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Wednesday, February 17 2016

Zechariah 7: How Fast?

"When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?"

The English-language word "fast" now has two meanings - to abstain from food, or quickly. Despite the different meanings, the word originated from a single word, with a single meaning - the Anglo-Saxon word foest, which meant firm, as in steadfast ("fast" is actually an abbreviation of steadfast i.e. to hold fast). From that single definition, it came to mean to abstain from food when someone was steadfast from their intake of food, or it could mean quickly when someone or something was steadfast in movement.

"Fast" is used to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced tsome, which meant to cover the mouth - a figurative term that referred specifically to abstaining from food.

Fasting is commanded in the Day of Atonement - a Holy Day that is Christian, and always has been about the Messiah (see The Christian Day Of Atonement).

"23:26 And the LORD [see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour] 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 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 [see What Does The LORD Say About Your Soul?]. 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 people of the LORD chose to occasionally fast to the LORD for other reasons as well, usually during times of tribulation (see also the Fact Finder question below about the Biblical principles of prayer).

Fringes

"20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, 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 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, 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; 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 feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah." (2 Chronicles 20:3 KJV)

"4:15 Then Esther 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 the Fact Finder question below).

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

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 numerous other things, the seeming religious "authorities" of that time had replaced many of the actual instructions and commandments of the LORD with their own self-serving traditions. The Messiah starkly rebuked them for it. With regard to fasting, notice that the Messiah didn't say not to fast; He said don't fast like a for-show hypocrite. Don't fast to yourself, or to for an audience.

"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)

Proper and improper fasting were both known to the people of Israel from early times.

"58:4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high." (Isaiah 58:4 KJV)

"36:9 And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem." (Jeremiah 36:9 KJV)

So too in the time of Zechariah, the LORD rebuked the exiles (see also Why Didn't The Exiles Want To Go Home?) for fasting to themselves, rather than to Him: "When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?"

"7:1 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;

7:2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD, 7:3 And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the LORD of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years?

7:4 Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying,

7:5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying,

When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? 7:6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves? 7:7 Should ye not hear the words which the LORD hath cried by the former prophets, when Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, and the cities thereof round about her, when men inhabited the south and the plain?

7:8 And the word of the LORD came unto Zechariah, saying,

7:9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother: 7:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.

7:11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. 7:12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.

7:13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: 7:14 But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate." (Zechariah 7:1-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: What does the Word of God actually teach about prayer?
See How To Pray: 12 Biblical Principles Of Personal Prayer


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This Day In History, February 17

364: Roman Emperor Jovian died. He reigned only eight months (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

1370: The Battle of Rudau during the "Crusades" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).

The Red Cross 1461: During the Wars of the Roses, the Yorkists were defeated by the Lancastrians at the Battle of St. Albans.

1600: Giordano Bruno, scientist and mathematician whose theories were ahead of his time, was burned as a "heretic" in Rome during the Inquisition.

1759: General Wolfe sailed from Britain to capture Quebec.

1772: The first partition of Poland, by Russia and Prussia (Prussia is in Germany), also later by Austria.

1776: The first volume of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (now commonly shortened to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) was published.

1863: A group of people in Geneva, Switzerland established the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded. It later became known as the International Committee of the Red Cross, commonly known today simply as the Red Cross.

1864: A Confederate hand-propelled submarine, armed with a ram torpedo, sunk a Union ship off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. It is considered the first successful attack by a submarine.

1875: Friedrich Argelander died at age 76. The Prussian (Prussia is in Germany) astronomer established the study of variable stars as an independent branch of astronomy. He is renowned for his catalog which lists the positions and magnitudes of 324,188 stars - the Bonner Durchmusterung was the result of 25 years of observational work.

1909: Arizona-born Apache chief Geronimo died at age 80. "Geronimo" was the name given to him by Mexican troops during his homeland wars against Mexico and Texas.

1919: Sir Wilfred Laurier died. He was the first French-Canadian to become Prime Minister of Canada (1896-1911).

1934: Albert I died at age 59. As Belgian king from 1909 to 1934, he commanded Belgian army during the First World War. He refused the German ultimatum of August 2 1914, demanding free passage of German troops across Belgium; the German invasion followed 2 days later. Albert was the son of Philip count of Flanders and Princess Marie of Hohenzollern. He married Elisabeth, the daughter of the duke of Bavaria.

1955: Britain announced that it had hydrogen bombs.

1957: The Suez Canal reopened.

1969: Russian-born, U.S.-raised, Golda Meir was sworn in as Israel's first female Prime Minister.

1972: The British House of Commons voted to join the European Community.

1996: World champion Garry Kasparov beat the "Deep Blue" supercomputer in a chess match.

1998: Voyager 1 became the most distant human-made object in space as it passed the distance set by the previous record holder Pioneer 10. On that day it was 6.5 billion miles from earth, traveling at 39,000 mph. It had been launched just over 20 years previous, on September 5 1977.

1998: Ernst Juenger died at age 102. The German writer was involved in the July 20 1944 plot to kill Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).



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