Just as we are blessed with knowledge of the past, ancient prophets were blessed with knowledge of the future.
Joseph F. McConkie (1941–2013) was an emeritus professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when he researched the connection between ancient prophets and Joseph Smith.
Through revelation, ancient prophets learned about the last days and Joseph Smith’s important role in bringing God’s kingdom to the earth. These prophets knew Joseph Smith by different titles, depending on the time they lived and the knowledge given to them.
Enoch: The apocryphal Hebrew Book of Enoch mentions “Messiah ben Joseph,” which means “anointed one, son of Joseph” (see Hebrew Book of Enoch 45:5).
“Messiah ben Joseph” is a separate person from “Messiah ben David.” Messiah ben David (Jesus Christ) is from the line of David; Messiah ben Joseph (Joseph Smith) is from the line of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Other prophecies mention that Messiah ben Joseph will die a violent death.
Joseph of Egypt: Joseph of Egypt prophesied about a prophet named Joseph who would come from his posterity and who—through the Lord—would bring many unto salvation (see JST, Genesis 50:33).
Other prophetic witnesses: Other prophecies from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Jewish tradition also point to Joseph Smith. As we learn about ancient prophetic witnesses of Joseph Smith, our testimony of his divine calling and his essential role in the Restoration of the gospel can be strengthened.
Read Joseph F. McConkie’s full article, “Joseph Smith as Found in Ancient Manuscripts.”
—Austin Burton, Mormon Insights
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Great article and insight