Prayer and Fasting - Public or Private
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON FASTING AND WHERE AND/OR IF YOU THINK FASTING PLAYS A PART IN A NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIAN'S LIFE?
When you find the end-time locusts swarming around the brotherhood trying to restore the Jewish system in external rituals you will find people--perhaps ordained from old--leading the church into the end-time Babylon Whore religion.
The Israelites sinned beyond national redemption at Mount Sinai in the musical idolatry where all gods and goddess lead to Babylon but ultimately OUT OF AFRICA including the urge to make teaching the Word in song and sermon into a form of hymning or praise singing out of VOODOO.
When the ELDERS fired God and demanded a king it was the final straw in the conditional sentence of death imposed at Mount Sinai and enforced by the Law of Moses which abrogated the original ten commandments and The Book of the Covenant of Grace.
Saturn was the primary "god" worshiped with Music as Molech by the Jews. He is the SABBATH god and his SICKLE used for reaping in the end time includes, in Hebrew, all of the musical terms.
God gave them kings in His anger and took them away in His anger but only when Judah was carried BEYOND BABYLON.
The temple which was looted within 5 years of Solomon's death was built by Phonecians who, as king of Tyre, is called the harp-playing prostitute: the Lucifer with instruments in the garden of Eden.
God defines the Sabbath and Fasting in spiritual terms which--amazingly includes NOT SPEAKING YOUR OWN WORDS.
Look up: the Locusts are separating those with the musical mark of Saturn (666) from the word marked believers who spew these bandits out of their mouth.
Fasting is out of Babylon. The New Style praise singing is out of Babylon. The clergy DRAMA is out of Babylon. The clergy "servants" are out of Babylon. The female priestesses (singers, clappers) had a role in Ancient Babylon as holy (wholly) whores and their music will be silenced again (Rev 18).
"It was only natural that fertility rites should include sexual myths that were acted out dramatically. The Ugaritic text just alluded to describes El, the head of the pantheon, copulating with two human women. This has echoes in Hosea and Ezekiel where God, as in the Canaanite literary tradition, is referred to as having a love affair with two women, symbolizing Judah and Israel.
The Hebrews, however, eventually eliminated sex from their official theology as well as from their religious practices.
Up to the time of King Josiah's reform (621 BC) there was a women's cult of Asherah (under qedeshim auspices [consecrated for fertility practices], according to 2 Kings 23:7) in the Jerusalem Temple, alongside the male cult of Yahweh.
And he brought out the grove (non-functional pillars) from the house of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. 2 Kings 23:6
And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the grove. 2 Kings 23:7
Thus, the "holy whores" were both male and females who were theatrical performers who could seduce you into "an act of worship."
Qadesh (h6945) kaw-dashe'; from 6942; a (quasi) sacred person, i. e. (techn.) a (male) devotee (by prostitution) to licentious idolatry: - sodomite, unclean.
"Asherah's devotees considered her the chief wife of Yahweh, even as she was the wife of El, head of the Canaanite pantheon, for in the Bible El is identified with Yahweh. But Josiah eliminated the cult of Asherah, and official Judaism has since then left no place for other gods,
which meant the elimination of every goddess.
"The ancient Middle East made a place for homosexuality and bestiality in its myths and rites. In the Asherah (Easter) cult
the qedeshim priests had a reputation for homosexual practices, even as the qedeshot priestesses for prostitution. Israel eventually banned both the qedeshim and qedeshot, while in Ugarit the qedeshim and kohanim were priestly guilds in equally good standing. Britannica Members Online
In Babylon, your whole life was controlled by the king as the AGENT of the gods. Your tithe went to the "CHURCH PLANT" to feed, clothe, house, entertain and sexually serve the agents of the gods. You fasted so that the extra food could be spent on the king's FAVORITES just as God promised with the Israelite kings.
There is no LAW of Fasting or TITHING. In fact there is no LAW OF GIVING except from your "laid by stored money" to be spent on alms for the poor.
Honor Nancy Ragan and Just Say NO. Power belongs to Christ and His body and no human can stand between you to CONTROL your life with a cursed PYRAMID OF MINISTRIES or take one penny of your money or extend their clammy paws into your private life including time, attention, coerced service, depriving you of YOUR right to decide what you eat or how YOU spend your money but ONLY on Alms based on the direct command of Jesus, the example of Paul and the practice of the early church.
I have always felt that fasting is not something which you do as an act of worship expecting to get something back from God. Rather, fasting, by its definition of "closing the mouth" is something which you do not do. When you receive some bad news you get sick at your stomach and close your mouth to any food. Therefore, you do not eat because of sorrow.
If you can catch me FASTING then I am a HYPOCRITE.
Or you fast to devote yourself to prayer. You do not go through a little act like "we won't eat breakfast" to condition the body to make your prayer more acceptable to God. Rather, if you are truly involved in prayer, then fasting is the absence of interest in food.
Or, you may go without food so that you can give it to the hungry.
God has never changed His Mind. He always "spiritualizes" the "carnal" external ritual of fasting and equates it to the secret service to others because the public "act of fasting" was often an act of violence. There is no ritual which we can do with our bodies which has any value to God. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. You cannot get His attention with ten thousand barrels of holy oil. You cannot even give your own child and produce value for God. And if He wants to hear music He can organize sounds we cannot comprehend.
"A fourth conclusion which is deducible from the above premises is, that all arguments or motives drawn from the law, or Old Testament,
to urge the disciples of Christ to baptize their infants;
to pay tithes to their teachers;
to observe holy days or religious fasts,
as preparatory to the observance of the Lord's supper;
to sanctify the seventh day;
to enter into national covenants;
to establish any form of religion by civil law--and all reasons or motives borrowed from the Jewish law,
to excite the disciples of Christ to a compliance with or imitation of Jewish customs, are inconclusive, repugnant to Christianity, and fall ineffectual to the ground; not being enjoined or countenanced by Jesus Christ."
Fasting was a natural sorrow for sins and abstinence because of sorrow.
When Israel rose up to PLAY in musical idolatry at Mount Sinai God turned them over to worship the STARRY HOST. When they FIRED Him and demanded a national king it was so that they could worship like the nations.
Whence, then, came this observance? The forty days' abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess.
Such a Lent of forty days, "in the spring of the year," is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devil-worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians.
Such a Lent of forty days was held in spring by the Pagan Mexicans, for thus we read in Humboldt, where he gives account of Mexican observances: "Three days after the vernal equinox...began a solemn fast of forty days in honour of the sun."
Such a Lent of forty days was observed in Egypt, as may be seen on consulting Wilkinson's Egyptians. This Egyptian Lent of forty days, we are informed by Landseer, in his Sabean Researches, was held expressly in commemoration of Adonis or Osiris, the great mediatorial god.
At the same time, the rape of Proserpine seems to have been commemorated, and in a similar manner; for Julius Firmicus informs us that, for "forty nights" the "wailing for Proserpine" continued; and from Arnobius we learn that the fast which the Pagans observed, called "Castus" or the "sacred" fast, was, by the Christians in his time,
believed to have been primarily in imitation of the long fast of Ceres, when for many days she determinedly refused to eat on account of her "excess of sorrow," that is, on account of the loss of her daughter Proserpine, when carried away by Pluto, the god of hell.
As the stories of Bacchus, or Adonis and Proserpine, though originally distinct, were made to join on and fit in to one another, so that Bacchus was called Liber, and his wife Ariadne, Libera (which was one of the names of Proserpine), it is highly probable that the forty days' fast of Lent was made in later times to have reference to both.
Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz, which was celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing, and which, in many countries, was considerably later than the Christian festival, being observed in Palestine and Assyria in June, therefore called the "month of Tammuz"; in Egypt, about the middle of May, and in Britain, some time in April.
Let any one only read the atrocities that were commemorated during the "sacred fast" or Pagan Lent, as described by Arnobius and Clemens Alexandrinus, and surely he must blush for the Christianity of those who, with the full knowledge of all these abominations,
"went down to Egypt for help"
to stir up the languid devotion of the degenerate Church,
and who could find no more excellent way to "revive" it,
than by borrowing from so polluted a source;
the absurdities and abominations connected with which the early Christian writers had held up to scorn.
That Christians should ever think of introducing the Pagan abstinence of Lent was a sign of evil; it showed how low they had sunk, and it was also a cause of evil; it inevitably led to deeper degradation.
Originally, even in Rome, Lent, with the preceding revelries of the Carnival, was entirely unknown; and even when fasting before the Christian Pasch was held to be necessary,
it was by slow steps that, in this respect, it came to conform with the ritual of Paganism.
What may have been the period of fasting in the Roman Church before sitting of the Nicene Council does not very clearly appear, but for a considerable period after that Council, we have distinct evidence that it did not exceed three weeks.
The words of Socrates, writing on this very subject, about AD 450, are these: "Those who inhabit the princely city of Rome fast together before Easter three weeks, excepting the Saturday and Lord's-day."
But at last, when the worship of Astarte was rising into the ascendant, steps were taken to get the whole Chaldean Lent of six weeks, or forty days, made imperative on all within the Roman empire of the West.
The way was prepared for this by a Council held at Aurelia in the time of Hormisdas, Bishop of Rome, about the year 519, which decreed that Lent should be solemnly kept before Easter. It was with the view, no doubt, of carrying out this decree that the calendar was, a few days after, readjusted by Dionysius. This decree could not be carried out all at once.
About the end of the sixth century, the first decisive attempt was made to enforce the observance of the new calendar. It was in Britain that the first attempt was made in this way; and here the attempt met with vigorous resistance. The difference, in point of time, betwixt the Christian Pasch, as observed in Britain by the native Christians, and the Pagan Easter enforced by Rome, at the time of its enforcement, was a whole month; *
and it was only by violence and bloodshed, at last, that the Festival of the Anglo-Saxon or Chaldean goddess came to supersede that which had been held in honour of Christ.
Isaiah will show that the FAST or worship God wants is in right living and practicing social justice.
The message of the Word of God is that external rituals or body worship in attempts to "find the lost gods" was, by its charismatic nature, violent and destructive. On the other hand, God is pure or Holy Spirit and He is worshipped only in Spirit which is in the Mind devoted to Truth. By worship as a spirit-to-Spirit or mind-to-Mind experience with God, outward acts of goodness toward others will be the external product of worship. We cannot worship God with our body and that is why Paul in Romans 12:1 demands that we present or hand over our bodies and stand beside or outside of our physical selves because worship is spiritual or rational of the mind (in spirit) devoted to the Word (in truth). Spiritual is:
Logikos (g3050) log-ik-os'; from 3056; rational ("logical"): - reasonable, of the word.
And this is not an artificial act of worship from the planning committee or from the worship or dance team. It is the spiritual response of one who has hung their own body up on the cross, been baptized to accept the will of Christ and, as the Jewish converts understood, arising having taken on the name of Jesus as the family name as a new-born infant against whom God will not -- cannot in His justice -- impute sin:
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1 Peter 2:2
If I tell you how many hours I pray then God will "get" me. And if you know that I am fasting it may be because I am a hypocrite (an actor). Jesus demanded:
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. Matthew 6:16
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 6:18
Or how about performance smiles when we sing spiritual songs to the bereaved?
Oh, doesn't God light up the sky in embarrassment when PERFORMANCE WORSHIPPERS (actors or hypocrites) project every emotion, appearing to worship for the crowd. They even have to have a degree and "on the job training" in theatrical skills in order to lead the worship. Or the most talented must, alone, lead the worship.
Prayer as a Power Play Against God and People
If we hold a fast as "an act of worship" then the community will know that we are all hypocrites. Can't we say the same thing about prayer as a massed effort to get God's attention? Jesus lumped fasting and prayer in the same basket:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Matthew 6:5
But didn't Jesus just condemn a "bad mental attitude?" No. Listen to His direct command which He followed as an example from which we can infer prayer as a very private one-to-one communion with God. You have no right to crash my privacy:
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet (storage pantry), and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6
Jews still hide in their portable closet or prayer cloth to pray personally to God. Oh Yes, I know that Paul said that if you pray in public you had better be sure that it makes sense to God and anyone who happens to listen. But that was not a command for an "act" which we must perform before we "dismiss."
Jesus agrees that meetings for massed prayers in the belief that we can overpower God is paganism or White Witchcraft:
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions (this is like the ecstatic form of speaking in tongues), as the heathen (pagans) do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Matthew 6:7
Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 1 Corinthians 14:19
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Mt.7:21
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Matt 7:22
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matt 7:23
This was repeating the RISING UP TO PLAY which was musical idolatry at Mount Sinai. Paul warned of this in 1 Cor 10 and Romans 10.
Daimonion (g1140) dahee-mon'-ee-on; neut. of a der. of 1142; a doemonic being; by extens. a deity: - devil, god.
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.1Co.10:20
Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lords table, and of the table of devils. 1Co.10:21
Lord, Lord is like Jah, Jah, Jah as in HALLELUJAH, hallelujah, hallelujah. In the New Testament, this word appears only once in Rev 19 when the end comes.
This was charismatic prophecy. As used in much of the Old Testament it meant to "make self vile" just pretending to worship a Spirit God.
"Never was Satan's wisdom so craftily used as when he secured universal acceptance of this traditional belief:
for it has succeeded in fixing the attention of mankind on the letter and the means,
and thus blinding the eyes to the solemn fact that the Fall of man had to do solely with the Word of God,
and is centered in the sin of believing Satan's lie instead of Jehovah's truth."
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. Matthew 6:8
So we have it straight from God Incarnate that fasting and prayer are very private ways to devote ourselves to God. If it becomes public knowledge (Example: "I pray one hour every morning") then we are just hypocrites and pagans practicing White Witchcraft.
This does not, of course, exclude praying so that others may hear us and say, "Amen." Paul was not commanding a prayer and a public amen. If we are going to impose our prayers upon others then he was denouncing prayer which makes no sense.
Isaiah 58 - Physical Versus Spiritual Fasting
There is not command, example or inference that God put fasting as an act of worship into either the Covenant or the Law of Moses.
Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. 2 Samuel 12:21
Fasting and weeping are private, natural responses to sorrow. And James said "If you are happy, sing but if you are sad, pray." The evil people were to "howl" but shall we have an act of worship called "howling?"
The Question God asks about Fasting as outward ritual in Isaiah 58:
CRY aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58: 1
Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as (if they were) a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Isaiah 58: 2
Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Isaiah 58: 3
Rather than to reform their lives and gain God's blessing it was much more exciting to continue their evil lives and then try to make up for it with "prayer services" or "prayer and fasting" services.
This public "worship" in an attempt to force God as we might be forced through our human senses is compared by God to the "worship" of a prostitute:
Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. Ezekiel 33:30
And they come unto thee as the people cometh,
and they sit before thee as my people,
and they hear thy words,
but they will not do them:
for with their mouth they shew much love,
but their heart goeth after their covetousness. Ezekiel 33:31
And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument:
for they hear thy words, but they do them not. Ezekiel 33:32
The Answer Directly from God
Worship at the temple was national worship conducted by the priestly class for the entire nation. The people were not present except at national festivals and were spectators. Therefore, God condemned fasting as an act of worship
Along with renewed fasting as an ACT OF WORSHIP, goes the mocking animal sacrifice sounding, tithing and taking CASH from those who are not Jews, do not live in Canaan, are themselves the PRIESTS and therefore the MINISTRY CLASS according to the Melchizedek and Abraham event and proven by Paul that the MINISTERS should serve the BODY:
"Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
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
Is it such a fast that I have chosen?
No. God defines the fast which He has not called by asking "Is it:
a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Isaiah 58: 5
God's answer is a resounding, NO! Remember that fasting really means to "close the mouth." That eleminates public prayer as a way to force God to hear you with much praying which is just fighting against God.
Rather, the fast God has called us to is described in the next verse:
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Isaiah 58: 6
This burden was calling assemblies as an ACT OF WORSHIP rather than RESTING on God's day and devoting it to study of His word.
Aguddah (h92) ag-ood-daw'; to bind; a band, bundle, knot, or arch: - bunch, burden, troop.
And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill. 2 Samuel 2:25
The burden of the Jews Jesus came to unbind was:
Phortizo (g5412) for-tid'-zo; from 5414; to load up (prop. as aa vessel or animal), i.e. (fig.) to overburden with ceremony or spiritual anxiety): - lade, be heavy laden.
Therefore, we might conclude that any special gathering of the "troops" to perform some ceremony not defined as Christian worship is "loading the people down like pack animals" with anxiety from religious rituals - Just hoping and anxious that God will repay me for fasting a lot or praying beyond Scriptural bounds.
To perform the true spiritual fast, God asked:
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Isaiah 58: 7
The Agapae was a pagan love feast with literal loving. However, some tried to make it into a daily feeding of the poor but it reverted to the old sacrifice warned of by God who said: "You offer the sacrifice to me but YOU eat the meat yourselves.
Shouldn't we be embarassed when we refuse to feed the starving and replace it with group prayer meetings or hold a fast on Friday and meet at the Ham and Eggs restaurant Saturday morning?
There is no benefit to hypocrite fasting or hypocrite prayer. However, if we fast to give the food to the poor then we are engaged in God's kind of "worship ritual." If we go without food while we relieve the heavy burdens then we are fasting in a spiritual sense. If we "close our mouth" in prayer we are not likely to be performing worship for the people.
What will be the result of this God-ordained "workplace religion"?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward (what you gather). Isaiah 58: 8
Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; Isaiah 58: 9
Fasting and prayer as an almost-violent attack upon God was based upon their total insecurity. The same is true of "prayer meetings" where people feel that they have to pray for hours or even days in order for God to "send revival" or some other human-perceived need.
To answer questions about Prayer Circles or Small Group Meetings devoted to prayer and meeting your needs, I have put another writer's views on my page which you can read by Clicking Here. This writer calls such forceful effort to find God White Witchcraft. White because it has no evil intent but Witchcraft because it is the use of magic to force God into something a quiet request would not accomplish. In the end, evil results because it has a magical view of God. It puts more trust in our ability to "pray through" or "fast through" than in the God Who is Always Near, is not inconsiderate and is not deaf.
God is not the DI, Sarge, on Gomer Pyle. Rather, God says:
I can HEAR youuuu!
Paul spoke to this to the ignorant or superstitious people in Athens where the many statues or idols are quite identical to forced fasting or forced and enforced prayer. That is, we put our trust in our praying ability and make it an idol:
For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Acts 17:23
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Acts 17: 24
Neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; Acts 17: 25
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; Acts 17: 26
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: Acts 17: 27
Back to Isaiah 58:
Isaiah, speaking directly from God, continued to explain the true fast. True or spiritual fasting was to give the food to the hungry and not to perform some magical, witchcraft-like ritual:
And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: Isaiah 58: 10
Fasting or prayer done in secret will be rewarded openly. Prayer and fasting in a dark place breaks out into the daylight because its spiritual answer is how we live. God, through Isaiah, said that legalistic prayer or fasting was actually an act of violence. By the public, hypocritical acts we actually oppress and suppress others as the natural "darkness" which breaks forth from the "places of fasting in the light."
And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Isaiah 58: 11
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places:
thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called,
The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. Isaiah 58: 12
If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him,
- not doing thine own ways,
- nor finding thine own pleasure,
- nor speaking thine own words: Isaiah 58: 13
God's ways are always paradoxical: if we build ourselves up the natural result is that we are torn down. If we speak our own words in prayers, songs and sermons we often bring on darkness because we are not building the old waste places or repairing the walls which self-seekers want to tear down so that they appear "ecumenical" or non-judgmental.
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah 58: 14
The pagans and the Jews thought that they could go to the bamah or high places, sing, dance, play instruments and fall into violent ecstacy and "bring the worshippers into the presence of the gods." God, through Isaiah, said that the spiritual high places are for those who fast spiritually.
Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. Micah 4:9
This "crying out aloud" is defined as:
Ruwa (h7321) roo-ah'; a prim. root; to mar (espec. by breaking); fig. to split the ears (with sound), i. e. shout (for alarm or joy): - blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.
This was outlawed when the "congregation" of Israel came together for counsel or teaching (Numbers 10:7). And it was prophesied that Judas whose little bag was "for carrying the mouthpieces of wind instruments" would not triumph over Jesus with noise:
By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. Psalm 41:11
Therefore, loud fasting or prayer rituals are the result of lost people who do not know the value of the Word and individual worship.
Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field,
and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. Micah 4:10
Judah would have to go into Babylonian captivity to be delivered of their idolatry after 70 years.
In Isaiah 59, God tells us why He does not and will not hear those who try to find Him through rituals of fasting and prayer:
BEHOLD, the Lords hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: Isaiah 59:1
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isaiah 59:2
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. Isaiah 59:3
None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. Isaiah 59:4 (Read the whole chapter)
You conceive chaff, you give birth to straw; your breath is a fire that consumes you. Isaiah 33:11
So, in concluding this short epistle, I believe that prayer and fasting is like a game of hide and seek: if the watching world catches you in the act, God counts you out.
On the other hand, private fasting in the spiritual sense which Isaiah has defined will become self-evident even if we try to hide our acts.
Some people find that literal fasting is a great experience and I should do it more. However, if we feel spiritually superior then Isaiah and Jesus would say: "You have had your reward."
Comments submitted by Jonathan Clark:
In the Bible, fasting signifies coming before God with a heart that is broken and humble.
Fasting is identified with repentance. God speaks in the Old Testament of the nature of fasting -
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? " (Isaiah 58:6,7).
As believers go into all the world with the gospel as commissioned, we feed the hungry in a spiritual sense -
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. " (John 6:35-37);
Also, we clothe the spiritually naked (Zechariah 3:1-4). Spiritually, we fast today by bringing forth the gospel (Luke 4:18). Jesus in Mark 2:20 is speaking of this type of fasting, that being in the sense of spreading the message of salvation.
When bringing the gospel to the world the Christian should present the whole gospel. While it is true that there are many passages that speak of God as a God of love, on the other hand there are many passages that are quite terrifying which speak of the wrath and judgement of God. A faithful witness must present the gospel as it is, both in truth and balance. The spiritual meaning of fasting is to spread the gospel and part of this message declares that unless one becomes saved they are under the judgement of God.