Various Messiahs


     One might say that there are Messiahs and then there is 'The Messiah.' In the scriptures and Jewish religious writings is found the word 'meshiach' or 'mashiah'. The term messiah comes from this Hebrew word meshiach, meaning "anointed one." In the Old Testament it was used to refer to various historical personages such as the anointed kings and priests of Israel, and even their prophet leaders. But as is the case of the Hebrew language which had degrees to the word 'god,' the word 'meshiach' also had degrees of elevated designations.

Today this situation of there being various biblical characters who could all be associated with being a 'meshiach' or an anointed one and a redeeming leader or figure of the Jewish people, has confused the matter of 'The Messiah.' One group says there are two Messiahs, Messiah ben Joseph and Messiah ben David, and Messiah ben David is the major one. Another group states there are three elevated status Messiahs, Messiah ben Joseph, Messiah ben Aaron and Messiah ben David; and Messiah ben Aaron is the premiere Messiah. And then another group states there is no elevated 'Messiah' but just a lot of 'messiahs' who have and will act as 'redeemers' to their people. And then still another states there is really no 'Messiahs' and that it is all made up to elevate various persons to a higher status, such as a Moses. And very few are left which hold out that there is but 'One Messiah' in the Jewish world of today.

Now these numerous messiahs or delivers or redeemers, as one group would support could well include any and all such highly esteemed prophets, priests and kings. Such a list would include:

Deliverer, Redeemer, Meshiach

Joseph of Egypt who did save his family from the famine.

  • Some would call Joseph of Egypt who provided his family temporal salvation in the land of Egypt from the famine as being as it were a savior so positioned by God to save his children. Joseph was the Last Great Patriarchal Father of the Patriarchal Order. As the LDS Bible Dictionary states under the entry 'Jacob': "It was through Jacob that the covenant of Abraham continued (Gen. 28:14, 1222); it was then passed on to Joseph and Ephraim." Now we here nothing of Ephraim himself as being the Patriarchal head of Israel, but considering the live of Joseph son of Jacob, it may be well concluded that Joseph did fulfill the position of the family's Patriarchal leader. And from those promised blessing of the Lord upon Joseph as recorded in JST Genesis 48:5-11, Genesis 49:22-26, JST Genesis 50:24-37 and 2 Nephi 3:4-16 and then so referenced as the promises that did remain through those fathers including Joseph in Doctrine and Covenants 27:10.

    It is even through these blessings of Joseph that all the promises of the Covenant of Abraham was and is to be fulfilled. And the work of the latter-day is now taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. And in this great latter-day and even Millennial work will the servants of the Lord act in the capacity of being saviors on mount Zion, be it by missionary work, family history or genealogy work, by temple work or even by strengthing others with the testimony of Jesus Christ. But neither Joseph of Egypt or these of the latter-day servants are the promised Messiah, the Son of God.

Moses who did deliver Israel from Egypt.

  • Now many in the scriptures have looked unto Moses as being the promised Messiah even to the extent that there are various scriptures in all four of the standard works of the LDS Church that speak to the fact that Moses is not to be considered as the promised Messiah of God. (1 Nephi 22:20-21; 3 Nephi 20:23; Deut. 18:15; Moses 1:6; Act 3:22-26; Act 7:37; JS-H 1:40) But of some interest is the matter of why was Moses of the tribe of Levi the one who the Lord selected to bear the burden of bringing Israel out of Egypt. Moses was not of the 'promised lineage' of Joseph or Ephraim. How could he be. The answer to that for those who have an interest in that is given in the link given above as to the blessings of Joseph and where it may be seen in JST Genesis 50:24 & 29, if one will follow along with the dialog of that linked page concerning Moses.

    At any rate there was not one who was presently worthy of the house of Joseph. So the Lord did raise up Moses unto the tast of delivering Israel out of Egypt. But the covenant right did remain and reside in the legal descendants of Joseph and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh. Thus when Moses had come to the end of his tenure as Prophet and Leader of the people of Israel, Moses placed the mantle upon him who Moses had tutored unto that position in righteousness. It did not fall upon the sons of Moses at that point, but it fell to a worthy son of the house of Joseph and Ehraim in Oshea. Genesis 13:16 plainly identifies who this person was to be as he was given the very name of the eventual coming Mesiah. That being the name of Jehoshua in it most formal form, which is but Jesus in the transliterated English of the Greek name equivalent.

Joshua who did lead Israel into the promised land and against their enemies.

  • The Lord, when Moses was with him upon the mount, had offered to make of Moses a great nation and the representative of the Lord, as he Lord was angry with Israel who had taken to worshipping the golden calf down below. Perhaps that was an idle promise unto Moses, unless Moses was of the promised lineage of the covenant. But Moses declined and evenually at Moses end the mantle and blessing was placed on the head of Joshua son of Nun of the house of Ephraim. Even in Jehoshua have some found lines of thought to consider him to be the great deliverer and military leader of the imagery of the Meshiach or meshiach. And for all of the priesthood leadership of the people that the prophet Joshua provided for the people of Israel, he was not The Messiah though he carried his name. And it was after Joshua that the system of Judges was placed into effect in governing Israel.

The prophet Elijah who is to come before the coming day of the Lord.

The prophet or 'Elias' who was to precede coming 'The Messiah'.

The latter day prophet who was to precede the second coming of 'The Messiah'.

The military leader(s) who will lead the Jews against their enemies in the last days.

King David, King Solomon, and etc.

Even Boaz was a 'redeemer' in that he provided seed unto the house of Elimelech from whence the Lord descends.

And the list goes on. And it could even include Jesus Christ as a lesser 'messiah' and prophet but not the 'Messiah' to the Jewish faithful.

The True Messiah

    "Wherefore, he shall bring forth his words unto them, which words shall judge them at the last day, for they shall be given them for the purpose of convincing them of the true Messiah, who was rejected by them [the Jews]; and unto the convincing of them that they need not look forward any more for a Messiah to come, for there should not any come, save it should be a false Messiah which should deceive the people; for there is save one Messiah spoken of by the prophets, and that Messiah is he who should be rejected of the Jews." ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 25:18

So where to begin to clear the air? Lets cut away some of the significant prophets who are not 'The Messiah.' Moses as great as he was, was not The Messiah. He was in similitude of the Messiah and did foreshadow him in symbolism and delivering the Law of the Lord, but he was not he. Joshua was not he. And even Joseph of Egypt is not he. Even though again Joseph of Egypt did portray him in parallel, providing for the physical and temporal salvation of his people, whereas the Messiah would provide spiritual and eternal salvation.

Now often the matter of an elevated title tends to confuse the issue. The elevated title of 'Elias' did tend to confuse the issue in the time of Christ and even in our own time. An 'Elias' is one who precedes or comes before. The much sought after 'Messiah ben Aaron' was most likely one such forerunner. And John the Baptist would have been he, who did come before Christ to prepare the way. Even today, we have had angelic 'forerunners' or such Angels who could be deemed an 'Elias,' but they are not the returning Messiah.

And this brings us to Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith, which will be presented in detail on another page, is not Messiah ben Joseph. He is not the 'Messiah.' He is one who precedes or comes before. Yes he is the prophet foretold to Joseph of Egypt who would come in the latter days. He is the prophet leader of this last dispensation. He is the prophet of the restoration. He is the one to precede, or the 'Elias' before the second coming. He did bring forth the Book of Mormon. He was the prophet set out to be the vehicle of the restoration of the 'saving and sealing powers and ordinances' whereby men can act as saviors of the dead by vicarious work. He did all this and more. But he is not 'The Messiah.' He is not Messiah ben Joseph. And he should not be designated as being such.

It would have been best if only one particular word would have designated 'The Messiah' in the Hebrew language. But then it would have been of such a holy nature to have not been usable by ancient Jew, even in scripture writing and reading. Thus the descriptive word meaning 'the anointed' or meshiach was used which left it to a matter of interpretation rather than precise definition. Even the word 'Christ' or 'Christos' means but the same and is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah.

And I would have to conclude that it is by inspired translation that can detect when a king such as Saul is but the Lord's anointed king as opposed to Jesus Christ being GOD's Anointed Son. Thus when some read Psalm 2 they read of the LORD's Anoited as being the LORD's Only Begotten Son, and others read something less of those verses. Perhaps a Urim and Thummim would aid in the determination, but without the proper inspiration even those would be but useless tools.