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.
Moses who did deliver Israel from Egypt.
Joshua who did lead Israel into the promised land and against their enemies.
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
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.