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And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. —Isaiah 11:1 ; 2 Nephi 21 : 1
Isaiah 11:1 is confusing to many scholars. The identities of the “Rod,” “Stem,” “Branch,” and “Roots” are highly speculative. Some LDS apostates such as Francis M. Darter incorrectly believe that the root of Jesse was John the Revelator. Rev. J. H. Allen quotes Isaiah that “He (God) shall set up an ensign” and that this means the “root of Jesse.”
Most LDS scholars believe that Joseph Smith Jr. is both the rod and the root of Jesse.36 Another smaller group believes that Joseph Smith is the rod but not the root.
Finally there is a group that thinks that the rod (verse 4) is a direct ancestor of the root (verse 6), who is Joseph Smith. In Old Testament and Near Eastern texts, “root” is often used to mean “offspring,” not “ancestor.” Sidney B. Sperry correctly believes that the “root of Jesse” spoken of in Doctrine and Covenants 113:5–6 was a direct reference to Joseph Smith Jr.
Given as revelation in March 1838, Doctrine and Covenants 113:5–6 explains that the “root of Jesse” mentioned in Isaiah 11:10 would be a specific descendant of Jesse (Judah) and Joseph (Ephraim). Historically all Church general authorities and most LDS scholars clearly state that the “root of Jesse” has reference to Joseph Smith Jr. himself.In this sense, the Branch, or Church, grew out of Joseph’s restoration of the gospel in 1830:
Behold, thus saith the Lord, it [the root of Jesse] is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, upon whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.”
- D&C 113:6
Joseph Smith specifically restored the “keys of the kingdom” in the last days (D&C 27:12–13; 81:2; 97:14; 115:19; 128:20). Thus it is certain that the “root of Jesse” is Joseph Smith Jr.
The Inspired Version (JST) of the Bible notes that through the loins of Joseph a righteous branch would arise. Joseph of Egypt speaks of an event in the last days and expressly identifies Joseph Smith Jr.:
And it shall come to pass that they shall be scattered again; and a branch shall be broken off, and shall be carried into a far country; nevertheless they shall be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, when the Messiah cometh; for he shall be made manifest unto them in the latter days.
—JST Genesis 50:25 (See also v. 33)57
Thus we see Joseph Smith’s lineage as the “root of Jesse,” allowed for him to receive the Holy Grail, the priesthood, the ordinances, the revelations, and the genealogy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grew as a branch out of this root and its faithful members are its seed. In summation we may say the following:
• Stem is Jesus Christ
• Rod is son of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene
• Root is Joseph Smith Jr.
• Branch is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
** The following was an excerpt from the book Dynasty of the Holy Grail