The following websites contain the works of Avraham Gileadi Ph.D. on the Book of Isaiah:


www.IsaiahExplained.com — An interactive website on the prophecy of Isaiah explaining how literary features conceal and reveal its apocalyptic message.

www.IsaiahInstitute.com — A website on the prophecy of Isaiah featuring webinars and audio and audio-visual aids that teach Isaiah’s apocalyptic message.

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.

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for your insight and inspiration in your writings. You have blessed my life with a deeper understanding and desire to seek greater light and understanding/knowledge. Thank you
    Sherri C.

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  2. Thank you, Brother Gileadi for sharing your talents, background, and insights on what the Messiah directed us to seek out and understand.
    With such deep scriptural analysis and review why is it, do you think, so many of the Jewish culture have missed Jesus of Nazareth's calling as the Isaiah-prophesied Messiah?

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  3. Thank you for your efforts of long study and willingness to share. Your articles are so uplifting.

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  4. Do you think you would ever consider teaching an online course on how to learn this method? Or are there courses like this out there? Thanks.

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  5. Wonderful and rare insights into this beautiful method of studying God's word. Thank you so much.

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  6. 1 of 2

    Bro. Gileadi,

    I have studied your writings for years and appreciate the passion and knowledge you bring to the words of Isaiah. But there is one question I have in regards to your statement that you have learned the manner of the Jews:

    In context with what Nephi says about the Jews understanding the writings of Isaiah, he also says, “For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; for their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations.” So if Nephi didn’t teach his children the ways of the Jews, but wants them and all people (including the Gentiles) to understand Isaiah, how is it they are to do so without delving into and going through the “dark” works and “abominable” doings? By using a method of the Jews, I believe Nephi tells us exactly how it is done.

    After stating how the Jews works were dark and abominable, Nephi says, “Wherefore, I write unto my people, unto all those that shall receive hereafter these things which I write, that they may know the judgments of God, that they come upon all nations, according to the word which he hath spoken. Wherefore, hearken, O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. But I give unto you a prophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn.”

    It seems strange that Nephi would interject the phrase, “Wherefore, hearken O my people, which are of the house of Israel, and give ear unto my words.” Strange, that is until you see that Nephi was linking his words with a Psalm (78):

    “Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.”

    This psalm goes on to describe “the children of Ephraim” and how they “kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law,” yet the Lord will still have mercy on them. “So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.”

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    1. You need to understand what Nephi means by "abominations" and "works of darkness". No doubt he is referring to the apostasy of the Jews after their captivity in Babylon.

      Everything you need to know is in the Babylonian Talmud. There is nothing wrong with the manner of the Jews as long as you have enough discernment to see the writings of their prophets in their original purity, untouched by the later Babylonian apostasy.

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  7. 2 of 2

    I believe these words link back to what Nephi says at the end of these sayings regarding the “manner of the Jews”:

    “Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away. And now behold, my people, ye are a stiffnecked people; wherefore, I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law. And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.”

    In other words, the “right way” is to believe Christ and His doctrine of blessing your enemy. Furthermore, Isaiah can be understood by “the spirit of prophecy,” which comes through parable and song, (instead of the “dead” and “dark” manner of the Jews).

    Even now, in the “vineyard” of America, an angel who has power over fire (Rev 14:18) is crying with a loud voice, saying, “Thrust in thy sharp sickle!” Because we don’t have the faith to follow the “right way” of Christ, we are not being shown great miracles, but rather “desolations upon Babylon.” For she has made us drink of the WINE of her fornication. (D&C 35)

    “Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit [the spirit of prophecy]; And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the FIRE of mine indignation will I preserve them. And the poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached unto them, and they shall be looking forth for the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand—And they shall learn the PARABLE of the fig tree, for even now already summer is nigh.”

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  8. Great are the words of Isaiah. Thank you Avraham for your tools to help us unravel not only Isaiah, but to be able to apply these techniques across the board to all scripture study.

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  9. Every year during the Christmas holidays, we would do a jigsaw puzzle with maybe 2,000 to 4,000 pieces. We used a certain paradigm get started: When the puzzle is dumped on the table, the first thing to do is turn all the pieces right side up, separate the straight edges that form the boarders, then begin to organize the pieces by colors, etc.

    In my opinion, Brother G. has given us the paradigm necessary to frame the scriptures, Isaiah in particular, and to enable solving the puzzle with a series of analytical tools. With a sound methodology, i.e., the manner of the Jews, working on the puzzle is fun.
    Without those tools, we may as well try to assemble all the puzzle-pieces face down.

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