The following websites contain the works of Avraham Gileadi Ph.D. on the Book of Isaiah: — An interactive website on the prophecy of Isaiah explaining how literary features conceal and reveal its apocalyptic message. — A website on the prophecy of Isaiah featuring webinars and audio and audio-visual aids that teach Isaiah’s apocalyptic message.

Sowing Confusion about God’s Endtime Servant

Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

Having analyzed prophecies that distinguish between spiritual and temporal messianic roles, I wrote several books in the 1980s that mention a latter-day servant of God named David. Before that, the only person I knew of who had published anything on this subject was Duane Crowther in his book, Prophecy: Key to the Future. That book seemed to ruffle no feathers at the time as there existed a general consensus in the church that a person named David would precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and perform a great work among the Jews or house of Israel.

When President Ezra Taft Benson personally phoned to request a video I had done on analyzing the Book of Isaiah, it too received no negative response. All that changed when I published my second book with Deseret Book, The Last Days: Types and Shadows from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, which also mentions a latter-day David. So did my first book with Deseret Book, The Book of Isaiah: A New Translation with Interpretive Keys from the Book of Mormon. As I was never asked to change their content, both books are still in print with Hebron Books.

Although The Last Days: Types and Shadows from the Bible and the Book of Mormon was fully documented and reviewed, with a Foreword by Hugh Nibley, when it became the top seller in the LDS market within two months, it was pulled from the shelves. Because a well-known General Authority who was not the president of the church had called the doctrine of a latter-day David a “heresy,” the church’s academic arm followed suit, and publishing books on that subject became sufficient reason for excommunication from the church on the grounds of apostasy.

Books I published later, such as The Literary Message of Isaiah—the fruits of ten years of post-doctoral analysis of Isaiah’s prophecy—as well as derivative works, such as Isaiah Decoded—resulted in the idea of an endtime servant of God named David growing in readers’ awareness as being truly based on messianic prophecies of a temporal nature. Those prophecies deal with Israel’s spiritual and physical restoration that precedes the coming of Jehovah/Jesus to reign on the earth, involving Israel’s gathering to Zion and building of the temple from which he reigns.

The fact that God’s servant who restores Israel’s natural lineages—the Jews, Israel’s Ten Tribes, and the Lamanites—has been “hidden” from the world (cf. Isaiah 49:1–3) didn’t help my efforts of making the idea of such a person better known. However, because God acts only when his people exercise faith (cf. Moroni 7:21–37), at least some among them would need to exercise faith that such a person as God’s servant would come. Even at his first coming, for example, Jesus was anticipated by people who exercised faith that he would come (Luke 2: 25–38).

This isn’t to say that God’s endtime servant has been the central focus of my publications. That focus has been Israel’s God Jehovah, his earthly mission as the suffering person of Isaiah 53:1–10, and his coming in glory, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy that Jehovah would reign as the earth’s millennial King of Zion (Isaiah 52:7; 62:11–12). Because we can’t gain an accurate picture of endtime events without taking into account the relationship between Jehovah, his forerunner, and the endtime Antichrist, all passages depicting them must be carefully analyzed and compared.

So when Isaiah “experts” began springing up in recent years who speculate about God’s servant, some even assigning his role to themselves, I was appalled at the shallowness of their opinions. I assumed it was enough that conflicting interpretations based on the “heresy” idea identified God’s servant as Joseph Smith in one place and as Jesus in another, whereas Jesus speaks of his servant as someone other than himself within Isaiah’s context of Israel’s endtime restoration (3 Nephi 21:8–10). That restoration occurs long after the time of the prophet Joseph Smith.

Those who have jumped on the “servant” bandwagon without paying the price of diligently searching Isaiah’s words as Jesus commands (3 Nephi 23:1)—who, as Nephi says, “suppose they know of themselves” (cf. 2 Nephi 9:28)—I therefore advise to give up their speculations as they will be held accountable for all whom they mislead. If God says he has “hidden” his servant from the world until he begins his worldwide mission (Isaiah 49:1–3)—in order to test his people as he tested the Jews when Jesus came—shall we dare to presume we know so much about him?

My friends know that I have avoided speaking of God’s endtime servant other than to cite the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Joseph Smith—also pointing to scriptural patterns that indicate whether such a person is of God or not. So far, not a single candidate has fit these patterns. That includes speculation about whether God’s servant will be a translated being who has already fulfilled a mortal mission on the earth. For that, too, there exists no precedent as such persons can’t be “marred” or need “healing” (Isaiah 52:14; 57:18–19; 3 Nephi 21:10).

My final work, Endtime Prophecy—A Judeo-Mormon Analysis, now due for publication, clears up many misconceptions people have about what the scriptures actually say. My motto, “If you can’t show it, don’t say it!” challenges numerous “precepts of men” that have crept into LDS beliefs that prevent people from receiving the blessings God has in store for those who love him (cf. 2 Nephi 28:14, 24–32). Such stumbling blocks need not exist at all, however, if we would only “search the scriptures” to determine what they say as Jesus commands (John 5:39).

How I Learned the “Manner of the Jews”

Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

I spent a very full year in a rabbinical school in Jerusalem before I was baptized in the Pool of Siloam. But my studying there with rabbis was just long enough to learn what Nephi calls the “manner of the Jews”—the Jewish methodology for analyzing the scriptures that is unique to them. Says Nephi, “I know that the Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews” (2 Nephi 25:5).

In contrast to non-Jews—who mostly use the scriptures as a proof text to support what they believe—Jews have the utmost respect for God’s Word, letting the scriptures tell them what God is saying. In that way, little is overlooked, watered down, or misrepresented. Because the Jews rely on the scriptures’ own checks and balances to figure out what they mean, they go deep as no other people do to interpret the words of the prophets correctly. Proof-texting, on the other hand, almost always takes things out of context, misconstrues meanings, and causes confusion.

With the rabbi seated at the head of a large table and a dozen of us students sitting around, we spent an entire month discussing a single verse, analyzing it from every angle, connecting it with other texts on the same subject, looking at its different layers of meaning, its many applications, possibilities, and its limitations. By the time we were done, we could take that same focus and apply it to any verse of scripture. Our minds were opened and our understandings broadened to far more nuances of meaning embedded in the scriptures than we realized were there.

Once I learned the principle behind the Jewish “manner” of interpreting scripture, I developed three key methods for analyzing the words of Isaiah. Each requires searching the scriptures for embedded messages that reveal saving truths. Instead of scanning a text to discover “proof” for something you believe, you look for patterns, search deeper, connect different passages, read between the lines, and anticipate answers to questions that pop up. As when reading a detective novel, that kind of searching turns into a fun adventure as Isaiah’s secrets unravel.

The three methods that unseal the words of Isaiah are, first, looking for literary structures, large and small, that convey meanings over and above what you are reading on the surface—like looking at the forest versus individual trees. Second, finding “types and shadows”—noticing how ancient persons and events typify endtime ones. Third, recognizing word links, keywords, and codenames and how they reveal a prophecy within a prophecy. As when learning a new language, it isn’t that difficult. It just takes a daily commitment of time to put the pieces together.

By first taking baby steps in coming to a comprehension of Isaiah, you soon realize how hugely important Isaiah is to the times in which we live. Because Isaiah speaks of “all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 23:2), he not only tells “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10) but also teaches the fulness of the gospel of Messiah in its rich Hebrew context. As you match up what you are reading with the restored gospel and with what is happening on the world stage, feasting on the words of Isaiah becomes sheer joy.

Spiritual Preparedness Requires Looking Beyond the Mark

Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.

If the goal we want to reach is our personal spiritual preparedness for the coming Day of Judgment that God has decreed upon the world, then it is imperative that we look beyond just ourselves. If God has said he will save his righteous people in that day, shouldn’t we acquaint ourselves with his definition of righteousness that looks past our self-righteousness? Malachi’s prophecy of that time, for example, defines righteous persons as those who fear God, who sustain each other through a time of wickedness, who meditate on the things of God, and who serve him.

In a day when wickedness is virtually institutionalized, he says, “Those who feared Jehovah spoke often one with another. And Jehovah heard and took notice, and a Book of Remembrance was written before him for those who feared Jehovah and thought on his name. They will be mine, says Jehovah of Hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him. Then shall you return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who serves him not” (Malachi 3:16–18).

In a context of the saints’ endtime return to redeem the land of Zion in God’s day of “power” (Doctrine & Covenants 103:11–20), the Lord says, “They were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men; And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men” (Doctrine & Covenants 103:9–10). To be “saviors of men” here evidently looks beyond the saints’ serving as saviors of the dead to their serving as saviors of the living.

That dichotomy—of some being “saviors of men” while others resemble “salt that has lost its savor”—again marks God’s Day of Judgment as a time of stark contrasts between the righteous and the wicked, far more than we discern at present, when the wise and foolish virgins may seem indistinguishable. Jesus makes a similar observation when he predicts that Israel’s natural lineages will receive the fulness of his gospel sometime after the Gentiles have received it and then sinned against it, causing them to be trodden underfoot (3 Nephi 16:10–15; 20:28–31).

Of all covenants God makes, the Davidic Covenant—God’s covenant with King David and his heirs—exemplifies one in which a person may serve as a “savior of men.” That individual covenant becomes particularly timely in an endtime context of the restoration of Israel’s natural lineages who will receive the gospel at the time the Gentiles as a whole reject it. It is precisely through certain Gentiles who repent, in fact, that Israel’s natural lineages receive it, much as the Gentiles once received it through Jesus’ Jewish disciples when the Jews as a whole rejected it.

A redeeming feature about the descendants of Ephraim who assimilated into the Gentiles—who thus became “identified with the Gentiles” (Doctrine & Covenants 109:60)—is that they inherited Israel’s birthright (1 Chronicles 5:2). That involves their serving as saviors of Israel’s twelve tribes, just as Joseph served as a savior of his brothers during Egypt’s seven-year famine. That coincides with the role of the 144,000 servants of God whom John saw, whose endtime task is “to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn” (Doctrine & Covenants 77:11).

Under the terms of the Davidic Covenant, a person may assume the role of a proxy savior of those to whom he ministers by answering for their transgressions before God in order to obtain their temporal salvation—their physical protection—just as Jesus answered for his people’s transgressions in order to obtain their spiritual salvation. The protection clause of the Davidic Covenant operates when a king keeps God’s law and those to whom the king ministers keep the king’s law. That covenant binds God to deliver both king and people from a mortal threat.

During the worldwide chaos that prevails in God’s Day of Judgment, Israel’s natural lineages who are newly receiving the gospel will require proxy saviors to vouch for them before God until they are able to obtain his protection by answering for their own transgressions. When the Nephites in King Mosiah’s day, for example, came to realize how their divine protection had been burdening their king under the terms of the Davidic Covenant, “every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins” (Mosiah 29:38) and their laws of government changed.

The “kings and queens of the Gentiles” who serve as proxy saviors to Israel’s natural lineages in God’s Day of Judgment thus function under the terms of the Davidic Covenant both to minister the gospel to them and to gather them to Zion under life-threatening conditions: “Thus says my Lord Jehovah: I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, raise my ensign to the peoples; and they will bring your sons in their bosoms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers, queens your nursing mothers” (Isaiah 49:22–23; cf. 2 Nephi 10:7–9).

The endtime role of Isaiah’s spiritual kings and queens of the Gentiles—which coincides with the role of John’s 144,000 saviors on Mount Zion (Obadiah 1:21; Revelation 7:3; 14:1; Doctrine & Covenants 77:9)—thus extends far beyond looking out for themselves to restoring Israel’s natural lineages. As that defines the nature of the Ephraimite Gentiles’ birthright mission, it also defines the nature of their spiritual preparedness. Because the endtime Gentiles have been exceedingly blessed of God, anything less than that runs the risk of being trodden underfoot.