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 this concept like Martha’s sister Miriam did, we will be motivated to make spending time with Yeshua our priority.
Eitan’s Note: The following article was graciously contributed by Peter Tsukahira, my dear friend for some 38 years. Peter is the director of Or HaCarmel Ministry Center and one of the pastors at Kehilat HaCarmel (Carmel Assembly). In November of 2011 we travelled together as part of an Israeli team, to Osaka and Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, Korea to participate in the Asia Messianic Forums. At these events, we saw the manifestation of what you are about to read — God’s Tsunami in the Spirit sweeping across India, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the Philippines. Uniquely, Christians in these nations are receiving God’s heart for Israel and for their Messianic Jewish brothers. To contact Peter go to www.Gods-Tsunami.com or e-mail info@Gods-Tsunami.com
As Israel and the nations rise to the fulfillment of their respective callings, we are beginning to see the completion of God’s end-time purposes. At the conclusion of Matthew’s gospel, Yeshua personally predicted two great prophetic fulfillments that must take place before His return. He said,
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see me until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 23:37-39)
Yeshua’ words mean there must be a Messianic Jerusalem that will welcome Him back as Messiah and King. Today, Israel’s Messianic communities are growing and often sing, “Baruch haba baShem Adonai” as an intercessory prayer on behalf of unbelieving Jerusalem.
The second great end-time prediction Yeshua made is about the nations and is found in Matthew chapter 24.
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
The gospel of the kingdom is more than a message of salvation. The kingdom of God that Yeshua preached was rooted deeply in the identity of Israel as a nation. God became King of Israel in the desert after the exodus from Egyptian slavery and He ruled Israel with laws that extended to every area of society and culture. The gospel of the kingdom therefore is a nation-forming, culture-transforming message. It is revival that reforms.
Two thousand years ago, the gospel moved powerfully out of Israel into the Gentile world. Paul’s Macedonian vision in Acts chapter 16 made it clear that God’s strategic direction for the gos- pel of the kingdom was westward. Even though initially the message of the New Testament went out in all directions, the record of where it took root and transformed culture shows the gospel of the kingdom always moved to the west even until today.
During Paul’s lifetime the gospel saturated the Greek-speaking world. The earliest New Testaments were written in Greek and contain letters to Greek cities like Philippi, Corinth and Thessalonica. The gospel message continued west, following the roads that, according to the saying, all led to Rome. There the gospel of the kingdom fought a life and death struggle with the Roman imperial system for more than two hundred years. Early believers, both Jews and Gentiles, became identified as enemies of the state. At various times they were cruelly persecuted and brutally martyred. Still they endured and eventually outlasted the mighty Roman Empire.
Rome became increasingly corrupt and eventually collapsed. Barbarians from the north sacked the great empire. Who were these semi-civilized, pagan tribesmen? They were the ancestors of today’s very civilized Europeans. History shows that they were gradually transformed by the message of God’s kingdom. Biblical faith moved like a tidal wave across the continent, transforming whole nations and sinking down into the roots of European culture.
The story of how a mighty civilization based on biblical principles arose in Europe is too complex for one person to tell, but in general, the gospel of the kingdom provided Europe with a foundation of truth that many built upon. Artists and scientists, scholars, merchants and lawmakers discovered, created and governed in ways that over time resulted in unprecedented knowledge, wealth, influence and power.
Eventually, the accomplishments of European nations began to tower over the rest of the world. Europeans navigated the globe and became dominant politically and militarily. Were European people smarter than everyone else? Did they work harder? This cannot be true. Chinese scientists invented gunpowder and printing centuries before they were known in Europe. The Arabs were more advanced in mathematics. Why did Europe prosper so spectacularly and become so dominant? We find the answer in Acts chapter 16: The apostle Paul, an Asian Jew by birth, saw a European Gentile in his Macedonian vision and took the gospel of the kingdom west.
While European dominance was a mixed blessing for the world, wherever Europeans went, they also took the gospel message. The seeds of faith were planted in every continent. However, in Europe itself, after the Reformation, new Protestant movements like the early Baptists, Quakers, Mennonites, Huguenots and Puritans found no freedom to worship God as they understood Him from the Bible. Some, calling themselves “pilgrims” decided to leave Europe and sailed west across the great Atlantic to the New World.
In 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England with 102 pilgrims and settlers bound for America. They landed in what later was called Massachusetts and within one year, half of them had died. Still, in the years that followed, an increasing number of pilgrims continued to arrive in the New World. What motivated them to accept such risk and harsh conditions? It was their vision of a “New Jerusalem.” They sought a new nation, built on biblical principles that would guarantee the freedom of every individual to worship God according to the Bible.
In a relatively short time, the United States emerged as a powerful nation, bursting with creativity, vitality with “liberty and justice for all.” Soon American achievements in science, industry, agriculture, law and business management made that nation tower over all that had been previously accomplished in Europe. Were North Americans more intelligent than everyone else in the world? Did they work harder? The key to American greatness is the same dynamic that had previously elevated Europe: the Gospel that the apostle Paul took west continued on its westward journey, and so the United States was established on a godly, biblical base by the Founding Fathers.
During the last hundred years the gospel has moved powerfully in Latin America and Africa sweeping millions into the kingdom. Great change is taking place around the world but nowhere more significantly than west from America, across the Pacific Ocean, in East Asia. The wave of transformation through the gospel of the kingdom, predicted by Yeshua 2000 years ago is still moving westward, but it is moving faster now and the wave is much larger. It is a veritable “tsunami “of revival and reform. The modern revival in Korea is only surpassed by what has taken place during the same time period in China. Now it is estimated that there are 130 million believers in Mainland China, about 10% of the total population and almost double the size of the Chinese Communist Party. They display great passion and commitment in the face of ongoing persecution. What massive changes lie ahead for this region?
The leading edge of this tidal wave of spiritual transformation is defined by the fact that in Asia today almost all are first-generation believers. As Asian Christians mature spiritually, they are growing in the revelation of God’s faithfulness to His original covenant people, the Jews. There is also a growing vision to bring the gospel “back to Jerusalem.” Moving west from Korea and the Chinese coastal regions, the gospel of the kingdom is now impacting India and Southeast Asia with unprecedented and amazing force.
Where is this giant wave of revival and transformation heading? Westward, across Central Asia, through the “back door” of the Islamic world and back to Jerusalem where it all began. The two great end-time predictions taught by Yeshua to His disciples on the Mount of Olives (where He will return) are now being fulfilled. Through the witness of Israeli Messianic Jews in the face of deep cultural and spiritual resistance, Jerusalem will eventually say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” to Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah. This will coincide with the “fullness of the Gentiles” coming to faith through the gospel of the kingdom in every previously unreached nation. The point of convergence is in Israel where the joining of Jew and Gentile in one body through the sacrificial work of Yeshua, the Prince of Peace will demonstrate God’s shalom for Jerusalem and the nations.