FASTING IN THE BIBLE
It is recorded in the Bible, that fasting is not just the abstinence of food and possibly drinks, but it is also necessary to repent from the heart and turn to God, this second spiritual part of fasting is described in the prophet Isaiah: 58: 6-11. As we see from the records in the Bible, fasting is often used at very critical moments, so it is very important to perform it biblically correct. Neither of its two parts, the physical nor the spiritual component, should be left out, the Bible gives us very precise and very detailed instructions on how to do both of these parts.
The Bible describes two basic ways of fasting:FASTING WITHOUT WATER
Fasting without water: Fasting without water or dry fasting is a Jewish way of fasting, during fasting nothing can enter a person's mouth, no food neiher drink. Orthodox Jews fast in this way up to this day. The most unique record of fasting without water in the Bible is the fasting of Moses. Most of the fasts recorded in the Old Testament were fasts without water. These records explicitly state that he "did not eat neither drink" during the fast.
Fasting with water: No food or juice, coffee, tea, just plain pure water is taken during the fast. Tradition explains that records in the New Testament that do not mention the word "did not drink" mean that he drank water. This is the basis of this tradition, which is still applied today. Most records of fasting in the New Testament do not include the word "did not drink."
NT gives us different advice about how and when to fast.
On majority places NT mentions fasting with water, and on one place NT mentions fasting without water (Acts 9:7-9).
JESUS FASTING AND TEACHING HOW TO FAST
Matthew 4:2 “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterward hungered.”
Matthew 6:16-18 “
Matthew 17:21 “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Mark 2:18-20 “ 18And John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting: and they come and say unto him, Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? 19And Jesus said unto them, Can the sons of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast in that day. ”
Luke 4:1-2 “1And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led in the Spirit in the wilderness 2during forty days, being tempted of the devil. And he did eat nothing in those days: and when they were completed, he hungered. ”
Luke 5:33-39 “33Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”
34And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.”
36Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. 37And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. 38But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. 39And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.”
John 4:31-34 “31In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”
32But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
33Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”
34Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. ”
Acts 9:7-9: „ 7And the men that journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but beholding no man. 8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing; and they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and did neither eat nor drink.“
In majority places OT speaks of fasting as a fasting without water:
twice for 40 days and 40 nights he neither eat nor drunk, that was actually 80 days with very short brake in between - after first 40 days of fasting
Exodus 24:15-18 SEB: „15Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain.
16Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Exodus 34:28 SEB: „28So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.“
1. Kings 19:7-9: „7And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.9And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”“
Ezra 10:6 :„Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.“
Ezra 8:21-23, 31: „21Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 23So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.31Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth dayof the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road.“
Ester 4:15-16: „15Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”“
PEOPLE OF NINIVE IN JONAS
Jonáš 3:4-10: „4And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”5So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying,Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?10Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.“
MAN OF GOD DURING THE REIGN OF KING JAROBEAM
1.Kings 13:8-9, 16-17: „8But the man of God said to the king, “If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. 9For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘You shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.’ ”16And he said, “I cannot return with you nor go in with you; neither can I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place. 17For I have been told by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall not eat bread nor drink water there, nor return by going the way you came.’ ”“
1.Kings 13:18: „18He said to him, “I too am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” (He was lying to him.)“
1.Kings 13:23-24: „ 23So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. 24When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse.“
Isaiah reminds us about our heart, that needs to be changed at first place, and utmost goal that we should always bear in mind, , side by side with fasting of our physical body
Isaiah: 58:6-11 „6“Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
11The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.“