Lehi’s Josephite Prophecy


The chapter heading

The chapter heading of 2 Nephi 3 says the following:

Joseph in Egypt saw the Nephites in vision—He prophesied of Joseph Smith, the latter-day seer; of Moses, who would deliver Israel; and of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

I have always been taught that this particular chapter contains, as its heading indicates, a prophecy of Joseph in Egypt about Joseph Smith, Jun., Moses and the Book of Mormon.  I assumed that every mention of a seer was Joseph Smith and that every mention of a scriptural record was the Book of Mormon.  I no longer hold that view.

11 possible personages and 8 possible scriptural records

As I have gone through this chapter, comparing it to the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 50: 24-36, I have found 11 possible personages spoken of by either Joseph in Egypt or Lehi.    In addition, I see a possibility that 8 separate records are spoken of, not just one (the Book of Mormon).  Here is the list of people mentioned:

  • 1.  A righteous branch – per Lehi
  • 2.  The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt – per Joseph
  • 3.  A spokesman for Moses called Aaron – per Joseph
  • 4.  A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses – per both Joseph and Lehi
  • 5.  A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph – per Joseph
  • 6.  A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi – per Lehi
  • 7.  A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon) – per Joseph
  • 8.  A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon) – per Joseph
  • 9.  A descendent of Lehi who brings forth Lehite scripture – per Lehi
  • 10.  A spokesman for the Lehite descendent – per Lehi
  • 11.  A Josephite restorer working miracles – per Lehi

Here is a list of possible scriptural records spoken of in these scriptures:

  • 1.  “a work” performed by a seer “like unto” Moses
  • 2.  “power to bring forth my word” and a “thing” brought “forth by his hand” by a seer “like unto” Joseph
  • 3.  “power to bring forth my word” and a “thing” brought “forth by his hand” by a seer”like unto” Lehi
  • 4.  The Brass Plates* (“that which shall be written by the fruit of thy [Joseph’s] loins”)
  • 5.  The Bible (“that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah”)
  • 6.  “judgment in writing” and “my law” by Moses
  • 7.  The Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith, Jun.
  • 8.  “the writing of the fruit of thy [Lehi’s] loins” (expedient words) by a descendant of Lehi

Same or different people/records?

Some of these individuals may be the same person, just as some of these records may be the same.  But, there is also the possibility that they are all different people and all different records.  It is possible to narrow things down a bit.  For example, let’s take a look at only the list of 6 people who were mentioned by Joseph in Egypt:

  • 1.  The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt – per Joseph
  • 2.  A spokesman for Moses called Aaron – per Joseph
  • 3.  A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses – per both Joseph and Lehi
  • 4.  A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph – per Joseph
  • 5.  A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon) – per Joseph
  • 6.  A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon) – per Joseph

Moses and Aaron (#1 and #2) can be set aside.  We know who they were and the records they brought forth.  Joseph and Sidney (#5 and #6) we can also set aside.  That leaves a seer “like unto” Moses (#3) and a seer “like unto” Joseph (#4).  Are these two seers the same person?  Are they all the same as Joseph Smith, Jun.?  That is the current interpretation of most LDS.  It may be the correct one.  However, verse 12, which speaks of the Brass Plates* and the Bible, presents a problem because the Brass Plates are listed as either making up “my word which shall have already gone forth among them” or as being “my word” which the seer “like unto” Joseph would bring forth.  During the time of Joseph Smith, Jun. the Brass Plates weren’t around, nor did Joseph translate them.  Therefore, Joseph doesn’t fit as this seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt.

That said, it may be that Joseph Smith may yet fulfill the prophecy of this seer if he comes back and translates the Brass Plates or if he comes back after the Brass Plates have been revealed.

The seer “like unto” Moses may also be Joseph Smith, but we don’t have much detail to go on, other than he will be “great like unto Moses” and will do “a work” to bring his brethren to a knowledge of the covenants that the Lord made with their fathers.  That can apply to Joseph Smith, or it may apply to some other seer.  The fact, though, that this seer will be “like unto” Moses and that Moses was a “deliverer” of the Lord’s people, may mean that the seer “like unto Moses” will also be a deliverer of the Lord’s people.  Did Joseph “deliver” the Lord’s people from a Pharaoh-type of individual?  No.

Again, the seer “like unto” Joseph is going to be like Joseph because “the thing which the Lords shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.”  So, just as Joseph saved his family from starvation, so likewise the seer “like unto” Joseph will save the Lord’s people.  From starvation?  We don’t know.  We LDS often assume that everything is spiritual in the scriptures, but really, as Nephi said, things manifested to prophets by the voice of the Spirit are often “things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual”.

So, nothing concrete can be determined about the seer “like unto” Moses and the seer “like unto” Joseph.  We are free to interpret these seers as Joseph Smith (whether his future or past missions), but we are likewise free to interpret them as separate and distinct seers, one that will deliver the Lord’s people (temporally and spiritually) and one that will save the Lord’s people (temporally and spiritually).

However, what we do know is that the seer “like unto” Joseph will be named Joseph, like his father.  And the seer “like unto” Lehi will be named Lehi, like his father.  So, if there is a pattern here, we might surmise that the seer “like unto” Moses will be named Moses, like his father.  If this is a true pattern, then it will be a little easier to determine who these seers are when they show up, merely by finding out their names and their father’s names.

Lehi’s list of 6 seers

Here is the list of personages mentioned by Lehi in the Book of Mormon:

  • 1.  A righteous branch – per Lehi
  • 2.  A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses – per both Joseph and Lehi
  • 3.  A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi – per Lehi
  • 4.  A descendent of Lehi who brings forth Lehite scripture – per Lehi
  • 5.  A spokesman for the Lehite descendent – per Lehi
  • 6.  A Josephite restorer working miracles – per Lehi

I’ve already covered a seer “like unto” Moses.  The “righteous branch” we don’t know much about.  It may be Joseph Smith, or it may be some other seer.  We do know that this “righteous branch” is not the Messiah because Lehi explicitly says so.

A seer “like unto” Lehi, who is called Lehi after the name of his father, has not shown up, yet.  This man may be a descendant of Lehi or merely a descendent of Joseph in Egypt.  But we do know that Joseph Smith doesn’t fit because he had the wrong name.  Also, as this seer will be “like unto” Lehi, it may mean that he will save the Lord’s people in the same manner as Lehi did.  How did Lehi save the Lord’s people?  By leading them away from the apostate majority.

A descendent of Lehi (plus spokesman) still hasn’t shown up.  Also, the new Lehite record that this man will translate hasn’t come forth, as yet.  Joseph Smith doesn’t fit this bill as he’s got the wrong lineage.

Lastly, the Josephite restorer still hasn’t shown up.  Again, Joseph Smith’s lineage is wrong.  This man will be a descendant of Joseph, son of Lehi.  He will not be a Lamanite, Lemuelite, Ishmaelite, Jacobite, Zoramite, Mulekite or Nephite.  This narrows it down a bit.  Once we know the man’s lineage, it will be much easier to determine whether he is the man spoken of here by Lehi.

Prophecy is a pattern

In Lehi’s blessing to his son Joseph, he paraphrased Joseph in Egypt, using Joseph’s prophecies as a base or reference point, upon which to pronounce his own prophecies which were tailored to his son Joseph (son of Lehi).  Unless his words explicitly state that he is paraphrasing Joseph in Egypt, it may be rightly interpreted as being Lehi’s own prophecy, which he was pronouncing on the spot, being filled with the spirit of prophecy and revelation.  Keep this in mind.

Lehi wasn’t just a simple prophet.  He was a seer.  We don’t know if he possessed a Urim and Thummim, but we do know that he was a “visionary man”, seeing things in visions and dreams.  This is the mark of a seer, not a prophet.  But Lehi also prophesied of things.  So, he was a seer and a prophet.  And he received revelations, new commandments that pertained to the Nephites, altering the law which was given to Moses in significant ways.  He was a prophet, seer and revelator and a dispensation head, being the head of the so-called Nephite dispensation.  In fact, he was very much “like unto” Moses.  Lehi, then, was uniquely qualified to speak of seers, being one himself, and also of prophecies, having spoken and written many of his own, and of revelations, having revealed the word of the Lord to his people.

The tendency to treat 2 Ne. 3 as if Lehi was merely quoting Joseph in Egypt is tempting, as this is what non-prophets and non-seers typically do.  We non-prophets quote others whose words we consider greater than ours.  (For example, consider our favorite past-time of quoting general authorities.)  Instead of adding something new, our own prophecy, we rehash what others have already said.  But Lehi and Joseph were equals, seeing eye to eye.  They both were seers.  2 Ne. 3, then, should be viewed as Lehi’s prophecy, not as Joseph in Egypt’s prophecy.  The paraphrasing he does of Joseph in Egypt’s words is to launch his own prophecy, tailored specifically to his son’s lineage.  In other words, he took the words of Joseph as a pattern and applied it in his own prophecy.  So, when reviewing the differences between the two versions, each version should be taken as a separate and distinct prophecy.

Okay, let’s get into the text.

Lehi’s opening words to his son Joseph

In chapter 3 of 2 Nephi, Lehi gives a father’s blessing to his youngest son Joseph, prophesying concerning Joseph’s seed (the Josephites) in the latter days.  Lehi begins by wishing that the land (the American continent) be consecrated to Joseph and his seed (the Josephites) for their inheritance along with Joseph’s brothers, for Joseph’s “security forever,” if they would just keep the commandments of God.  Next, he wishes that God would bless Joseph forever and then prophesies, “thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.”  (See verses 2 and 3.)

He then attempts to explain or expound upon his prophecy to Joseph, detailing exactly how it is that his “seed shall not utterly be destroyed.”  To do this, Lehi turns to the plates of brass, to a prophecy uttered by Joseph in Egypt.  Lehi cites and/or paraphrases the ancient Joseph’s words, reviewing “the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.”  These words do not appear in the Bible (the stick of Judah) but they were found written on the plates of brass (the stick of Ephraim).  Luckily, however, the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible contains a version of this prophecy.

A righteous branch; a prophet; neither of which is the Messiah

It may be helpful to compare the two versions.  I will put in bold type everything that is exactly the same.

And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die, and go unto my fathers; and I go down to my grave with joy. The God of my father Jacob be with you, to deliver you out of affliction in the days of your bondage; for the Lord hath visited me, and I have obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of my loins, the Lord God will raise up a righteous branch out of my loins; and unto thee, whom my father Jacob hath named Israel, a prophet; (not the Messiah who is called Shilo;) and this prophet shall deliver my people out of Egypt in the days of thy bondage.  And it shall come to pass that they shall be scattered again; and a branch shall be broken off, and shall be carried into a far country; nevertheless they shall be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, when the Messiah cometh; for he shall be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the Spirit of power; and shall bring them out of darkness into light; out of hidden darkness, and out of captivity unto freedom.  (JST Gen. 50: 24-25)

Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.  (2 Ne. 3: 5)

Notice that there is a difference between the two versions.  The JST seems to have Joseph in Egypt saying that God will raise up two things: 1) a righteous branch out of Joseph’s loins and 2) a prophet, raised up unto Israel.  This prophet was to deliver the people of the Lord out of Egypt in the days of bondage, and was not going to be the Messiah, so presumably this is Moses.  Again, the JST is talking of two separate things: a righteous branch and the prophet Moses.

But Lehi mixes the two together.   Lehi says that it will be a righteous branch that will be raised up unto Israel (not Moses, like Joseph in Egypt said), and that this righteous branch will not be the Messiah.  Lehi completely skips over all talk of Moses.

Okay, thus far we have:

  • A righteous branch mentioned by Joseph and Lehi (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • A prophet mentioned by Joseph only (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)

A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses; Moses identified as the “prophet”

A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.  (JST Gen. 50: 26)

For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.  (2 Ne. 3: 6)

Lehi ceases paraphrasing and here directly quotes from the plates of brass.  Now we have to add a third item on this list:

  • A righteous branch mentioned by Joseph and Lehi (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • A prophet that delivers people from Egypt, mentioned by Joseph only (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer)

The record continues:

Thus saith the Lord God of my fathers unto me, A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren.  And he shall bring them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers; and he shall do whatsoever work I shall command him.  And I will make him great in mine eyes, for he shall do my work; and he shall be great like unto him whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel, out of the land of Egypt; for a seer will I raise up to deliver my people out of the land of Egypt; and he shall be called Moses. And by this name he shall know that he is of thy house; for he shall be nursed by the king’s daughter, and shall be called her son.  (JST Gen. 50: 27-29)

Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.  And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.  And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.  And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.  (2 Ne. 3: 7-10)

With these verses we now read that Lehi is mentioning Moses and is identifying him as the delivering prophet.  So, our list is now:

  • A righteous branch (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer) that brings his brethren to a knowledge of the Lord’s covenants which he made with the fathers of Joseph in Egypt; and is considered great “like unto” Moses

A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph

And again, a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins, and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; and not to the bringing forth of my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them in the last days; wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.  And out of weakness shall he be made strong, in that day when my work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them, who are of the house of Israel, in the last days.  And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; 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: 30-33)

But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.  Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.  And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.  And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; and his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.  (2 Ne. 3: 11-15)

Now we have a new prophecy, of a new seer.  (The words, “and again,” found in JST Gen. 50: 30, tips us off that we are now talking of something different.  Also, the writings mentioned in these scriptures are the two sticks, the stick of Judah, which is the Bible, and the stick of Joseph, which is the Brass Plates*.)  Here is our list:

  • A righteous branch (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer) that brings his brethren to a knowledge of the Lord’s covenants which he made with the fathers of Joseph in Egypt; and is considered great “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, that is given power to bring forth word and convince of word; shall be weak but made strong; shall be called Joseph; father’s name shall be called Joseph; etc.

A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi

There is at least a possibility that Lehi, using Joseph in Egypt’s words found upon the plates of brass,inserted his own prophecy at this point. When Lehi said, “And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold,that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled,” this may have been either a direct quote from the Brass Plates or a paraphrase.  But his next statement may have been Lehi’s own prophecy, using many of the same words Joseph in Egypt used: “Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; and his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.”

I’ll break the scripture down to better explain what I mean:

And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: [Lehi quoting or paraphrasing Joseph] Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I [Joseph] have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. [Lehi now begins his own prophecy] Behold, I [Lehi] am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; and his name shall be called after me [Lehi]; and it shall be after the name of his father [Lehi]. And he shall be like unto me [Lehi]; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people [Lehi’s people] unto salvation.  [Lehi switching back to Joseph’s prophecy] Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.  (2 Ne. 3: 14-16)

Assuming that Lehi prophesied of yet another seer to appear in the latter days, here is the list so far:

  • A righteous branch (not the Messiah, according to Lehi)
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt (not the Messiah, according to Joseph in Egypt)
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi, having power to bring forth a “thing” that will bring Lehi’s people to salvation

Moses and Aaron

And the Lord sware unto Joseph that he would preserve his seed forever, saying, I will raise up Moses, and a rod shall be in his hand, and he shall gather together my people, and he shall lead them as a flock, and he shall smite the waters of the Red Sea with his rod.  And he shall have judgment, and shall write the word of the Lord. And he shall not speak many words, for I will write unto him my law by the finger of mine own hand. And I will make a spokesman for him, and his name shall be called Aaron.  (JST Gen. 50: 34-35)

Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.  And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.  (2 Ne. 3: 16-17)

Our list continues:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon

And it shall be done unto thee in the last days also, even as I have sworn. Therefore, Joseph said unto his brethren, God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware unto Abraham, and unto Isaac, and to Jacob.  (JST Gen. 50: 36)

And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.  And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.  And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.  Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.  (2 Ne. 3: 18-21)

Whereas the JST Bible (stick of Judah) just gives a summary: “and it shall be done unto thee in the last days, also, even as I have sworn”, Lehi’s words here, if taken to be a paraphrase or quote of Joseph in Egypt’s words, show that the Brass Plates go into much greater detail.  We learn that there will be a repeat of the Moses/Aaron scenario, that a descendant of Joseph in Egypt will have a spokesman and that this descendent will write “expedient” words, which words will “cry from the dust” and that these words are not called “my words” but “their words” (the writings of the fruit of the loins of Joseph).  From all this information it becomes easy to identify who this descendant is, who the spokesman is and what the record is.  Here is our updated list:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi
  • A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon)
  • A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon)

A descendent of Lehi, a spokesman and some Lehite scriptures

The above scripture can also be interpreted as Lehi’s words, not Joseph’s.  So, when Lehi says, “And the Lord said unto me also”, he is not paraphrasing or quoting Joseph in Egypt, but actually giving his own prophecy, yet again.  In that case, there will be a descendent of Lehi raised up, as well as a spokesman, and this descendent will write Lehite scriptures which will be taken to the latter-day Lehites.  In fact, the scripture might actually have a dual fulfillment, one applying to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, and one applying to the Lehite descendent and spokesman.  In other words, “And the Lord said unto me also” might mean that the Lord said this to Joseph as well as to Lehi.  Based on that, here is the potential list:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi
  • A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon)
  • A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon)
  • A descendent of Lehi who brings forth another book of Lehite scripture
  • A spokesman for the Lehite descendent

The Josephite Restorer

As we can see, our list is getting lengthy.  At this point, Lehi has sufficiently reviewed the covenants of the Lord made to Joseph in Egypt to explain how it is that the Josephites “shall not utterly be destroyed.”

And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy.  Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.  (2 Ne. 3: 22-23)

The reason given as to why they don’t get destroyed is that the Josephites of the latter-days “shall hearken unto the words of the book.”  The book is not named.  It could be the Book of Mormon, which cries “repentance unto their brethren” from the dust or it could be another Lehite book of scripture that does the same.  Or it could be both records brought together as one book.  Regardless of what the scenario is, the Josephites will end up hearkening and will repent of all their sins.

Because of their penitence, the Josephites will get an additional blessing.  Lehi now proceeds to give his own prophecy concerning the latter days:

And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.  And now, blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken. Remember the words of thy dying father. Amen.  (2 Ne. 3: 24-25)

“And there shall rise up one mighty among them,” says Lehi.  Who is “them”?  It is the descendents (or seed) of Joseph, the son of Lehi.  It is the Josephites.  This Josephite restorer will be attended with miracles (working mighty wonders) and will bring to pass “much restoration” to the rest of the Lehites as well as to the whole house of Israel.  Here is the final list:

  • A righteous branch
  • The prophet Moses that delivers people from Egypt
  • A spokesman for Moses called Aaron
  • A seer (a choice seer) “like unto” Moses
  • A seer “like unto” Joseph in Egypt, called Joseph
  • A seer “like unto” Lehi, called Lehi
  • A descendent of Joseph in Egypt (Joseph Smith, Jun.) who brings forth “expedient” words that “cry from the dust” (the Book of Mormon)
  • A spokesman for Joseph Smith (Sidney Rigdon)
  • A descendent of Lehi who brings forth another book of Lehite scripture
  • A spokesman for the Lehite descendent
  • A Josephite restorer working miracles

Conclusion

There are potentially eleven people spoken of in this chapter.  Only one of them is plainly Joseph Smith.  And there are potentially eight books of scripture mentioned.  Again, only one of them is plainly the Book of Mormon.  In my view, 2 Nephi chapter 3 is not as cut and dry as the chapter heading would have us believe.

*Note: For more information, see the blog post, Why I Believe the Plates of Brass Are Next.

Update and correction (made 30 March 2014):

When I wrote the text above, I interpreted “that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah” as the Bible. Two years later I wrote the CTC post, which brought out the book of the Lamb of God stuff. Coming back to this post and reading it, I see that “that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah” is likely the book of the Lamb of God, per the CTC post, and not the Bible, as I had previously thought. The Bible is likely just a shadow fulfillment. For more info on the book of the Lamb of God, see the following post: 1 Nephi 13 & 14 commentary, using CTC’s view.

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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