I’ve been looking through old files on my computer, and found these notes on a book I read a few years ago. It came highly recommended and, as Gileadi touts on his books and web sites, he’s been glowingly endorsed by some very respectable people. I remember sitting in a sealing room of the temple several years ago, waiting for some work to start, and the sealer telling those of us who were there some of his thoughts, including that more Latter-day Saints don’t live by the writings of Hugh Nibley and Avraham Gileadi because we aren’t spiritual enough.
So I started the book with high hopes, and I did find Gileadi to be a talented author who sincerely encourages devotional living. However, I ultimately found his primary thesis to be unfounded and disturbing–he seems to find Isaiah to be almost entirely a testament of a latter-day temporal savior who is not Jesus Christ. In the first chapter or two, I wondered if he was making an inappropriately worshipful homage to Joseph Smith, but I quickly realized that Gileadi’s vision was not congruent with anything remotely mainstream.
Whenever I hear people praise Gileadi, they gush about his Hebrew scholarship and literary discoveries, but I found zero evidence of that in the book. Maybe his other books are more detailed, but the few hints he gives in Isaiah Decoded, including his supposed patterns in Isaiah, clearly seem like a random, arbitrary jumble–there’s no reason or order to it at all.
A fan of Gileadi’s might counter that since he was rebaptized into the Church, he’s operated openly and without opposition from the Church, but I suspect that reflects the Church’s tolerance and focusing on more important things than on Gileadi’s orthodoxy. If I’ve misinterpreted his work, or failed to see the faithful grounding of it, I’m happy to change my mind, but as I’ve read it, this book was ultimately heretical. My notes are below. The four comments in bold reflect my strongest problems with the text.
- Why would Isaiah prophesy more about a temporal servant than about Jesus himself?
- Why doesn’t Gileadi bother to more clearly explain and document the evidence behind his interpretations?
- Why doesn’t Gileadi deal with doctrinal statements that refute him, including those from the Savior himself?
- If there is an important temporal savior / servant coming, why hasn’t it been clearly revealed through the Church?
- If the Church’s origin and doctrine are true, as Gileadi seems to agree, why is he so brazen in condemning its present and future?
- Why doesn’t Gileadi bear a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ than he does of this “servant”?
- How does Gileadi know that types will play out in the end times as he describes? It’s a tempting assumption, but not necessarily accurate. No evidence, research, sources, etc. are given.
- Pages 30b-31a Aren’t these scriptures about a latter-day shepherd about the Savior?
- 35 Good reference to Hezekiah (Is. 38)
- 34-38 This is a genuinely inspiring view of spiritual progress
- 40b-41a Good thesis
- His many “figures” are usually pointless and lame
- Is. 66:24 = damnation
- Bold assertions in practically every paragraph lack scriptural support… evidence?!
- 43b Interesting chaos / creation parallel at beginning / end of world
- 44b-45 Proof?!
- 47-49 Isaiah 52-53 are mostly about this servant, and not the Savior?! References to “righteousness” and “servant” don’t refer to Jesus?! What justifies seeing two people in this prophecy?
- 49b-54a Good spiritual lesson. DSS quote? Ref. BoM “two ways” à blessing for obedience, cursing for disobedience. Good use of Deut. 28.
- 54-58 America as latter-day Israel
- 60 Archtyrant = water in 5:30, 17:12, 28:2, 8:7-8
- 60 Immanuel doesn’t equal Jesus?!
- 61-65 In many great quotes, “Egypt” = America in last days
- 67b Tyrant will literally rule from space?! How do you know?
- 68-69 Good work combining types; how do you know Ezekiel means someone else?
- 72 How does he know at which level we’re born?
- 73-74a Good thoughts about spiritual maturity and suffering
- 76 Hebrew sub = repent (spiritual) + return (physical) à they’re linked
- 78-79 Isaiah 13 = global nuclear war?
- 80 1st paragraph, last part… citation, please?
- 80-81 Zion/ Babylon contrasts… citations?!
- 94-102 Great section on idolatry, with fascinating ancient references!
- 106-107 Great use of Malachi 3
- Most of this chapter = good and solid, but little really new or noteworthy
- 112-115 Good explanation of gathering of Israel
- 115b-116a Isaiah à tenth of people “tithed”… source?
- 118 Hebrew aliya means “pilgrimage” and “ascent”
- 118 Three years of possible repentance and then judgment, per Isaiah 16:14, 37:30, at end of world? How do you know?
- 121 Figure 50, “Parallels with Fairytale Archetypes,” is genuinely interesting
- 129a Building on fairytale analogy- good
- 122b-123a Isn’t Isaiah 29 a prophecy of Joseph Smith?
- 123 Figure 51 is good – spiritual state leading to physical condition
- 125 – Fig. 52- NO blessings for those at “Jacob/Israel” level?
- 128 Where is ANY of this in the scriptures?
- 129 Is. 60:1-7 says nothing about a “servant”
- 130 Good use of Is. 19:19-22!
- 131-134 Best pages of the book so far… actually talks about God! Very spiritual
- 132 Fig 56 is good
- 136b-138a Great description of spiritual growth in life
- 138 middle Citation from Isaiah?
- 140-142 Nice spiritual analogies to oak trees and supernovas as spiritual evolution
- 145 middle Why are there never authoritative quotes given from Isaiah that clearly describe this “servant”?
- 146b-147a Is this really fair, or true?
- 147b-150 As spiritual insights, these are generic; as a plan for the future, without sound scriptural and prophetic backing, isn’t this just fantasy?
- 150b-151 Why three tests? Why these three? Nothing in Isaiah seems to suggest these three clear tests- no analysis of Isaiah is given to justify this. Interesting Odyssey reference, though
- 153b-154a As always, good writing about idolatry
- 154b-155a Is Gileadi actually chastising the Church because of his own disciplinary past? Unbelievable! Of his four citations for this, only 66:5 remotely applies to and supports it, and only then if Gileadi conveniently sees himself as the victim in this verse; more likely it’s the Church itself being unfairly maligned in books like this! Shame!
- 155 middle Yet again, no rationale is given for applying these verses to anyone other than Jesus Christ
- 157-162 Nothing in Isaiah justifies viewing God’s people as “at home” or “abroad”
- 162-167 This description of Isaiah’s millennium is generic and obvious- it’s been written about a thousand times. Still, the idea of humanity throughout history descending, then ascending, is interesting
- 167 Overwrought, but a nice original insight
- 170 1st para= good gender insight
- 174 Nice differentiation between sins and iniquities
- 177 Fig 75 good (exile/return)
- 180-185 Fascinating section on covenant sonship
- 186 Again, Gileadi uses Isaiah 53 to refer to a “servant” rather than Jesus. Absurd
- 187-189 So now our physical safety depends on this “servant”? Disturbing claim
- 191 Great references to Moses and Jeremiah- Exodus 17:8-13, 32:11-13, 30, 33, Jeremiah 1:10
- 192a These Isaiah citations, as ususal, fail to support Gileadi’s “servant” thesis. Is. 42 is clearly about Jesus, 45 is about the literal Cyrus, and 51 would appropriate much of God’s own power to this “servant”!
- 194b-195 Gileadi is on much stronger ground when re-telling historical OT material
- 196b-202a A truly inspiring section about spiritual progress
- 204 middle How does the “idea” of male and female first appear on this “level”?
- 202-208 Not only is this section trite, nothing in Isaiah seems to explicitly endorse marriage
- 212 create=beget. Examples?
- 214a This insight, about comparisons to stones, if legitimate, is genuinely useful
- 219 Inspiring and insightful. The whole chapter should have been more like this.
- 226 “Wings” are literal energy?
- 229-230 What “word links”? The citations are unclear..more explanation
- 232a The “servant” seals the 144,000? Gileadi clearly writes for a general audience, but he owes LDS readers a clear explanation of how this servant operates within the Church. He does, doesn’t he?
- 233 Only 1 of the Hosea citations include Gileadi’s quotes
- 232-236 “There is little evidence for calling Jesus Christ the endtime David”? Wrong. In The Promised Messiah pg 192-195, Bruce R. McConkie uses the exact same verses from Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah that Gileadi uses, to do just that.
- 236-248 Is there anything the “servant” doesn’t do? Gileadi has alone discovered a man who leads the gathering of Israel, builds the new temple, defeats the Antichrist, and more? Is there anything in Isaiah that is not a type of his mission? For Gileadi, not much.
Most disturbing of all is that this “servant,” according to these pages, rescues God’s people from spiritual apostasy and replaces a failed religious leader—an explicit rejection of the Church’s authority. That’s heresy, plain and simple.
- 254-262 This is actually a very positive section, with an interesting insight about Holy Grail legends
- 263-273a Poor reasoning and shallow insights, even to non-LDS. Very bland
- 273-277a Gileadi’s attempt to introduce Heavenly Mother by his own reasoning comes up short. Why is he so afraid to come out and say what he means, or use LDS sources when they would help him? Is it because he wants to ignore authorities who contradict his weird ideas?
- 277-283a A genuinely interesting section with some fascinating science metaphors
- 283b-294a Not bad, but not original. Just old stuff dressed up in a new way. Is Gileadi not aware that Jesus was fully God before his mortal ministry?
- 294b-302a An interesting metaphorical description of the Atonement
- 302 Gileadi’s authoritative tone has become unbearable—the way he forces his Isaiah quotations to fit into his “levels” structure is sad. He wants to show every restored gospel doctrine (though he won’t call them that) to be “hidden” in Isaiah. Whatever happened to “the scriptures are of no private interpretation”?
- 323 Interesting idea about national, universal, and individual thirds in Isaiah. Look into it
- 329-330 After yet more pointless, redundant, authoritarian pontificating, here’s another striking analogy in fig 136. Nice
- 323a Where does Isaiah name these seven levels?
- 333b-335b Why doesn’t Gileadi mention the three degrees of glory as the standard symbolism of the tabernacle?
- 341 Is Gileadi now suggesting that the “servant” is Joseph Smith?
- 346 “We can influence and inspire those around us by ministering to them physically and spiritually.” Great line
- 346b –347a People literally become stars?
- 348-357 The book ends on a high note, with two powerful sections on spiritual success
Thanks for your review and comments. Its good to know that there are people in the church who think and don’t just accept everything “told” them.
Perhaps the Qumran people’s interpretations of Isaiah (who was apparently the most important prophet for their group) are at least partly behind this servant, the latter day David? Somehow their focusing mostly on this (semi-divine) king/priest over the Messiah could be behind such a strong emphasis?
Someone, who was deeply versed in ANE studies and a very spiritual person, too, told me that ancient prophesies are like onions; you can peel them open layer after layer, and it’s for us to have the spiritual wherewithal to understand. It would not surprise me at all if Isaiah had more than 2 layers all the time. Perhaps one could even say, that our capacity to understand the Bible is actually harmed here by our hanging on to “rational logic” and an unrealistic expectation “objectivity”?
This kind of single-mindedness is useful for extremism in the same way that a literal understanding of, say, the number of the Beast from the Apocalypse of John has been fixed on a lot of people someone found disagreeable. Only too predictable, that Obama, too, has been labeled the Beast, too.
But anyhow, I wonder if Gileadi’s work for FARMS is tainted by this fixation? I mean, if only that he must find his own off-the-wall ideas — or is he sound when he’s doing science and able to see past it.
I hadn’t checked out this book before, but you kind of made me curious. Not that I read every word of it…
Thanks for the feedback, Floyd and Jenn.
Velska, I appreciate your diplomacy, and your idea for reconciling Gileadi with Dead Sea Scroll views is compelling, but I see no need for an apologia for shoddy scholarship.
The bottom line is that Gileadi’s thesis (if I’ve understood it correctly) is not only completely unsupported by anything like documentation in this text, but runs contrary to Church teachings, as shown at least by my reference to Bruce R. McConkie in my notes.
Yes, scriptures often have many meanings and layers, but not ones that directly contradict each other. If a passage has one meaning given by an Apostle, and an opposing one given by a scholar (who doesn’t even explain his interpretation adequately) there’s no contest–I’m abiding by the meaning given by the Apostle.
Isaiah Decoded actually got a favorable review from FARMS, which does make me wonder if I’ve missed something, but while Gileadi’s more mainstream works (such as his chapter in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon) don’t mention this theory, his (perhaps) OVER-emphasis on Isaiah, almost to the exclusion of all other scripture, is also worrisome. Isaiah may be the most important prophet, but Gileadi’s myopic devotion to him almost seems cultish.
Isaiah Decoded is a watered down version of Avraham’s work “The literary message of Isaiah”. This book is grew out of his dissertation on the subject and has more detailed explanations. Most of your questions are addressed in these two works. You raise some interesting questions that I have had myself. The servant is a very bold and hard to grasp claim. It still makes me uncomfortable.
I would like address one question that you raise though, “why hasn’t it been clearly revealed through the Church?” when speaking about some future servant. I personally have no idea either way, but you might ask yourself how aware the Jews were of Jesus when he came. I personally expect to be surprised, since this has been the case in most of God’s workings with us. You may think that the Jews were an apostate foolish people that looked beyond the mark. To think we have it all figured out and they did not because we have prophet is lame. The Jews had many prophets, great ones, but were not made aware of the first coming of the Savior. This is partly because through this approach God separated out the wheat from the chaff. He will do something again prior to the second coming that will separate out the wheat again. His approach has always been to send someone who sifts, Noah, Moses, Christ, Joseph Smith, Nephi… why not again?
You might want to do a bit of research on McConkie and his accuracy/scholarship. You might be surprised. I have heard his first version of Mormon Doctine was error ridden. I don’t personally know for sure either way. I am not sure that position confers accuracy. By the way, this seems to be the same position that the Jews who followed Caiaphas held. He was the high priest that year, which would closely equate to the president of the church today.
From my perusal of expert reviews, Gileadi is very well regarded, except as you point out about the servant. But to really get his arguement you have to go to his detailed works, not Isaiah Decoded.
Anyway it is nice to see someone critically evaluating the work.
Lamo, I’d be interested in reading the longer, more detailed work, especially if it addresses my concerns. I’ll put it on my to-do list. Thanks for the tip!
Regarding your other comments, I appreciate the spirit in which they’re offered but I strongly disagree. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine, for example, had a few slight flaws, which were voluntarily corrected, after which he became an Apostle. Hardly a stinging rebuke.
As for suggestions of our spiritual testing by blindness (if I’m not putting words in your mouth), we’ve been assured repeatedly–even by the Lord himself–that the Church will not lead us astray, and that all that is needed for our safety and salvation will be revealed through it. This servant is clearly very important, so, if he’s real, wouldn’t the prophet say so?
If there’s a servant we’re supposed to be following who will lead us to safety, it won’t be some independent temporal savior, it will be Thomas S. Monson, who directs us to follow Jesus Christ, someone that Gileadi’s servant doesn’t even seem to need.
Lamo, in regards to your statement about a servant before christ ” how aware the Jews were of Jesus when he came…” what i mean is you have a good point…
I believe there is someone before christ, Particulary i believe this person is described in Isaiah 42.
Huston, i thought id add my thought regarding memebers following Thomas S. Monson…
Please read the below 3 scriptures…
D&C 1: 19
2 Ne. 4: 34
2 Ne. 28: 31
What i am trying to say is we should not depend on man… Don;t follow man, follow God as you too can recieve instruction from the lord.
I could elaborate what i mean but i dont want to take up too much of your time.
will leave with you
– One who runs before walks
p.s if i have come across rude, i dont mean to and i apologize
Thanks for the thoughtful remarks, and don’t worry–your politeness came through loud and clear.
As you cite LDS scripture in your comment, I presume you’re Mormon. If so, then surely you agree about the importance of following the living prophet–indeed, current revelation is the very bedrock of our religion. Your concern about depending on man instead of God is thus a faulty choice–God *wants* us to find Him through those He has called to help us grow nearer to Him.
The problem with arguing that we need to “think for ourselves” more is that it assumes that we don’t already. Poppycock, I say. The cult-like micromanaging of life that critics might imagine exists in our communities simply doesn’t. Even someone who might assiduously strive to follow everything the prophet teaches us to do would still be living the vast majority of their life on their own, with as wide a lattitude for individual thought and variety as possible.
Choosing to recognize and obey the voice of the Lord through authorized servants isn’t abdicating any autonomy–rather, one must exercise the most strenuous independence and inner strength to do so. Sublimating some of our decisions to a wise guide instead of always choosing our own subjective will is no fault, but a virtue that our society has rejected wholesale and is in desperate need of developing once again. I’m grateful to be a part of something that teaches it.
Like you, I hope that my thoughts here are received in a spirit of kindness and fellowship.
The first time I read one of Gileadi’s books it was the “Literary Message of Isaiah”. That was his Doctral Theisis upon which he based his later book, “Isaiah Decoded”.
Dotting the I’s & crossing the T’s took place in his theisis and provided more than ample documentaion & reasoning to support his interpretation of Isaiah.
The main jist of it was to learn to understand the manner & literary tools used by the Jews to record prophecy. And he did a very convincing job of that, being a learnd Jew himself.
He basically shows one how to allow the meaning of the scriptures to reveal themselvs without any forced interpretation. Once learning the method perfected by Isaiah, it povides the Key to unlocking the related meaning to all scripture as it applies to our day.
Surely this is why Jesus & many other prophets quote Isaiah in order to link their own lesser visions to the grand vision of the end as portrayed by Isaiah.
Come to understand the Grand Master of Prophecy & you come to understand the linking method of piecing many pieces of the Gosple puzzle together to form a Grand Vision of the end. And each of those prophets quoting Isaiah are attempting to lend THEIR support & individual understanding to his vison…intended for US.
GREAT ARE THE WORDS OF ISAIAH.
Christ requoting Isaiah in the BOM & as we have been told applies directly to us, certainly lends creedance to the necessity of combining the Books of Juda with Joseph in order to gain a more perfect vison of our time. The time in the scriptures spoken of by ALL prophets.
So in regard to some super Servant of God preparing the way for the Savior’s Return…What’s not to believe ? Haven’t we always been told that God has reserved the BEST FOR LAST ?
Jesus Christ HIMSELF upon His Return is FAR GREATER in magnitude & Glory than even this super prophet & needs NOT to be expounded upon so much in the scriptures. His PRESENCE & RETURN are to be the GREATEST MYSTERY ….Beyond WORDS to DESCRIBE IT.
And as far as the negative conotations of modern day leaders standing in need of correction, which is contrary to what we’ve been lead to believe, I have some advice and a few questions.
Read The Literary Message of Isaiah and learn to UNDERSTAND what the scriptures are saying to our generation. Isaiah Decoded is a FOLLOW UP to that and is written to the lay member who is NOT a scholar.
My question would be….Were did you ever read or hear in dispensations past, that God’s Prophet’s were incapable of going astray. History is full of them.
And who gave us the false notion that God would never allow that to happen ?
One last suggestion: Carefully read 2 Thessalonians ch. 2. These are the Lord’s COVENANT people of OUR DAY the Lord is speaking to here. Think VERY CAREFULLY about that as you read it.
And in the Joseph Smith Translation of several key verses in this ch., it is the LORD who is ALLOWING this to happen for the REASON His People have sliiped so far down the road of Apostacy,He will ALLOW the Wicked Saints to believe in this DELUSION & LIE in order to separate them from the small remaining remnant as Isaiah describes them, & send them off to Zion. While the self righteous and spiritual sleeping majority will burn in the fires of Judgment.
Who will lead the Righteous on such a MONUMENTAL EXODUS ? An ordinary prophet ?
And what IS the Lie and Great Delusion ? It is described as the Man of SIn who seats himself in the TEMPLE of God as though he WERE God. And apparently, many Saints such as yourself will BELIEVE this Lie because you have been fed the line that A Latter Day Prophet will NEVER lead us astray.
That is called BLIND OBEDIENCE toward men who ACT INSTEAD of God rather than serve Him & demand OBEDIENCE….AS THEY DO. Isaiah & others have WARNED us this was coming.
You seriously need to RETHINK that and look at MANY scriptures that support the one I just cited, including a LOT of the Book of Isaiah an others.
Including the BOM & the Dead Sea Scrolls.
As for your asking the question as to why our leaders haven’t informed us of the Great Delusion & Lie…Would YOU if you were a PART of it ?
Isaiah refres to them as DUMB WATCH DOGS THAT DON’T BARK when danger approaches. Do you feel our world and liberty are headed for the abysis at this time with all that is occuring at a exponetial rate ?
Who’s BARKING ? Aside from some kook like Glen Beck who is doing what a PROPHET is supposed to be doing when danger approaches us and wickedness is about to CONSUME us.
One more comment. You mentioned wondering why our leades have not harped on this Great Servant to come.
If Isaiah was pointing the finger of condemnation at our current day leaders, then why the heck would they teach us of a Servant of God who would be sent to REPLACE them ? And even Joseph Smith teaches of this Man in the D&C.
Come on Brother…You need to Wake Up and not fall into the trap that ALL past majorities of the Lord’s Covenant People have fallen into through REPETATIVE cycles of Apostacy…..Thinking that all was well in Zion & never assuming the finger of blame could ever be pointed at themselves.
You speak with such a clear mastery of being able to express yourself in writing, but lack the common sense God gave to those Remnant Few who can see a pile of poop & AVOID it before they step in it.
I’m not trying to belittle you…It’s just TRUE. You are READING into these scriptures what our LEADERS want you to PERCIEVE. Rather than learning for YOURSELF the Jewish Method by which THEY understood & recorded prophecy.
For crying out loud…When Apostles admit that Isaiah is a tough nut to crack and that we shouldn’t get caught up in mysteries we can’t understand and loose our testimonies….Then why the heck do we NEED THEM if they can’t interpret Isaiah as Nephi said he could and Jesus obviously understood.
Are they not LISTENING to God ? GOD can’t reveal these things to a prophet & Apostles ? COME ON !
They KNOW what’s in there that IMPLICATES their COMPLICATE DESIGNS to create this “Great Delusion” & “Lie” & they ward us OFF & water it down to principles, as opposed to the OUT RIGHT WARNINGS God is giving us CONCERNING THEM !
Why the heck do you think they came up with the brillant idea that what a current prophet proclaims, TRUMPS that of dead prophets ? Wat the HELL is THAT suposed to mean ?
Bro, they have TWISTED & TURNED the membership’s heads CLEAN OFF there COMMON SENSE ROCKERS through BLIND DUMB OBEDIENCE.
And they TEST that obedience EVERY TIME someone has the Go Nads to speak the truth & is in turn branded an APOSTATE TO BE SHUNNED.
God never said that MEN wouldn’t fail. He said His CHURCH will not fail.
And that conforms to Isaiah’s portrayal of only a REMNANT of the Lord’s People passing the TEST and moving foward after being separated from the CHAFF.
You need to read ALL the scriptures and not just the ones EMPHASIZED by leadership & at the MILK LEVEL of interpretation. GROW UP ! Is your PERSONALLY being able to approach the Lord for answers LIMITED by having to ask permission of a Prophet or Apostles ?…Good OR Bad ones ?
You are playing a very dangerous Spirtual game of Mother May I with MEN !
GOD said to pay heed to HIS prophets. But the scriptures proclam He has allowed FALSE PROPHETS & APOSTLES to enter the game for te PURPOSE of separating those who choose to belive THEM, or the Few who will believe One Special Servant whom God plainly SAYS He will send ?
Read the WORDS of the scriptures that say the SMALL REMNANT are those who survive Judgment and go on. The MAJORITY crashes & burns.
Does not the words “MAIN STREAM MORMON” imply the MAJORITY ?
For such elequent mastery of the written word that you possess, you lack the common sense God gave a Slug to avoid too much sun light.
Zack, so you admit that Gileadi is rejecting the Church’s authority.
Why? Prophecies that many will be led away in the last days does not prove that a majority of Church members today are in error. Even if that were true, it still doesn’t prove that Gileadi’s ideas are right.
Did you hear General Conference this last weekend? Please tell me which talks were given by fallen prophets teaching false doctrine.
How many of today’s LDS leaders are corrupt? How long ago did this start? Gordon B. Hinckley? Spencer W. Kimball? Joseph F. Smith? See, the problem with conspiracy theories (and that’s really what you’re offering here) is that they suggest malfeasance without evidence, and they elevate the rare believer into thinking they’re part of a secret elite who know the truth.
You can keep your fantasy obsession with mysterious rebels and imminent catastrophes. Me, I’ll stick with the prophet and his plain but true call to love our neighbors, proclaim the peaceful gospel, raise our families, and draw nearer to the Lord.
Houston, I appreciate every man’s right to decide for himself. When I first began understanding the scriptures at the level in which the Lord encoded these messages & warnings, it wasn’t Avraham Gileadi who opened my eyes. It was the Spirit. Gileadi only confirmed what the Spirit was already revealing to me. And he did a very good job of it.
I was very upset when first recieving inclinations of things that were completely contrary to my feeings that mirror your own. These things were NOT an easy pill to swallow for me. No one was putting a bug in my ear. These were things I discovered completely on my own with the Lord’s help.
The message of Isaiah is NOT anti church. It is issuing a Warning with regard to a final manesfisttion of Great Apostacy within the church that will negatively affect all but a “Small Remnant” whom the Lord will cause to establish the true cause of Zion.
That calls for a real shake up in the church that is not only described by Isaiah but Joseph Smith as well. The Lord Himself must initiate this and not some person who simply claims authority. These splinter groups don’t have authority to establish the things they do & only the Lord can intervien & appoint a new head and I suspect all new leaders. But I certainly believe that God has that Right & Power ABOVE & BEYOND any currently established Prophet/Leaders. I don’t think any rational member could dispute that Power & Right that the Lord bears over His Own Church.
As far as who this began with, I would say it has more to do with CIRCUMSTANCES than any one single Prophet when it got started. he Lord Himself in the D&C proclaimed that when the Saints ad failed to establish Zion the first opportunity they had, that the Church Collectively fell unde a curse, one in which Ezra Taft Besen said had not been lifted at the ime he made that statement.
There where HUGE IMPLICATIONS to the Lord placingthe church unde condemnation that in timemust have GROWN. Not at first by any Prophet intentinally setting out to lead members astray but rather through admitting to using his OWN Judgment to make some pretty serious decisions. Such as Wilford Woodruffs Manifesto. Just read it. It’s not worded as revelation from God but rather as Pres. Woodruff using his own reasoning to suspend a Commandment that God told Jospeh tat once they recived it that it was to never be stopped. But it became obvious that Pres. Woodriff caved in to Governmental pressures, that among other things, was denying Utah the right to statehood.
Just read it closely, it’s pretty obvious. And then as if to back himself up in the minds of the Saints, he proclaims at that time, a Prophet would never lead the Lord’s People astray and puts it back on God by saying that He would never allow that.
Why would God not allow something to occur in the 19th centuy that He has alowed in the past ? Woodruf presented this as the Lord NEVER allowing that, when in fact the Lord had done that many times throughout the Bible.
He allow David to persue Bathsheba which eventually led to Israel being DIVIDED. And Solomon. And THIS coming from a King/Priesthood Holder who was so favored by God. What about Eli & his dirt bag sons ? What about Balaam ? What about Cain who was once considered a righteous son of Adam ? Heck, He let Jospeh Smith go against the Lord’s better judgment than to let Martin Harris take the plates. God will not deny Free agency to be excercised by ANYONE. Only Satan prevents that….Just like our General Authorities DENYING us the right to read what we please with regard to our Faith without suffering some sort of reprocussion for just seeking the truth. This is NOT RIGHT. The Lord would not do that. He would expect us to explore ALL truth and decide for OURSELVES with the help of the SPIRIT and not having Neal A.Maxwell or anyone else telling me what I should or shouldn’t read & infer that we are incompetant of Discerning these things with the help of the Spirit. These kinds of documented comments coming from the mouths of our leaders should send us a Reg Flag Warning.
The point is…Is that eventaully the Lord WILL set things straight with regard to ANY man or PROPHET who fails to keep in Good Faith with God. But WHEN the Lord will do that depends on the CIRCUMSTANCES and what He is trying to accomplish.
As far as what Isaiah proclaims has happened to our church leaders today, he says there IS a Conspiracy. One which is HIDDEN from Main Stream View until such time the Lord REVEALS it as He SAYS He will do in 2 Thessilonians. And for what PURPOSE would the Lord ALLOW this Conspiracy to go on like He SAY He is doing ? I would venture to say that would give the Conspiracy to spread among the wicked in the church at every level and eventaully cause them to believe SOLY in the Leadership ABOVE God Himself. And that the PARTICULARS of the Conspiracy would be something the Lord would EXPOSE to cause a DIVIDE between those who Believe the Prophet & Leaders than are IN on the Cospiracy or the Man whom the Lord will send with Great Power to oppose them. Not some lame Warren Jeffs self proclaimed idiot, but a Real Prophet sent from the presence of God as per D&C 85, 103 ect…The biggesy aspect of this conspiracy is written in black & white in 2 thessalonians where a certain Prophet will try to pass himself off as God to us and proclaim that from one of our Temples. WHO ELSE do you think te Lord is referring to here ? He ALWAYS addresses His COVENANT People, not Catholics or anyone else.
I truly wish you the best Houston and any other member who needs to really consider these things as hard as they sound. The SCRIPTURES tell us these things…Not me.
I’m very sorry for not correcting my spelling and words I left out in my last comment before posting it. My Granddaughter was telling me to get off the computer. I sincerly hope I didn’t offend anyone with some of my choice descriptions and words I used in my original comments.
I’m an old retired Marine and sometimes revert to speaking the way I did with My Closet & Most Respected Marine Buddies. It’s not intended to insult…It’s intended to be openly Honest and speak as though I were speaking to My Best Friend and pulling no punches.
Thank you, Zack. I believe the Spirit has taught you these things.
Houston, one final remark concerning the “Great Delusion” & “Lie” the Lord speaks of in 2 Thess. The lie that Isaiah describes and the same one the Lord refers to in 2 Thess., is the LIE that a Prophet isn’t capable, or under ANY circumstances, will lead us astray. The “DELUSION” the Lord says His people are BLINDED BY, is in BELIEVING the “LIE”. In other words….The Delusion is CREATED by our BLIND OBEDIENCE to Authority appointed over us and therefore we accept the Lie without QUESTIONING Authority. And the Lie will be that a certain Prophet will claim to be God and he is NOT, but MOST will believe he is.
He will most likely appear to us in the advent of a Great Crisis in which this man will pose to have all the answers and for us to simply TRUST HIM & not worry about the curent crisis because it will pass. He will in essence tell us ” ALL IS WELL IN ZION”, when in fact it ISN’T according to Isaiah & must be CLEANSED from Iniquity & Wickedness before Zion can be established to prepare for the Lord’s Return.
In the past 50 years, Zion has been REDEFINED several times to no longer resemble it’s original definition as put forth by Joseph Smith. This has caused many members to believe it has already been established when it HAS NOT according to Joseph’s Definition. Yet we have been told that what a CURRENT Prophet proclaims SUPERCEEDS or makes VOID what DEAD Prophets have Prophesied.
I SEE the consistency with believing in words of God already given to us. But where does ANYONE come off proclaiming with a statement like that, that God CONTRADICTS HIMSELF through another prophet who proclaims the first one was full of crap ? We have recieved a BARAGE of comments made by rophets in the past 20 years that proclaim Joseph & Brigham and others didn’t exactly know wht they were saying or that they really meant something else.
DOESN”T this sound a little weird to you ?
If you fail to ask yourself reasonable & logical QUESTIONS to substanciate & reconcile new instructions given to us as they RELATE to past instructions, then you are accepting new stuff based on your Faith in a MAN. Tis BETTER to hear Him out and then CONFIRM His statements with GOD & REASON & MAKE SURE it doesn’t CONTRADICT a former Doctrine given by Cannonized Prophets.
I see your last comment as throwing God’s Confirmation & Reason to the wind and making your aliegence with a Prophet INSTEAD of God. It’s BLIND TRUST & OBEDIENCE to MAN, who NEEDS to be CONFIRMED BY GOD and His FORMER DOCTRINES that REMAIN true FOREVER…
Allow the TRUTH to open your eyes as oposed to a man’s voice.
A man’s voice that is telling you to TRUST HIM NO MATTER WHAT, simply because he is a Prophet. Prophets HAVE & WILL fail but the Lord’s Church & eventual Kingdom WON’T. Because the Lord will eventaully SEE to it that He straightens out ANY & EVERY Mess that is preventing His Kingdom from coming forth.
And according to God…It is primarily the LEADERS who are preventng this by SLOWLY REDEFINING the Gospel as it was Restored to us through Joseph and I suspect with the eventual intent on COMPLETELY HI JACKING the Church Via a FALSE PRPOHET who will claim to be God.
If you can’t understand Isaiah, why can’t you understand the same things being REPEATED in the D&C ? And why can’t you see the COMMON SENSE method & Tactic that Satan would use to do this, is in order to Destroy the Lord’s People ? He already has the other churches in His back pocket. Do you SERIOUSLY THINK Satan will just stand by and let the Lord’s Church SLIDE ?
And isn’t Satan referred to as the “FATHER” of Lies ? That means he is almost capable of Deluding the “Very Elect”. Now my question would be….What PERCENTAGE of the Lord’s People do you honestly believe are the “Very Elect” who WON’T be fooled ?…As Isaiah says…:”A Small Remnant” ? Sounds pretty Logical but SHOCKING to me. And must be the reason why the Lord in Isaiah says with regard to this….”I will suddenly perform my act, my STRANGE act”
STRANGE because the Lord has to purge His OWN FAMILY & CHURCH, so that His Kingdom of Zion can be built UN IMPEADED by Wickedness & UNBELIEF.
Wilford Woodruff himself on the subject:
I know there are a good many men, and probably some leading men, in this Church who have been tried and felt as though President Woodruff had lost the Spirit of God and was about to apostatize. Now, I want you to understand that he has not lost the Spirit, nor is he about to apostatize. The Lord is with him, and with this people. He has told me exactly what to do, and what the result would be if we did not do it. I have been called upon by friends outside of the Church and urged to take some steps with regard to this matter. They knew the course which the government was determined to take. This feeling has also been manifested more or less by members of the Church. I saw exactly what would come to pass if there was not something done. I have had this spirit upon me for a long time. But I want to say this: I should have let all the temples go out of our hands; I should have gone to prison myself, and let every other man go there, had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I did do; and when the hour came that I was commanded to do that, it was all clear to me. I went before the Lord, and I wrote what the Lord told me to write. I laid it before my brethren-such strong men as Brother George Q. Cannon, Brother Joseph F. Smith, and the Twelve Apostles. I might as well undertake to turn an army with banners out of its course as to turn them out of a course that they considered to be right. These men agreed with me, and ten thousand Latter-day Saints also agreed with me. Why? Because they were moved upon by the Spirit of God and by the revelations of Jesus Christ to do it.
I leave this with you, for you to contemplate and consider. The Lord is at work with us. He is doing things here that you do not comprehend.—MS 53:794-796 (1891).
anon, it’s a heart breaking thing to come to know. But it not only complies with scripture given to WARN us of these things, it complies with every repetative cycle of Apostacy in th past since the time of Adam. Why would that same Apostacy with God’s People NOT rear it’s ugly head just before the Lord’s Return, as one final effort on Satan’s part to destroy God’s Elect ?
As horrible as these things are to contemplate…They only make sense…And common sense and an understanding of Church History and the Corporation of the Church, further leads to knowing exactly WHY the Corporation was formed and WHO it winds UP PROFITING PERSONALLY, with regard to the CEO & Company of General Authorities who have become rich off their APPOINTMENTS as Board Members and Managers of several dozen large companies, while simultainiously proclaiming they do their ECCLASTICAL DUTIES without charging the Lord a single dime…
Maybe older age and witnessing the sad state to which MANY MEN will stoop for Mammon & Power, also tells me that what God has warned us of in the scriptures regarding our own church Leaders, is NO DIFFERENT than the Corporate Greed seen EVERY WHERE. It is SATAN’S ECONOMY. And why does it so happen that pretty much ALL of our Big Leades are BUSINESS EXECTS in our OWN COMPANIES ?
I believe that in their own minds they HAVE established THEIR Zion by thinking what belongs to God, belongs to THEM, based on their High Positions of Trust. But is in reality created by syphining millions off the backs of theTithe Payers at Our’s & God’s Expense.
The last chapter of Malichi talks about this. And it DOES apply to Our Day….
We as a geneal body of the Lord’s People have come to worship the church itself & idolize our leaders which is akin to worshiping them instead of God.
It has been awhile since I posted and some of my views have firmed up a bit on Gileadi. I am still quite uncomfortable still with any notion that our leaders will fail us. It terrifies me to think of separating myself from the warm fuzzies I get from the church. However, I wanted to add a point or two on other subjects.
First, on the subject of Isaiah primarily being about some servant vs being about Jesus. Sadly, I think Gileadi is correct.
A good place to start is Isaiah 2.2. Most latter day saint think this is about the temple in SLC today. There is a mountain (could not resist the pun) of evidence in Isaiah that a better interpretation is that 2:2 is the establishment of Zion. Isaiah links the word mountain to kingdom/nation twice in parallel, the word mountain fits better when replaced by kingdom throughout Isaiah, and there is a lovely extended metaphor of all the things found in mountains representing people (trees, minerals, animals, rivers …) that is woven throughout Isaiah. This last thought goes as follows, you find people in nations and you find trees, minerals, animals, rivers … in mountains. It fits very nicely. There are classes of flora (special trees, forests, briars etc…), clean and unclean animals, different types of minerals (jewels, gold silver, dross, stones) they all represent classes of people – just like you find in societies (nations/kingdoms).
The reason 2:2 is a good place to start is that this is how Gileadi approaches Isaiah. He looks at Isaiah first, other prophets second (as recorded in scripture – not off hand comments) and third at the entire pattern. Gileadi is meticulously careful and builds cases piece by piece by piece until the evidence is very strong.
I brought up Isaiah 2:2 because it typifies how most approach Isaiah. They see a phrase that stands out and they grab onto it – like Isaiah 2:2. They ignore the larger context, because the book is complex and they can’t absorb it all. They are lazy. A phrase fits into their world view and they stop thinking.
Now to Isaiah being mostly about some servant vs being about Jesus. Much of Isaiah is about war, national reversal of circumstances, the wicked being punished, the righteous being rewarded and political victories. Does any of this sound like the mortal life of the Jesus? I recall watching BYU TV. The professor was going verse-by-verse through Isaiah with cool links to the life of Jesus. Then he hit a dozen verses on war. He skipped over the verses and said they related to the war in heaven and kept on going. This should have been a big red flag that his explanation was wrong, but no such light went on. Instead, to make most of the Isaiah text to be about Jesus requires pulling from the premortal life, mortal life and final coming of Jesus as needed – sometimes haphazardly. This essentially is forcing our conception of what is important on to the text.
Much of the confusion comes from shadow events. The servant (following the example of his Master) goes through similar but lesser experiences that Jesus went through. The early development of the church through the building of the SLC temple is a pattern for when Zion will be established (this is why Joseph Smith is likened to the servant in the D&C – Josephs life is a pattern of this future servant).
That is partly why the events are mistaken, they are similar (Jesus and the servant, establishing Zion and SLC temple). It could be said that a tertiary interpretation is about Jesus and the SLC temple. It just is not the primary meaning that Isaiah intended.
Finally, why is Isaiah about this servant and not about Jesus? Is Jesus not the be all end all of everything? Yes he is. Isaiah is not so much about the servant, as much as it is about God’s people typified by the servant. The end time spoken of by Isaiah is the culmination of God’s plan for his people. Great and miraculous things happen at this time when God will make up his jewels. His people will work miracles, thousands of them. This is when he exalts tens and tens of thousands. Among many other things (I did not even get to Isaiah being a dual prophecy), Isaiah is about the final preparation of His people to meet their God to dwell with him. It is about the coolest part of God’s work, when his people are lifted to where they do the cool miraculous things like the Master. Isaiah is about the coolest thing that Jesus does for his people, when many of them become more like him through extreme trials. As they become like him they start to do the things he did, and Jesus leads his people on this path through the instrumentality of this servant.
Sorry for the long response than no one will likely read. It was good to get this out.
Doctrine and Covenants 85:7
7 And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;
Further, from my understanding it is not the church leaders that will fail us (they will actually save a remnant after the first sifting (begin at my house)) but the leaders of the nation (Gods choice nation/land) that will fail horribly (they are treasonous). The servant will gather the rest after the 2nd sifting. Read his works again.
Continuing to the next verse:
D&C 85:8 While that man, who was called of God and appointed, [warning to leaders who interfere with the OM&S] that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning.
Back to verse 7: “holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth,”
This is describing one who has ascended to God the Father, as did the Three Nephites. He is the angel ascending from the east (D&C 77:9,14), who is the Elias come to restore all things D&C 77:9,14). He holds the scepter of power like unto Enoch. (JST, Genesis 14:29–31). He is the Enoch of our time, ordained of God to bring Zion as Enoch did. He is clothed in light for a covering like John the Beloved. (D&C 7:6). He has climbed the spiritual ladder of Isaiah (thank you Dr. Gileadi for this insight), and has become a translated being. I doubt that we will know any of this though. He will appear as an ordinary man, as do the Three Nephites or John the Beloved do from time to time, I suppose. This will be a crucial time for those who will not be hewn down and cast into the fire to FOLLOW THE — HOLY SPIRIT. (D&C 45:57):
57 For they that are wise and have received the truth, and HAVE TAKEN THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR THEIR GUIDE, and have not been deceived — verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
Should we have a quiz? What happens to those who take something other than the Holy Spirit for a guide?
The last two comments by Lamo & John say it all.
Given the last statements of John’s comments, whom might this “Special Servant” of the Lord be ? Look at D&C 113 & 3 Nephi 21…..If Christ stands at the right hand of God, then who would be considered the right hand man of Christ …Or “Servant in the HAND of Christ”, as per those scriptures ?
Seems to be pretty simple to me…..And why wouldn’t the Holy Spirit be given to us for a personal and collective ( Physical ) Prophetic Guide to usher in the Second Coming of His Brother Jesus Christ ?
Wouldn’t Heavenly Father want to be DARN SURE of the help He is sending us if this be the time of Greatest Evil and confusion this world has ever known ? Would a Prophet of the caliber of prophets who have come before us be suitable for this Great Task of staging the Second Exodus and Prepare a People to meet their Savior ? Would it be reasonable to think Isaiah and others would make a fuss over the Holy Spirit coming to earth to prepare the way of His Brother ? So why is this “Servant of Christ” being thought of as something inappropriate or unbelievable ?
It could not be explained any more PLAINLY than what Belchek quoted from the scriptures as being our FINAL GUIDE / PROPHET.
You want SCRIPTURAL PROOF ???? It’s RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACES, & yet like the Pharasees of old, it makes NO DIFFERENCE to you ! They could not recognize Jesus Christ anymore than you unbelievers of today will recognize and accept the Lord’s Servant. According to God & Isaiah….MOST will NOT. That my friends, constitutes the MAINSTREAM MAJORITY of God’s COVENANT People.
Read 3 Nephi 21 and it is CLEAR that a SERVANT is being spoken of as being in the hand of Christ. So how could that servant refer to Christ Himself ? Same context when reading D&C 113….The SAME servant being referred to in Isaiah and many other books of the Bible. He is a servant in “THE HAND OF CHRIST. Not Christ Himself. And yes it IS important for this servant of Christ to prepare the way for His Return to claim a current Kingdom that is at ODDS with ITSELF.
Lamo, your comments are Greatly Appreciated & flow from the Spirit. It DOES feel good to express what one is feeling….Especially when presented among people who lack the Spirit to know these things. It takes courage to speak out loud in the face of majority opinion among members who feel very strongly about their beliefs but lack the feeling of “Spirit”, or common sense and God’s Logic.
When the Lord says His Ways are not man’s way, or way of thinking, I believe He was referring only to those not attuned to HIS Unassuming Spirit, but rather in sync with man’s faithless assuming spirit.
I continue to try to reach out to my brothers and sisters despite the opposition I know these truths will bring.
Just as a note to the unbelieving….The Lord is ALWAYS speaking to His Covenant People in the scriptures and they ALL must be understood from that context.
I’m not trying to argue, but where are you getting from these scriptures that the Davidic servant is the Holy Ghost? I’m just trying to understand what you are coming from…
I’m saddened by your limited respect and appreciation for Br. Gileadi’s writings and scholarship.
If you took the time to learn about his “excommunication” you would discover it was “expunged” and not because the brethren are so tolerant, because they are NOT!
Gileadi’s writings require the same scholarly attempt to read by the spirit as do the Scriptures.
Years ago I studied Nibley’s “Approaching Zion” and at that time it took my breath away.
I truly am sorry you have not caught the spirit of Gileadi’s writings. They bring one to tears and to changing one’s life to be more “Christ” centered.
I’ve occasionally read Gileadi and found him interesting, but my personal interpretation of the Isaiah Servant is that he is the Zenos Servant (ie … he is we). I see it as an invitation for the reader who sees the portents of the heavens and is pure to stand in holy places and to be part of the army that brings Zion. This neither places the servant at odds with the prophet nor trumps Christ. I think we westernize Isaiah by contorting his archetypes to always apply the same way. Consider eastern art, in which there is not one light source but a universal light that surrounds all things. Christ does not cease to be the light source just because he is in and through all. Nice analysis. I was looking for some thoughts on the supposed three tests of Isaiah and came across this. Nice work here in your corner of the playground.
I read the book years ago and found it rather enlightening. I never expected him to be perfect in his expounding of Isaiah, though, but he has contributed a great deal to open the understanding of those who do not have the spirit of prophesy. Unless one has seen the future as Isaiah or Nephi or John the revelator, one will have more questions than answers. Respectfully, I would be interested to see you write a book or two expounding on the book of Isaiah.
I don’t see how Gileadi negates the possibility that Christ is the servant.