I had a lot of emails asking about how to fast according to the Bible after I posted the Word Study on Fasting. This is a good question and on top of the heart reason for fasting this may be the second most important point of fasting. Both will be addressed in this study along with some other subjects as well.
We want to see how people in the Bible fasted but at the same time we will have to answer why they were fasting as well. To understand the reason why persons in the Bile fasted will help us to understand their purpose in fasting. The purpose of fasting is more important than the fast itself. True fasting in the Bible is of a true heart condition and not for any physical benefit.
Because there are connecting and interlacing teachings of men we will look at the following during this study.
I. Cleansing of the Body Temple
II. What Constitutes a Fast
III. Fasting to be Filled with the Spirit
IV. Defiling of your Physical Body
V. Diet and The Body
A) Did men live longer before the flood because of their diet?
B) Daniel’s Diet
VI. Fasts In the Bible
A) Affliction of the Soul
1. Sickness or Illness
2. For Safety of ones life and/or the life of others
3. For Expelling a Devil
C. Hearing the word of God or getting an answer from God
1. Hearing to turn from their sinfulness
2. Hearing God’s decision and/or purpose
I. Cleansing The Body Temple
I was involved in modern forms of Hinduism, Buddhism and the New Age movement from 1979-1991 when I got saved. And I had a lot of spiritual garbage to throw out. And over the years as I my self sought to find the Biblical fasting I soon discovered this one truth. Fasting for cleansing the Body is not found in the Bible.
Does that mean I am against fasting to cleans ones body of toxin and chemicals that have accumulated via the processed food, medications and alcoholic beverages we take in? No. I would consider that under good stewardship of your body. We should all care for our health by putting it at risk medical problems by the things we put into our bodies.
Having said that I will reiterate, The Bible does not teach fasting for cleansing the body. And I would like to state that if anyone claims that we need to fast to cleans our “Body Temple” they should first that this is promoted in the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the New Age movement. The term and its teaching are strongly connected with the practices of the New Age meditation’s and chanting techniques where one can achieve a place where they can receive a spirit guide, and attain their christ consciousness, this teachings is by and large promoted and taught by the Church Universal and Triumphant cult, under the teaching of the self proclaimed prophetess Elizabeth Clair Prophet and her adherents. I was deeply involved with this group in the 1980’s visiting and having some various experiences at their facility in Malibu California during that time. I had read, practiced and believed at that time the teachings of this group. I met weekly in a group in Riverside California with others for meditations, chanting and teaching. I mention this only as proof of my knowledge of what I am talking of. At that time I tried to practice many of their dietary and spiritual exercises to achieve oneness with my inner self and my christ consciousness.
These so called spirit guides are what the Bible refers to as Devils. So a Christian does not want to start out fasting for the purpose of cleansing ones Body Temple so that you may achieve a deeper relationship with Jesus through the spirit. Mainly because it is not Biblical. As mentioned in my study Fasting/Fast/Fasted there is nothing a Christian can do to get closer to Jesus than he has brought you via his blood Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. The Holy Ghost dwells in us but not on a condition of body health or even the body itself. The Holy Ghost indwells us not because of the condition of our body, nor because of any work we do. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost is solely on the condition of what Christ did for us and our personal choice to make him our Saviour.
Also, the whole body temple issues is a misunderstanding of a few scriptures that need to be looked at so that we can simply understand them correctly.
1Cor 3:16, Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. This scriptures is often abused to make eating, drinking and taking medications defilement of the body as defiling the temple and in so doing the spirit is hindered or quenched. That is because it is somewhat disconnected from the main body teaching that one will face judgement for how he builds on the foundation of Christ. But it is actually not disconnected. For the temple of God is your soul that resides in your physical body and if you are taught by someone a false teaching and follow their heretical practices therefor building on the foundation of Christ with the wrong materials, then God would be the one to judge and destroy that man. See below for further understanding of what defiles a man.
1Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? Again this is part of the doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the believer. We are not our own because he bought us with his own blood. Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. See also Eph 1:14 below.
2Cor 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. The context of these two verses is obvious and has to do with two things physical fornication and spiritual fornication. Here the temple is defiled by spiritual and physical actions. These physical actions represented their spiritual condition those actions were immoral sexual and eating of foods sacrificed to idols both of them first take place in ones soul, mind or heart.
The real purpose behind all the verses above is to establish the doctrine of the indwelling of God the Holy Ghost (1John 5:7 AV, NKJV) in the believer. And that a believer though having liberty should be aware of his actions as they affect the testimony of God who lives in them. It simply means that God lives in the believer. He comes to live in us when we first believed on the Gospel of Christ Eph 1:13, 14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. The indwelling is the seal and has nothing to do with our fleshly bodies. Except to guarantee that we are redeemed.
The temple of the body is not an issue of physical defilement that hinders communion with the Holy Ghost but rather one of a spiritual condition represented in physical actions. So fasting to purify the body is not a Christian doctrine, it is not found in the Old Testament for Israel, and no one pre or post flood before Israel ever practice fasting that we know of for the scriptures are silent.