In a previous Insight, we discussed resemblances in vocabulary and phrasing between the prophetic call of Enoch in the Book of Moses and the account of Jesus’ baptism in the Gospels. We described evidence for the possibility that the authors of the New Testament gospels drew on older ideas present in ancient literature connected to the figure of Enoch when they composed their accounts. And we suggested some possible reasons that biblical language is used so often in modern scripture, as many Latter-day Saint scholars have already discussed. For example, Royal Skousen has written that the Book of Mormon, like virtually every translation and revelation of Joseph Smith, constitutes a “complex blending into the text of phraseology from all over the King James Bible.”
In the present article and the next one, we will discuss two similar passages that have troubled some Book of Moses readers:
- References to the name and titles of Jesus Christ (Moses 6:57)
- Similarities to 1 John 5:5–8 in the mention of water, spirit, and blood (Moses 6:58–60).
References to the Name and Titles of Jesus Christ
In Moses 6:57 we read:
Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, which shall come
Apart from any concerns about similarity of vocabulary and phrasing between Latter-day Saint scripture and the Book of Moses, some readers are surprised to encounter references to the name, titles, and aspects of the mission of Jesus Christ in prophecies of Latter-day Saint scripture that are much more detailed and explicit than one finds in the Old Testament. Although Christians are divided on the issue of how much Old Testament peoples and prophets knew about Jesus Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the belief that the details of the plan of salvation, including the life and mission of Jesus Christ, were known to prophets from Adam onward. Non-Latter-day Saint scholar Margaret Barker believes similarly and has written:
The original temple tradition was that Yahweh, the Lord, was the Son of God Most High, and present on earth as the Messiah. This means that the older religion in Israel would have taught about the Messiah. Thus finding Christ in the Old Testament is exactly what we should expect, though obscured by incorrect readings of the scriptures. This is, I suggest, is one aspect of the restoration of “the plain and precious things, which have been taken away from them” [that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon]. The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Christ of the Book of Mormon.
While more research is needed to evaluate possible affinities between references to Jesus Christ in modern scripture and sources inside and outside the Bible, we offer the following examples from ancient Enoch literature for analysis.
In this respect, the Book of Parables, one of five relatively disjointed sections of 1 Enoch, has been a very fruitful source. Although we generally agree with the conclusion of some scholars that “the literary connections between Moses 6–8 and 1 Enoch are … very loose, and more time and attention should be placed elsewhere,” there are some exceptions to this rule, most notably within the Book of Parables. Significantly, according to James Charlesworth—one of the preeminent contemporary scholars of Jewish pseudepigrapha—the messianic passages in the Book of Parables “seem to be Jewish but contemporaneous with the origins of Christianity. … [The relevant] verses contain neither Jewish polemic against Christian kerygmatic Christology nor peculiarly Christian expressions and ideas.” Thus, these passages are ideal witnesses of the kinds of Jewish messianic traditions found in Moses 6:57 that cannot be traced exclusively to Christian influences.
We will now review the four interlinked titles of Moses 6:57 in light of these traditions. While “most of the pseudepigrapha do not contain … technical terms [for the Messiah],” let alone equivalents or analogues for the other titles listed in the Book of Moses, the 1 Enoch Book of Parables contains material relevant to each of them:
- Only Begotten. The use of the term “only begotten” has a long history in Jewish tradition. The story of the “binding” of Isaac (the Akedah) in the Hebrew version of Genesis 22 describes Isaac’s relationship to Abraham with the masculine form of the substantive adjective yāḥîd (yĕḥîdekā = “thine only [son],” Genesis 22:2, 12, 16, KJV). The feminine form of the same substantive adjective yĕḥîdâ occurs in Judges 11:34 as a description of Jephthah’s only daughter. Importantly, the corresponding Greek term used to translate yĕḥîdâ in the Septuagint Greek (LXX) version of the Jephthah story is monogenēs (“only begotten”). More significantly, monogenēs is used in the Greek version of Psalm 22:21, a psalm widely understood as having reference to Jesus among early Christians. Greek monogenēs is the term used throughout the New Testament to describe Jesus Christ as God’s “only begotten.” For example, the author of Hebrews explicitly uses monogenēs of Isaac in characterizing him as a type of Jesus.
Further witnessing the wide use of this term, within the writings of the Jewish scholar Philo Judaeus the terms “only begotten” and “firstborn” (often treated as synonyms) were closely identified with Moses in ancient Jewish tradition. This is because Moses is seen as the preeminent living embodiment of the divine Logos, the “word” of God’s power. Going further, Samuel Zinner sees Philo as inferring that Moses, the Law-giving Word becomes a “nursing-father,” to others, specifically including the righteous patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are likewise born of God.
Consistent with the spirit of this idea, New Testament authors writing from similar perspectives used the term “first-born” in the Hebrews 12:23 expression “church of the first-born.” In this context, “first-born” seems to have been interpreted as applying not only to Christ, but also to redeemed mortals who are “entitled [by birthright] to the … privileges of first-born sons,” specifically the right to receive “all that [the] Father hath.” Thus, in the conception of New Testament theology, we can say that God made Christ “the firstborn among many brethren,” each one having been “conformed to the image of his son.”
In summary, threads related to the special status and sacrificial role of the “first-born” and “only begotten” son as applied to Old Testament figures such as Moses, to Christ Himself, and eventually to the disciples of Jesus Christ and are rooted in concepts that go back significantly beyond the New Testament. The key to the meaning of this concept in Moses 6:57 is found in the immediately preceding mention of God as the “Man of Holiness” and the pronoun in the term “his Only Begotten.” As Frederick Borsch has argued at length, the concept of God as “the Man” of whom Enoch eventually becomes a filial “counterpart” is at the very heart of the Book of Parables, as further explained in the discussion of the title “Son of Man” immediately below.
- Son of Man. In hearing the name-title “Son of Man,” Jews in the first century CE would have thought of texts in the books of Daniel and Enoch. Daniel 7:13–14 records the eschatological vision of Daniel: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Significantly, the title “Son of Man,” which is even more prominent in the Book of Parables  than in Daniel, also appears in marked density throughout Enoch’s grand vision in the Book of Moses. In addition, and even more remarkably, the related titles “Chosen One,” “Anointed One,” and “Righteous One” are featured in both the Book of Moses and the Book of Parables. After considering the sometimes contentious debate among scholars about the single or multiple referent(s) of these titles and their relationship to other texts, Nickelsburg and VanderKam conclude that the author of the Book of Parables “saw the … traditional figures as having a single referent and applied the various designations and characteristics as seemed appropriate to him.” This is likewise true for the Book of Moses.
The fact that the reference in Moses 6:57 to the “Son of Man” occurs in immediate proximity to mentions of God the Father as the “Man of Holiness” and “his Only Begotten” highlights the close relationship between these three titles. Further generalizing analogous arguments above relating to “first-born” and “Only Begotten,” Borsch explains that the title “Son of Man” is also meant to be extended to an infinity of successors:
Since the son would ascend to become the Man and thus be the Man as the Son of Man, it is not hard to see … how and why the true heavenly one could be called the Son of Man. Logically, then, the new Son of Man [e.g., Enoch] should be called the Son of the Son of Man.
All this goes to demonstrate that the concept of the Son of Man as “a heavenly redeemer figure who stands in close relationship to the God of Israel is not a corruption of Jewish monotheism by Christianity, nor an invention of a Hellenistic or ‘Gentile’ Paul, but is an integral feature of Second Temple Judaism.” Speaking specifically of Jesus’ teachings on this subject, Charlesworth likewise affirms that:
all three classes of Jesus’ Son of Man sayings—those that depict the Son of Man’s authority, future coming, and present suffering—were not invented by the Church. … Beyond that certainty it is difficult to proceed further; yet, it is conceivable that under the influence of the Enoch traditions, perhaps indirectly through oral traditions, Jesus used the term Son of Man to stress his own charismatic authority that amazed his contemporaries.
- Jesus Christ. The name-title “Jesus Christ,” of course, derives directly from its Greek New Testament equivalent, which might be more clearly translated for modern English-speakers as “Joshua (Yeshua) the Messiah,” the term “Messiah,” referring to one who is anointed by God.
Recalling the applications of the terms “first-born” and “only begotten” to Moses discussed above, we note Raphael Patai’s statement that: “Rarely is a myth as perfectly prefigured in a tradition many centuries older as is the Jewish Messiah myth in the life of Moses.” However, Patai’s useful collection of texts relating to the Jewish concept of “messiah” amply shows how far beyond its pre-figuring in Moses this title extends, demonstrating its breathtaking scope and broad application since early biblical times.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls and the rabbinic literature, references to the Messiah as “the future ideal Davidic king” are far more prevalent than in any other era. Importantly, with respect to the Book of Parables and “in contrast to 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra,” Charlesworth writes that “‘the Messiah’ [= Anointed One] is portrayed as the terrestrial and human messianic king who shall perfectly embody all the dreams attributed to the kings of Israel’s past.” In addition to the symbolic association of this figure with the Davidic monarchy,” Shirley Lucass reminds us that the king’s cultic function was linked, as in Hebrews 7, to the earlier “line of Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem/Jerusalem.” Significantly, and consistent with the teachings of Christianity, Charlesworth notes “numerous passages” in the pseudepigrapha in which the Messiah ultimately conquers Israel’s enemies “in a nonmilitary supernatural fashion”—e.g., “with the word of his mouth.”
Consistent both with the teachings of Moses 6:57 and Nickelsburg and Vanderkam’s conclusions that the various titles mentioned in the Book of Parables refer to a single individual, James Waddell argued not only that the “five specific epithets … refer to the same messiah figure” but also that the “author(s) of the [book] understood the messiah figure to be distinct from the divine figure who is the one God.”
As to the use of the name-title “Jesus Christ” as used in Moses 6:57, there are precedents for advance revelation of specific names of later-born individuals — including the name “Jesus Christ.” Alternatively, it does not seem impossible that the name was introduced into the text as a type of gloss, intended to remove any doubt for latter-day readers about the identity of this figure. Moreover, it may be that the authority of an ancient manuscript that refers to Jesus Christ with words analogous to the Hebrew equivalent Yeshua Ha Mashiaḥ (yēšûaʿ hammāšîaḥ) sits behind Moses 6-7. Each of these options work against any argument that the use of the name or title “Jesus Christ” in Moses 6 can be seen only as an anachronism.
Charlesworth concurs with this understanding of the occurrence of singularly Christian terms, titles, and descriptions in Latter-day Saint scripture, arguing that if some passages “look peculiarly Christian,” this fact need not “vitiate the claim that they were written before” the coming of Christ.” Specifically referring to the Book of Mormon, he notes that Latter-day Saints acknowledge that it “could have been expanded on at least two occasions that postdate the life of Jesus of Nazareth”: once as part of Mormon’s abridgment and again at the time it was translated in the nineteenth century by Joseph Smith. “The recognition that the Book of Mormon has been edited on more than one occasion would certainly explain why certain of the messianic passages appear to be Christian compositions.”
Similar possibilities present themselves with the Book of Moses. Although much less is known about its source texts and ancient redaction history, it was eventually translated into English by Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century. Thus, there is nothing barring it from simultaneously containing deeply ancient content and adaptations of that content for modern audiences.
- Righteous Judge. Remarkably, the single specific description of the role of the Son of Man given in Moses 6:57 as a “righteous Judge” is also highly characteristic of the Book of Parables, where the primary role of the Son of Man is also that of a judge. Reviewing the relevant Book of Parables passages, Nickelsburg and VanderKam conclude: “If the central message of the Parables is the coming of the final judgment, the Son of Man/Chosen One takes center stage as the agent of this judgment.” Note also that the title “righteous judge” in the broader context of the Joseph Smith Translation anticipates Melchizedek, the “King of Righteousness,” and the typological connections to Jesus Christ evident in JST Genesis 14:25–40.
In summary, it is significant that, outside the Old Testament, the Enoch pseudepigrapha are arguably the pre-Christian documents of Jewish origin that best prefigure the range of Christological concepts and titles found in the New Testament. Thus, to readers of latter-day scripture it should not be surprising that Christological themes and concepts are also present in the Book of Moses account of Enoch. Although the arguments we have presented above do not exhaust the questions that might be raised about references to the name and titles of Jesus Christ in the Book of Moses, we think these preliminary findings merit careful investigation rather than hasty dismissal. The cluster of analogous titles found in the Book of Moses and in extant Enoch pseudepigrapha deserve attention.
The confluences and divergences of Jewish and Christian beliefs about the Messiah have sometimes led to contentious misunderstandings. In this regard, Lucass provides helpful perspective:
If Jesus’ first coming is accepted as the inauguration of the messianic era (based on the acceptance that his messiahship was authentically Jewish …), and if at his second coming all of the expected conditions of the Age to Come were to prevail, then there is nothing in this proposition that would jeopardize the integrity of Judaism as it now stands. Effectively, therefore, this invalidates the statement of [Jacob Neusner: “Is Jesus the Christ? If so, then Judaism falls. If not, then Christianity fails.” This conception of the issue allows] a move away from the assertion and denial that has plagued dialogue from the “parting of the ways” (ca. 70 CE), opening up fresh possibilities and a new foundation on which dialogue can be built.
Admittedly, however plausible this may be, it cannot wipe out 2,000 years of persecution, mistrust, and hatred. Even so, if [this] premise … is accepted—namely, that the messiahship of Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament can be rooted in antecedent Jewish tradition—then I believe that … this will provide a bridge to dialogue that has hitherto not existed.
This article is adapted from Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “Truth and Beauty in the Book of Moses.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 10 November 2018, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. Temple on Mount Zion 5, in preparation. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, www.templethemes.net.
Barker, Margaret. “Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion.” BYU Studies (Special Issue: The Worlds of Joseph Smith: A Bicentennial Conference at the Library of Congress) 44, no. 4 (2005): 69-82. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol44/iss4/9. (accessed November 22, 2018).
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014, pp. 117–118.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. “Truth and Beauty in the Book of Moses.” In Proceedings of the Fourth Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 10 November 2018, edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. Temple on Mount Zion 5, in preparation. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, www.templethemes.net.
Charlesworth, James H. “Messianism in the pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon.” In Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, Papers Delivered at the Religious Studies Center Symposium, Brigham Young University, March 10-11, 1978, edited by Truman G. Madsen. Religious Studies Monograph Series 4, 99-137. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1978.
Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse-by-Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2005, pp. 103-104.
Lucass, Shirley. The Concept of the Messiah in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Library of Second Temple Studies 78, ed. Lester L. Grabbe. London, England: T&T Clark, 2011. Reprint, London, England, Bloomsbury, 2013.
Nibley, Hugh W. 1986. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), Brigham Young University, 2004, pp. 279.
Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam, eds. 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 37-82. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012, pp. 58-84, 113-123.
Barker, Margaret. "Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion." BYU Studies (Special Issue: The Worlds of Joseph Smith: A Bicentennial Conference at the Library of Congress) 44, no. 4 (2005): 69-82. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol44/iss4/9. (accessed November 22, 2018).
Bauckham, Richard. "The ‘Most High’ God and the nature of early Jewish monotheism." In Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children: Christology and Community in Early Judaism and Christianity. Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado and Alan F. Segal, edited by David B. Capes, April D. DeConick, Helen K. Bond and Troy A. Miller, 39-53. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007.
Ben Tov, Yakov. 2017. The Book of Enoch, the Book of Moses, and the Question of Availability. In Faith-Promoting Rumor. https://faithpromotingrumor.com/2017/09/24/the-book-of-enoch-the-book-of-moses-and-the-question-of-availability/. Note that this blog post has since been removed without explanation, but was not disavowed by the author and may be accessed currently at https://web.archive.org/web/20181217192041/https://faithpromotingrumor.com/2017/09/24/the-book-of-enoch-thebook-of-moses-and-the-question-of-availability/. (accessed November 22, 2018). It seems that the archive.org version was removed, but the original article can now be found at: https://cdn.interpreterfoundation.org/ifpdf/Ben+Tov-Availability+of+1+Enoch%2C+Cirillo+error-The+Book+of+Enoch%2C+the+Book+of+Moses%2C+and+the+Question+of+Availability+%E2%80%93+FAITH-PROMOTING+RUMOR.pdf.
Borsch, Frederick H. 1970. The Christian and Gnostic Son of Man. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007.
Borsch, Frederick Houk. The Son of Man in Myth and History. The New Testament Library, ed. Alan Richardson, C. F. D. Moule, C. F. Evans and Floyd V. Filson. Philadelphia, PA: SCM-Westminster Press, 1967.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Ronan J. Head. "The investiture panel at Mari and rituals of divine kingship in the ancient Near East." Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 4 (2012): 1-42. www.templethemes.net.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M. Creation, Fall, and the Story of Adam and Eve. 2014 Updated ed. In God’s Image and Likeness 1. Salt Lake City, UT: Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and David J. Larsen. Enoch, Noah, and the Tower of Babel. In God’s Image and Likeness 2. Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014. www.templethemes.net.
Bradshaw, Jeffrey M., and Matthew L. Bowen. "“By the Blood Ye Are Sanctified”: The Symbolic, Salvific, Interrelated, Additive, Retrospective, and Anticipatory Nature of the Ordinances of Spiritual Rebirth in John 3 and Moses 6." In Sacred Time, Sacred Space, and Sacred Meaning (Proceedings of the Third Interpreter Foundation Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference, 5 November 2016), edited by Stephen D. Ricks and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw. The Temple on Mount Zion 4, 43-237. Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2020. www.templethemes.net.
Brown, S. Kent. "Man and Son of Man: Issues of theology and Christology." In The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations from God, edited by H. Donl Peterson and Charles D. Tate, Jr., 57-72. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1989.
Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, A Cultural Biography of Mormonism’s Founder. New York City, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
Casey, Maurice. The Solution to the ‘Son of Man’ Problem. London, England: T&T Clark, 2009.
Charlesworth, James H. "Messianism in the pseudepigrapha and the Book of Mormon." In Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, Papers Delivered at the Religious Studies Center Symposium, Brigham Young University, March 10-11, 1978, edited by Truman G. Madsen. Religious Studies Monograph Series 4, 99-137. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1978.
———. Jesus Within Judaism: New Light from Exicint Archaeological Discoveries. New York City, NY: Doubleday, 1988.
Chaviv, Yaakov ibn. 1516. Ein Yaakov: The Ethical and Inspirational Teachings of the Talmud. Lanham, MI: Jason Aronson / Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, 1999.
Gardner, Brant A. Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary of the Book of Mormon. 6 vols. Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007.
Hatch, Trevan G. "Messiah ben Joseph: Jewish traditions and legends of a latter-day restorer." In The Religious Education Student Symposium, 37-56. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2007.
Idel, Moshe. Messianic Mystics. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.
Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. 2 vols. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003.
Levenson, Jon D. Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1993.
Levine, Amy-Jill, and Marc Zvi Brettler, eds. The Jewish Annotated New Testament: New Revised Standard Version Bible Translation. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Lucass, Shirley. The Concept of the Messiah in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Library of Second Temple Studies 78, ed. Lester L. Grabbe. London, England: T&T Clark, 2011. Reprint, London, England, Bloomsbury, 2013.
Neusner, Jacob. Jews and Christians: The Myth of a Common Tradition. Binghamton, NY: Global Publications at SUNY Binghamton, 2001.
Nickelsburg, George W. E., ed. 1 Enoch 1: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 1-36; 81-108. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001.
———. Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003.
Nickelsburg, George W. E., and James C. VanderKam, eds. 1 Enoch 2: A Commentary on the Book of 1 Enoch, Chapters 37-82. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.
Oden, Robert A., Jr. 1987. The Bible without Theology: The Theological Tradition and Alternatives to It. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2000.
Patai, Raphael. The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1979.
Philo. b. 20 BCE. "On the unchangeableness of God (Quod Deus Immutabilis Sit)." In Philo, edited by F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker. 12 vols. Vol. 3. Translated by F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker. The Loeb Classical Library 247, ed. Jeffrey Henderson, 1-101. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1930.
———. b. 20 BCE. "On the Migration of Abraham (De migratione Abrahamo)." In The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, edited by C. D. Yonge. New Updated ed. Translated by C. D. Yonge, 253-75. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006.
Skousen, Royal. "The language of the original text of the Book of Mormon." BYU Studies Quarterly 57, no. 3 (2018): 81-110. https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/language-original-text-book-mormon. (accessed August 15, 2019).
Tvedtnes, John A. Joseph Smith: The Lord’s Anointed. In, Meridian. http://www.meridianmagazine.com/jsbicentennial/051223js.html. (accessed September 6, 2009).
Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament. New York City, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887.
Waddell, James A. A Comparative Study of the Enochic Son of Mon and the Pauline Kyrios. London, England: T&T Clark, 2011.
Woodworth, Jed L. "Extra-biblical Enoch texts in early American culture." In Archive of Restoration Culture: Summer Fellows’ Papers 1997-1999, edited by Richard Lyman Bushman, 185-93. Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History, 2000.
Wright, R. B. "Psalms of Solomon." In The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth. Vol. 2, 639-70. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1983.
Zinner, Samuel. Personal communication to Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, August 17, 2018.
The suggestion that Jesus is Yahweh, although ancient in itself, is beginning to be rediscovered and reprised. For Christianity, it presents no conflict of interest, even though it may initially cause surprise.
Commenting on relevant traditions in Judaism, Lucass writes (ibid., p. 192):
Philo introduced the idea of the Logos figure as an intermediary, whilst the Memra of the Targumim provides another example. This is also acknowledge by Idel (M. Idel, Messianic Mystics, p. 41):
In some instances, the Messiah has been conceived also as the representative of the divine in this world. The very fact that the phrase meshiaḥ Yhwh recurs in the sources shows that special connection between him and God. This nexus could sometimes be stronger and richer, as it later became in Christian theology and in the ecstatic Kabbalah and Sabbateanism, or less evidently, in some other cases in Jewish sources, though such a view is found also in the Rabbinic literature, where the Messiah is described as one of the three entities designated by the Tetragrammaton.
And church of the first-born which are written in heaven (καὶ ἐκκλησίᾳ πρωτοτόκων ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς). This forms a distinct clause; “and to the church,” etc. For ἐκκλησία assembly or church, see on Matthew 16:18; 1 Thessalonians 1:1. The “myriads” embrace not only angels, but redeemed men, enrolled as citizens of the heavenly commonwealth, and entitled to the rights and privileges of first-born sons. Πρωτότοκος first-born is applied mostly to Christ in New Testament. See Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, 18; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 1:5. Compare Hebrews 11:28, and L. 2:7. Properly applied to Christians by virtue of their union with Christ, “the first-born of all creation,” “the first-born from the dead,” as sharing his sonship and heirship. See Romans 8:14–17, 29. The word also points to Christians as the true Israel of God. The analogy is suggested with the first-born of Israel, to whom peculiar sanctity attached, and whose consecration to himself God enjoined (Exodus 13:1, 11–16); and with the further application of the term first-born to Israel as a people, Exodus 4:22. The way was thus prepared for its application to the Messiah. There seems, moreover, to be a clear reference to the case of Esau (ver. 16). Esau was the first-born of the twin sons of Isaac (Genesis 25:25). He sold his birthright (πρωτοτοκία), and thus forfeited the privilege of the first-born. The assembly to which Christian believers are introduced is composed of those who have not thus parted with their birthright, but have retained the privileges of the first-born. The phrase “church of the first-born” includes all who have possessed and retained their heavenly birthright, living or dead, of both dispensations: the whole Israel of God, although it is quite likely that the Christian church may have been most prominent in the writer’s thought.
Which are written in heaven (ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς). Ἀπογράφειν, only here and L. 2:1, 3, 5, means to write off or copy; to enter in a register the names, property, and income of men. Hence, ἀπογραφή an enrolment. See on L. 2:1, 2. Here, inscribed as members of the heavenly commonwealth; citizens of heaven; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8, etc. See for the image, Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1; L. 10:20.
“Son of Man” appears eighty-seven times in the New Testament, … it appears only once in the Book of Mormon, in spite of the many times that Joseph Smith used New Testament phrases or verses in his translations of the Book of Mormon. That single occurrence is a quotation from Isaiah 51:12 (2 Nephi 8:12). Why is this title never used? I believe that it is because Book of Mormon peoples never experience the Messiah as the “Son of Man,” or as a human. They experience him only as a God. They experience him only as a God—either as Yahweh in heaven, or as the resurrected and clearly more-than-man Messiah in Bountiful.
Similarly, “the apostle Paul never uses the term ‘son of man’ (the term would have been meaningless to his Gentile audience),” though “a number of Pauline texts indicate that he was aware of Synoptic traditions about the coming son of man preserved in both Mark 13 and Q (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17; cf. Mark 13:26–27; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; cf. Matthew 24:42–44 and Luke 12:37–40; cf. also 1 Thessalonians 5:3–17 with Luke 21:34–36). Moreover his references to Jesus’ function as judge in God’s behalf may well derive from this son of man tradition, although his operative title in these contexts is ‘Lord’” (G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Judaism, pp. 110–111. See, more generally, pp. 104–112).
[We are] reminded … of the king who is thought to ascend to the heavenly realms, falls down before his god, is raised up by the priest, calls out to the god and is proclaimed to be the counterpart and ancestor, that one who was before the Creation, he who can be thought now to have an existence in heaven, the first of kings, the Man, or (emphasizing the idea of a counterpart) the Son of Man. The earthly king mounts to the throne of his primeval (now heavenly) ancestor [i.e., the heavenly “Adam.” See J. M. Bradshaw, God’s Image 1, pp. 603–605] and becomes him, or, if you will, becomes his representative. The Son of Man, who is to be the king-Man, is now named and enthroned. … We would therefore conclude that in this conception of the Son of Man, whom Enoch becomes, aspects of the language and imagery from the ancient enthronement rites of the royal Man are given a new life. …
Originally the idea seems to have been that the true heavenly one was the Man, his counterpart being his son. Yet, since the son would ascend to become the Man and thus be the Man as the Son of Man, it is not hard to see, as we have pointed out earlier, how and why the true heavenly one could be called the Son of Man. Logically, then, the new Son of Man should be called the Son of the Son of Man, but few would bother with such a nicety in this context (though the later gnostics … appear to have taken up this aspect of the matter and to have spoken of a Man and a Son of Man and even a third in this sequence).
For a discussion of more recent research, briefly describing both critiques (M. Casey, Solution) and new extensions to Borsch’s arguments (J. A. Waddell, Comparative Study), see J. M. Bradshaw et al., God’s Image 2, pp. 190–191 n. M7-14. For related Latter-day Saint teachings relating to the terms “Ahman” and “Son Ahman” to refer to God and the Son of God (Jesus Christ), see ibid., p. 78 Commentary 6:57c. For an insightful essay that untangles some of the confusion about the role of Jesus Christ as both a Father and a Son, see B. A. Gardner, Second Witness, Excursus: The Nephite Understanding of God, pp. 214–222. On the weakening of this concept in some strands of Second Temple Judaism in the interests of preserving the idea of strict monotheism, see R. Bauckham, Most High God.
Both Isaiah 52:13–53:12 and Psalm 22 do reflect the role of the king/Anointed in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Servant figure of Isaiah being a “type” of the king whose whole closely resembled that of the king, a role which, in turn, was found to reflect that of the surrounding cultures, the practice of sacral kingship and the central role played out in the New Year festival. It was also demonstrated from the Psalms that at this festival the king was “abandoned” by Yahweh and his followers, that he underwent a form of cultic humiliation, followed by a ritual in which he battled with Yahweh/Israel’s enemies (physical and spiritual) in the form of the Chaos Waters. He subsequently “descended to the underworld,” was rescued by Yahweh (resurrected) and was enthroned, whereupon he became “Son of God”/Yahweh. A comparison with the New Testament revealed that each of these points is reflected in Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. Furthermore, Jesus’ role is referred to frequently in terms of the Servant’s role in Isaiah. …
Whilst it may be claimed that Rabbinic Judaism jettisoned the idea of a suffering messiah (although that fails to account for the Messiah ben Joseph and the Rabbinic doctrine of vicarious suffering as atonement, as well as the messianic interpretation of the Suffering Servant passage of Isaiah 52:13–53:12), it is no longer possible to claim that the messiahship of Jesus is “un-Jewish” because he suffered, died, and was resurrected. …
Peter’s message about Jesus … was not relayed as an innovation but as fulfillment of prophecy: “What God foretold by the mouth of the prophets that his Christ should suffer he thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18). …The important thing here is that Jewish disciples were demonstrating from the Hebrew scriptures to other Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, and that it was necessary for him to suffer, die, and rise from the dead (Acts 17:1).
While the foregoing ideas relating to kingship have been critiqued as excesses of myth-ritual concepts that were popular among some scholars in former decades, Robert Oden, among others, has outlined necessary qualifications whereby such excesses can give way to more balanced scholarship (R. A. Oden, Jr., Bible without Theology, pp. 64–70). For a comparative study of the ancient Near Eastern rituals of kingship and the Bible and their relevance for Latter-day Saint temple worship, see J. M. Bradshaw et al., Investiture Panel.