PaRDeS - Four levels of Hebraic Study/Understanding

By Randy Schroeder

In contrast to our Western mindset that prefers the direct, rational, linear, logical and obvious, the Israelites understood that the inspired scriptures often contained more than one dimension of revelation. They categorized them into four different levels of study and understanding called the PaRDeS or simply the acronym PRDS if we leave out the vowel points. They are the:






P'shat (pashat, pschat, peschat)

The simple, direct, plain sense, literal meaning of the text, i.e. who, where, how, what happened. Basically, the p'shat level is what is being said and is the way Yahweh talks to us when we are to understand how to live, i.e. "thou shall not steal."

While our Western mindset would contend that the plain sense of a story or expression is the most important understanding, when Yeshua used parables to explain the kingdom of Yahweh (..and satan's as well) this level had little significance compared to the spiritual meaning which was not spoken of directly.


The Remez level of study/understanding is the allegorical or hint level. At this level the reflection of the plain words or story traditionally is hinting at something more. Often the Remez level is the homiletics (i.e. how to give a sermon) treatment of the text. In essence it is the study of the actual meanings of what was really going on in context of the scriptures and the times.

For example when I ask most Christians the basis or Hebraic reason for Stephen's stoning (first martyr of the New Testament – Acts 6:9 through 7:60), the answer most generally given is because he was preaching the gospel of Jesus. And while that may have been the event surrounding what was going on (p'shat – plain text), it doesn't recognize that the actual reason for Stephen's stoning was not the preaching of Jesus, but because of the accusations that were being brought against him would have violated the laws or Torah regarding the temple and the changing of the word.

Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. (Acts 6:9-14)

His false accusers charged Stephen of not only blasphemy through the destruction of the temple (contrary to the Mishnah or oral law), but changing the laws of Moses. According to Deuteronomy 12:32 God said: What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. Furthermore, the penalty for disobedience was, by testimony of two witnesses, death by stoning .

As an aside, the New Testament believer should recognize that God continues to take just as serious an outlook toward adding to, or subtracting from His word. As a matter of fact God's judgment is even more serious than physical death as we read:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev 22:18,19)


The drash level of study is the hidden, secret or mysterious meaning of the text. It often is when the text does not use or contain the actual word or subject itself, but really is talking about something totally different. The example that we will be discussing mostly is the mystery of the church. However, let me show you:

- Examples by Yeshua's own words and

- the importance Yeshua placed upon this level of understanding.

1. Parables

The real meaning of Jesus' parables was often contained within this deeper level of understanding. Many could not understand his speech because they could not understand the drash level of teaching. Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. (John 10:6)

It even took the disciples repeated explanations in order to become trained to hear the truths of the kingdom and the hearts of man that our master taught. Again and again he admonished them to "hear,"

Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, "'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'" Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? (Mark 4:9-13)

Proverbs 25:2 tells us that: It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Now since we are the Kings kids, he has made us kings and priests (Rev 1:6), and Jesus has said above that "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you." It is time for the entire body of Christ to understand more of the concealed things of the kingdom. Just like the disciples, we must practice and attune our hearing to what the spirit is saying when "deep calls unto deep" within the scriptures.

For example, many Rabbi's say that Moses was the greatest prophet of Messiah that ever lived. Yet, Moses never used the word Messiah, not once. And only upon his prophesying of Israel's rebellion did he speak directly about the "prophet" who would come after him and be like unto himself. Even our savior confirmed that Moses wrote about him:

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)

And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)

Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.(John 1:45)

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:46,47)

So then, if Moses' books were about Messiah, where is it? It is at the drash or mysterious level of revelation. But this level is not always hidden just because it is not God's timing for revelation. Often it is not seen either because we haven't been taught or our spirit is unable to discern or understand His deeper revelations.


Sod, meaning secret or concealed, is the deepest level of understanding. It is the esoteric, hidden, mysterious treasures which are given to those whom Yahweh has called to be His own. To those who fear Him and obey His words, they are our (and our children's) inheritance, stability and strength of salvation.

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deu 29:29)

The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. (Psa 25:14V)

And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. (Isa 33:6)

..., to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2,3)

The sod level of study is prophetic and almost other worldly in nature and therefore should be used primarily as a support of other scripture and a confirming witness. It should not be singularly used as a theological foundation or necessarily a singular predictive source. The Kabbilists have made a lifetime study of the deep mysteries (Kabbalah) of the bible and ancient writings of wisdom. And while their pursuits may be noble, a great deal of apparent error has often been evidenced in some of their conclusions and teachings.

A few of the more esoteric examples of sod understanding/study can be seen in:

1. Signs in the Heaven

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: (Gen 1:14)

Within the scriptures we have the sun, moon and stars serving as signs for our understanding.

Sun = nations (calendars and even Messiah )

Moon = Israel

Stars = constellations & stories.

The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. (Psa 19:1-3)

Because Daniel understood this sod wisdom and the prophecies of Yahweh, his descended students, the Maggi came looking for the new-born king. The signs in the sky became a signal for their pursuit of the king because they understood God's handwriting.

The suggested reading, The Witness of the Stars by E. W. Bullinger is a unique work written in late 1800's. In it, the author peals away much of the Greek and modern astrological perversion to reveal the wonderful story of salvation in the stars.

2. Numerology/Gematria

Numerology and Gematria are those themes and meaning associated with numbers. For example, one of the most recognized usages of Gematria in the bible is when a number is assigned to a name or a name is assigned to a number. For example there is a deeper revelation in the meaning of the numbers for the following verse:

Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. (John 21:11)

Have you ever wondered why this scripture included a specific number of fish – an abundance that did not break the net and get away? A student of sod studies would tell you that in Hebrew the number 153 corresponds to, "Sons of the Living God." From this revelation we can determine that this story is saying that on our own accord we make poor fishers of men (John 21:5) , but that under Yeshua's lordship (John 21:8) , His disciples will bring forth the "Sons of the Living God" upon which all creation waits (and not one will be lost).

Another very familiar application at this level is the Revelation verse describing the beast in the apostle John's Revelation.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Rev 13:18)

Without wisdom, many may have interpreted this verse with all kinds of errant applications and expectations regarding the identity of who this man truly is. But with our inheritance of the hidden wisdom of Yahweh, we can understand that beast's name will translate to the number 666. Thus, the sign of the beast which we are warned against taking upon our person may not be a number at all. We only know that the letters in his name will total a numerical value of 666.

2a. Hidden Numerical Revelation

In 1997 Jeffrey Satinover, M.D. published Cracking The Bible Code, thus popularizing a sod level of understanding that the sages of Israel had studied back to ancient times. For they believe that the Torah, the first five books of the bible, was not just inspired, but that Yahweh dictated the text to Moses word by word. Furthermore, they believe the Torah contains the entire history and future of mankind. In his book, the author demonstrated many examples where names, events, and history were embedded or encrypted in the text.

2b. Numerical Values

In 1967 Kregel Publications, Inc. published a work of E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913) titled, Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance. While the sages of Israel have know and gained great insight from numerical correlations for centuries, a devout believer in Yeshua, Mr. Bullinger brought the English speaking world a new illumination to the study of numerology. He correlated numbers with themes and looked for reoccurring meanings from the same number being used in context.

Thus, today the numerical significance has come to the forefront of pulpit analogies and teachings. We often hear parallels drawn between the number three, meaning completeness and divine perfection. Six is the number associated with man and man's labor, seven signifies spiritual perfection, eight means new beginnings, etc.

So then we come to understand a deeper meaning in Yeshua's name whose name has a numerical value of 888. Thus the significance of the meaning of Yeshua's name would be in the numbers "3" (because the prime number "8" is repeated three times) and "8". Since the number "3" means divine perfection and "8" is new beginnings it would be understood that in Jesus there is divine perfection of the new beginning. Or, there is always hope for a new beginning in Yeshua.

3. Letter symbolism

In Hebrew, each letter has an understood meaning that often gives more understanding to Hebrew scholars. For example, the first letter of the alphabet, aleph means strength, Bet is house, gimel is pride or to lift up, and so forth all the way to the last letter of the alphabet, tav which means sign/covenant/seal, etc. And those meanings give a deeper thematic understanding to the Hebrew words.

For example, Yeshua is the Aleph Tav (beginning and end) in Hebrew (Alpha and Omega in Greek). Thus we should understand from the symbolism associated with the Hebrew letters that Yeshua is the strength (Aleph) of the covenant (Tav).

While additional details and examples are almost unlimited, I believe with this basic foundation you can understand the depth of revelation that God has for us concerning the kingdom and the Godhead Himself. If only we can "see" with our spiritual eyes and understanding. Every time we see a number, read a parable, listen to God's instructions and meditate upon the prophets and psalms, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit's quickening and be alert that there is more than meets than meets the single level "eye" of the plain text. The Lord said,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:8,9)

We may never understand the fullness of the scriptures until we see Jesus face to face, but I pray that this brief explanation will give you a foundation for deeper revelation.


P'shat – Plain Sense

Remez – Hint

Drash – Mystery

Sod – Hidden


Gateway To Freedom Ministries

Randy Schroeder