askandanswer

Comparisons between Jesus and Joseph

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Given the discussion happening in another thread about comparisons between Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, this seems like an opportune time to ask a question that’s been on my mind for a little while. In Doctrine and Covenants 122: 8 the Lord basically asks Joseph Smith a question that invites him to compare himself with Jesus.

Doctrine and Covenants 122:8  The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?

To me, this means either that the Lord thought that Joseph Smith was comparable to the Lord, ie, an apples for apples comparison or that it is a meaningless question, ie, an apples to oranges comparison. Both of these possibilities seem a little odd to me. What are your thoughts?

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1 minute ago, askandanswer said:

Given the discussion happening in another thread about comparisons between Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, this seems like an opportune time to ask a question that’s been on my mind for a little while. In Doctrine and Covenants 122: 8 the Lord basically asks Joseph Smith a question that invites him to compare himself with Jesus.

Doctrine and Covenants 122:8  The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?

To me, this means either that the Lord thought that Joseph Smith was comparable to the Lord, ie, an apples for apples comparison or that it is a meaningless question, ie, an apples to oranges comparison. Both of these possibilities seem a little odd to me. What are your thoughts?

It's a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious: No, of course not. It's a way of saying, "Look, this is obvious. Duh."

I think it's interesting to ask what exactly the Lord was pointing out as being so obvious. There are at least a couple of ways to take this statement. The way that makes the most sense to me is, "You haven't yet approached even Job-level suffering. Jesus suffered far more. You are much less than Jesus, so your suffering won't approach his (mine). So your suffering is finite both in intensity and in duration. Don't take your suffering quite so seriously."

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13 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

Given the discussion happening in another thread about comparisons between Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, this seems like an opportune time to ask a question that’s been on my mind for a little while. In Doctrine and Covenants 122: 8 the Lord basically asks Joseph Smith a question that invites him to compare himself with Jesus.

Doctrine and Covenants 122:8  The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?

To me, this means either that the Lord thought that Joseph Smith was comparable to the Lord, ie, an apples for apples comparison or that it is a meaningless question, ie, an apples to oranges comparison. Both of these possibilities seem a little odd to me. What are your thoughts?

It depends on what you mean by comparison. Here the Lord is making sure Joseph remembers that even the Lord, the greatest of God's children, had to pass through pain and suffering and Joseph is not greater than the Lord so of course Joseph will too. This was not intended to put Joseph on any kind of equal footing with the Lord, it's just the Lord attempting to make a point with Joseph.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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44 minutes ago, askandanswer said:

Given the discussion happening in another thread about comparisons between Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, this seems like an opportune time to ask a question that’s been on my mind for a little while. In Doctrine and Covenants 122: 8 the Lord basically asks Joseph Smith a question that invites him to compare himself with Jesus.

Doctrine and Covenants 122:8  The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?

To me, this means either that the Lord thought that Joseph Smith was comparable to the Lord, ie, an apples for apples comparison or that it is a meaningless question, ie, an apples to oranges comparison. Both of these possibilities seem a little odd to me. What are your thoughts?

 

39 minutes ago, Vort said:

It's a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious: No, of course not. It's a way of saying, "Look, this is obvious. Duh."

I think it's interesting to ask what exactly the Lord was pointing out as being so obvious. There are at least a couple of ways to take this statement. The way that makes the most sense to me is, "You haven't yet approached even Job-level suffering. Jesus suffered far more. You are much less than Jesus, so your suffering won't approach his (mine). So your suffering is finite both in intensity and in duration. Don't take your suffering quite so seriously."

 

This is not an "invitation to compare himself to Jesus".  And not only is this a rhetorical question, it's a rebuke, in my humble opinion, if ever one should think such suffering is too much.  But then, I tend to think a lot of D&C is God taking turns rebuking and encouraging Joseph Smith.

Edited by anatess2

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2 hours ago, askandanswer said:

Given the discussion happening in another thread about comparisons between Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, this seems like an opportune time to ask a question that’s been on my mind for a little while. In Doctrine and Covenants 122: 8 the Lord basically asks Joseph Smith a question that invites him to compare himself with Jesus.

Doctrine and Covenants 122:8  The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?

To me, this means either that the Lord thought that Joseph Smith was comparable to the Lord, ie, an apples for apples comparison or that it is a meaningless question, ie, an apples to oranges comparison. Both of these possibilities seem a little odd to me. What are your thoughts?

Joseph was having struggles and complaining...their time in Liberty jail was brutal. The Lord told him "The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?" so that Joseph would realize that the Lord understood his struggles perfectly...and that he had been through much worse than Joseph would ever endure. It was both a gentle reassurance as well as a gentle rebuke. In no way was Joseph ever comparable to the Savior...definitely Apples to Oranges...or more like Grapes to Watermelons. :)

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This thread - I believe is trying to make a point that I have been trying to make for a very long time.  If we look at any historical figure - there is not comparison of the individual to anything we know of Jesus Christ, his teachings and the things he did.  Historically Jesus and what he did for mankind stand unique in the annals of history.  An yet in scripture there are many characters that are presented in scripture as a "Type" and "Shadow" of Christ.  This is because scriptures are not historical documents - scriptures are literary text that are given not as an accurate record of the past but as a prophetic key to the future.

We live in a day and age where Joseph Smith Jr. is known and seen within the historical framework in which he lived.  We know the man Joseph Smith as a person as well as we know him as a prophet.  We know Joseph Smith as the Husband of Emma and the father of children.  We know Joseph as a young man and earned a living in the American frontier communities.   Do we have such knowledge of Biblical Apostles or Prophets.  Not really - we know Peter was a fisherman and we could make up stories of Peter fishing in Galilee - but such stories would not be actual history.  

Jesus spoke of prophets rejected in the cities and places where they grew up.  Why is that?  Because we do not see Prophets as historical individuals - we see them and their missions outside of history.  The very title of prophet denotes their connection not to history but to the future.  And you know what - I would wager a large sum of valuable things that if it were possible to transport back in time to the date and place and meet Jesus face to face - most Christians would be disappointed and walk away and no longer follow him - because in seeing the man Jesus; they would be unable to recognize the G-d Messiah that he was and still is.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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It was both to point out that the Lord is greater than all of us, even in his mortal ministry he was perfect, which none of us are.  Even as a perfect being he had to suffer more than any other has previously as he paid for our sins and transgressions. 

Thus, it is both that Joseph Smith is NOT greater than the Lord and has not suffered as greatly as the Lord suffered.  In both categories, Joseph still had a far ways to go.  Putting it in that perspective made it seem that the struggles Joseph Smith and Co. were going through were things that the Lord and heaven allowed to occur, even to the greatest of all and in far greater severity.

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