At the end of my previous post, I threw out a kind of random petition to study the Book of Mormon and Isaiah and I feel like I should elaborate on that a little more.
Several years ago, an Isaiah scholar by the name of Avraham Gileadi contacted me regarding helping him redesign IsaiahExplained.com. I was able to work on that project with him and it’s been one of my favorite projects to date.
Avraham was kind enough to send me a few books and he explained that it took about 2 years of study on average before Isaiah really begins to open up to you.
Whoa, 2 years?
Ok, hear me out, just forget about that time frame for a moment. I took his challenge and he’s right but during those 2 years, and even from day one your study of Isaiah will reward you especially when you combine those studies with the Book of Mormon.
Just focus on what you’re getting from each study because there’s a reward each time.
Wait, why is this important?
These are trying times. Confusion, lies, misinformation all swirl around us like a hurricane of insanity. It’s easy to feel lost, or even blind.
What is missing to help you see clearly? Maybe it is something simple, or something we’ve been told but have ignored.
Jesus Christ himself commanded us to search Isaiah. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will.
And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles.
And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.3 Nephi 23:1-3
Secondly, among Moroni’s last admonitions was to search the prophecies of Isaiah.
For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled. Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot write them.Mormon 8:22-23
Third, Nephi recorded a ton of Isaiah in his own record, and note what he says here.
But behold, I proceed with mine own prophecy, according to my plainness; in the which I know that no man can err; nevertheless, in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass.
Wherefore, they are of worth unto the children of men, and he that supposeth that they are not, unto them will I speak particularly, and confine the words unto mine own people; for I know that they shall be of great worth unto them in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them; wherefore, for their good have I written them.2 Nephi 25:7-8
Did you get that? Those of us living in the last days will be able to understand the words of Isaiah because we will be seeing the fulfillment of his prophecies all around us.
My point is that Jesus, Moroni, and Nephi are right.
“Waaah, Isaiah is hard”
In the words of Elder Uchtdorf, “STOP IT.” Look, consider this your call to get over that “Isaiah is hard” excuse. It’s a lie and it is keeping you from incredible blessings promised to you by God himself and his servants.
Take that stupid and limiting thought and destroy it forever from your mind.
You are a child of God, born in the last days and equipped with everything you need for these times including the ability to understand and profit from the words of Isaiah.
Here’s the deal, I used to have these same limiting thoughts, I’ve been there, but I’ve also put in the effort and I’ve been richly rewarded.
I don’t know what your experience will be like, what you’ll be able to see or understand, but I can testify that your efforts will bear amazing fruit and the only disappointment will be that you waited so long to finally get to this point.
Ok, I’m willing to try, but where do I even start?
First, I’m going to give you some direction that worked very well for me, and then I’ll suggest some other resources that I think are worth supplementing to your study.
You can dive right into the text of Isaiah, but I would recommend preparing yourself with some background information that will help give context to Isaiah’s writings and really help open up what he is saying.
I’m going to point you to the IsaiahExplained.com website for that information and for the translation of Isaiah that I personally have come to prefer.
Avraham has actually put the entire contents of one of his books online for free (Windows on the Prophecy of Isaiah). There are six sections to the book on IsaiahExplained.com and I have linked to them here below for your convenience:
- Key Features of the Prophecy of Isaiah
- Isaiah’s Layered Literary Structures
- Isaiah’s Seven Spiritual Levels of Humanity
- Isaiah’s Ancient Types of End-Time Events
- Overviews of the Prophecy of Isaiah
- Glossary of Terms Relating to Isaiah
I can tell you right now, that after reading this content, you’re going to feel like an expert on Isaiah right off the bat. Think of it as a mini-master class that will set the stage for you to engage the text like you never have before.
Some concepts may take a little more time to wrap your mind around, but that’s perfectly normal. Just proceed and allow the things that can sink in to do so. Other concepts will be planted link seeds and will grow and bear fruit later.
I would highly recommend utilizing a journal of some kind to record impressions and ideas. This practice will enhance your study and expand the capacities of your mind as you transfer information from your eyes to your mind to a journal. The information then flows fully through you.
An alternative approach to reading Isaiah
Ok, you’ve read about Isaiah, you’ve got some fantastic information at your disposal and you’re ready to engage the text. This is really exciting and it’s going to be a blast.
I have a special challenge for you though. Instead of reading the text of Isaiah from chapter 1-66, I found it interested to read the chapters in order of the opposing themes that have been discovered within the text.
Start in Isaiah 1 and read to 5, then jump to 34 and read to 35. You will have read two contrasting sections that are connected by their themes of ruin and rebirth. It’s an interesting approach to the text and sometimes it is fun to shake things up.
I then recommend going back and reading it all again in just plain old-fashioned chronological style from 1-66. There’s more to be gained from reading it in a traditional way as well.
Then proceed to Isaiah 6-8, then jump to 36-40, and so on.
Ruin & Rebirth (Isaiah 1–5; 34–35)
Rebellion & Compliance (Isaiah 6–8; 36–40)
Punishment & Deliverance (Isaiah 9–12; 41–46)
Humiliation & Exaltation (Isaiah 13–23; 47)
Suffering & Salvation (Isaiah 24–27; 48–54)
Disloyalty & Loyalty (Isaiah 28–31; 55–59)
Disinheritance & Inheritance (Isaiah 32–33; 60–66)
I don’t recommend using the King James Version of Isaiah, I have found that Avraham Gileadi’s translation is much easier to read, and from what I can tell is just a better and more clear translation overall.
Just go to IsaiahExplained.com and dig in.
The Isaiah Explained website has a massive host of services all free of charge, provided by a guy who loves Isaiah and his life’s passion is to make his message as accessible to everyone as possible.
On the site, you can click on any verse and get the Isaiah Institute Translation of the verse, the King James Version, the Hebrew version, and some detailed apocalyptic commentary. This is seriously some powerful stuff.
Each chapter also has a verse by verse audio commentary and there are over 30 hours of audio! Just check in the right sidebar for the audio player.
You can also click on the Apocalyptic Commentary tab and read detailed verse by verse commentary.
Yes, it is a ton of great information right at your fingertips if you feel like you need it. We’re talking about a guided tour through the text that can be experienced in a variety of ways.
What I still think is incredible is that this is all available for free. There’s really no excuse, can you imagine how much Isaiah’s message can now open up to you?
If you’re interested in physical books I’m going to recommend three of my favorites.
The first is Isaiah Decoded and it is personally my favorite book on the subject of Isaiah. While this book has scholarly information, it’s more than that. Avraham outlines a “ladder to heaven” based on the various archetypal “characters” featured in the text. I didn’t just feel informed after reading this book, I felt compelled to actually be a better person which was something I was not expecting. This book opens up an aspect of Isaiah’s message that draws one closer to God and for that reason, I really love this book.
The second is The Book of Isaiah: A new translation with interpretive keys from the Book of Mormon, yes that’s a mouthful but this short and simple book contains just two parts. The first part goes into various “interpretive keys” contained in the Book of Mormon that help open up Isaiah’s message. The second part is the full Isaiah Institute Translation of the Book of Isaiah. This book is actually my primary go-to source to dig into the text of Isaiah. My book is extremely marked up and I personally prefer analog text for scripture.
The third book is for those that can’t get enough and really want to dig deep. The Literary Message of Isaiah is an in-depth look into the literary patterns in the text of Isaiah which reveal many critical things to understand Isaiah’s message. This is more of a scholarly book rich with research and analysis that will delight the serious student of Isaiah.
Ok, you’ve got more than enough to get started.
In closing here, I just want to say again how important it is for us in the last days to take Isaiah seriously.
Things are going down, prophecy is being fulfilled and Jesus, Nephi, Moroni have all told us where to look. We CAN understand his message because we were born for these times. Above all others, we in the last days are the ones that need to understand these things; otherwise, we will live blindly, we’ll be deceived and we’ll be unprepared for what’s coming.
Let’s do this!