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 the sacrifice.
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.