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My servant Joseph still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, and he shall stand in due time on the earth, in the flesh [resurrected body], and fulfill that to which he is appointed.
—Parley P. Pratt
Eschatologically (relating to the End Times), there is little in Mormon theology dealing with Joseph Smith’s imminent return to establish a literal Zion. The Prophet’s unique role as Head of this Dispensation of the Fulness of Times did not end with his death in 1844. Many promises which were associated with his mission, were not accomplished during his mortality.
According to Brigham Young, it was through Joseph Smith Jr., that this day would come: “He will hold the keys: he will rule, govern, and control all things in the spiritual world pertaining to this Dispensation until he has finished his work.”
But what do we know of his further work on this side of the veil? What about his resurrected ministry and second coming?
It was incorrectly believed by some, such as Wilford Woodruff, that Joseph Smith would return in 1890 and immediately lead the Church and kingdom in the days preceding Jesus Christ’s glorious second coming. While this did not come to pass at that time, certainly Joseph will be resurrected at some time. But by whom?
One Jewish tradition has Elijah restoring Messiah ben Joseph to life. The resurrected Prophet Joseph will play a major role in the “winding-up scene” of the last days. This would help usher in the Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ. Orson Pratt has noted:
God’s arm is not shortened that he cannot raise him [Joseph Smith] up even from the tomb. We are living in the dispensation of the resurrection, and there may be some who will wake from their tombs for certain purposes and to bring to pass certain transactions on the earth decreed by the Great Jehovah; and if the Lord sees proper to bring forth that man [Joseph] just before the winding up scene to lead forth the army of Israel, he will do so.
Was Joseph Smith cut off from mortality early to consummate and validate his mission? Joseph’s mission in the spirit world was of utmost importance, “and if on the other side of the veil I would still be working with you, and with a power greatly increased, to roll on this kingdom.” Did he receive the promise that nothing would be lost to him, but that a future work would be performed, as a resurrected being? It might seem so. Certainly the promises and blessings made to him must come true in one fashion or another.
We fully believe that a resurrected Jesus and Joseph will return one day and set the principle of priesthood adoption straight. Therefore as President Woodruff said, “When you get to the end, let the last man be adopted to Joseph Smith, who stands at the head of the dispensation.”
Joseph Smith is the final link in the last Dispensation. Brother Joseph is the most literal and direct descendant of Jesus on the Earth at the time of the Restoration. Because he has so much to do with our salvation, pay heed to Doctrine and Covenants 6:18: “Therefore be diligent; stand by my servant Joseph, faithfully, in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be for the word’s sake.” Be careful not to offend him.
He is a scion of the office of Saviors upon Mount Zion. Brigham Young said as much: “The world knows nothing of the office of saviors upon Mount Zion. If Joseph Smith is not the man on whom the Keys of the Kingdom rest, I would not give the ashes of a rye straw for our Salvation.”
As Christ’s most worthy descendant, Joseph Smith will appropriately come in the end time a second time as a resurrected being. This will precede the second coming of his forefather, exemplar and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the head. These Grail Kings, with others of the chosen lineage, shall guide us to the verdant Millennium and then to our salvation.
** The following was an excerpt from the book Dynasty of the Holy Grail