Mormon Dilemma 102

19 November

What does the word Christ mean?

The word “Christ” first appears in Matthew 1:1.  The Greek rendering is “Christos” meaning anointed, the Messiah.  Messiah is a term for a high priest who was consecrated with oil.  The term Christ is never used in the Septuagint (oldest Greek version of the Old Testament).



Vine’s Expository says that the title Christ is used alone when referring to “the One who by His Holy Spirit and Power indwells believers and moulds their character in conformity to His likeness…”  (Emphasis mine).

He is referred to as Messiah the Prince in Isaiah 61:1 & Daniel 9:24-26.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary remarks on several passages in scripture of the different references made to Him.  Interestingly, many of these references are what the Mormon Church uses to refer to Joseph Smith…

The Messiah is the same person as “the seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15), “the seed of Abraham” (Gen. 22:18), the “Prophet like unto Moses” (Deut. 18:15), “the priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4), “the rod out of the stem of Jesse” (Isa. 11:1, 10), the “Immanuel,” the virgin’s son (Isa. 7:14), “the branch of Jehovah” (Isa. 4:2), and “the messenger of the covenant” (Mal. 3:1). This is he “of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write.” The Old Testament Scripture is full of prophetic declarations regarding the Great Deliverer and the work he was to accomplish. Jesus the Christ is Jesus the Great Deliverer, the Anointed One, the Saviour of men.

Why would this word be used in the BC era of the Book of Mormon?  And why as noted above would the Mormon Church use some of the scriptures listed to refer to Joseph Smith when clearly they have nothing to do with him?

Could it be the Church purposefully wants its members to think of Smith as the Messiah?  It certainly seems that way.  Here are some examples of what they think of Smith:

Joseph Sealed Testimony with Own Blood

Doctrines of Salvation 1:191; “Through him the predictions of ancient prophets have been fulfilled, and now are being fulfilled. He sealed his testimony with his blood, knowing he was going to his death for proclaiming the eternal truths of heaven. His testimony is now binding on the world. It cannot be ignored in safety, obedience to it has brought joy to thousands, and will yet prove to be a help in the salvation of other thousands who receive it with all their heart.”

Bears Infirmities of Others 

Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 28; “Although I was called of my Heavenly Father to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this dispensation, and testify of his revealed will to scattered Israel, I am subject to like passions as other men, like the prophets of olden times.Notwithstanding my weaknesses, I am under the necessity of bearing the infirmities of others, who when they get into difficulty, hang on to me tenaciously to get them out, and wish me to cover their faults. (HC 5:516.)”

Fulfillment of Scripture

Joseph Smith History 1:40-41; “In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.41 He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here.”

Greatness of Joseph Smith

Mormon Doctrine, pg. 396; “Joseph Smith’s greatness lies in the work that he did, the spiritual capacity he developed, and the witness he bore of the Redeemer. Since the keys of salvation were restored to the Prophet, it is in and through and because of his latter-day mission that the full redemptive power of the Lord has again become available to men. It is because the Lord called Joseph Smith that salvation is again available to mortal men.”


Dr. D. Michael Quinn, BYU Studies, The Council of Fifty and Its Members, pgs. 89-90; ““This leads to the final office in the symbolic Kingdom of God on earth as embodied in the Council of Fifty. William Clayton recorded in his journal that in the 11 April 1844 meeting of the Council of Fifty, “was prest. Joseph chosen as our prophet Priest, & King by Hosannas.” William Marks, who participated in this action, later stated that the Council of Fifty conducted this as an ordinance “in which Joseph suffered himself to be ordained a king, to reign over the house of Israel forever.”


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2 Responses to “Mormon Dilemma 102”

  1. shematwater November 21, 2011 at 6:48 pm #


    First, only two of the references given referring to Christ are thought of as referring to Joseph Smith. This is Isaiah 11: 1, 10 and Malachi 3: 1.
    In the Isaiah passage Christ is the Stem of Jesse, and thus he cannot be the rod. A rod is a tool used to symbolize power, and at the time of Isaiah was used in sealing official declarations and laws. Thus, the rod of the stem of Jesse is a tool used by the stem to seal his declarations and laws. As the Stem is Christ, the rod is logically a prophet and leader of the people. We believe this to be Joseph Smith.
    In Malachi it again talks of the Messenger as being separate from the Lord, for the messenger is to come before the Lord comes to prepare the world for his coming. This speaks both to John, who prepared the world for his first coming; and the Joseph Smith, who prepared the world for his second. Christ cannot be the messenger who will go before him, as he cannot go before himself.
    I will also say that Isaiah 4: 2 does not speak to Christ, but to a righteous branch of Israel that Christ shall lead and raise up to serve him. All the other references refer to Christ.
    So, it is misleading to claim that “many” of these are said to refer to Joseph Smith, since only two really do.

    As to your attempt to portray our veneration of Joseph Smith as a subtle way of making him the messiah, it seems that it is you who are try to deceive.

    His testimony is just as binding as the testimonies of all the prophets. Many have sealed their testimony with their blood (like Paul and Peter) and the rejection of their testimonies is just the same as the rejection of Joseph Smith. It may be said that Joseph Smith’s is more important to us, being from our time; but then theirs would have been more important to the people of there time.
    He did bear peoples infirmities, just as Moses did as describe in the 18th chapter of Exodus; a burden that caused great difficulties for Moses, and was corrected by his Father-in-Law.
    He did fulfill many scriptures, just as John the Baptist did; just as King Darius did in letting the Jews return to Jerusalem; and just as Moses did in leading the people out of Egypt. Not every prophecy deals directly with Christ.
    He was a great man, just as Moses was a great man, or Abraham, or Peter, or Elijah. Saying he was a great man does not equate to him being the Messiah.
    As to the King, you need something a little more definite than a University professor; but even going off the quote given, it was all symbolical, and was not intended to equate him literally with the Messiah.

    To answer a last question, the term Christ is used in the Book of Mormon because what we have is a translation, which used the common language and terms of the time. Joseph Smith chose to use the term Christ because it was the term most of the world was familiar with.

  2. mrwidemouth November 24, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    Beware of the Mormon Church – Exposed

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