The Marred Servant
It is interesting to note that Christ references the Micah prophecy in 3rd Nephi in response to, and as part of a commentary on Isaiah 52.
3rd Nephi chapter 20 contains a literal word for word rendering of Isaiah 52 as it appears in the King James Version of the Bible.
Clearly, Christ feels that the prophetic narrative in Isaiah 52 is critical for his people to understand, as well as for Gentiles who will one day read the Book of Mormon. That chapter of Isaiah speaks of the “Marred Servant” that will gather many nations in the last days.
Again, the purpose of the reiteration in 3rd Nephi Chapter 21 is to give further clarification to the amazing prophecy in Isaiah 52 which speaks of the “Marred Servant” gathering many nations.
Isaiah 52 speaks of how Zion will “awake” and put on her “strength”. (Keep the term “strength” fresh in your mind throughout this series, it is a key term that shows up several times, linking passages from modern prophecy to passages in ancient prophecy, including the phrase “strength of my house“.)
Christ merges the ancient prophecy in Isaiah 52, with the ancient prophecy found in Micah 5 which details how the army of Israel, which contains a “remnant of Jacob”, “shall be among the Gentiles as a young lion among the flocks’ of sheep”
The narrative infers supernatural power, or fulness of the priesthood being employed by the army of Israel with no personal casualties and total power over the Gentiles they are treading down. In modern terms, one might refer to this amazing military strike as a “strongman” event of power.
Obviously, there have been countless interpretations over the years as to who the Marred Servant is that leads the army of Israel. The term is sometimes associated with “Davidic servant“, “One like Moses” the “Branch Servant” and “one Mighty and Strong“, etc. The fact that the identity of this final servant that gathers Israel remains a puzzlement to Latter day Saints is a puzzlement to me, given the fact that the Lord has identified this person as Joseph Smith countless times.
It is interesting to note that the Hebrew paragraph break between the King James Version of Isaiah 52 and 53, is duly noted in the King James Version of the Bible as beginning at verse 13 of chapter 52, which proves that the “marred servant” in Isaiah 52 is also the “suffering servant” in Isaiah 53.
We know that all of the prophecies of Isaiah had a dual fulfillment. The first major fulfillment of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 took place in the meridian of time through the ministry of Christ.
He was Not born of Blood
In other words, the narrative given in Isaiah 53, which we generally attribute to being a description of Christ, was indeed descriptive of Christ’s suffering for us, but it is also a description of the end times servant who is marred by the sins of Israel.
In previous blogs we have documented the amazing declaration in Alma 34 that Christ was not human and did not offer a human sacrifice:
“For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.”
The inspired version of the Bible informs us in the Gospel of John that “He [Christ] was born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Indeed, Christ was not born of mortal blood.
Christ was not imbued with human blood as are all of the other sons of Adam. Christ came to earth as God, disguised as a man. He apparently had flesh through Mary’s earthly lineage, but did not inherit the capacity to manufacture mortal blood from her or a mortal father. His blood was of divine origin with the capacity to provide an infinite and eternal atonement offering.
Joseph’s Blood Absorbed the Sins of Israel with a Vengeance
It is difficult for us to fully comprehend the excruciating suffering that Christ went through as his perfect blood, refused to assimilate the sins of the people that were place upon him and thus was purged out of his body through every possible means, including the pores of his sweat glands.
Conversely, the narrative in Isaiah 53 also applies to the mortal marred servant that returns to gather Israel.
His marring is also the result of his taking on the sins of apostate Israel, not to provide an eternal atonement, but to provide a temporary, temporal atonement that prolongs the days of apostate Israel upon the face of the earth when they normally would have been wiped of the face of the earth by the justice of God.
In his situation, his mortal blood DID assimilate the sins he took upon himself as an intercessor for latter day Israel, causing him to act out the sins of latter day Israel.
For this reason, my belief in Joseph Smith as the marred servant and the work he initiated, is only strengthened every time I hear some angry cynic decry all of the terrible sins that Joseph Smith is accused of.
Yep…. bring it on!
What of it?
Get the complete context and then get a grip.
Get the complete context of why he became a degraded, pathetic sinner wallowing in iniquity, before passing a harsh judgment. The sins you are judging just might be your own.
While I don’t categorically believe every accusation made against Joseph Smith by those who hate and despise him, I don’t doubt that he did in fact commit many grievous sins.
Why am I open to the fact that Joseph Smith committed many serious transgressions?
Not just because historical accounts are many and compelling, but more importantly to me, because prophecy testifies that his calling was to “commit iniquity” and then be “chastened.. with the rod of man“.
Is it possible for us to comprehend what effect this had upon his soul?
One can actually create a case from scripture to support the theory that Joseph Smith has been suffering in hell for four generations, for the sins of our ancestors as well as for ours sins.
Indeed, a careful reading of the second chapter of Psalms reveals that the Davidic lamantations in Psalms pertain to King David only as a shadow fulfillment, but to the Davidic Servant of the end times as the literal fulfillment. (Joseph is the anointed servant that is set upon Mount Zion in the last days when the heathen rage)
Keeping in mind that the returning Davidic Servant that first become sanctified and obtained his calling and election, and then offered an intercessory offering for latter day Israel and had their sins placed upon him, is returned to earth.
“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Psalms 16:10
The Branch Prophet
We are informed that when he first returns after four generations, he is still marred by the filthiness that was artificially placed upon him.
The Branch prophet, who is the marred servant, will be made clean when he returns. After that, he will walk in the ways of the Lord and keep his charge.
When that happens, he will once again deliver the true law of the Gospel just as he had done during the early Kirtland years, before the sins of Israel corrupted him.
Indeed, according to the prophetic narrative, the latter day servant took upon himself the sins of Israel just as Moses had anciently made an atonement for the sins of Israel.
Our ancestors would have been swept off the face of the earth if not for the intercessory offering made by Joseph Smith.
The the sins of latter day Israel had been artificially placed upon Joseph Smith, would this not result in this mortal being marred more than any other mortal man that walked the earth?
Will this marring effect how Joseph looks physically when he returns or was it simply a spiritual marring and a marring of his reputation and persona?
I don’t know.
It is interesting that Joseph Smith’s Father identified Joseph Smith as the one who would be marred in the patriarchal blessing that he gave him.
He also prophesied that Joseph would stand upon the earth when the final judgments go forth to destroy the wicked. He even reiterates the passage in section 133, that it is Joseph Smith’s brethren, the “Sons of Ephraim” that will administer blessings upon the “tribes of Jacob“:
“…and though the wicked mar him for a little season, he shall be like one rising up in the heat of wine, he shall roar in his strength, and the Lord shall put to flight his persecutors…
Thou shalt stand upon the earth when it shall reel to and fro as a drunken man, and be removed out of its place: thou shalt stand when the mighty judgments go forth to the destruction of the wicked:
thou shalt stand on Mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the north, and with thy brethren, the sons of Ephraim, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ..”
It is interesting how the blessing states that Joseph was to be marred for a little season, which mirrors the word of the Lord in section 105 that Zion would not be redeemed for a little season!
If you are not intimately familiar with how Joseph’s calling incorporated a temporal atonement similar to the one that Moses provided for ancient Israel, I would strongly recommend the following article.
Without this understanding, you may be deceived by a false prophet who is taking upon himself the awesome task of showing people how to redeem Zion. Such an imposter would obviously reject the possibility the Joseph could return to complete his assignment.
Furthermore, you may reject the disruptive claims of the servant that has been marred and then healed when he returns to “declare” the truth. Indeed, there will be people who will not believe what he has to tell them.
9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
11 Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.
A marred servant that has been healed is about to be among us. If you do not believe the words of Christ that he shall declare, you will be cut off from among the people.
In our next segment we will review the secret revelation received at Zion’s Camp, which proves that it is Joseph and his brethren that will return and gather up the strength of God’s house to form the army of Israel that will redeem Zion..
Great and terrible things are about to happen
Are you watching?