During the early centuries, fasting as a requirement entered into the church system. Many Christians genuinely believe that fasting was instated by Jesus, not realizing, that he did not do this. His forty day fast in the desert was not meant to be copied; and, the only time the Lord mentions fasting is in Mat 17:21 where he says, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting (see also Mar 9:29).” What man has done is instituted a rule or ritual that has made it not only mandatory to fast but, also instituted penalties and/or punishments for those that did not do it according their rules! This, according to the Apostle Paul is a departure from the truth faith as evidenced below. Let’s look at what history tells us regarding fasting.
Early Church History to the Death of Constantine
Edward Backhouse, 1903
I Tim. 4: 1-3. – The Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own consciences with a hot iron, forbidding to marry”
Dionysius of Alexandria writes: “Some remain entirely without food the whole six days [of the Passover week]; others fast two, three or four days; others not so much as one whole day.”
FASTING. The Holy Spirit who revealed to Paul that some should depart so far from the faith as to deny to men the gracious ordinance of marriage, showed him also that they would withhold the meats “which God created to be received with thanksgiving.” Fasting, as we have seen, passed in very early times from a voluntary observance as a help of devotion, into a ceremonial usage obligatory at fixed days and seasons. Wednesday and Friday in every week were set apart as Fast days, the former as that of our Lord s betrayal, the latter as that of his crucifixion; to which various other seasons of humiliation were afterwards added. The fasting consisted in abstinence from food until three o’clock in the afternoon. After that hour, in early times, no restriction was made as to the food which might be eaten whilst the season of humiliation lasted. Even so late as the early part of the fifth century, the historian Socrates speaks of a great diversity of usage in this respect. In some countries Christians abstained altogether from animal food; in others they allowed themselves fish; in others fowl as well as fish. Some abstained from eggs and fruit: others ate dry bread only: others not even that; whilst some partook of all kinds of food without distinction. The Apostolical Constitutions direct that during the Passover week the diet shall consist of only bread, herbs, salt and water. Meat and wine are expressly forbidden; and the Apostolical Canons rule that, “If any bishop, presbyter, deacon, reader or singer, does not fast the fast of forty days, or the fourth day of the week and the day of preparation, he is to be deprived [Forced to fast!], except he be hindered by weakness of body. If he be one of the laity he is to be suspended [Punished].”
When we look at early church history and consider all the many “rules” that man has brought into the religious system of worship, it is no wonder that the corruptions are many and, have filtered down into today’s system of worship. Consistently on this blog, we will continue to point out the error and the corruptions in the hope of helping people to really consider what they have been taught by the “church.” Man-made rules, opinions and doctrines, have infiltrated not only the scriptures through translation, thereby changing what we have come to perceive as truth, but, they have infiltrated the very lives of the populous to such an extent that they are being led astray by religion! The fruit of these corruptions are obvious. Just take some time to read the many other articles on this blog to learn more about them and the class of people affected the most by them — women.