Randy Hayes, a professor of Religion at Brigham Young University-Idaho, was studying Jewish history and learned of a Jewish prophetic tradition recounting one Joseph ben Joseph (Joseph, son of Joseph) who would come and prepare the way for the Messiah. In the 15th century, a man named Shabbetai Zevi claimed to be the Messiah and had quite a following. One rabbi, Nehemiah Hacohen, didn’t accept this claim and confronted him, saying, “You cannot be the Messiah, for we know that Joseph ben Joseph must come first before the Messiah comes; and he must be killed and then the Messiah will come.”
Soon after learning of this traditional story, Randy was on a flight from Jerusalem with 15 of his BYU Study Abroad students. His seatmate was a rabbi. Randy asked him about the story of Joseph ben Joseph and the rabbi was astonished that Randy, a Mormon, would know about that (they had, of course, been talking religion.) Randy hesitated a moment and then it was like a light going on for the rabbi, “Wait a minute! You think that Joseph Smith is Joseph ben Joseph…!”
I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and the Church he established is truly the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth today, with all the ordinances, covenants doctrines and teachings that will help us to know and understand the true nature of God and be able to return to Him after this life. In restoring Christ’s Church in the latter-days, Joseph Smith (son of Joseph Smith, Sr.) fulfills this rabbinic prophecy of preparing the way for the Messiah’s (Second) Coming.
What do you know about Joseph Smith?
For further reading:
https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/2-ne/3?lang=eng [prophecy of Joseph, son of Joseph in the Book of Mormon]
[Randy Hayes webcast]
More about Randy Hayes http://byuiscroll.org/professor-called-mission-president/