EPIZEUXIS; is it Latin for bazooka? A giant zucchini? An
embarrassing skin disease? No, epizeuxis is the Greek word for emphasis
by duplication. Sometimes in scripture, words are repeated to draw our
attention to something that we might have ordinarily missed. There are
seven instances in the scriptures when the Lord addresses someone by
calling their name twice. Each passage is vitally connected to a
significant juncture in the unfolding of the purposes of God.
Genesis 22:11: "But the angel of the Lord called to him out of heaven:
'Abraham, Abraham.' He answered, 'Here I am.'"
The context of this verse is the dramatic call of God to Abraham to
sacrifice his son Isaac. This comes in the latter part of Abraham's
life, after many years of service to God, with many tests and covenantal
promises. Isaac is bound on the altar and Abraham is lifting the knife to
slay his son. The angel of the Lord calls out to stop him from slaying
his son. Had the angel not stopped him, Abraham would have carried out
God goes on to say that because Abraham was willing to do this, "I
will most certainly bless you and I will most certainly increase your
descendents to as many as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand on
the seashore. Your descendents will possess the cities of their enemies
and in your descendents all the nations of the earth shall be blessed
because you obeyed my voice" (Genesis 22:17,18). The promises of the
Abrahamic covenant were now guaranteed because of Abraham's faith;
through him the whole earth will be blessed in Abraham and his offspring.
It's prophetic both in how the event symbolizes the death and
resurrection of Yeshua and how the promise looks forward to the
fulfillment in Yeshua.
Genesis 46:2 is the second example. "In a vision at night God called
to Israel, 'Jacob, Jacob.' He answered, 'Here I
am.'" It had been 22 years since his brothers had sold Joseph
into slavery; Jacob thought his beloved son was dead. But instead God had
raised Joseph up to second-in-command in Egypt. After his brothers came
down to Egypt several times to buy grain because of the famine, he
revealed himself to them and forgave them. He sent word to his father to
bring the entire family to come and live in Egypt because there were
still five more years of famine and there was food in Egypt.
In this passage God assured Jacob that it was all right for him to go.
He did not have to be afraid. God would bring them back to the land. God
calls him Jacob rather than Israel because Jacob is the name of his
weakness; Israel is the name of his strength. At this point he was very
vulnerable, in a state of shock because of all that had taken place. This
is an event of major significance - the basis for the nation coming into
Egypt where they would be enslaved. Then God would come and deliver them,
forging their identity as His nation and establishing His identity for all
generations as the God who delivers from bondage.
Exodus 3:4, is the third example. "When the Lord saw that he had gone
over to see, God called him from the middle of the bush, 'Moses,
Moses.' He answered, 'Here I am.'" Moses had been
forty years old when he fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian taskmaster.
He had been living in the land of Midian for another forty years. At the
age of eighty, out in the wilderness he saw a bush that was burning but
not consumed. He went to investigate and God called him to deliver Israel
from bondage and to bring them into the land God promised to Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob.
This was God's answer to the cries of His people for deliverance.
This was God fulfilling His word to the patriarchs. Moses needed a little
convincing. At the age of eighty I think he probably just wanted to
retire. But this was God's time for Moses to begin revealing the
power of Israel's God.
1 Samuel 3:10 is the 4th example: "The Lord came and stood and spoke
as at the other times: 'Samuel, Samuel.' and Samuel said,
'Speak, your servant is listening.'" Israel had been in the
land many generations. There had been no clear prophetic voice or example
of righteousness. The book of 1 Samuel follows the book of Judges which
ends with these words; "At that time there was no king in Israel,
everyone simply did whatever he thought was right" (Judges 21:25).
And of course the whole book of Judges illustrates very dramatically that
what most of the people thought was right, was wrong.
1 Samuel begins with Samuel being conceived as a result of prayer and a
promise to commit him to the Lord. He was brought to the house of the
Lord in Shiloh as a little child and he began to serve God under the
authority of Eli the priest. God called Samuel in the middle of the night
to give him a prophetic word about God's judgment on the house of
Eli and his evil sons. Verses 19-21 say, "Samuel kept growing and the
Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. All Israel
from Dan to Beersheva became aware that Samuel had been confirmed as a
prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued appearing in Shiloh and the Lord
revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord." The
Lord was restoring His prophetic word to Israel by laying a foundation for
generations of prophets to come.
We move into the New Covenant writings for the 5th example. "Simon,
Simon. Listen! The adversary demanded to have you for himself, to sift
you like wheat" (Luke 22:31) It was the last Passover Seder that
Yeshua observed with His disciples. The Seder was ending and the disciples
were arguing among themselves over who was greatest. Yeshua told them that
the servant was the greatest. He told them that they would have a great
future but beforehand there would be severe testing which was part of the
process. He singled out Peter and told him that he was going to be tested
by Satan. But Yeshua also told Peter he had prayed for him that he might
not fail. Yeshua warned Simon that he would deny him three times. He told
Simon that he would come out of it strong and able to minister to the
brothers. These events lead up to the crucifixion and resurrection, and
the outpouring of the Spirit on Shavuot.
Acts 9:4 is the 6th passage: "Falling to the ground he heard a voice
saying to him, 'Sha'ul, Sha'ul, why do you keep
persecuting me?'" After the death of Stephen, Sha'ul was in
a murderous rage, going to Damascus to have the Messianic believers
dragged out of the synagogues and thrown in prison. Yeshua blinded him
with a bright light and knocked him off his donkey. When Sha'ul
heard the Lord call his name and told him to stop persecuting Him he
said, 'Who are you?' Yeshua replied, "I am Yeshua. Get up,
go into the city and you'll be shown what you need to do." The
calling of Sha'ul is the foundation for the expansion of the message
of Messiah to the all the nations beyond Israel.
I have saved this unusual example for the end:
"The Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are fretting and
worrying about so many things'" (Luke 10:41). Yeshua was
visiting a family that was dear to Him, two sisters and their brother
Elazar. Sister Martha was extremely frustrated because she had so much
work to do and her sister Miriam was not helping with the chores. Miriam
wanted to sit at the feet of Yeshua and learn from Him. Yeshua said
Miriam had chosen the one thing that was important - being with Him.
Six examples are connected to major events: (1) The sacrifice of Isaac,
(2) Jacob going down to Egypt, (3) the call of Moses to deliver Israel
from bondage, (4) the beginning of prophetic ministry in Israel through
Samuel, (5) Peter's failure and Yeshua's promise to restore him
in light of Yeshua's arrest and crucifixion, (6) the calling of
Sha'ul to extend the good news of Messiah to the nations.
In the light of these great events, how significant is it to have Messiah
telling a woman she needs to relax and take the time to sit at His feet?
It just doesn't seem to fit with the other six. But it truly does.
The personal time each one of us has with the Lord is of major
significance in the kingdom of God. We must take time and sit at His feet
because what we receive there will transform us, and then we will
transform the world around us. The inclusion of the double calling to
Martha has been included with these other examples in order to show us
just how important it is to spend time with the Lord. If we grasp that
concept we will be motivated to make spending time with Yeshua our
priority just like Martha's sister Miriam did.