-Enoch — the pre-mortal archangel, and his earthly counterpart ('twin' or double) — the recipient of that other heavenly title of (post-mortal) 'godhead and high priesthood,' "Metatron" - see 3 Enoch. Moreover, the Prophet's familiarity with, and singular use of, Raphael(Enoch-Metatron)'s name may indicate a special affinity or connection with that particular 'Angel of the Presence' (who appears in both 1 Enoch and the Book of Giants), augmenting what was already a preexisting affinity for Enochian names that apparently inspired his interesting choice of alternate Enochian-only 'code-names'. See Bushman, "Chapter Six: Joseph, Moses, and Enoch"; D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (Signature Books: Salt Lake City, 1987/1998), pp. 71-73; Harold Bloom, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1992), pp. 98-101; Margaret Barker, An Extraordinary Gathering of Angels (2004), pp. 66-67, 76, 81-82, 102, 107, 400, 402-403, 412-413; Mitchell (2016), pp. 182-183, 229; and Stephen Miller, The Book of Angels: Seen and Unseen (Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne, England, 2019), pp. 59-64.
- On the eve of a new century, President Lorenzo Snow, in testimony at a solemn assembly in the Salt Lake Temple on 2 July 1899, confirmed his witness (after quoting from D&C 86:9, in which the Lord identifies the early brethren as "lawful heirs according to the flesh") to the truth of Apostle George Q. Cannon's testimony just presented. Cannon had declared his witness that Christ and the ancient Apostles had been blessed of God with progeny — sacred seed sown through the centuries among gentile lands chosen and set apart for a grand purpose under heaven, and that this holy seed was, in profound measure, found distilled in the body of men assembled that day. President Snow affirmed: "We are the sons and daughters of God, and descendants of the Prophets and Apostles ... We are the sons of the Prophets and the sons of God." The words of President Cannon, First Counselor to four consecutive Presidents of the LDS Church — Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow — were recorded in meeting minutes of the solemn assembly, but transcribed also by two latter-day Apostles, Elders Rudger J. Clawson and Anthony W. Ivins: "There are men in this congregation," Cannon is reported to have said, "who are descendants of the ancient Twelve Apostles, and I shall say it, of the Son of God Himself, for He had seed, and in the right time they shall be known" (Ivins, Journal, p. 21, 2 Jul 1899). "The Lord has hid the chosen seed in this way (among the poor and humble). There are in this audience descendants of the old Twelve Apostles, and — shall I say it? Yes, descendants of the Son of God Himself. He has seed among us; the Prophets and Apostles have; and [in a future day] their seed will be known ... for the Lord will reveal their genealogy" — i.e., when the Saints are sufficiently prepared to receive it (Clawson, Journal, pp. 374-375, 2 Jul 1899, parenthetical clause in original; solemn assembly minutes, LDS Church Archives). President Heber C. Kimball had declared earlier to Cannon privately that he (Cannon) was "a descendant of the Savior of the World" (Abraham H. Cannon Journal, 5 Apr 1894, 17:69-70). And Apostle Orson F. Whitney declared similarly of Kimball: "So was it with this servant of Christ [Heber C. Kimball], this brother of Jesus in the British Isles ... His, also, was the Savior's lineage ... in his veins the self-same blood" (The Life of Heber C. Kimball, 1888, p. 185). Elder Kimball had himself testified before his priesthood brethren in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in March 1857: "Did you actually know Joseph Smith? No. Do you know Brother Brigham? No, you do not. Do you know Brother Heber? No, you do not. Do you know the Twelve? You do not; [for] if you did, you would begin to know God, and learn that those men who are chosen to direct and counsel you are near kindred to God and Jesus Christ, for the keys, power, and authority of the kingdom of God are in that lineage" (JD 4:248a, 1 Mar 1857; emphasis added). Finally, in his last public sermon two months before his death — as if to give personal imprimatur to the veracity of Kimball's lineage — the Prophet Joseph Smith had declared solemnly to his brethren: "You do not know who Heber C. Kimball is, or you would do better ..." (Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer, 1981, University of Illinois Press, p. 274 note 28).
- Torrey points out that "the uniform Jewish tradition makes plain that the Ephraimite Messiah, though a majestic figure, was nevertheless subordinate, standing virtually in the service of the Son of David" (p. 260). Patai concurs, stating that "the Aggada, the Talmudic legend, unhesitatingly identifies [this otherwise mysterious, suffering servant] with ... Messiah ben Joseph" (p. xxiii).
- Satterthwaite, Philip E.; Hess, Richard S.; Wenham, Gordon J., eds. (2012) . The Lord's Anointed: Interpretation of Old Testament Messianic Texts. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock. Originally published by Baker: Grand Rapids, Michigan. ISBN 978-1610979740. Search this book on
- Ephraim's birthright, according to LDS belief, includes the authority to preside over all those who administer the priesthood, including the Aaronic/Levitical branches (see Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine).
- Other scriptural passages quoted by Moroni to Joseph Smith include verses from Psalms 91, 100, 107, 144, 146; Isa 1, 2, 4, 13, 24, 28-29, 43, 59; Jer 16, 19, 30, 31, 50; Joel 2; Mal 3; Matt 19, John 10, I Cor 1; I Thes 4 (McConkie, 1980, p. 58).
- McConkie (1980) observes that "like Joseph of Egypt, Joseph Smith at the age of 17 had revealed to him [by the angel Moroni] his role as the great prophet of the restoration" (p. 80).
- Latter-day prophet Wilford Woodruff said that there was "not one" of the ancient prophets who did not see and prophesy "about the great Zion of God in the latter days." He said: "And when we say this of them, we say it of every Apostle and Prophet who ever lived upon the earth. Their revelations and prophecies all point to our day and that great Kingdom of God which was spoken of by Daniel, that great Zion of God spoken of by Isaiah and Jeremiah, and that great gathering of the house of Israel spoken of by Ezekiel and Malachi and many of the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets." From Adam to the last of all of earth's dispensations has come a "mighty flood of prophecy" which, he said, like a "strong band," has surrounded the Prophet Joseph Smith, dictating the great work (the 'marvellous work and a wonder' of Isaiah 29:14) that he would do — decrees, Woodruff said, that had to be fully fulfilled, with an exactness that aligned with God's will: "These mighty prophecies," he testified, were like a "band of iron [which] governed and controlled Joseph Smith in his labors" (JD 16:264, 267) — labors that were to stand as an 'ensign' to which the nations of the earth would gather 'in the last days' (see D&C 29:4, 7-8; 35:25; 38:33; 39:11; 45:9, 28; 132:7).
- Latter-day Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, immediately after reaffirming the canonical testimony of Jesse's latter-day descendant, promised the Latter-day Saints: "Those whose ears are attuned to the whisperings of the Infinite will know the meaning of these things" (see under "Joseph Smith: The Messenger Before His Face," chapter 28, The Millennial Messiah).
- Whitehead reminds his readers of Mendel's 'law of dominance' in heredity, persuasively arguing that the Prophet's genetic makeup 'expressed' itself as "pure Ephraimite," when indeed other 'recessive' but key factors were involved in Joseph Smith's divinely overseen royal heritage: "It is possible for Joseph Smith to actually be descended from Judah and Ephraim, and yet retain the characteristics of a pure Ephraimite" (p. 541). Presiding Patriarch of the Church Hyrum G. Smith, further confirming Joseph's predominantly Josephite lineage, said: "The Prophet Joseph Smith was declared to be of the house of Joseph, a chosen vessel" (cited in Whitehead, p. 532).
- From "A Family Meeting in Nauvoo," Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 11:104-117; emphasis added).
- The Latter-day Saint people profess that all of the key attributes of salvation and restoration possessed by the legendary Jewish figure 'Messiah ben Joseph' are concentrated in the person of Joseph Smith. Indeed, with 'lawful' heirship to the throne of David 'according to the flesh', the Lord Himself bore witness that Joseph Smith had been "hid from the world with Christ in God" (D&C 86:9) and that Joseph and his elect brethren of the Lord's presiding apostolic quorum, were "literal descendants of the chosen seed" (D&C 107:40). Apostle "Heber C. Kimball testified that Joseph Smith 'actually saw' in vision the early leaders of the Church and declared that they were all of one stock (JD 5:215–16) ... [And another Apostle] Parley P. Pratt wrote to one of his brothers, saying that Joseph had a vision and saw that the Pratts and the Smiths shared a common grandfather a few generations removed ... Only recently has genealogical research been completed that verifies the claims of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. It was long after their deaths that we learned that Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Wilford Woodruff, Parley and Orson Pratt, and Frederick G. Williams all descended from a Puritan preacher named John Lathrop. The Reverend John Lathrop had been imprisoned in England for teachings unacceptable to the Church of England, while his wife languished at home and died. He was later allowed to bring his family to America, where he became a noted preacher. Others now established as relatives of the Prophet include Heber C. Kimball, Lorenzo Snow, Willard Richards, and Franklin D. Richards. Predominant among the Prophet’s forefathers were patriots, pioneers, and ministers. They ranked among the best men and women of their day. Many of his forefathers came to America seeking religious freedom; seven of them were on the Mayflower in 1620 ... [President] Wilford Woodruff declared to the Saints: 'We are called of God. We have been gathered from the distant nations, and our lives have been hid with Christ in God, but we have not known it. The Lord has been watching over us from the hour of our birth. We are of the seed of Ephraim, and of Abraham, and of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, and these are the instruments that God has kept in the spirit world to come forth in these latter days to take hold of this kingdom and build it up' (JD 22:233)" (Millet & McConkie, 2010; see Stillman Pond). In 1953, eminent biblical scholar Sidney B. Sperry declared that rightful kingly and priestly lineage was linked to the Prophet Joseph Smith (Sperry, The Voice of Israel's Prophets, 1953, p. 35). Similarly, but even more pointedly, Victor L. Ludlow noted the occasions "when a number of the brethren, including Joseph Smith, claimed that they shared lineage with Jesus in the tribe of Judah" (Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, 1982, p. 172). As explicitly indicated in Ludlow's footnote quotations (including those by Apostles Whitney, Clawson, and Ivins: Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 185; JD 4:248, 1 Mar 1857; Ivins' and Clawson's Journal entries of 2 Jul 1899), Ludlow was saying that the line of rightful descent ran from Judah through Christ to Joseph Smith. But even beyond Joseph's personal lineage, President Wilford Woodruff, in the October 1875 conference of the church (again making apparent reference to D&C 86:8-10), testified concerning all of modern Israel: "Our lives have been hid with Christ in God, and we are heirs of the eternal Priesthood, through the lineage of our fathers. Thus saith the Lord through the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who sealed his testimony with his blood" (JD 18:127b, 8 Oct 1875; emphasis added). Indeed, the Prophet Joseph himself taught that most of the church, through lineage, qualified to hold the Priesthood (see D&C 113:7-8).
- Shiloh — which, beyond Messiah ben David, may also reference dualistically Messiah ben Joseph/ben Ephraim — was the ancient City of Ephraim and the ancient-sanctuary locus of Ephraim's tribe. Called the 'House of God' (Joshua 18:1, 31), Shiloh — located east of the route connecting Bethel to Shechem — was also one of the earliest and most sacred of the Hebrew sanctuaries in Canaan that were built to Israel's God Yahweh, and was site of the Feast of Yahweh, or 'Ingathering'. It apparently also was the hallowed spot (the ancient home to the Ark of the Covenant) to which Jesus Christ and His disciples chose to retire shortly before, what Christians believe was, His great atoning sacrifice and death — perhaps at that time fulfilling the scripture "until Shiloh come" (Gen 49:10; John 11:54). In rendering 'Shiloh', the Targum Onkelos gives mashiaḥ 'messiah'.
- Burrows noted the role of Ben Aaron as the prophet who was "to come to restore the anointed priesthood as well as the Davidic monarchy, and thus re-establish 'the proper pattern or structure of Israel'" — just as John the Baptist returned to the earth and restored to the Prophet Joseph Smith the Priesthood of Aaron and the authority to "make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power" (D&C 84:28; M. Burrows cited in McConkie, 1980, p. 160).
- Beyond W. W. Phelps, to name only a few, "William McClellin, John C. Bennett, William Law ... Thomas B. Marsh. Up until the Nauvoo era every one of the Prophet's own counselors, with the sole exception of his brother Hyrum, either betrayed him, went astray, faltered, or failed him in some way ... 'If it were not for a Brutus,' Joseph said in 1844, 'I might live as long as Caesar would have lived'..." (Madsen, p. 53).
- See LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, "Lessons from Liberty Jail".
- Thus had the Latter-day Saints been required to rebuild their lives and their cities of 'Zion' multiple times — forced as they had been, by persecution, from their homes in western New York, then from their newly established temple-city at Kirtland, Ohio, then from their homes and newly dedicated temple-lands of 'Zion' and the 'New Jerusalem' in western Missouri. Each of their temples or temple-sites was, moreover, foully desecrated by their enemies. Their being driven to 'Zion's borders' and beyond, however, was not yet ended (see Madsen and Bushman).
- Not only had the Lord Jehovah revealed to Joseph Smith the pattern for building the Kirtland Temple (1833–36), but He also revealed to the Prophet His divine pattern for the Nauvoo Temple (1841–46) and the sacred rites to be performed there, which were, the Lord informed him, the same ordinances once performed in the Tabernacle of Moses and in the Temple of Solomon (D&C 94:5-6; 124:37-38, 42). The temple restorations performed by Joseph Smith constituted sacred liturgy and ritual for obtaining "the fullness of the priesthood," effectuated by "keys of the holy priesthood" that could bestow power, "glory and honor" upon the recipients of this, God's holy "endowment" for His Saints (D&C 124:28, 34, 39). The sacred ordinances of washings, anointings, baptisms for the dead, as well as of memorials to the ancient sacrifices performed by Levite priests were all revealed to Joseph Smith. Beyond the temple's solemn assemblies and the oracles that were to be received in its 'most holy' places, "the House of the Lord" would serve as a hallowed place of instruction and learning the Lord's statutes and judgments, His holy will and wisdom — all for the purpose of establishing the foundation of God's latter-day Zion (D&C 124:39-40; see Brown, p. 36).
- Benjamin F. Johnson, who for two weeks tended to the Prophet during his own illness, bore an intimate record: "The Prophet now arose in great power, like a lion, or as a giant refreshed with wine, shook off his own sickness" and "those being sick he commanded to be healed, which they were ... full of the power of God" (cited in Andrus).
- Those latter-day Ephraimites dwelling in the 'City of Joseph' frequently described their proclaimed "prophet, priest, and king" with words very reminiscent to those of the exiled Israelites of Babylon, which they used to describe their own revered prophet Ezra: for he was, for them, "a candle in a dark place, and as a haven or ship preserved from the tempest" in which they could find refuge, comfort, just judgment, and wise counsel (4 Ezra 12:42, 46-47; D&C 122:2; see Andrus).
- Of the Prophet Joseph Smith's restorative role in the 'restitution of all things' in the latter days, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared: "I have sent forth the fullness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph ... [that he] might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth," and to send forth to all men the message of repentance, for "the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst [as their Great High Priest and King], and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea [Edom], or the world' (D&C 1:30-36; 35:17; Acts 3:20-26).
- For which, see D&C 86:9 and the Prophet's early-1830s expanded translation of Joseph of Egypt's prophecy (JST Gen 50) regarding a Josephite heir, a "choice seer" from a fruitful branch "broken off" (that is, in the Patriarch's own words, "from the fruit of my loins" that would be "carried into a far country"), a chosen heir who would arise to succeed Joseph in "the latter days" as a messianic forerunner and deliverer "esteemed highly" among his brethren (and whose name would be that of "his father") who would restore God's "everlasting covenant" of salvation and effectuate a literal uniting of the records of the ancient Judahites (the Bible) and Joseph-Ephraimites (the Book of Mormon), as spoken by Ezekiel (Ezek 37:16, 19). God had promised, moreover, to "confound" all of His chosen seer's enemies who would seek Joseph's life until he had fully accomplished the "marvelous" work and "wonder" that God had 'foreordained' for him to do (Isa 29:14). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself revealed to the Prophet Joseph: "It is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days" (D&C 113:6; emphasis added). And it was Joseph's own father, church Patriarch Joseph Smith, Sr., who, on 9 December 1834, uttered these words to his Prophet-son in a patriarchal blessing upon his head: "A marvelous work and a wonder has the Lord wrought by thy hand, even that which shall prepare the way for the remnants of his people to come in among the Gentiles, with their fullness, as the tribes of Israel are restored" (cited in Brown, p. 36; see Isa 29:14; emphasis added).
- Klausner states that Elijah's appearance in the end times was to heal Israel's tribal and generational breaches and to be "a restorer of families" (pp. 257–58); Montgomery concurs, stating that in the messianic "times of restoration" (Acts 3:21), Elijah would come to reverse, by his healing power, "the perverted relations of society" (p. 247). Appearing in the sanctity of the Kirtland Temple with other glorious beings, the Prophet Elijah declared that his arrival fulfilled Malachi's prophecy of 4:5-6 (D&C 110:14-15).
- Bennett, Richard E.; Black, Susan Easton; Cannon, Donald Q., eds. (2010). The Nauvoo Legion in Illinois: A History of the Mormon Militia, 1841–1846. Norman, Oklahoma: Arthur H. Clark Company. An imprint of the University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0870623820. Search this book on
- Throughout the Prophet Joseph Smith's mortal life, by virtue of his revealed lineage alone, Latter-day Saints believe (even without this formal 'anointing'), "Joseph Smith served in the capacity of a substitute sovereign over God's earthly kingdom, just as the kings of ancient Israel did (see 1 Chron 29:23)." What justified that regal appointment, giving Joseph Smith a legitimate right to rule, was the Prophet's own divinely declared ancestral heritage, which not only tied him to the tribe of Joseph through Ephraim, but also, according to latter-day scripture and the testimonies of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, and others, to the royal line of the tribe of Judah through Jesse and Jesus Christ (see D&C 86:8-10, 113:5-6; Brown, pp. 37, 64 note 33).
- See Joseph's letter to the Daily Globe newspaper, 14 Apr 1844, written just three days after his anointing and ordination to the Kingship of Israel, in "History of Joseph Smith," Latter-day Saints Millennial Star 23 (22 June 1861): 391.
- The sacred ancient Wisdom of ordinal Temple liturgy and covenantal ritual restored through Joseph Smith, declared later prophet and Church President David O. McKay, represents "the step-by-step ascent into the Eternal Presence" while men are yet alive (remarks he made just before the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple in 1956, cited by Truman G. Madsen, Chapter 1: "House of Glory," in The Temple: Where Heaven Meets Earth, 2008).
- Just as Joseph of Egypt is seen traditionally by the Eastern Orthodox Church as a type of Christ (in their customary reading of the Joseph story at Easter), so too is his descendant, Joseph Smith the martyr, considered by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be, not only a type of Joseph, but also a type of Christ (see McConkie, The Millennial Messiah). As Patrick Reardon has noted: "Joseph, the beloved of his father, sold for a price by his brethren, unjustly accused and imprisoned on false testimony, suffering all with patience, and finally showing mercy towards his [treacherous] oppressors. Joseph's life thus outlined those dramatic days culminating on Calvary ... 'Joseph is an image of the Master: he was thrown into a pit and sold by his brethren, but he suffered all these things with patience, a true figure of Christ' ..." (cited in Sigvartsen, p. 42; see pp. 86-87). For Latter-day Saints, that sequence and calibre of experience mirrors exceptionally the life of Joseph Smith, Jr., the Prophet of the Restoration (see Madsen and Bushman).
- Anson Call, who himself with his family went on to colonize several towns in the intermountain West and Mexico, recorded that the Prophet Joseph, in his coming to Montrose, Iowa on 14 July 1843 in order to be present at the founding of the town's 'Masonic Lodge of the Rising Sun' (a lodge such as was had at Nauvoo), paused a moment with some of his close brethren near an ice-water barrel to which they'd retired for refreshment: "This water," the Prophet said, "tastes much like that of the crystal streams that are running from the snow-capped mountains." Then, gazing off in the distance, he "prophesied that the Saints would yet go to the Rocky Mountains. I had before seen him in vision, and now saw his countenance change to white ... a living, brilliant white. He seemed absorbed in gazing at something at a great distance, and said, 'I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains ... There are some men here who shall do a great work in that land ... in building up cities from one end of the country to the other ... so that the nations of the earth shall be astonished, and many of them will be gathered [there to] assist in building cities and temples, and Israel shall be made to rejoice'..." But then Joseph, shifting his gaze, spoke of the wilderness trials that the Saints would endure to attain unto 'the utmost bound of the everlasting hills' that was spoken of anciently by Joseph of Egypt's father Jacob (Gen 49:26): "Oh the scenes that this people will pass through! The dead that will lie between here and there!" Shifting his gaze again, Joseph said finally: "Oh the apostasy that will take place before my brethren reach that land! But the priesthood shall prevail over its enemies, triumph over the devil and be established upon the earth, never more to be thrown down!" (cited in Andrus; see Madsen, p. 39).
- In addition to the many wonders and miracles that would accompany the Messianic Age, Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra (1092-1167) held that "great wars ... will be in all the earth in the days of Messiah ben Joseph," while other rabbis spoke of calamitous convulsions in the earth and in society, of crippling plagues and devastation, "intense and prolonged human suffering, rampant heresy" and sin. And, because people would refuse to either hear or follow the truth, a deadly famine of wisdom and faith (the stark exception being those willing to follow God's truth as restored through His chosen latter-day seer and ensign-bearer, Messiah ben Joseph). There would be, moreover, as Julius Greenstone wrote, "an increase in drunkenness and immorality. Youths will no longer respect their parents, the pious, and the aged ... Judges and officers of the law will have no authority, denunciators will multiply, anarchy will reign supreme ... Those that fear sin will be despised, and the house of public convention will become a house of harlots" (cited, respectively, in Mitchell, p. 233 note 1, and in Hatch, under the heading "The Messianic Age"; compare 4 Ezra 5:1-12, 18-28).
- It is significant that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and later prophets, sent several apostles to Palestine to stand upon its Mount of Olives, and there, in prayer to Almighty God, "to dedicate and consecrate" the Holy Land "for the gathering together of Judah's scattered remnants," for their eventual return to Israel's revered homeland — Jacob's first Promised Land. Such were the dedicatory missions of 1841, 1873, 1898, 1902, 1927 and 1933. Apostle Orson Hyde, for example, in 1841, prayed to "inspire the heart of kings" to realize that God will "restore the kingdom to Israel — raise up Jerusalem as its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government" with a descendant of David on the throne. (The Prophet Joseph, incidentally — a lover of truth wherever he found it — was an avid learner of Hebrew and Hermetic-Kabbalistic traditions, studying at Kirtland under Joshua Seixas, a Jewish convert to Christianity and son of Gershom Mendes Seixas, and, during the Nauvoo period, under Jewish Latter-day Saint convert Alexander Neibaur; see Bushman for both the Holy Land's apostolic dedication and Joseph's tutelage in things Jewish.)
- Of his own 'warrior-king' destiny that — as with the great image's fate in the interpreted kingdom-vision of Daniel — will cause humanity's corrupt residue and the conspiring end-time nations to crumble and fall, 'destroying' their "hiding place," the Prophet Joseph testified in 1843: "I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty" (TPJS, p. 304 and History 5:401; see Dan 2:31-45; Rev 19:15, 21).
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