Question: I recently read an article on an LDS Internet site that viciously vilified Brother Gileadi. It stated that the servant in the book of Isaiah is Jesus Christ and that Brother Gileadi is wrong about the latter-day David. Joseph Smith, the article claimed, said this David or servant is Jesus Christ. What is Brother Gileadi’s response to these claims?
Answer: The prophet Joseph Smith never claimed that the latter-day David is Jesus Christ. On the contrary, he said, “The throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him [David] and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 339.) If his name is David, therefore, that can’t be the Savior himself, whose name is Jesus. Joseph Smith additionally said or edited the following: “The earth will be under the control of Christ and the glorified saints, and Christ will virtually reign over the whole earth, and this David will be subject to him.” (Times and Seasons, 2. 15. 1842, p. 690.)
Unfortunately, attacks on the truths of God in Isaiah’s prophecies and elsewhere will increase as we approach the coming of the Lord. We see a similar phenomenon in the political arena of God’s people, which Isaiah always portrays as on a parallel with the religious. Didn’t Jesus, speaking of the time before his coming, say, “Then shall many . . . betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matthew 24:10)? And didn’t Isaiah predict that “all who watch for iniquity shall be cut off, those who at a word adjudge a man to be guilty.” (Isaiah 29:20–21)? That is, they watch for iniquity in others, not in themselves; and on mere hearsay they condemn others.
It is generally those who have not searched the words of Isaiah that vilify those who do. More especially is this so on the subject of an end-time servant or David. Being “hidden” from the world until his mission begins, he is appointed as a “light to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:6; 49:1–2, 6). His mission is to the world at large from the start—to “nations” and “isles” (Isaiah 42:1, 4; 49:1)—to prepare them for Jesus’ coming. Jesus’ mission, on the other hand, is to the house of Israel, not the Gentiles: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24), whom the scriptures define as the Jews, Ten Tribes, and descendants of Lehi.
Jesus, moreover, is never spoken of in the scriptures as a “servant” because he is Israel’s God himself. Speaking as Israel’s God in 3 Nephi 21:10 about his “servant” in Isaiah 52:10–12, for example, Jesus is talking of someone other than himself. Undaunted by such clarity, our surface scholars then respond that that servant must be Joseph Smith—even in the face of Isaiah’s being an end-time prophecy, not one about the time of the prophet Joseph Smith. Hence the divide widens between the sincere seekers of truth and the woke religionists of today who seem ready and willing to throw them under the bus and then washing their hands of it as did Pilate.