ROSE AND LINDA’S BLOG FASTING
January 8, 2013 by momsfirstscreenn
King James Version (KJV)
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
The first question that comes to mind when we hear the word fasting, is what do you mean? Most of us have had to fast before an exam at the hospital. This meant nothing to eat or drink for 12 hours before testing. The definition of fasting is:
verb (used without object)
1. to abstain from all food.
2. to eat only sparingly or of certain kinds of food, especially as a religious observance.
verb (used with object)
3. to cause to abstain entirely from or limit food; put on a fast: to fast a patient for a day before surgery.
4. an abstinence from food, or a limiting of one’s food, especially when voluntary and as a religious observance; fasting.
5. a day or period of fasting.
Origin: before 1000; Middle English fasten, Old English fæstan; cognate with German fasten, Gothic fastan, Old Norse fasta
Looking further into Jewish Fasting we uncover the facts that fasting is for set periods of time. ” All Jewish fasts begin at sunrise and end with the appearance of the first stars of the evening, except those of the Day of Atonement and the Ninth of Ab, which last “from even till even.” There is no special ritual for the ordinary fast-days. The Law is taken out and the lesson from Exodus is read which treats of the thirteen qualities of mercy and of God’s forgiveness at the supplication of the pious (Ex. xxxii. 11-14, xxxiv. 1-10). ”Biblical times show us that fasting was observed during mourning of the dead, when danger threatened, or when the seer was preparing himself for a divine revelation. There is only one day of fasting under Mosaic law, which is the Day of Atonement. Other fasts were added over the course of time. It is interesting to note that the Rabbis did not encourage private fasting, even forbidding it in the case of scholars and teachers. The reason being they might be disturbed in their work, prevented from doing their work faithfully, and they might become weak. In Judaism, the purpose of a fast is to lower the volume on our physical pursuits in order to focus more acutely on our spiritual selves. This facilitates the process of “teshuva” – literally “return.” We return to G-d, and to our essential state of purity.
We had to look twice at that part again about ‘no special ritual….’ and ‘The Law is taken out…’. To us that would mean it was a tradition which is not Law, which we are not under, or a tradition that man has formed to serve a purpose for themselves. The other Word we have to look at is that of what Jesus told us to do which we know from scripture to mean ‘not to eat’.
The New Testament shows us these examples of fasting:
The prophetess Anna, who proclaimed the baby Jesus to be the Messiah, prayed and fasted regularly in the Temple (Luke 2:37).
Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights while in the desert, being tempted by Satan to turn stones into bread and eat them, among other temptations. (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:2).
Jesus teaches on the outward appearance and demeanor of a fasting person (Matthew 6:16).
“And when you pray…” Matthew 6:5
“When you fast…” Matthew 6:16)
Saul, better known by the Greek variant of his name, Paul, did not eat or drink anything for three days after he converted on the road to Damascus. (Book of Acts 9:9)
The church in Antioch were worshipping the Lord and fasting when the Holy Spirit told them to send Barnabas and Paul for work (Acts 13:2).
Paul and Barnabus appointed elders with prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23).
Jesus warned his followers against fasting only to make others admire them. He provided practical steps on how to fast in private. (Matthew 6:16–18).
The Pharisees and John’s disciples in Jesus’ time fasted regularly and asked Jesus why his disciples did not. Jesus answered them using a parable (Matthew 9:14–15, Mark 2:18–20, Luke 5:33–39, see also Mark 2).
Jesus ascribes the Disciples’ inability to cast out spirits to a lack of prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29.
Fasting from what we have found in the Word is to abstain from eating. Fasting allows you to have a powerful spiritual experience with God, it can transform you. It opens the door for our lives, churches, communities, our nation and our world. It is a little difficult to find information on how to fast, what to expect, how to start and end a fast. We will write on this in the future. We will also cover the partial fast that many churches are incrementing at different churches. For now we hope we have covered what and why to fast. If you have any questions please ask and we will do our best to answer you.