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Tuesday, September 25 2012

Standing Fast

"Fast," as the English word that refers to abstaining from eating (and usually drinking), originated from an Anglo-Saxon word, foest, which meant to hold firm against eating (the English "hold fast" and "fasten" originated from the same original word, which produced other terms, such as "steadfast" which is merely another pronunciation of stand fast). While many regard fasting as an unusual practice, or something that only "religious" people do, fasting is actually a natural daily occurrence for everyone (unless some health issue precludes safely fasting overnight) - the English word "breakfast" refers to breaking the fast after the many hours of a night's sleep.

In referring to longer periods of abstinence, "fast" is used to translate the Hebrew word of the Old Testament, pronounced tsoom, which literally means to cover the mouth, as in to fast. In the New Testament, "fast" is used to translate the Greek word, pronounced nace-tyoo-oh, which specifically means to abstain from food.

The longest fasts recorded in the Holy Scriptures were the miraculously-enabled (such long fasts would have been fatal otherwise) forty-day fasts of Moses, Elijah and the Messiah.


"34:27 And the LORD [see Who Is The LORD?] said unto Moses [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Moses], Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel [see also Israel In History and Prophecy: The New Covenant]. 34:28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments." (Exodus 34:27-28 KJV)

"19:7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 19:9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? [see The Prophets: Elijah]" (1 Kings 19:7-9 KJV)

"4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil [see Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal and Who's Hiding On Your Wall?]. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:1-4 KJV)

It was a purposeful lesson that those three men, Moses (representing God's Law of true Freedom; see The Yoke Of Freedom and The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God), Elijah (representing the prophets; see The Prophets: What Is A Prophet?) and the Messiah (Who unified the Law and the prophets in Him; see The Feast Of Trumpets Prophecy) also appeared together in the "transfiguration" - a prophetic vision of the future Kingdom of God (see The Church In The Kingdom Of God and What Is The Day Of The LORD?).

"17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother [see also What Did Peter and John See That Others Didn't?], and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." (Matthew 17:1-5 KJV)

"It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"

The most well-known fast of Bible History, for the Day of Atonement, began as commanded by "the LORD God," Who was Jesus Christ: "10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 KJV) to The First Christian Church after the Exodus (again, see Who Is The LORD?). It has been one of the true Christian Holy Days ever since (see Calendar of Christ's Holy Days).

The Sinai Peninsula

"23:26 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 23:28 And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.

23:29 For whatsoever soul [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?] it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 23:30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 23:31 Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 23:32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." (Leviticus 23:26-32 KJV)

The believers of the LORD chose to occasionally fast for other reasons as well, usually during times of tribulation.

"20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Tabernacle], and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD." (Judges 20:26 KJV)

"1:11 Then David [see Israel In History and Prophecy: King David] took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: 1:12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Saul and David], and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword." (2 Samuel 1:11-12 KJV)

"12:16 David therefore besought God for the child [see David And Bathsheba]; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. 12:17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them." (2 Samuel 12:16-17 KJV)

"20:3 And Jehoshaphat [see Jehoshaphat Of Judah] feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah." (2 Chronicles 20:3 KJV)

"4:15 Then Esther [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Purim] bade them return Mordecai this answer, 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:15-16 KJV)

The Messiah taught fasting, including prayer and fasting on occasion (see also the Fact Finder question below).

Waiting To Be Healed

"17:18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour [see The Healing Spirit].

17:19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:18-21 KJV)

As with so many other things, the religious authorities of that time perverted right things of the LORD into their own ideas of religion. The Messiah rebuked and condemned such self-righteous hypocrisy (see Religious Parties and Is Your Church A Cult?). Notice that Christ didn't say not to fast; He said don't fast like a for-show hypocrite.

"6:16 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. 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 6:18 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." (Matthew 6:16-18 KJV)

The "New Testament" Church occasionally fasted in the same way, and for the same reasons, that God's true people always have (keeping in mind that those with health issues that prevent safe and healthy fasting should not fast).

"13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul [see Straight Street] for the work whereunto I have called them. 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus." (Acts 13:1-4 KJV)

"14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith [see Faithful Doers Of The Word], and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." (Acts 14:21-23 KJV)

"7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband [see also The Birth Of The Bride]. 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 7:4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." (1 Corinthians 7:1-5 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why is "prayer and fasting" beneficial?
See How To Pray

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This Day In History, September 25

275: Marcus Claudius Tacitus was proclaimed the Emperor of Rome (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) after the assassination of Aurelian (see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).

1066: The Battle of Stamford Bridge ended the last Viking invasion of England.

1396: At Nicopolis, the Ottomans under Sultan Bajazet inflicted a severe defeat on the Church of Rome "Crusaders" led by "John the Fearless" of Nevers and King Sigismund of Hungary (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).

1513: Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa became the first known European to sight the Pacific Ocean. He claimed the entire Pacific Ocean, and all lands anywhere that were touched by it, for Spain.

1555: In Germany, the Peace of Augsburg was declared. It was the first effort by The Holy Roman Empire to allow Lutheranism (Protestantism) and Catholicism to exist together in the Holy Roman Empire (which by then was officially known as the Holy Roman Empire of The German Nation).

1629: The Truce of Altmark was signed. The 6 year peace settlement between Sweden and Poland ended the 1625-1629 phase of the Polish-Swedish War of Succession (1600-1660).

1644: Ole Romer was born. The Danish scientific researcher and astronomer was the first to accurately determine the speed of light - 186,000 miles per second. Light can travel around the entire earth 7 times in 1 second, or travel from the earth to the moon in just over 1 second. It takes light about 8 minutes to travel from the sun to the earth.

1726: The French-heritage Acadians of eastern Canada signed an English oath of allegiance on the condition they did not have to fight the French. Other Acadians left and went to the French colony of Louisiana, named after King Louis XIV of France, where "Acadian" became pronounced as "Cajun."

1818: The first human blood transfusion took place at a hospital in London, England.

1956: A transatlantic telephone cable between Britain and Canada was inaugurated with an exchange of greetings between London and Ottawa. Reaching from Oban, Scotland, to Clarenville, Newfoundland, the $42,000,000.00 cable consisted of 2 lines laid 30 kilometers apart on the ocean floor.

1996: Israeli troops and Palestinian security forces exchanged gunfire in Jerusalem and in other areas in Israel, set off by Palestinian opposition to an Israeli historical research tunnel dug in Jerusalem in the area of the Temple Mount (see David's Altar, Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple and Raiders Of The Lost Ark). The confrontation was described as the heaviest fighting in Jerusalem since the area was captured by the Jews during the 1967 Six Day War (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).


Copyright © Wayne Blank