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What the Bible says about Repetition as Emphasis
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 16:26

Moses is repeating himself here, perhaps for emphasis. He had already told the Israelites that:

  • They should gather manna for six days
  • The seventh day is a Sabbath—a day of rest
  • There would be none for them to gather on the Sabbath Day.

Staff

Obadiah 1:11-15

If repetition is the best form of emphasis, God goes overboard in the chapter-long, prophetic book of Obadiah. Between Obadiah 11 and 14, a total of four verses, the phrase "in the day" or "on the day" occurs ten times. It acts as a kind of refrain in the prophet's song of lamentation over the nation of Edom. It repetitiously reminds the reader or listener of a specific time when the Edomites' iniquity came to a head, sealing their fate.

It is also a prophetic clue. The phrase functions like a series of huge billboards, each one illuminated by glaring spotlights, but rather than displaying successive lines of a ditty, like the old Burma Shave signs, these all repeat the same phrase: "in the day"! In these verses, God is essentially shouting at us as through a loudspeaker, "This occurs 'in the day'! 'In the day' is when this happens!"

Earlier, in verse 8, God had introduced the time setting with the phrase "in that day." He refers to the time when Edom's allies betray the descendants of Esau and lay a cunning snare for them, one they fail to perceive until far too late. God informs them through the prophecy that He had had a hand in destroying Edom's wise men, who, had they been present, may have been able to discern the trap before it had been sprung.

However, the timing in verse 8 is vague, having little supporting detail to fix it in history. Subsequent verses reiterate the fact that God has one particular time in mind, to which He adds detail, alerting us to the fact that this day is not Edom's day, but his brother Jacob's day (verse 12). In addition, it is a time of distress, calamity, captivity, and destruction.

In verse 15, though, God tells us plainly, "For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near." He has in mind a particular period of His great plan, a time when the various threads of human history, religion, culture, and thought terminate in confusion and rebellion against God, and He Himself takes center-stage to resolve the Satanic mess. Though the Edomites have gloated over Israel's misfortune on other days in the past, it will recur most egregiously in this time of the end, causing God to decree, "As you have done, it shall be done to you. . . . No survivor shall remain of the house of Esau" (verses 15, 18).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
All About Edom (Part Five): Obadiah and God's Judgment

Zechariah 4:7

"Grace, grace" - In the Hebrew, this is literally "favor, favor." Perhaps more literally, it should be rendered "beauty, beauty." In the Psalms, there is a concept called "the beauty of holiness" (see Psalm 29:2; 96:9; 110:3), which is connected to this "grace, grace." However, this instance is a reiteration of what is said in verse 6, that it is only by God's gifts and favor that the work will be accomplished.

The Hebrew language repeats itself a great deal—putting ideas in a slightly different way, in parallel, so that we can understand just how things are to be understood. What this means is that it is by God's grace—by His Spirit, by His favor, by His gifts, that the Temple will be completed and ready for God to inhabit. Zerubbabel should not fear anything. It will be done through God's help.

However, we have to link this with the lamps around the central pillar, which is the passage's main theme. The prophecy goes beyond Zerubbabel to the New Testament church—specifically, down to the end-time church. The passage progresses toward the Two Witnesses—the two anointed ones—at the end of this chapter. And much like Revelation 10 and 11, it starts out with an early work and ends with their worldwide work. The early work has to do with completing the Temple, and the later work has to do with a witness for God before the whole world.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part Four)

Matthew 13:45-46

It is immediately obvious that the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price and the Parable of the Hidden Treasure are similar; they have a similar form and similar symbols. They both tell the same basic story. It is interesting that in this series of parables, Christ gave two that are so much alike. This is not unusual.

In Genesis 41:1-7 are Pharaoh's dreams about the upcoming famine. Notice that God gave Pharaoh two similar dreams: a vision of seven healthy cows devoured by seven gaunt ones and then seven good heads of grain devoured by seven blighted ones. He did this to emphasize matters to Pharaoh. Repetition is the best form of emphasis.

In addition, He did it because something appeared in the second one that was not in the first, and it was an important factor for Pharaoh to understand. What it told Joseph is that there would be, not only a famine that affected livestock, but also a famine affecting vegetation. It would be a total famine, and they had to prepare accordingly.

In these two parables, then—the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price—there must be something additional in the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price that is not quite understandable from the Parable of the Hidden Treasure. Jesus gave a second parable with a slightly different meaning for a reason: to give us encouragement.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 3): Hidden Treasure


 




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