Fasting & Tithing

:
Blessing-bringers or Burdens?
by Patricia Backora
© All Rights Reserved

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This book or portions of it may be freely distributed or quoted for non-commercial
purposes, provided credit is given to the author.
Freely ye have received, freely give (Jesus, in Matt.10:8)
All characters are fictional, created to depict flawed religious stereotypes.

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Contents












































My Personal Testimony. . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
You May vs. You Must . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Christ’s Royal Priesthood . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Holler Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Malachi 3:8-10: Robbery . . . . . . . . . . . .26
A Deadly Cocktail of Curses . . . . . . . . . .31
No Longer Under Tribute . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Pleading for Pigeons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
The Chicken Chest (Song) . . . . . . . . . . .45
The Unpardonable Sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
Adding to Acts Chapter 15 . . . . . . . . . . .55
Rewriting Scripture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65
Tithe-tanic Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .74
Fry in Hell You Bums Cartoon. . . . . . . . .75
Satan’s Sly Tithing Lies . . . . . . . . . . . . .76
Healing You Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Vow Now Cartoon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
Digging Up Dead Traditions . . . . . . . . . . 84
Drink Fast Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Beat Satan’s Butt Cartoon. . . . . . . . . . . 85
Is Fasting God’s Key to Victory? . . . . . . . 86
Is Fasting Essential for Godliness? . . . . . 98
Mouse Munchies Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Sweet Bald-Headed Papa Cartoon. . . . . . 107
Fast With Your Mouth Shut! . . . . . . . . . 108
Spiritual Dangers of the Bridegroom Fast 112
The Leaven of Fasting Legalism. . . . . . . . 127
Fasting For Favor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142
Fast Food Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145
Save the Preacher’s Life Cartoon. . . . . . 145
A Weighty Matter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
God’s Kingdom Don’t Run on Fat . . . . . 151
3 Reasons Miracles Are Scarce . . . . . . . 155
Little Grandma Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Meet Jesus’ Need Cartoon. . . . . . . . . . 160
Grace and Law Don’t Mix . . . . . . . . . . . 161
Sandwich Cartoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164
Farmer Faith Preacher Cartoon. . . . . . . 164
Fasting, Faith and Foolishness . . . . . . . 165
Weak and Beggarly Elements . . . . . . . . 182
Tithing and Fasting Flaws . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Don’t Go Around Bragging. . . . . . . . . . . 196
Why Not Enforce Other Jewish Penances?200
Let’s Make a Deal, I’ll Skip a Meal. . . . . .203
Fasting is of Fear, not the Rest of Faith. .206

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My Personal Testimony
By Patricia Backora
On Sunday, June 21, 1970, I received the glorious Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I had
prayed to receive Christ as my Savior as a youngster, but for years afterward had
remained ignorant of my need to enter into a deeper dimension of the Life of Christ.
I had drunk from the Well of Living Water in my initial salvation experience. But I
still needed to be fully immersed more into the River of God, the flow of the blessed
Holy Spirit. As we live in the Spirit, we can more readily appropriate the power of
Christ for victory in daily living, and His Presence seems so much more real. Up until
the time of my spiritual Baptism into the Life of God, I had had only a superficial
belief in the living Christ. I had never been taught about my rights as a child of God.
Nor had I ever heard a sermon given on the spiritual gifts (see I Corinthians 12:111), which are available to those who are baptized in the Spirit (see Acts 2:1-18). I
believe the operation of the spiritual gifts is crucial for lasting victory over satan. The
devil rejoices when a believer does not know what resources have been provided for
him or her through the atonement of Christ. It delights him when God’s supernatural
gifts are either relegated to the scrap heap of past dispensations or “spiritualized
away”.
In the days before my Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I hungered for the REALITY of
God, not the powerless Sunday School religion I’d been sold in empty churchianity. I
wanted God to be relevant to life in the real world.
The most dramatic change I experienced from My encounter with the Holy Spirit
was this: I learned the meaning of I John 4:7-8: Beloved, let us love one another:
for love is of God, and everyone who loves (with God’s love) is born of God and
knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. I gained a
vital awareness that God is my loving Heavenly Father, not some slave-driver in the
sky.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s, there was a wonderful outpouring of the Holy
Spirit in America, especially among young people who were disenchanted with the
stiff, dry formality of conventional church settings. Millions of people like myself
yearned for a real encounter with the Living God. This great revival began in Costa
Mesa, California.
The living Presence of Christ brought hope to millions of
disenchanted young people like myself as God moved by His Spirit throughout the
United States and even around the world.
There was a resurgence of the
supernatural element in the Church which had been suppressed for nearly 2000
years. I was particularly thrilled to learn about the spiritual gifts. Shortly after
receiving the Holy Spirit, God graciously bestowed the gift of prophecy upon me.
This gift was always exercised in an orderly manner, usually during a lull in the
worship service when everyone grew silent, waiting on God to speak to all our
hearts. The number of prophetic utterances would vary from service to service.
There might be one prophecy given, sometimes two or three; occasionally more, or
none at all. In our church, there were no hard and fast rules restricting the number
of prophecies, although I Corinthians 14:29 indicates that two or three occurring
during any one particular service is the norm. On numerous occasions, visiting
Spirit-filled ministers would come and pray over individual members, and God would
frequently impart an uplifting message of edification, exhortation, and comfort to
these people, as described in I Corinthians 14:3. The goal of prophecy given over
believers is three-fold: to edify, (strengthen a person in his spirit) to exhort him to
faith and godliness, and to comfort (lend encouragement in his walk with God).
These days, God’s children need all the help He can give them.
In the years before we moved to Northern Ireland, I endured some very dark
days, and felt that no one on earth knew how to touch God on my behalf. No

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matter how long you’ve walked with the Lord, battles will come, and it helps to have
someone who will pray with you, and truly care about you as an individual. When I
could find no help within the context of a formal church situation, I found one
ministry which cared.
One of the purest hearts I ever knew (I’ll call him “Brother Bob”) did not conduct
formal church services, but he did host small prayer meetings in his home. Many
people, saint and sinner alike, came to him out of sheer desperation. Their churches
had either lost the power of God or had never really wanted it in the first place. The
Lord anointed him with the gift of supernatural knowledge and wisdom, and faith to
pray for miracles. Graciously he ministered to those who came to him seeking prayer
and “a word in good season” to overcome oppressive circumstances. The Holy Spirit
would illuminate Biblical verses to Brother Bob’s remembrance and anoint them with
divine power, and people would be set free from the works of the devil in their lives.
Time and again I’d phone Brother Bob for advice or prayer. That old saying: “No
man is an island” is true. Truly God’s people need one another. This kindly,
unpretentious saint was always full of homespun wisdom. Patiently he’d take the
time to inspire me with words of encouragement and faith. Because one man was
willing to share God’s Word in the power of the Holy Ghost, many miracles came into
my life to overcome the devil’s attacks.
Through Brother Bob’s ministry, I
rediscovered the meaning of the true nature of Jesus, and acquired the ability to
disassociate God from loveless hypocrites.
Through this book I hope to help separate the wheat of God’s Word from the
chaff of distorted doctrines circulating in the Charismatic church world. Some
doctrines are legitimate and have their place. But problems arise when peripheral
doctrines (doctrines not essential to salvation) dominate a believer’s life. In order to
exalt one thing, something else must “take a lower seat” (Luke 14:9). Minor
doctrines (or false traditions) which take the believer’s focus off “Christ and Him
crucified” (I Cor.1:30-31; 2:2) have become harmful, not helpful.
Legalism is the spirit of slavery, and God has called His dear children to liberty in
Christ Jesus (Gal.4:21-31; 5:1).
I hope the messages and articles in this book are of help to you. God bless you
as you walk with Jesus in the light of His Word.
Patricia Backora
http://kingdomage.tripod.com
http://banpreachergreed.tripod.com
http://boogerbucks.tripod.com
Video Links:
Tithe-atron is Coming to Church
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ6-nxfu7yM
The Apostles Did Not Teach Fasting and Tithing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p4shu6va24
Tithe or You’ll Fry in Hell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KUu7g8fvWI
Fleecing the Flock

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKUlbi2TmDc

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YOU MAY vs. YOU MUST
Christians greatly differ on such topics as ways to finance the church, Sabbath
observance, ascetic practices, etc. Some say certain doctrines must be kept as
commandments. Other equally sincere believers feel some issues are less important
doctrines which are not binding commandments, but permitted things (I Cor.7:6). At
times it’s a matter of YOU MUST. Other times, it’s a matter of YOU MAY. It takes
prayerful discernment to spot the difference. After the Flood of Genesis, God gave
mankind permission to begin eating meat (Gen.9:3). But that doesn’t make it a sin
to be a vegetarian!
The one commandment which encapsulates all others is “love one another”
(Rom.13:8; Gal.5:14; I John 4:7-8). Whenever Christian believers do disagree on
nonessential issues, it should be in a spirit of love, rather resorting to name-calling
or questioning the personal consecration of the person you’re disagreeing with. Our
ancestors fought for freedom of speech, and even if we don’t always agree with what
the other person thinks, we should defend his/her right to the liberty of their own
conscience.
He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of
stumbling in Him (I John 2:10).* * * If our choices in life are guided by God’s love
in the light of His Word, there is much less likelihood of stumbling in our walk with
the Lord.
I’m sure there are many other topics Christians differ on, but let’s apply that
principle to the few listed above.
1. FINANCING THE CHURCH: In many other articles and stories I’ve cited a wide
range of reasons I don’t believe New Covenant tithing is supported by Scripture. But
I do believe that those who are able to help those in need should do it with freewill
contributions. The pastor shouldn’t shoulder the entire burden for the light bill,
church mortgage, missionary fund, etc. Those who choose to worship at that
pastor’s church should contribute to its support OUT OF WHAT THEY HAVE, not out of
what they don’t have (i.e. pledge cards, “vows of faith”, credit cards, etc.). Sharing
with GENUINE needs is love in action!
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth
(I John 3:18).
Now therefore perform the doing of it (collecting an offering for the needy); that as
there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also OUT OF THAT
WHICH YE HAVE (2 Cor.8:11).
VERSE 12: For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man
HATH, AND NOT ACCORDING TO THAT HE HATH NOT.* * * *This runs contrary to
today’s popular “seed faith” doctrine of promising “the Lord” money you don’t
already have. This verse shows that this way of giving is NOT acceptable to God, and
will not be rewarded by Him!
VERSE 13: For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye be burdened.* * *
*Today’s celebrity televangelists are being EASED (living a luxurious, free-loading
lifestyle), while poor Christians make themselves poorer by “planting seed” which
ought to go for family necessities, rent, etc. Scripture has only ONE promise for
those who make the rich richer: He that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want
(extreme poverty)(Proverbs 22:16b).
VERSE 14: But BY AN EQUALITY, that now at this time your abundance may be a
supply for their want (lack), that their abundance also may be a supply for your
want: that there may be EQUALITY; * * * *Even poor Christians living on disability or

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Social Security are being pressured to tithe or send money in to TV preachers! What
kind of equality is that in the Body of Christ? Those poor souls are supported by tax
payers! Greedy preachers defraud tax payers when they live like kings off welfare
money allocated by the government to feed the hungry and house the homeless!
VERSE 15: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that
gathered little had no lack.* * * *Paul doesn’t sound like today’s “success & lies”
prosperity guru who devours vows and bellows about family values, while saying
poor families on welfare MUST tithe to preachers who live comfortably. Far from
caring for the collective welfare of the Body of Christ, such a selfish “blind leader of
the blind” really thinks struggling families should “sink or swim”. Paul preached
EQUALITY of well-being in the church of God.
Based on what Paul wrote, he
probably wouldn’t agree that it’s just dandy that 52 “successful” individuals own
over 50 percent of the world’s wealth while 1 in every 3 people in the world live on
less than a dollar a day!
Joyful giving springs out of what YOU MAY do to be a blessing to another soul.
Compulsive contributions are a YOU MUST mindset which brings bondage and
resentment. God doesn’t want anyone’s money if it is not given cheerfully (2
Cor.9:7).
*****
Six of the Ten Commandments are restated under the New Covenant as being still
applicable in their literal sense. All others, except for one, are implied in the context
of some verse as having been carried over to the Church Age to be literally kept. The
Christ nature within us instinctively keeps the righteousness of these old
commandments, out of love for God and neighbor. When this occurs, the Fruits of the
Holy Spirit are manifesting as goodness and righteousness and truth in the life of a
believer (Eph.5:9). Righteous conduct is not self-effort on the believer’s part to gain
favor with God, but reliance only on the life of “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory”
(Col.1:27). I’ll list all Ten Commandments and comment on some.
1. THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME (EX. 20:3).
NT (IMPLIED): Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot
be partakers of the Lord’s table, and the table of devils (I Cor.10:21).
VERSE 22: Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
2. THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVEN IMAGE (IDOL)…ETC.(EX.20:4)
NT (RESTATED): Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (I John 5:21).
3. THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN (EX.20:7).
NT (IMPLIED): Do not they (rich oppressors) blaspheme that worthy name by the
which ye are called? (James 2:7).* * * *The clear implication here is it’s still wrong
to take the Lord’s Name in vain!
II Peter 2:1-3 foretells today’s televangelist greed, when false teachers would “bring
in damnable heresies and make merchandise of you”. These thieves and robbers
dishonor the blessed Name of Jesus to get rich.
4. REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY (EX.20:8).
NT: This one commandment is not restated as being required of New Covenant
believers, except in its spiritual application. Literal observance of the Sabbath
involves taking on a multitude of hard-to-remember ordinances of “touch not” and

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“handle not”, etc. (Col.2:21), which would bring the believer back under the Law. To
this day Orthodox Jews won’t even push an elevator button on the Sabbath!
Christians were rebuked for immorality, swearing, and coveting the possessions
of others. But no Christian was EVER rebuked in the epistles for Sabbath-breaking!
Nor did Christ mention this commandment in the first three chapters of Revelation
where He rebukes sins and bad attitudes in the church. Keeping the Mosaic Sabbath
Law would have been IMPOSSIBLE for Christian slaves who were expected to work
every day of the week! Christian wives would have had to cross their unconverted
husbands by refusing to cook special meals on that day, etc.
The Sabbath was given as a sign TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, not Gentiles
(Ex.31:13). Those who claim to keep the Old Testament Sabbath should remember
that ordinary activities were punishable by the death penalty on that day! Baking on
Saturday (the seventh, or Sabbath, day) to get ready for Sunday dinner would have
been a capital crime! It was against the Law to build a fire on the Sabbath Day
(Ex.35:3). One Israelite was stoned to death for gathering firewood on the Sabbath
(Num.15:32-36).
What about a Christian who lives in a log cabin up in Alaska?
What would be the greater sin, expecting that Alaskan to freeze to death, or stoning
him for building a fire when it was fifty below outside?
In Jesus’ day Jews customarily gathered in the synagogue for worship (Luke
4:16). Jesus taught on the Sabbath Day (Luke 13:10). Jesus even healed people on
the Sabbath Day, and He was criticized for it because there were six other days
during which Jesus could heal people (Matt.12:10-13; Luke 13:10-16).
So did Jesus (or even the self-righteous Pharisees) keep the LETTER of all the
Sabbath regulations as originally given by Moses? The Israelites were not even
supposed to LEAVE THEIR HOMES on the Sabbath Day (Exodus 16:29)! Getting all
dolled up and going out to attend a worship service on that day would have been a
breach of God’s instructions! People were told to stay home and rest. Period. Jesus
did not sin. He might have appeared to break the letter of the Sabbath Law, but He
kept the purpose of the Sabbath, which is rest. Jesus gave rest to sick people who
had suffered a long time from tormenting illnesses.
Based on what he wrote (or didn’t write), the Apostle Paul appears to be
ambiguous about whether Christians should observe the Sabbath.
Galatians 4:9: But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God,
how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to
be in bondage?
VERSE 10: Ye observe DAYS, and months, and times, and years.* * * *Observing
days would include not only the Sabbath, but imposing a law on yourself that never
again will you eat on a certain day of the week because it’s set aside for fasting.
VERSE 11: I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Colossians 2:16: Let no man judge you in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon,
or of the Sabbath days:
VERSE 17: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.* * *
*The only Sabbath Christians must keep is “ceasing from their own works, as God
did from His” (Heb. 4:9-10). Christ IS our rest (Matt.11:28). When we abide in
Christ (John 15:4) we rest in His finished work (John 17:4; John 19:30).
One way a Christian factory owner could keep the spirit of this law would be to
give his employees a day off to rest and be with their families, without reducing their
pay! That is “loving thy neighbour as thyself”.
5. HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER…(ETC.)…(EX.20:12)

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NT (RESTATED): Honour thy father and thy mother; which is the first commandment
with promise; (Eph.6:2).
VERSE 3: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
6. THOU SHALT NOT KILL (commit murder) (EX.20:13).
NT (RESTATED): Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for
the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane,
for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers.
I Pet.4:15: But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer,
or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
I John 3:15: Whoso hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer
hath eternal life abiding in him.
7. THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY (EX.20:14)
NT (RESTATED): Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not
commit adultery: (Matt.5:27)
VERSE 28: But I (Jesus) say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust
after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.* * * *Jesus doesn’t
make this commandment easier to keep. He expands it beyond the simple letter of
the Law. Jesus says it’s a sin to even LOOK lustfully at a woman!
I Cor.6:9: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of
God?....nor adulterers…..etc.
VERSE 10: …..nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal.5:19: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
VERSE 21……..they which do such things shall not enter the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 13:4: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but
whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
8. THOU SHALT NOT STEAL (EX.20:15).
NT (RESTATED): Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labour, working
with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth
(Eph.4:28).* * * * Not only is the negative (do not steal) restated, the positive side
of that commandment is emphasized under the New Covenant!
9. THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOUR (EX.20:16).
NT (IMPLIED):Even so must their wives be grave, NOT SLANDERERS, sober, faithful
in all things.
James 4:11: Speak not evil of one another, brethren…etc.(James 4:11).* * *
Bearing false witness (lying about someone else) would be one aspect of speaking
evil of another!
Rev.21:8: But the fearful, and unbelieving,….., and all liars, shall have their part in
the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone”: which is the second death.
10. THOU SHALT NOT COVET….ETC. (EX.20:17).
NT (RESTATED): But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be
once named among you, as becometh saints (Eph.5:3).
Hebrews 13:5: Let your conversation (behavior) be without covetousness; and be
content with such things as ye have: for he (God) hath said, I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee.
*****

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Living godly in the light of those ways of love is a MUST for Christians to live by
each day, every day. If you love your neighbor you will not even WANT to slander
him, steal his wife, or take his life. If you love God you will not want to worship idols
or disrespect His Holy Name. Unless persecution results from such godly living, no
one’s physical or emotional health ever suffers from putting these things into
practice. They are a MUST, not just a MAY.
Some practices, however, might be deemed to be helpful, but they can become
harmful both physically and spiritually when done in a spirit of legalism. Asceticism
falls into this category, particularly such activities as keeping vigils (periods without
sleep) or fasting (going without food) frequently or for extended periods of time.
Jesus fasted forty days before He began His brief ministry (Matt.4:2). On
another occasion He prayed all night long (Luke 6:12) just before choosing His
twelve disciples. Jesus was faithful to His calling. Jesus worked hard. He would
someday go to the Cross, but He didn’t ”burn the candle at both ends”. He took a
nap during a storm which was so fierce it nearly sank His disciples’ boat (Mark 4:3541).
We are commanded to persevere and watch (Gr. gregorueo, be vigilant) in prayer
(Matt.26:41; Eph.6:18). But at the same time we are not to be worriers. We can’t
add even one inch to our height through “taking thought” (worry) (Matt.6:27).
Some assume that Jesus fasted frequently, but Scripture records no other fast
done by Jesus than the one mentioned in Matthew Chapter 4, which lasted forty
days. On the contrary, Jesus said He “came eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34), while
John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine. Jesus and His
disciples seem to have done considerably less fasting than John the Baptist and His
disciples (Matt.9:14). But it was Christ who performed miracles. John was a great
man, but no miracle is attributed to him by Scripture. Fasting does not create
miracles, God does. God’s sovereign will is the deciding factor to the outcome of our
prayers, though He does respond to genuine faith in Him (Mark 11:22-24).
Nowhere is fasting made a requirement for the church, though deep involvement
in prayer might make it imperative that a person focus strictly on the things of the
Spirit. In the epistles no one is ever rebuked for failure to fast. Some find fasting
helps their prayer lives, but I have heard of people harming their health by thinking
they couldn’t get closer to God unless they did a whole lot of it. The spiritual danger
would be to forget that it is through the precious Blood of Jesus, not fasting, that we
obtain boldness to enter into the Holiest of all (Heb.10:19).
Based on what I could find in the epistles (or couldn’t find) I would classify
fasting as permissible, but only within strict limits. Fasting for fasting’s sake is mere
religion, performed out of a sense of obligation. Only as a byproduct of extended
prayer is fasting justifiable under Grace. Only the actual prayer done instead of
eating has any value for Christians today. Fasting is the hole in the doughnut of
prayer! Fasting without prayer is a big zero!
We are not slaves but sons (Gal.4:7). We enjoy doing the work of the Lord, and
we do it according to the ability and strength God gives us. But while we are yet in
our mortal bodies, we need proper rest and nourishment. The Lord remembers that
we’re still made of dust (Psalms 103:14).

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Christ's Royal Priesthood Owes NO Man Tithes!
I was surfing the Net to find out if there was any info posted on a Full Gospel church
I used to visit with other young people back in the early 70's. At the time I first
heard this message preached I had just recently received my Baptism with the Holy
Spirit. To my utter amazement I remember hearing this sermon and who preached it.
I was about 20 when this message was shared by one of the elder ministers at one
of the first Full Gospel conventions I ever attended.
I'll quote only that small section of the Internet story which is pertinent to this
article. The author relates a vision someone is said to have had of a rich
businessman who died and went to appear before his Judge. When I heard it as a
baby Christian, it filled me with dread and great relief that it wasn't me standing
before God in that man's shoes. But now that I'm much older and better acquainted
with the Word of God, I realize that not everything in the vision passes muster with
correctly applied Scripture. I still have a godly fear toward Almighty God, but I no
longer allow myself to be intimidated by doctrines proven by Scripture to be false
traditions of men. It is very, very important not to be overpowered by "deeper"
revelations, even if they are preached by a popular teacher who means well. You can
be sincerely wrong about something! Beware of being taken captive by religious
sentiments springing from bad manmade traditions. We must be persuaded ONLY by
the Word of God as it was originally taught to the church by the early apostles. The
following segment contains words I heard preached from a pulpit back in the early
70’s:
*****
Some months back the Lord gave the writer a vivid vision of a former, Waco, Texas,
wealthy business man who had died.
He had been a nominal Christian for forty years. He stood trembling before the
Judge and His Judgment Seat to have his life work judged for eternal rewards. The
Lord asked, "What did you bring me out of your long Christian life in Waco, Texas?"
The man stood paralyzed with shame, for he could think of nothing acceptable to
give God as a present. Then pointing to nine large objects the voice said: "Those are
the things you stole from God during your Christian life." The first object with his
name on it was all the Lord’s money in tithes and offerings he has used for himself.
*****
Pretty heavy stuff, isn't it? And because the writer quoted a vision allegedly given by
the LORD, that alone would seem to lend the story all the credibility it needs. When I
was young I would be overcome with awe whenever I heard about somebody having
a vision. But sad experience has not only given me hindsight, it has taught me to
keep a clear head, even as I remain open to the Holy Spirit's workings. Only the
Word of God, correctly translated, PROPERLY INTERPRETED IN CONTEXT, and
correctly applied as believers living under GRACE (we're not under Mosaic Law,
INCLUDING THE TITHE LAW) must be the final authority for our faith and practice,
not somebody's spurious vision. We must not be blown about by every wind of new
doctrine that comes along, including that which comes from alleged supernatural
visitations from heaven (Eph.4:14; Heb.13:9).
NOT ONE scripture teaches or even supports monetary tithing, either in the Old
or the New Testament. NOT ONCE does the apostle Paul ever teach or enforce
monetary tithing. Biblical Christians are exhorted strongly to be cheerful givers, but
NOT ONCE is anybody ever named and shamed by any New Testament apostle for
failure to tithe! Yet I have read examples of preachers resorting to threats to get

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tithe money! If so-and-so doesn't start tithing by next week, his or her name will be
read from the pulpit as a non-tither, and they will be held up to public disgrace! If
you don’t cough up that tithe, God will send you to hell for blaspheming the Holy
Ghost! Talk about blackmail and slander! Not only is the believer slandered from the
pulpit, so is Almighty God! The New Testament doesn't ever command tithing on
money, and neither does the Old Testament. But the Bible does have plenty to say
about slander. Standing behind a pulpit gives no one the right to crucify a bloodwashed believer for breaking some religious law INVENTED BY MEN to make
clergymen richer!
Poverty-stricken Paul could have lived like an oil tycoon if he'd taken even five per
cent of his flock's salaries and wages. Jesus Himself did not support his own ministry
through tithes, only freewill offerings. If Jesus ever once told Simon Peter to take an
ice cream bucket and collect the "tithes" off of the poor peasants who attended His
speaking engagements, SHOW ME THE SCRIPTURE! You'll read plenty about Jesus
healing people for free, or feeding the crowds their dinner after His message, but
nothing about "taking up the offering", much less taking up anybody's tithe. It's a
safe bet Jesus never resorted to razzle-dazzle religious rhetoric to empty people's
pockets!
It's just as non-kosher to pay monetary tithes to 21st-century Gentile preachers
as it is for an orthodox Jew to eat a pork barbeque sandwich! Before His death,
burial, and resurrection, Jesus lived under the Mosaic Covenant of Law (Gal.4:4).
Jesus Himself did not qualify to pay tithes to the Levites because He did not farm the
land or raise livestock. Jesus was a Carpenter (Mark 6:3). And it would have been
against Jewish Law for Jesus to collect tithes to finance His own ministry! Aside from
the fact Moses never commanded money tithes, Jesus hailed from the Tribe of Judah,
which had never been authorized by Moses to officiate in the Levitical Priesthood
(Heb.7:14). Only members of the priestly Tribe of Levi qualified to take tithes
(Numbers 18:21-24). Tithes were paid only on the produce of the Land of Israel and
they were paid by landowners who made their living from agriculture, not by wage
earners (see Deut.14:22-29). If you were a hired hand working for the landowner
you didn't tithe on your daily wage. If you were a sandalmaker or a fisherman in
ancient Israel you didn't owe any tithes on the fruits of your labor! Sandals, pots,
pans, fish, gold, silver and money were never subject to the Mosaic tithing tax!
In the above vision, the guy who welshed on paying monetary tithes is
castigated by "the Lord" for failure to pay tithes on money. Our God does not
contradict Himself! He does not change the rules at the end of the game. If God
expected New Testament saints to pay monetary tithes, or any other kind, surely He
would have made that clear from the very outset of the Church Age!
Having a
selfish heart and closing your eyes to the need of poorer people around you is a sin,
but show me the Scripture which commands anybody, rich or poor, to pay tithes on
their pay checks!
The businessman was found guilty of wasting "tithe money" on
himself. But read through Deuteronomy 14: 22-29 to find out what the tithe
consisted of and who was to benefit from it.
Verses 24-26 covers the case of a tithe-payer who lives too far away from the
place of worship to haul his farm or ranch produce there. ONLY in that particular
context is money ever mentioned in conjunction with tithing! In that case the tithe
payer is permitted to sell the tithed produce of his dirt farm or his tithed farm
animals, then take the money and use it to purchase FOR HIS OWN CONSUMPTION
any food or drink his soul (not the preacher's) desires, even wine or strong drink.
The purpose of the tithe was to feed hungry widows, aliens and orphans. It was a
vital part of God's social welfare program for vulnerable poor people who possessed
no inheritance of Land in Israel. Another purpose of the tithe was to gather foods to

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eat with other Israelites at a feast of thanksgiving before the Lord. It was a joyous
time of celebration in which ALL were to share, not just the religious elite!
If you're going to transfer an Old Testament Law to this New Covenant of Grace,
at least show more fidelity to Scripture. Let the poor help you eat the tithe, although
it would still be hard to do that with today's tithe. It isn't easy to choke down a
twenty-dollar bill! The tithe was FOOD, plain and simple. The true Biblical tithe was
NEVER used to build fancy buildings or finance a life of luxury for pulpit pilots. It
shocked the daylights out of me when I read Deuteronomy 14:26 and discovered
that if I'd lived back in Old Testament times I could have spent money from the sale
of tithed goods on a six-pack of Bacardi Breezer wine coolers. In that verse the
tither is encouraged to buy wine or strong drink with the money! NOT ONCE have I
ever heard any minister preach on Deuteronomy 14:26. I wonder why? It wouldn't
look very spiritual to chug down beer at a religious function, so it's best to just
pretend that verse isn't even in the Bible! Imposing Moses' tithing law on today's
church opens a big can of theological worms. You cannot transfer a law without also
transferring all the terms and conditions of that law. If you want the Mosaic Tithing
Law, you must take ALL of it upon yourself. Deuteronomy 14:26 is part of the Tithing
Law. So break out the Bud!
The charitable intent of Mosaic tithing was not resurrected along with the IDEA of
imposing a ten per cent religious tax on worshippers. The purpose and precepts of
the true Biblical Tithing Law fly in the face of the heavy yoke laid upon Christians
today. Those who break the genetically modified, adulterated laws which preachers
have concocted FOR THEIR OWN SELFISH CARNAL GAIN are threatened with public
humiliation or divine judgment, just like the self-righteous Pharisees of Jesus' day
would throw people out of the synagogue for listening to Jesus preach God's real
Word instead of submitting to their man-made legalism. I read a shocking account
of one popular “prosperity preacher” who got mad at some poor guy out in the
congregation who didn’t “pay his tithe”. An ugly racist insult was hurled at him by
the preacher. How’s that for brotherly love?
Any Biblical law that's been tampered with and given a face lift by men doesn't
carry much weight with God. He hates religious confusion, for He is a God of perfect
holiness and order. The tithe-collecting Levites did not take American Express! I read
about “Tithe-paying machines” being installed in so-called mega-churches. If Jesus
were to come back to cleanse the buyers and the sellers out of the House of God
again, He’d probably shout at the deacon to get rid of the Judas Junk Box gobbling
up people’s paychecks! I wonder how you could feed REAL Biblical tithes into those
electronic bandits: goodies like grapes, wheat and figs!
I’m just curious. Why don’t today’s preachers claim OTHER perks of the Old
Testament priesthood, like the hides left over from animal sacrifices (Lev.7:8)? If
preachers are after your bucks, ask them if they want the “buckskins” too!
Every seventh year there would be no tithe paid in Israel at all because the land
was to lie fallow and no harvest could be collected from it (Lev.25:4). This was to be
instead a sabbath of rest for the land. How many Christians are granted a sabbath
rest every seven years from being commanded BY MEN to tithe on their
overstretched paychecks? If clergymen must transfer their favorite Old Testament
ceremonial ordinance into our dispensation of Grace, they should also transfer all
the statutes which make up that Law, even those which are don't cater to their
greed! God doesn't like it when preachers go around singing that we've been set free
from the Law, then turn around and put their favorite Mosaic ordinance back on us,
modernized into a moneymaker. Some ministers caution against eating the tithe,
but that's exactly what God said it was for in the first place. God doesn't take kindly
to pulpit bullies adding make-believe scriptures to His Word to blackmail Christ's
blood-washed saints with (Rev. 22:18).

15

In Acts Chapter 15 there was a dispute about whether Gentile converts were
obligated to keep the Law of Moses or any part of it. In verses 28-29 only four (4)
restrictions are placed on the liberty of Gentile followers. They were to refrain from:
1.
meats offered to idols
2.
the consumption of blood
3.
eating strangled animals
4.
committing fornication.
Where does the Tithing Law appear on that long list of commands? Nowhere! If ever
there was an opportunity for the early apostles to impose monetary tithing on unpaid
Christian slaves and salaried workers, that would have been the best time to do it,
don't you think?
I cut my spiritual eye teeth on the teachings of the church where I first heard
about the vision of the dead businessman. We sang joyfully about being set free
from the Law of sin and death, and we really believed it too. We were allowed to put
that belief into practice…up to a point. One of my favorite choruses was Galatians
5:1: Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not
entangled again with the yoke of bondage. The ordinances of the Old Covenant have
been nailed to the Cross of Christ (Col.2:14). Christ is the END OF THE LAW for
righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom.10:4). Whoever puts himself back
under the Law of Moses or any part of it has fallen from grace (Gal.5:4). Preachers
profess to love liberty and grace. So long as these New Testament blessings don't
dry up the cash flow , that is. Preachers claim that Christ has fulfilled the Law, but
He didn't quite finish the job and we have to fulfill just a little bit of it too. They
testify that Christ paid our debt in full…except for the ongoing TITHE DEBT which will
be perpetually payable to the lords of the institutional church until they are raptured
up to their second helping of paradise.
Preachers mercilessly refuse to forgive imaginary debts allegedly owed to them
by the serfs out in the pews, yet Paul says in Romans 13:8: Owe no man any thing
but to love one another. Preachers sing: "He was nailed to the Cross for me", and
they preach that God raised Christ from the dead. But it is up to them to personally
resurrect lucrative Mosaic ceremonial ordinances which Christ took to the Cross with
Him. All the rest of those abolished laws can stay on that cross for all they care,
because there's no profit to be gained by enforcing them.
If preachers discovered a way to get rich off of circumcision, those geniuses in
the pulpit would be crafty enough to yank a few scriptures out of context to prove
this law is still binding upon all believers today, including the poor widow with a
quarter left in her purse. And if she cited 101 reasons why she couldn't conform to
this law, the preacher would still tell her, "if you really loved Jesus you'd just shut up
and submit." That's how desperate preachers are to get easy money, enough to pull
a few crazy rabbits out of their hats. But for now, those spiritual butchers are content
to give your paycheck the chop!
Physical circumcision was a vow to God to keep the whole Law of Moses. In Paul's
day a controversy raged as to whether Gentile converts to Christ were obligated to
undergo circumcision. The issue of tithing is to our generation what the circumcision
question was to the early church. But now, as then, Christian liberty and our position
in Christ are at stake, not just whether certain religious practices are part of the New
Covenant. Paul was often attacked by aggressive legalists who opposed his Gospel of
Grace. Paul says of them in Galatians 5:12: I would they were even cut off which
trouble you. Some Greek scholars believe that what Paul is really saying is that if
those troublesome legalists insist on circumcision, why don't they go the whole nine
yards and castrate themselves?

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Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the first five books of
the Bible, given to Moses by God. They comprise the Jewish Torah. These books
contain sound principles on how to love God and your neighbor. You can learn much
by reading the biographies of the men and women of faith contained in these books,
and the Christian can profit spiritually by reading them. But they also contain the
entire scroll of the Law given by Moses to the children of Israel. The Jews were
obliged to keep 613 ceremonial ordinances which governed their daily lives. In
Leviticus 27: 30-33 we read what constituted the true Biblical tithe: the seed of the
land, the fruit of the tree, herds and flocks. Nowhere does it mention the fruit of the
Federal Mint! And the biggest eye-opener of all is verse 34, the very end of the book
of Leviticus: These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses FOR
THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL in Mount Sinai. So we see that the Tithing Law is the very
last law covered by the law book of Leviticus. Notice, God did not give these
ceremonial laws to the Apache Indians or the Eskimos to keep. Which reminds me
of how some hold that keeping the Sabbath is binding on believers today, just like
tithing. But the same principle applies. Transfer a law, and you must transfer all the
statutes which comprise that law. One rule for keeping the Sabbath was you were
forbidden to kindle a fire in your home on that day (Ex.35:3). Pity the poor Eskimo if
he should run into a self-righteous Pharisee! In Numbers 15:32-36 a man gathers
sticks on the Sabbath Day to build a fire with and that's the last household chore he
ever performs on earth! When you put somebody under the Law, you also put them
under its penalty if they break it!
God expected the children of Israel to be most meticulous in following
instructions for observing the Mosaic ordinances. If God asked a Jew to sacrifice a
bullock He wouldn't have settled for Porky Pig. I think it's really tragic that certain
Gentile theologians
have modernized one of Moses' laws and changed the
requirements of keeping that law for their own personal gain. Now we have all types
of Heinz 57-pedigree Gentiles substituting for Jews from the Tribe of Levi. Preachers
leech off poor minimum wage earners who wouldn't have had to tithe in ancient
Israel. They hit them up for money which should be spent to buy decent school
clothes for little Johnny. Then they collect an unscriptural tithe which is inedible by
any stretch of the imagination (unless a nanny goat could digest the greenery in the
collection plate)!
Preachers warn that God will sick the boogerman on poor Christians if they eat
their tithe instead of putting it in the offering, though the Scriptural tithe was
gathered for the express purpose of feeding the poor in the first place! And even
though Israel got a rest every seven years from tithing, preachers never miss a
single year milking the cash cows out in the pews. And worst of all, preachers give
God the credit for the amalgamated mess they've made of an ancient law yanked out
of context, twisted and colored to conform to modern culture, and then imposed on
people Christ has redeemed from the Old Law. Then to avoid having to take
responsibility for the chaos their lies cause God's people, they pass the buck on to
God! They dump the responsibility on God to repay the money they've extorted with
threats and lies, and then sanitize the situation with flowery platitudes promising
God's blessing. So Who gets the blame when tithers fall into even deeper poverty
than ever before? Tithers are told God will surely reward their obedience…but who
were they obedient to in the first place? Why should God bless obedience to the
genetically modified religion preachers have created by cross-breeding the Old and
New Testaments? Talk about a Frankenstein freak!
God blesses a cheerful giver, but why wouldn't He give a hundred-fold back to a
poor tither who does his best to keep a modernized version of a law given only to
Israel? Because God is under no obligation whatsoever to reward the observance of a
man-made heresy, even if it is kept in ignorance. Which brings this question to mind:

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Why have I never once heard a sermon preached on Proverbs 22:16? He that
oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely
come to want (extreme poverty). Any preacher who drives a brand new Lexus and
wears a $2000 suit has no business dunning a poor chicken plucker for ten per cent
of her wages!
Moses set an example of meekness and godliness for all generations, but Jesus is
our Shepherd and lord, not Moses. Our covenant springs from Mount Calvary, not
Mount Sinai. Most of Christ's church consists of Gentiles like myself, not physical
Israelites. Jewish rabbis don't impose tithing on their own congregations anymore.
There are no Levitical priests in office who qualify to take up tithes, and the Temple
in Jerusalem has not yet been rebuilt. But those minor points don't discourage the
religious revenue agents of Christendom. They conveniently forget that whenever
Jesus did urge people to give alms (never tithes), the money was specifically used
for the poor, not the rich (Matt.19:21; Luke 18:22). In those verses Christ is
speaking to the Rich Young Ruler, asking him to sell all that he has and give to the
poor. Jesus didn't tell the Rich Young Ruler to go and take up a collection from poor
beggars so he could finance a fancy palace for the ruler of the synagogue!
Many try to defend tithing by appealing to the poor widow and the two mites she
deposited in the Temple treasury. But if you'll read the story objectively, you'll find
that NOWHERE does Christ command the poor widow to give her bread money to the
Temple, He merely states that she did this. This incident is recorded in Mark 12:4144. But it happens immediately after Jesus finishes telling his disciples what He
thinks of greedy religious hypocrites. In verses 38-40 Jesus says: And Jesus said
unto them of his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing,
and love salutations in the market places, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and
the uppermost rooms at feasts: WHICH DEVOUR WIDOWS' HOUSES, and for a
pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. Christ says the
same thing in Matthew 23:14, where He is in the middle of giving the scribes and
Pharisees the worst verbal whipping they've ever had: Woe unto you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long
prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Far from condemning poor parents for providing for their families before they give
to the institutional church, Jesus pronounces dread judgment on those who covet the
finances of poor widows. The widow might have given her last two mites out of love,
but she was under no legal obligation to sacrifice all her living to the Temple. God
would far rather have mercy than sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). In Matthew 12:7 Jesus
repeats this truth to defend disciples who break the Sabbath Law of rest so they can
pluck ears of grain and eat. Most ministers of Christendom would rather defend their
favorite legalisms than show mercy.
Oh, it may prove profitable in the short term for preachers to lay their favorite
law back on the people of God, but it leads to spiritual disaster. As many as are
under the works of the Law are under a curse (Gal.3:10). The man in the vision was
cited as an example to strike fear into the hearts of God's people to get them to tithe
on money, even if it meant they or their children had to do without. Service
rendered out of fear of punishment speaks of Mount Sinai, with its terrible lightning
storms that made Moses exceedingly fear and quake (Heb.12:18-21).
Galatians 3:10: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for
it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written
in the book of the Law to do them.
Verse 11: But that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God it is evident: for
the just shall live by faith.

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Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (including service to God which springs not from
faith but from faulty teaching) (Rom.14:23). Such SERVICE TO MEN who appoint
themselves as God's special IRS agents will not be motivated by love and will be
grudging, just like slaves under the whip would resent their cruel overseers. God
hates guilt-based giving. He loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor.9:7). If you aren't glad to
give it, God doesn't want it!
Gal.3:12: And the Law is not of faith: but the man that doeth them shall live in
them.
The Law of God is a package deal, not a restaurant menu you can pick and
choose from. If you covenant with God to live under just one tiny part of the Old
Law, you must live under it ALL! That includes circumcision for men, periodic pigeon
offerings for women, giving up ham and shrimp, putting tassels on your garments,
wearing phylacteries, the whole kit and caboodle. And if you offend in just ONE point
of Mosaic Law, you've broken it all and brought yourself under a curse. How can any
minister of the Gospel claim to love his brethren and then turn around and lay the
Law back on them to keep the money rolling in? That isn't the love of Christ!
Preachers defend the tithing doctrine as pre-dating the Law by citing the ONE
occasion Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedek, king of Salem, in Genesis 14:18-20.
Abraham and his men had just fought a battle to rescue Lot and other citizens of
Sodom. Those people had been taken captive by the Kings of the Plain. Their town
had been ransacked of valuables. Abraham fought Lot's foes and recovered all the
goods stolen from Sodom. To show his gratitude to God for the victory, Abraham
presented a tenth of the spoils to Melchisedek. Abraham was a generous, unselfish
guy. He was a giver and a man of hospitality. But nowhere does Scripture teach that
Abraham ever tithes again or tithes on any of his personal possessions. In order to
enforce Abraham's tithing example on the Body of Christ, you'd have to do just like
he did. Since Sodom doesn’t exist anymore, recruit a gang to help you go fight
some desperados who have just burgled a local bordello. Once you've beaten the
stuffing out of the thieves, take back the goods and donate ten percent of the
recovered CD's, jewelry, cash, and electronic toys to the Salvation Army. Give the
other ninety per cent to the gang leaders who helped you win the victory and keep
nothing for yourself. That's about as close as you could come to following Abraham's
tithing example, because Melchisedek probably wouldn't come down from heaven to
collect that stuff anyway.
Actually Jesus Himself is our great High Priest after the order of Melchisedek
(Heb.7:21). We are one body in Christ Jesus and we are made one Spirit with Him
through faith (I Cor.6:17). Does one member of your physical body use threats of
divine judgment to extort taxes from another member of your body? Ridiculous!
Covenant Confusion
Preachers greedily seize upon Abraham’s example of tithing goods stolen by
bandits from the wicked city of Sodom! But if they imitate Abraham’s example in
one controversial area, why not in others? Is it okay for men to marry their halfsisters? Abraham did! (Gen.20:12). That practice would later be forbidden by the
Law of Moses (Lev.18:11). In Genesis 18:8 Abraham violated Deuteronomy 14:21,
which orthodox Jews interpret as a ban on serving dairy products and meat at the
same meal. Those who insist on ONE law of Moses being applicable today (the Tithe)
usually think it’s okay to eat cheese on their hamburger!

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God justified Abraham by faith BEFORE he was ever circumcised (Rom.4:7-10).
Abraham and Ishmael were 99 and 13 years old, respectively, when they were finally
circumcised (Gen.17:24-25). Does that mean that Abraham was loathsome to God
before he underwent his circumcision? In Gen.17:10-14 God ordered that all males
born in Abraham’s household be circumcised by the eighth day of life. This law
predated Moses, just like limited VOLUNTARY acts of tithing. But where do you ever
read of earlier saints like Seth or Noah tithing or getting circumcised? How many
preachers enforcing the tithing law today would be willing to marry their own sister
and practice everything ELSE Abraham did?
It works both ways now. If it’s okay to retrieve Abraham’s ONE-TIME act of
tithing as proof that tithing predated the Law and is compulsory today, in all fairness
you must also revive the practice of circumcision and marriage of close relatives! It’s
just as crazy to tell us that we have to keep a defunct Mosaic ordinance as it would
have been to slap handcuffs on Abraham for violating a couple of ordinances that
hadn’t yet been given by God on Mt. Sinai!
Jacob is cited as the other example of pre-Law tithing. But was his tithe an “act
of faith” where he “gave out of his lack”?
Jacob’s “vow of faith” was the act of a desperate man looking for an escape
hatch. Jacob had just conned his brother Esau into swapping the family birthright for
a bowl of soup (how did he manage THAT?) Every used car salesman would have
loved Jacob! When Esau got Montezuma’s revenge from Jacob’s genetically modified
lentils, he went gunning for his shifty brother. So naturally Jacob ran away. As he
journeyed to his Uncle Laban’s sheep ranch in Syria, Jacob woke up at his campsite
and prayed thus:
Gen.28:20: And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: IF God will be with me, and will keep
me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment (clothing) to put
on,
VERSE 21: So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; THEN shall the Lord
be my God:
VERSE 22: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of
all that thou SHALT give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
To imitate Jacob’s tithing “VOW OF FAITH”, you have to see past the ten per cent bit
and do all the rest of it as well:
1.

2.
3.

Tell God that he must FIRST feed you, clothe you, and keep you safe in your
journeyings BEFORE He will be accepted as your God. The nerve of that
ungrateful guy! That sounds like an exclusive college fraternity telling a
pledge: “IF you cook, clean, and wash our socks for us during “Hell Week”,
we just MIGHT consider accepting you as a member!” Our Creator, the One
Who gives us every breath we breathe, deserves more respect than that! I
couldn’t have made that one up! Verse 21 actually records that wheelerdealer Jacob had the chutzpah to tell the Almighty that strings were attached
to his love for God!
Set up a pillar stone (remember the monolith in 2001: a Space Odyssey?)
and tell God that marble slab is gonna be His pad from now on. It’s different
now. The whole Body of Christ, the Church, is God’s House (Eph.2:22).
AFTER (not before) God has made you rich enough to do it, has provided
fully for your needs and kept you safe, then, and only then, begin to pay
God, not some rich TV preacher in Malibu, ten per cent of everything you
have (not just money)! Jacob kept sheep, but you probably own only a dog
or a cat. If you get ten or more kittens in their next litter (you don’t have to

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tithe on nine), give one away as your “tithe” to some poor kid to cheer him
up. Since God can’t play CD’s and DVD’s up in heaven, what would He have
you do with those plastic pacifiers? Sell ‘em and give the dough to your local
homeless mission, the Salvash, etc. And don’t forget to tithe on ten per cent
of your Elvis “oldies but goldies”!
Seriously, tithing under the New Covenant is a grave dispensational error. We
don’t live in Abraham’s time, and we don’t live in Moses’ time. Abraham and Moses
lived BEFORE the Cross. But we live AFTER the Cross of Christ disannulled (Gr.
athetesis: abolition) the Old Law, under God’s New Covenant of Grace (Rom.10:4;
Heb.7:18).
Imagine you’re driving through Mississippi. While you’re in Mississippi you’re
under Mississippi law. But once you cross the Tennessee line, you’re no longer under
Mississippi law, but Tennessee law. Both Mississippi and Tennessee might have one
ordinance on their books that Kentucky doesn’t have. Just for fun, let’s pretend that
law forbids singing in the car as you drive. Finally you cross the line into Kentucky,
where that one law Mississippi and Tennessee have in common no longer applies to
you personally, because you aren’t in those states anymore. Now, wouldn’t it be
ridiculous if after you crossed over into Kentucky and started singing in your car, a
state trooper arrested you for violating anti-singing laws of the other two states? Yet
something just as ridiculous is going on today in churches throughout the land.
On God’s timeline, you had Abraham’s covenant with its conditions, later you had
the Age of Mosaic Law. In God’s earlier covenant with Noah (Gen.9:1-17),
circumcision was not even mentioned, nor was tithing. But under the Abrahamic
Covenant and Covenant of Law, circumcision was mandatory for all male believers.
Tithing was permissible in Abraham’s day, but not yet given by God as a religious
law. Under Mosaic Law, tithing was compulsory, but only for those who grew crops
or raised livestock.
There were four different tithes paid in Israel. The chart on the following page
illustrates just WHO was responsible for providing WHICH tithe and where each tithe
ended up:

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Type of Tithe
LEVITICAL TITHE

FESTIVAL TITHE

POOR TITHE

PRIEST’S TITHE

Paid
Yearly, by farmers and
herdsmen, except for
Sabbatical years
(Num.18:21)
Yearly, By farmers and
herdsmen (some scholars
believe it wasn’t paid
during years of Poor Tithe)
Every third and sixth year
of seven-year tithing cycle
by farmers and herdsmen
(Deut.14:28-29)
Yearly, by the Levites, to
the Aaronic priesthood.
The choicest ten per cent
“heaved out of” the tithes
they received from the
people (Num.18:25-32)

How used
Stored in Levites’ Cities
(Lev.25:32) to feed Levites
and their families
(Neh.10:37)
Hauled to place of worship
and immediately EATEN BY
WORSHIPPER and others
(Deut.14:22-27)
Laid up within Israel’s city
gates as emergency supply
of food for Levites and
poor people
ONLY kind brought to
Temple storehouses! Fed
priests who worked
rotating shifts (Mal.3:10; I
Chron. Chap.24; Luke 1:8)

Church: The Land of Bilk and Money
After Christ died on the Cross, all claims the old Law had on us were satisfied. The
Law was made obsolete (Rom.10:4; Heb.7:18). On God’s timeline, believers are
now under the jurisdiction of the New Covenant of Grace, and are subject neither to
the customs of Abraham’s day nor the ordinances of Mosaic Law. Those dispensations
are past. Yet some devious preachers still claim we’re under at least one of the 613
laws of Moses! Tithing on money is totally alien to Scripture. Even before his pay day
comes, a believer is pressured with guilt tactics to fork over his tithe to the man in
the pulpit. Many families have found tithing a financial burden and a strain on their
marriage and home life. People are under tremendous pressure to make ends meet
today. Ten per cent may not be such a big deal to a rich family, but for a poor family
buying groceries with the little left over after bill-paying, tithing can be the straw that
broke the camel's back. Tithing can create the need for working an extra job. That
helps perpetuate a vicious circle of increased need for child care, extra work
expenses, etc. Many poor people have either quit church or won't start going
because of financial intimidation from overbearing preachers. From starting out 2000
years ago as a loving, close-knit family of faith brimming over with the pure love of
Jesus, today's typical “church” has become an institution rather than a family of
faith. The worst type of institutional church is little more than a money-making club
run by a poodle-permed fear-monger who charges dues called “tithes”, and tips
called “offerings”.
For many, many years I’ve given the institutional church the benefit of the doubt.
But only after I compared today’s church with the church in Acts could I put my
finger on what’s missing in church life: LIFE! Whose life? Jesus’ life! Not some
imaginary Jesus who’s depicted as a garish cartoon character wearing a Rolex and

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buying His fifth Beverly Hills mansion, but that same One Who loved us so much He
became poor for all our sakes (II Cor.8:9). More and more I’m leaning toward the
conviction that traditional churchianity is a poor substitute for true fellowship in the
Spirit. It’s like a fancy chocolate box with nothing inside it but hot air! America (and
Western nations in general) follow a consumer culture. When Americans get hungry
on the Road of Life, they head for McDonald’s or Burger King. When they need
medicine, lawn furniture, or toys, they head for Walmart or Target. When they need
food for their soul, they instinctively go to still another building: that fancy sheep
shed down the road that boasts spraying fountains, “inspirational prayer gardens”,
crystal architecture… and a fifty-year mortgage. But unless the real Jesus of the Bible
is welcome there, it’s just a mausoleum for the spiritually dead and dying!
I feel that the growing house church movement is solid evidence that the Holy
Ghost is calling sincere Spirit-filled believers out of a money-centered system that is
incurably sick from head to toe (Isaiah 1:6). But wherever you meet, if you feel that
God has you in a place where He is using you to minister the life of Christ, and you
are also receiving love from others through the Spirit of Christ, stay there! At least
until you are absolutely certain that you are being sent elsewhere through God’s
clear guidance. But don’t ever allow some MAN behind a pulpit to scare you into
doing or giving anything. Give joyfully to GENUINE needs, but don’t fall into the trap
of ritual giving out of a sense of guilt.
Some preachers insinuate that we give to the Lord ONLY when we give to some
professional minister or to faraway missions, and supporting our own family doesn't
count as giving to the Lord. But Jesus thinks otherwise. Let the children FIRST be
filled (Mark 7:27). Not just barely fed and clothed in cheap rags, but with their own
needs totally satisfied. In Mark 7:9-13 Jesus castigates some self-righteous
Pharisees for teaching their disciples to consecrate to religious purposes money
which should have gone to support aged parents. Instead of keeping the
commandment "Honor your father and your mother", those blind leaders of the blind
made void the Word of God through their own vain traditions. I read that in
traditional Judaism, no poor man was obligated to give alms out of that which he
needed to sustain his own life. Let the children first be fed!
Whenever a New Covenant believer pays tithes to another believer, even a doctor
of divinity in a jet-propelled pulpit, he or she denies their own priesthood in Christ
Jesus. The whole Body of Christ is called a Kingdom of Priests and a holy nation (I
Pet.2:9). Tithes were to be levied only on the produce of the Land of Israel. Tithes
were never produced by or paid by the priestly branch of the Tribe of Levi, the
priesthood, which descended from Aaron the High Priest. We are in Christ, Who is
our own High Priest (2 Cor.5:17; Heb.9:11). All our consecrated service on earth is
to be performed in Jesus' Name, just as if it were His own hands doing it. Part of
that service is freewill offerings to bless the needy as the Lord leads. But whenever
some human leader extorts tithes from a Spirit-indwelt believer, they are setting
themselves up as being superior to Christ Himself. They dare to seize the highest
seat at the table for themselves and demote the Christ in other Christians to a field
hand who is told to work hard and keep the tribute rolling in. Old Covenant priests
came and went, but Jesus is the ONLY High Priest of the New Covenant! Brother soand-so with the Rolex watch is NOT qualified to preside as acting High Priest on
behalf of Jesus and exact tribute from His people!
What doctrinal chaos is caused by "spiritual Levites" who exalt themselves above
the factory workers and burger flippers out in the pews, expecting to receive tribute
from them as underlings! But since when is Christ divided into two classes, the
peasants and the aristocracy?
Did Christ intend for "spiritual Levites" to be
supported by literal tithe money earned by the lower-ranking laity? We are all one in
Christ Jesus (Gal.3:28). God's Word means what it says and says what it means!

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Much, much more is involved here than dollars and cents. I am not advocating
selfishness, only faithfulness to what the Word really does teach New Testament
Christians. Always guard against a stingy attitude and respond to legitimate needs
around you as the Lord leads, with freewill offerings. But Gentile clergymen who
collect tithes are way out of order. Only members of the Tribe of Levi were ever
allowed by God to collect tithes (Numbers 18:21-24). Class division is the automatic
result when some Gentile clergyman takes tithes of people out in the pews. They are
disregarding God's clear instructions on tithing. They are, saying in effect, "I don't
care two cents what God says in His Word. I'll change God's rules to serve my own
selfish ends." And by threatening you with the imminent judgment of God for nontithing, the preacher is denying your own priesthood in Christ and demoting you to
being a slave instead of a son. He’s really saying: "You are just there to serve us!"
What an arrogant dismissal of the fact all true believers, rich and poor alike, are
children of the Great King. We are no longer slaves but sons with an eternal
inheritance (Gal.4:7). And if we are sons, then why should we let some religious
leader bring us under tribute (Matt.17:25-26)?
There's more than one way to get a stubborn donkey to move, preachers have
discovered. The stick approach says "Pay up or you'll have to answer to God for it!
Pay up or I'll name and shame you from this pulpit next week!" The other approach
seems less scary, stringing the donkey along by dangling the carrot in front of his
nose. "You can't outgive God!" preachers holler.
They've really got a lot of nerve, don't they? First they take their favorite Old
Testament ordinance down from the Cross. Then they magically transform fruit and
veggie tithes into crispy lettuce with big numbers on it. Finally, they make God liable
to pay back the tithe money they've filched out of fearful, ignorant souls. God does
take good care of His people, but contrary to modern Prosperity theology, not every
Christian is gonna hit the jackpot in this lifetime. How many millions of poor
Christians have gone to their graves wondering why they never did receive the
bumper harvest preachers promised them for tithing on money? Religious profiteers
who have led God's people back under bondage will have to answer to Him for all the
financial hardship and resentment caused by the divisive doctrine of monetary
tithing. Maybe God won't be nearly so concerned about the Slurpee some poor
Christian bought with untithed pocket change as He will be about all the poor kids
who had to do without decent food or new shoes because some slick theologian
shamed their parents into emptying their pockets, supposedly for the furtherance of
the Gospel!
It's the unquestioning, follow-the-leader believer who pays the piper for
ignorance. Whereas Christ's yoke is easy and His burden is light, the yoke of
servitude any other master puts on you is grievously heavy.. And being victimized
by bad doctrine doesn't guarantee you won't have to answer to God someday for the
bad things you yourself have done and failed to repent of. But I tend to suspect
that while God may rebuke the little guy in the pews for unrepented-of selfishness,
He might deal much more severely with devious manipulators of the Word who
twisted scripture for selfish gain and hid under a bushel basket vital truth which
would have set the saints free to walk in total liberty.
If Christ doesn't command it, man shouldn't demand it!

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Malachi 3: 10: Who Robbed Who of What?
YE ARE CURSED WITH A CURSE! How many times a Sunday is this execration
bellowed forth from pulpits far and wide, all across America?
Preachers are like
grave robbers digging for buried treasure. Christ took the old Law with Him to the
Cross and nailed it there (Col.2:14). But preachers dig up their favorite part of the
Law, Malachi 3:8-10, up from the grave of sweet forgetfulness and reapply it to
Christians who are NOT under the Law of Moses (Rom.6:14). They care not that in
reimposing any part of the Law of Moses upon those justified by faith, they are
bringing blood-washed saints back under the Curse of the Law and causing them to
stumble and run the risk of falling from grace (Gal.3:10; 5:4). If you bind yourself to
observe one part of the old Law you are spiritually bound to keep it ALL! Christ
pronounced a “woe” upon any devious person who would offend (cause to stumble )
babes in Christ (Matt.18:6).
Let’s read this passage, which has caused so much bondage and fear out in the
congregation and profited so many preachers: Malachi 3:8-10.
Malachi 3:8: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein
have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
VERSE 9: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole
nation.
VERSE 10: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat (food,
not money!) in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I
will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall
not be room enough to receive it.
Whenever preachers excoriate the congregation with dreadful execrations for
defrauding “God” of monetary tithes, they’ll soften the blow just a bit at the end of
verse 10, by repeating God’s promise to pour out a blessing that there shall not be
room enough to receive it. Why, then, have I read countless testimonies which
prove just the opposite? Far from bringing a blessing upon us, returning to the Law
of Moses or any part of it actually results in a curse (Gal.3:10). In one religious sect,
members were required to double-tithe as punishment if, even out of great hardship,
they “borrowed the tithe” to spend on family necessities. Seems to me like those
folks should have been SHOWERED with blessings!
Instead, there were woeful tales of kids who rarely saw their parents because
both parents had to go out to work all kinds of crazy hours to earn “tithe money” for
their “church”, which was run by a control freak who lived high on the hog. Kids went
without decent food, dental care, new shoes, etc., just so tithes could be paid to the
pampered leadership of their sect. At their “annual feasts” the congregation would
gather in a big hall to feast on boiled beans while the “leadership” ate in a fancier
dining room by themselves, feasting on the finest. The question remains: Why all
the hardship if tithing brings blessings? Those poor kids who suffered privations had
PLENTY of room to receive more from God! That abominable religious system which
oppressed those poor people caused parents to have to neglect their children
because they had to be out working like slaves. When poor people pay their bills,
there is often just a very thin margin of disposable (spendable) income left to buy
the necessities of life. Whenever Christians take the food out of their own kids’
mouths to “pay tithes”, they are literally forced to disobey I Timothy 5:8: But if any
provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the
faith, and is worse than an infidel.* * * Lots of “infidels” are being churned out by
infidels behind modern pulpits!

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God DID promise to pour out His blessings upon SOMEONE who was asked to
tithe SOMETHING at some point in history, but who was this Scripture talking about?
We don’t have to pay tithes to a religious hierarchy INVENTED BY MEN anymore than
we’re responsible for paying George Washington’s phone bill! Christ DID NOT ordain
a clergy-laity caste system in the Body of Christ! He said we are all to treat each
other equally as being brethren in the Lord (Matt.23:8). The early church had their
elders, apostles, and deacons, but those men were there to SERVE God’s people, not
to make slaves of them! For the first couple of centuries after Pentecost God’s
people related to each other on an equal basis as brothers and sisters. Elders shared
the wisdom of the Lord as fellow brethren, rather than mounting a tall pulpit and
threatening God’s retribution for failure to give generously for the upkeep of the
institutional church.
First, let’s address the question of WHO was robbing God in Malachi. Malachi 3:9
says: ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. But the word “even” is in italics.
Any word in italics was added by translators. In reality, whoever was doing the
robbing was defrauding not only God, but the whole nation.
WHO is God addressing in this book of Malachi? Just two verses before our main
text, God says:
Malachi 3:6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye SONS OF JACOB are
not consumed. Are WE literal sons of Jacob? I don’t think so, at least not the
majority of those who are reading this! Was God also addressing the sons (or
daughters) of Gentiles far and wide, of all times? Forget religious sentiment! A plain
reading of Scripture does NOT support preachers’ contentions that Malachi (and its
many rebukes) are aimed at the Church of Jesus Christ living under the New
Covenant! That’s just as stupid as saying that I Samuel 28: 16 is directed at the
Body of Christ. But I wouldn’t put anything past today’s greedy preachers. If they
could make a quick buck by convincing Christians that the ghost of the prophet
Samuel pronounced judgment not only upon King Saul but also upon modern-day
Christians, they wouldn’t hesitate to misapply I Samuel 28:16 just like they twist
Malachi to line their own pockets. It really boils down to this: preachers are running
a protection racket to protect God’s people from an obsolete curse which had nothing
whatsoever to do with monetary tithing either in the Old Testament or now! They are
threatening Christ’s redeemed ones with a curse!
THEY ARE ACTUALLY
THREATENING CHRIST HIMSELF! When you sin against the brethren in any way, you
sin directly against Jesus (Matt.25:40; I Cor.8:12). What a damnable sin preachers
commit against the Body of Christ! Christ REDEEMED us from the curse of the Law
(Gal.3:13). HOW DARE those greedy serpents (Matt.23:33) put Old Covenant
curses back on God’s people! Those who “beat their fellow-servants” with vile lies are
merciless thieves and crooks who will themselves receive no mercy from God (Luke
12:45-46; James 2:13).
As much as preachers might deny it, it was the SONS OF JACOB, not the sons of
other nations who were held responsible for those sins in the book of Malachi! Now,
what sins were those rascally “sons of Jacob” guilty of committing? Malachi 3:5
says:
And I will come near to you in judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the
sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those
that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn
aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
Notice that the hireling (wage earner) is lumped together with other oppressed
groups, such as the widow and the fatherless. How can anybody construe that the

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rebukes of Malachi are aimed at the poor wage earner? Can the hireling oppress the
hireling?
Just three verses later in Malachi 3:8, we read God’s first mention of tithing in
this book. Now why would God suddenly shift gears in mid-stream and decide to
level His rebukes at the very ones who are being victimized by the sins in this
particular book of Scripture?
The Sons of Jacob (Israel) were divided into twelve tribes and many sub-clans.
WHICH “sons of Jacob” is God primarily addressing in the Book of Malachi? Let’s go
back to the very beginning of Malachi for a clue.
Malachi 1:6: A son honoureth his father, and a servant honoureth his master: if then
I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? saith
the Lord of hosts unto you O PRIESTS, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein
have we despised thy name?
VERSE 7: Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we
polluted thee? In that ye (the priests) say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.
VERSE 8: And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame
and the sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with
thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.
AHA! So it’s the PRIESTS OF ISRAEL this book is addressed to! To claim that this
book is an indictment against 21st-century Christian believers who fail to bring money
tithes into “God’s House” ( the church building) is spiritual abuse of God’s people,
plain and simple. Ordinary Israelites weren’t permitted by God to even come NEAR
the Tabernacle of the Congregation, on pain of death (Num.18:22). Far from being a
“church building” where ordinary Israelites congregated to put money in the
preacher’s plate, hold services, potluck dinners, etc., the Tabernacle of Moses’ Day
inspired terror in the hearts of God’s people. They were afraid to come anywhere
near it, much less bring the fruits of cash wages into it (Numbers 17:12-13).
Not only are monetary tithes extracted from God’s people by misinterpretation
and misuse of Malachi, so are “offerings above and beyond the tithe”. But what did
God demand in offerings? Well, if you’ll reread verse 8 it speaks of bad offerings
being lame, blind and sick! How on earth can a hundred-dollar bill be lame, blind
and sick? Get real! Do preachers think we’re stupid? God is clearly referring to
offerings of ANIMAL SACRIFICES in this passage, nothing more and nothing less! If
any of you have ever been asked by your preacher for an animal sacrifice to be
brought to church to be burnt on the altar, please let me know about it. That would
hit the headlines!
Malachi 3:3 reinforces my belief that the Book of Malachi is addressed by God to
the priesthood of Israel, not to us:
And he (God) shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify THE
SONS OF LEVI, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the
LORD an offering in righteousness.* * * *WHO is God purifying here, so that they
may offer up the LORD’s offering in righteousness? The SONS OF LEVI!
God’s tithes weren’t being brought into the Temple storehouse (Heb.owtsar),
which simply means a granary to store food, not a bank for hippie bread! What did
God demand as tithes?
If it was grown BY THE LAND or nourished BY THE LAND (grain, fruit, cattle,
sheep, etc.) it was a tithable commodity (Lev.27:30; 32-33). Even under the Law,
money was NOT a tithable commodity! Those who earned their living through

28

banking, midwifery, carpentry, fishing, etc., did not owe any tithes in ancient Israel,
unless they raised crops or livestock on the side!
The farming family would set aside one tithe of their crops to consume at the
three annual feasts in Jerusalem (Deut.14:22-27). Every three years a special tithe
was “laid up within their city gates” to feed poor people (verses 28-29). Whenever
the tithing storehouses were empty, that vital social safety net for hungry poor
people wasn’t available. The poor, as well as the Levites, would have been robbed if
tithing were neglected by those who grew or raised tithable commodities in the Land
of Israel. It was not the weaver or fisherman who was liable for supplying edible
tithes, so God’s rebuke could not have been aimed at everybody in the nation for
failure to tithe!
The priests’ tithe of the tithe (heave offering) was the one addressed by Malachi.
The Tribe of Levi would receive as wages for their service the Levitical tithe, which
constituted ten per cent of all the agricultural produce of Israel (Num.18:21). But
they, in turn, were to present ten per cent of their tithe to the actual priesthood, the
Aaronic sub-clan of the tribe of Levi who outranked all other Levites and actually
served at the altar (Num.18:25-32). It was the LEVITES (sons of Levi), not the
other tribes of Israel, who were being rebuked by God for failure to bring their “tithe
of the tithe” to the storehouse so that the officiating priests in the Temple could eat
and be satisfied.
Neglect of the tithing storehouses resulted in hunger for poor widows, aliens,
orphans and others, including the “hireling”, or wage earner. Wage earners were
poor in those days, and at great risk of going hungry at least part of the time,
because of poor wages, locust plagues, seasonal unemployment, etc. The wage
earner, who once helped eat the tithe, often still lives hand to mouth. Yet the wage
earner is being spiritually blackmailed by religious tyrants to fork over ten per cent of
his paycheck! Aside from the fact that it’s ILLEGAL to mix profitable parts of the Old
Covenant with the New Covenant and to substitute money for farm produce, NOT
ONE Gentile tithe collector today can prove through reliable genealogical records that
he (or she) is descended from Aaron the High Priest and entitled to take tithes from
the people of God! It is an act of gross heresy and robbery to take tithes under the
New Covenant, and anybody who collects tithes today is an imposter! Impersonating
an Old Covenant priest was punishable by DEATH in ancient Israel (Numbers 3:10),
So I say to all those windbags bellowing curses at non-tithers out in the pews: “Put
THAT in your pipe and smoke it!” Where’s the smoking meat on your “altar table”,
the periodic pigeon offerings from the women, the drink offerings, the incense, the
brass laver for washing your feet, etc.? Show me the shewbread you lay out every
Saturday (Sabbath Day)! That’s part of playing priest, not just grabbing the money
and running before people wise up to the truth!
Under the Old Covenant, the Levitical priesthood served as intermediaries
between a Holy God and His people. No ordinary Israelite would have been allowed
to approach things pertaining to the Tabernacle on pain of death (Num.1:51)! Far
from being required to bring money and lay it on the altar, “strangers” (or nonLevitical Israelites) were forbidden direct access into the place of God’s Presence,
and were forbidden to touch any of His holy things. I tremble for modern preachers
who are pretending to be Old Covenant priests qualified to take tithes, when not
even the first apostles dared to do such a thing! Today’s tithe collectors are actually
LYING to God’s people about what He actually commanded in His Word, and living off
the fruits of those lies! Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire before the Lord “which
He commanded not” and were didn’t live long afterward (Num.3:4)!
Today we have hypocritical preachers scaring saints by threatening them with
judgment out of the “inerrant Word of God” for failure to keep THEIR false traditions,

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while they themselves brazenly change the content of the “inerrant Word of God” to
mooch money off it! Which is worse in the sight of God?
Why are preachers content to pose only as “spiritual Levites”? Most members of
the tribe of Levi ranked beneath the priesthood and served them.
In the days of Nehemiah, as always, it was strictly the Levites’ task to bring their
own “tithe of the tithe” into the Temple storehouse (Neh.10:38), although at that
time the other Children of Israel brought edible OFFERINGS there also (verse 39).
One interesting point to ponder is this: The Children of Israel could not have
owed or paid either “firstfruits offerings” or tithes of agricultural produce while they
lived in the Wilderness! They were supernaturally fed manna. The Children of Israel
could not grow crops to collect tithes from until they entered the Promised Land.
Aaron the High Priest did not change God’s rules and decide to substitute silver and
gold for tithes of edible things, like preachers dare to do today. Think about it. In
Exodus Chapter 32 Aaron actually built the Golden Calf for the rebellious Children of
Israel in the Wilderness! It’s a miracle God spared him, considering there was a man
who got killed just for picking up sticks on the Sabbath Day (Num.15:32-36)! As
imperfect as Aaron was, not even he, a LEGITIMATE Old Covenant High Priest, dared
to change the provisions of God’s tithing ordinance, or any other Mosaic law!
Shockingly, those who rob God’s people with bald-faced lies claim to be doing so
under God’s authority!
Enough of this dribble about bringing counterfeit money tithes into the “house of
God” at the corner of Maple and Fifth. We, the blood-bought church of Jesus Christ,
ARE the Temple of God (I Cor.3:16). And, we are the new priesthood of God (I Pet.2:
5,9). We are NOT under the Law of Moses, and we are NOT under the authority of
the old Levitical priesthood, who took tithes only from the produce of the Land of
Israel. God’s rebuke TO THE SONS OF LEVI for failure to bring all the tithes into the
storehouse could not have been directed to the midwives, fishermen, carpenters, and
potters of ancient Israel, and it certainly cannot be aimed at us, at least by God!

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Avoiding a Deadly Cocktail of Curses
Proverbs 22:16, Malachi 3:9 and Galatians 3:10
RUSH your best gift in to our ministry RIGHT NOW! Sign your name to this red
prayer rag! Sleep over it just ONE night and don’t forget to wrap it around the
BIGGEST bill in your wallet! God gave HIS best for YOU, so you should do the same
for Him! Old Scratch is absolutely TERRIFIED about what you’re about to do! Make
giving fun and he’ll tuck tail and run! This is YOUR month of Jubilee Release! Seven,
I said SEVEN major BREAKTHROUGH WITH GOD MIRACLES are about to transform
your life forever! So act NOW! There might NEVER be another opportunity for you to
work God’s Golden Blessing Keys to unlock His mighty power! The bigger the
sacrifice the bigger the blessing!
Month after month such propaganda would arrive in my mailbox. I was
desperate enough to “prove God”, even when I only had pennies in my purse. I
disregarded the voice of caution inside me as being a mere temptation to “be
selfish”. Funny how years of listening to “new revelations” in church, over the radio,
and at religious crusades can warp your understanding of how God operates and
what you need to do to persuade Him to move in power on your behalf.
I inhaled that twisted teaching like a vacuum cleaner . I turned a blind eye to
any evidence that God’s “anointed servants” were living like kings off the backs of
poor working people. After all, I really didn’t expect Brother Wonderworker to appear
on TV dressed in a torn T-shirt and faded jeans. They had to keep up appearances
“for the glory of God”, but I eventually came to the conclusion that no preacher’s
poodle needs its own air-conditioned condominium!
I needed desperately to believe in something. I had a Hero in heaven, Jesus, but
like many other people, I thought I needed a (visible) hero on earth too. In those
days, I really didn’t have much of an awareness that we are ALL on an equal footing
in the sight of God, where it concerned the priesthood of all believers. God is not
nearly so impressed with wealth and fame (or lack of it) as people are. Every one of
His beloved children who earnestly seeks Him with a pure heart gets a royal welcome
before His Throne of Grace. God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34-35).
Things only got worse in those days when I got regular mail-outs from famous
preachers. I was bowled over by the slick brochures, “personalized letters”, and tiny
vials of “miracle oil” that would arrive several times a month. Surely my miracle
would come if only I would follow “God’s” instructions and send in the preacher’s red
hankie wrapped around my last dollar. Most of the time all I could offer was prayer.
Somewhat uneasily I conceded that God just might be doing “something new” in the
church world, by teaching His kids the Golden Principles of Prosperity. God was
depicted as Someone Who was powerless to help you unless you first “sowed a
sacrificial seed” into His Kingdom. You had to give (and give big!) to get your needs
met by God. Even if your favorite televangelist ate the finest food and wore the
fanciest clothes, he (or she) was still “God’s anointed” and “giving” only got rewarded
by God if it was done to the likes of them. Giving to gimmicky preachers is done
merely for the sake of “putting your faith in action”, not because the preacher is
going hungry and needs food, as happened to the Apostle Paul (I Cor.9:4; 2
Cor.11:27). Sacrifice was encouraged to be done just for the sake of sacrifice,
although such a thing never was taught by Jesus or any of His apostles. What greedy
televangelists are really saying is this: God demands continual “give-till-it-hurts”
sacrifice. Preachers make you think that while Jesus’ one-time sacrifice on Calvary
was sufficient to get us saved to heaven, it isn’t enough to save us from satan’s
attacks on earth!
Whenever people were asked to give in the New Testament, it was only to meet
REAL needs, not to “test” God to see if He would outgive your gift to the preacher a

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hundred fold! Jesus plainly says in Matt.4:7: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
“Tempt” as used in this verse comes from the Greek word “ekpeirazo” which means
to test thoroughly. Preachers appeal to Malachi 3:10 where God tells the sons of
Jacob (see verse 6), not the Church, to bring in the tithe and to prove Him to see
whether He would open the windows of heaven and pour them out a blessing. God
does not say: Bring ye all the money into the church offering plates that there may
be new carpeting in the vestibule, etc.
Jesus plainly said “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (put Him to the test).
Whenever two scriptures seem to conflict, we must remember that Jesus is Lord of
the Church. The conflict is resolved because tithing never was on money, tithing was
never done on the wages of laborers, the tithing law was for Israel only, and tithing
was nailed to the Cross of Christ along with all other temporary Mosaic ordinances
(Col.2:14). Preachers who tell people to give their rent money “by faith” to “prove
God” are tempting them to sin by breaking Jesus’ own commandment not to put God
to the test.
I read that fishers for funds are getting so desperate these days that they even
coax Christians to “empty their bank accounts for the Lord”. Then when the landlord
wants the rent, it’s supposedly the Lord’s fault if He doesn’t provide a quick-fix for
the mess caused by some lying preacher’s sales pitch.
Prosperity theology had never been pushed at the church where I received the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit. But it wasn’t many years after my Baptism that I first
heard of that “Christian” doctrine, in the seventies. When money got tight at our
house I decided to “prove God”. At every opportunity I sent in bits of money to this
preacher or that preacher. I held a huge yard sale to raise money for my favorite
missionary work. As people bought my discarded items I literally tingled with
excitement, doing the math in my head: 100 X 100 equals 10,000 smackeroos!
Once we got our hundred-fold return, our troubles would be over! Our home got
burgled shortly afterward, and other troubles hit us. When he was in L.A., my
husband got robbed by an armed street thug, who took what little he had. Preachers
say that if only you’ll sow more seed (give money to THEM), God will make you the
head and not the tail, above and not beneath. If that were true, then why isn’t the
average church parking lot filled with Rolls Royces? Many years ago we rented a
spare room to a Christian, to help make ends meet. This guy served in his (nonCharismatic) church’s music ministry and tithed faithfully. He was there every time
the church doors opened. The church he attended was one of the richest in L.A. He
subsisted on a diet of dried soup mix and rode a bike to work. He declined our offer
of a square meal, saying his “simple sustenance” was good enough for him. This
young man saw nothing wrong with tithing to a pastor who dressed in fancy suits
and enjoyed the “finer” things in life. Preachers count on poor parishioners to:
a. Be content with a bare-bones lifestyle so they can donate more, or:
b. Even if parishioners aren’t content to live on soup mix and drive an old bike to
work, they’ll go on sowing “seed” in hopes of a BREAKTHROUGH MIRACLE
(which ends up breaking their heart and shattering their faith when
disillusionment sets in).
If “planting a seed” makes you rich, those windy preachers must have meant
“rich in trouble”! In those dark days of my ignorance I clung to everything the
“prosperity preachers” taught. I loved those exciting preachers so much I “vowed”
to God that if He rewarded my “seeds” with a huge harvest, I’d give a big hunk of my
hundred-fold harvest to that smiley preacher who taught me the Seven Keys to
Success. But instead of hitting the jackpot, some terrible trials came our way. I felt

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mighty low at times and had to war against a spirit of shame and humiliation sent
against me by satan.
What a blow to my misdirected faith! It’s a miracle I survived spiritually in those
days when I took my focus off the real Jesus of the Bible and got blown off course in
my Christian life. When I was deceived by spiritual quacks only the devil prospered.
Day after day I wondered: “When is my 100-fold reward EVER going to materialize?
Are those rich TV preachers really more precious to God than us poor peasants?”
How can you locate the light at the end of the tunnel when it’s a struggle even to
keep the lights on?
But whenever I’d tune in to my favorite TV preachers, they looked like they were
in a carefree paradise! Those pretty preachers lived in a wonderland of piped-in
praise music, golden furniture and flower gardens. Their clothes sparkled with
perpetual newness. They had diamonds and delight.
Most people I knew
experienced only drudgery and dread of incoming bills.
It seemed like TV preachers were forever traveling to exciting destinations.
Always first class, of course! Their lives were one long jubilee. THEY didn’t have to
drag their bodies out of bed every morning to go to some dreary, dead-end job to
scratch out an existence. They were living life to the fullest because their pockets
were always full. All they had to do was turn on the tears and show pictures of
hungry kids. After a long, drawn-out song from one of their happy-clappy acts, there
would be a whoop of excitement as the latest tote board figure was read out:
“Hallelujah! We’ve reached Five Million Dollars for our BEG-A-THON!”
When the carrot approach no longer works, there’s always the stick. Preachers
hold the curse of Malachi 3:9 over the heads of people who refuse to tithe money,
which is never commanded in Scripture to be paid as a tithe. Preachers add a soft
touch by reminding folks that God will rebuke the devourer if they tithe on wages.
Why is it, then, that some who tithe very generously to preachers and faithfully
follow the ABC’s of faith are the ones who can’t pay the light bill or have to put an
item back at the supermarket checkout? The more I gave to preachers, the tighter
things got for us. After I stopped giving to gimmicky preachers I began to see more
needs met in my life and more answered prayer, believe it or not!
Any principle of righteousness which applies to one believer usually applies to all
in the New Testament. Tithing is treated as an essential to the Christian faith, a
prerequisite for gaining and keeping God’s favor. Tithing is put on an equal footing
with practices expected of all Christians, such as faith, prayer, walking in love, etc.
But Paul never taught unpaid housewives or slaves how to tithe. How could a poor
slave getting zilch on his paycheck every payday tithe to God from it, so as to merit
His favor thereby? Paul didn’t even teach Lydia the rich businesswoman how to tithe
off the profits of her purple cloth! If tithing is so all-fired important, then where are
the scriptures which teach converted heathens how to do it properly? It is forbidden
by God to add commandments to His written Word (Deut.4:2).
Tithing on cash
wages was NEVER commanded in either testament and educated preachers know it!
Yet Malachi 3:8-11 is yanked out of context and incorrectly applied to the modern
church. In this passage God says that SOMEBODY robbed Him of SOMETHING which
was due Him in tithes and offerings, and so they were “cursed with a curse”. But if
they brought those tithes in, the windows of heaven would be opened. Malachi is
misapplied to Christian believers today to penetrate their pockets. Period.
Preachers lead their flock to think that God is addressing New Covenant believers
in Malachi. WRONG! Start reading Malachi from the very beginning (very few
preachers ever start their tithing pitch from Malachi Chapter One).
Mal.1:1: The burden of the word of the LORD TO ISRAEL by Malachi.* * *Failure to
distinguish between Israel as a nation and Jesus’ mostly Gentile church causes much
misunderstanding of Scripture. Applying the tithing message of Malachi to the Church

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is just like somebody taking medication prescribed for somebody else. Tithing was
for Malachi’s time, and God writing out a prescription to spiritually sick Levites: Be
faithful to bring in their “tithe of the tithe” OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE ONLY to the
Temple storehouse to feed priests who were working their courses of duty there.
Faithfulness to tithing (and other Mosaic ordinances) was prescribed for those under
the Law, as was circumcision, animal sacrifice, phylacteries, sidelocks, dietary laws,
etc. Those things are NOT prescribed for us, and do us harm by bringing us back
under the Law. Taking medicine prescribed for somebody else could kill you
physically. Taking the wrong spiritual medicine can kill you spiritually!
Other verses in Malachi clarify just who this book is directed to:
Mal.2:1: AND NOW, O YE PRIESTS, THIS COMMANDMENT IS FOR YOU.* * *God is
here addressing the priesthood, not congregational worshippers, and certainly not
Gentile converts to Christianity!
Malachi 3:3: And he (God) shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall
purify THE SONS OF LEVI, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer
unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.* * *Under the Old Covenant, ordinary
Israelites (and certainly not Gentiles) had no right to directly approach the altar of
God to offer any sacrifice. In this chapter, God is dealing with the sins of THE SONS
OF LEVI, not the sins of the Eskimos, the Apache Indians and the Greeks!
Two verses later God says: And I will come near to you (sons of Levi) to
judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the
adulterers, and against false swearers, and AGAINST THOSE THAT OPPRESS THE
HIRELING IN HIS WAGES, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the
stranger from his right.* * * * WHICH right? The right to eat tithed food out of the
tithing storehouses in time of need (see Deut.14:28-29) * * * *and fear not me,
saith the LORD of Hosts. * * * Whoever God is addressing in this passage was
defrauding not only God, but the “hireling” (wage earner). Now if God is rebuking
the wage earner for non-tithing of money, that just doesn’t make sense, especially
since tithe teachers can’t produce even ONE solitary scripture out of the whole Bible
to prove that God commands money to be paid to any religious institution as tithes!
Contrary to what preachers say, not every verse in the Bible is addressed by God
to us today! Example: the entire Book of Obadiah is a pronouncement of divine
judgment aimed solely at the wicked nation of Edom, which persecuted Israel and
earned God’s everlasting enmity.
Obadiah 1: The vision of Obadiah: Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; We
have heard a rumour from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen,
Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.
Throughout this very short (1 chapter) book, God rebukes the Edomites for sins
their ancestors committed against the Israelites. The Edomites mocked the Jews
when Judah got invaded by Babylon. The Edomites prevented the Jews from
escaping their captors when they were being led away to Babylon (Obad. 14). A
terrible outpouring of judgment was coming upon Mt. Seir, home of the Edomites.
Obadiah 18: And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them;
and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau: for the LORD hath spoken
it.
It makes just about as much sense to apply this particular curse to the Church as
it does to apply the curse of Malachi 3:9 to modern believers living under grace!
Simply because God is not addressing the Church in Malachi, any more than he is

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addressing the Church in Obadiah. I don’t remember hearing many sermons
preached on Obadiah. I guess there’s no money to be squeezed out of Obadiah.
Every time God shifts His focus from one person or group to another when He
dishes out rebukes, He makes it clear that He is doing so! In Ezekiel 28:11 God
instructs Ezekiel to “take up a lament” against the king of Tyrus (which many
scholars believe to be a symbolic name for satan). God’s proclamation of judgment
against the king of Tyrus continues through verse 19. The next subject of rebuke is
named by God in verse 20 as Zidon, which had been an adversary to Israel. Zidon is
rebuked and threatened with bloody judgment until verse 25, when God declares
that Israel shall be brought back from captivity and dwell safely in her own land. All
of Ezekiel Chapter 29 and part of Chapter 30 is devoted to proclaiming judgment
against Egypt. One particular individual is targeted by God for judgment in Ezekiel
30: 20: Pharaoh. God’s lamentation against Pharaoh continues well into Chapter 32.
Pharaoh is chewed out by God for His sinful pride and told he will descend into the
nether parts of the earth with other foes of God (Ezek.31:18). In Chapter 32:17-32
specific nations are mentioned as being headed for hell, among them Egypt, Asshur,
Elam, Meshech, Tubal, Edom, and the Zidonians. Thank God, people of ALL nations
of our time are eligible for salvation through Christ, but those who oppressed Israel
and died unrepentant died without hope.
In Malachi 3:3 God speaks of His need to purify THE SONS OF LEVI to make them
fit to offer up animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant There is no transitional
phrase between Mal.3:3 and 3:5 to indicate that God has suddenly shifted His focus
from rebuking the priesthood of ancient Israel to rebuking the wage earner of the
Church Age! God isn’t even rebuking the poor laborers of ancient Israel, who never
were required by God to pay tithes on their daily wages! Whoever is being rebuked
by God in Malachi 3:5 is guilty of oppressing the hireling, as well as poor widows,
strangers and orphans! If this passage is proof that street sweepers and chicken
pluckers must tithe on their wages, then why on earth would God rebuke the hireling
(wage earner) for oppressing the hireling? Simple logic tells you this passage can’t
be for Joe Blow Burger Flipper!
Malachi 3:6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye SONS OF JACOB are
not consumed.* * *Are WE literal sons of Jacob? I doubt that most of us are. Again,
there is no transitional phrase between Mal.3:6 and Mal.3:8 to indicate that God is
shifting the focus of His rebuke from the sons of Jacob to include the children of
other nations. As much as preachers love to pound people over the head with the
Curse of Malachi to increase their offerings, they are doing it without God’s
authorization! The curse of Malachi is no more applicable to the Church than the
ancient curse over the nation of Edom!
Christ REDEEMED us from the curse of the Law (Gal.3:13). If there’s any curse
still associated with it, it must be for those who use it to dig into people’s pockets.
Speaking of curse, the Apostle Paul says:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that
which we have delivered unto you, let him be accursed (Gal.1:8.)
VERSE 9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel
unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
1. Paul himself plainly stated in Acts 20:27: For I have not shunned to declare
unto you all the counsel of God.* * *If today’s “seed faith” doctrine and
monetary tithing was taught and enforced by Paul, then let both these
practices continue, with God’s blessing. But if Paul did not teach them, then
they are doctrines of devils which are part of “another gospel” OF MEN. Some
religious groups reject the truth that only the written Word of God has

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authority for formulating church doctrine. Instead, they believe in “continuing
revelation”, where God’s way of salvation and way of living the Christian life
are continually adapting to conform to changing cultural norms. Just like
tithing was introduced as to the institutional church in the 500’s A.D., today’s
Name-it-and-Claim-it doctrine is being promoted as “something new God is
doing”. But the fact Paul didn’t teach this dodgy doctrine makes it a false
doctrine and “another gospel”. The Curse of Malachi, along with every other
curse of the Law, was nailed to the Cross of Christ, along with those ancient
ordinances which could only serve to accuse us before God (Col.2:14). Those
who resurrect the Curse of Malachi to make money from it are like a graverobber who digs up a mummy in an ancient tomb, hoping to reactivate some
ancient virus to use as a weapon. In profiteering off Old Testament curses for
gain, unscrupulous preachers place themselves in danger of the curse
pronounced by Paul.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND THEM
Preachers love to enslave “pew Christians” to Old Covenant laws for gain. But there
is a profound difference between believers’ status under the Old Covenant and under
the New Covenant. For example:
1.

Old Covenant priesthood: Reserved exclusively for the sons of Aaron
(Ex.28:1). Anyone else who dared approach the altar as a priest was
sentenced to death (Num.3:10).
New Covenant priesthood: ALL believers in Christ are priests (I Pet.2:5,9;
Rev.5:10

2.

Before the Cross, believers (and Jesus Himself) lived under the Law (Gal.4:4).
After the Cross, New Covenant of Grace began. We are not under the Law,
but under grace (Rom.6:14; Gal.5:18).

3.

Before the Cross, God’s people were counted as His servants (slaves) in
Leviticus 25:42. They served under the Law with an attitude of fear instead
of freedom. In Galatians 5:21-31 Paul contrasts the status of Hagar the
Egyptian bondwoman with that of Sarah, the freewoman. Under the Law, the
Israelites’ salvation depended upon doing the best they could to keep the Law
of Moses and offer up animal sacrifices for sin. They lived under the shadow
of a curse should they fail to faithfully observe God’s laws (Deut.28:15-68;
Gal.3:10).
Since the Cross, believers are free from the Law and its curse, because the
penalty of broken Law has been paid by Christ, Who became a curse for us
and was nailed to the tree (Gal.3:13). We are dead to the Law and alive to
Christ (Rom.7:4-6). We are not slaves, but sons (Gal.3:5-7). God is angry
with preachers who abuse His Word to try to bring His sons and daughters
back under religious bondages.

4.

Before the Cross, many sacrifices had to be offered to make atonement for sin
(Ex.29:10-18; Lev.16:11-28). The Temple Tax was required of all Jewish
males from 20 on up (Ex.30:11-16; Matt.17:24-27).
Since the Cross, Jesus’ ONE sacrifice has ended the need for further sacrifices
(Heb.10:12). In Matt.17:25:27 Jesus paid the Temple Tax required under the
Law, but said, “The children are free”, meaning that the children of kings are
free of having to pay taxes to their own father. God does not tax His own

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children. Preachers who threaten naïve Christians with hellfire or curses for
not paying sufficient “sacrifices” to religious leaders are risking the wrath of
God themselves for being a stumblingblock to new believers still unskilled in
rightly dividing the Word of God (see Luke 17:1-2).
5.

Before the Cross, God’s House on earth was a manmade Temple (I Kings 9:3;
2 Chron.2:4-6).
Since the Cross, the Temple of God is comprised of all true believers in Christ
(I Cor.3:16; 2 Cor.6:16). We are brought near to God through the precious
blood of Christ (Heb.4:16; 10:19). We are actually made one spirit with
Christ (I Cor.6:17). So when preachers threaten you for non-payment of
tithes and offerings, they are actually threatening Christ Himself (see also
Matt.25:40). There is no further need to bring tithes to a literal building to
support a discontinued Levitical priesthood. Tithes NEVER were supposed to
be garnished from the paychecks of laborers, only taken from the produce of
the Land of Israel. Mandatory tithing was for Israel only (Lev.27:30-34).

In order to remain free of those old curses, you must walk in the Spirit and “be not
entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal.5:1). If you allow some preacher to
bring you back under bondage to tithing or any other Old Testament practice to gain
merit with God, you automatically get a curse for yourself instead. If you put yourself
under any part of the Law of Moses you make yourself a debtor to keep it ALL
(Gal.5:3). And you’ll fall back under the curse of that Law (Gal.3:10). I fell for that
prosperity garbage, and got trouble for it instead of blessing. God can bless a spirit
of liberality in giving when it is done out of love toward Him. But He cannot violate
His own Word by blessing those who give out of compulsion for the wrong reasons,
even if they do so because some fancy preacher misled them. A grave danger lies in
doing anything, even the right thing, with the wrong attitude. If someone THINKS
non-tithing is a sin and doesn’t do it just to “dare” God to bring the curse of Malachi
as punishment, that Christian will probably be punished by God for bad attitude and
sinning against a weak conscience, as in I Cor.8:7; (see also Romans chapter 14).
But if “tithes” are withheld because a Christian is true to the Word of God and gives
only when the Spirit leads him, then that is pleasing in God’s sight. Money and lust
for it has ruined many lives and sent many souls down the road to perdition (I
Tim.6:10). Preachers who deliberately teach lies by twisting the Word of God and
adding “laws” that aren’t in it defile the consciences of their listeners and bear a
great burden of guilt before Almighty God!
Don’t be quick to buy some “exciting new revelation” just because it’s presented
by a pretty preacher dancing around with lots of flashing lights and lively music.
People tend to judge by what their eyes see (I Sam.16:7). A powerfully built,
handsome, finely dressed preacher behind a pulpit with a long string of degrees is
automatically assumed to have your best interest at heart. Be very careful not to
judge a preacher’s character by his pearly white teeth.
2 Cor.11:13: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves
into the apostles of Christ;
VERSE 14: And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
VERSE 15: Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the
ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
I have NEVER heard a sermon preached on this verse:

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Proverbs 22:16: He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that
giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want (extreme poverty).
Remember that verse next time some preacher declares that “God is doing a new
thing in the earth, and so long as you open your wallet wide you’ll be on the
receiving end of His richest blessings. But that’s a big fat lie. Give to that slick
operator with the fleet of fine cars and oceanfront mansion, and you’ll bring yourself
under the curse of Proverbs 22:16.
Don’t ever fall into the trap of “planting a seed” to make God love you more, or
you’ll run the risk of losing your own salvation, because it is then you’re mingling
works with God’s Gospel of Grace and falling away from sole dependency on Christ’s
finished work on the Cross.
Galatians 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified
(made righteous with God) through the Law; ye are fallen from grace.* * *There was
a long dry spell in my life where I felt like I just went through the motions of being a
Christian. Though I was still able to pray in tongues, all the joy and confidence in
believing in God’s love toward me had dimmed. Now I understand why. For such a
long time I “put confidence in the flesh” (see Phil.3:3) by hero-worshipping flashy
preachers behind a pulpit. Now I fellowship with Jesus with no pulpit standing
between us. I have regained that wonderful status of freedom I had when I was
freshly Spirit-filled because I’ve finally thrown out all that old garbage I swallowed
years ago and dug into the Word for myself.
Now that I’ve broken free of legalism and all its fears I never intend to go back.

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Prophetic Message
No Longer Under Tribute
Matt. 17:24-27; Gal. 4:1-7; I Cor. 6:17; I Pet. 2:9; Heb. 3:1; 4:14-16
Some of you have been alienated from Me by wrong applications of selected
Scriptures such as: ‘You shall not appear before the Lord they God empty’ (Deut.
16:16-17). You might recall an imperious figure in a pulpit, impeccably dressed,
eager to finish the offertory prayer just so he could reap the harvest of his favorite
lucrative Scriptures. Ones addressed specifically to Old Testament worshippers
under the Law of Moses.
O My beloved child, don’t you realize you are always before Me? My Spirit
indwells you and your very body IS My Temple. You don’t have to show up at some
brick-and-mortar building to appear before Me in prayer. The Body of Christ, the
Church, is composed of living stones and I dwell within each one of you, and I
manifest My glory in the midst of you.
When you were born again under the New Covenant of Grace, you became My
dear children, not My servants only.
If money-hungry pastors are so eager to dig
gold nuggets out of My Word, why do they gloss over those parts of their pet
Scripture passages which don’t serve their own ends? Compulsory monetary
contributions to the Temple were called ‘tribute’ (Deut. 16:10), and were required of
males only, and only three times a year, during the three major holy feasts of Israel
(Deut. 16:16-17).
If opportunistic preachers really wanted to apply Old Testament guidelines for
giving, they would exempt women from compulsory offerings altogether, and collect
them from the men only during the the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of
Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. And they would offer up burnt animal sacrifices
in the church building on the same occasions.
They couldn’t do this anyway. Why? I no longer reside in a Temple of Stone.
Modern-day pastors are NOT the equivalent of the High Priest who presided over the
ancient Temple, whose upkeep was paid for with tribute money. My Son is High
Priest over My entire Church and He presides over a Temple of Living Stones. My
corporate body of believers world-wide comprises the Church of the Living God,
though there are local manifestations of it. All true believers comprise My modern
Priesthood. You are made one Spirit with Me by faith. So how can you possibly
consider yourself “the laity”, who “come to church” just to bring in tribute to fatten
the lifestyle of more exalted Christians?
Scripture has been used as a weapon to fire condemnation at those out of work,
on tight pensions or underpaid. If you were more industrious and disciplined, some
pastors say, you would never have to appear before the Lord empty.

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How much money did the dying Thief on the Cross have to put in the offering
plate before I forgave him? Is there money in heaven? I think not. My own Son,
Who is God Incarnate, had to take His own Temple tax contribution from the mouth
of a fish.
When you reproach the penniless you insult Me also. When you say they have no
right to come to your church you also shut Me out.

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Pleading for Pigeons
Just imagine what church life might be like if even one legalistic preacher got bored
with preaching about tithing. There are still hundreds of other Old Testament rites
that could be distorted beyond recognition in order to apply them to modern church
life. Brother Broadman gets a kick out of controlling people, and that is what keeps
him going. He has set a challenge for himself: See if there are OTHER ways to
control people besides ransacking their wallets.
On Sunday morning Brother Broadman mounted his big pulpit, dressed in a
strange headdress and a fringed blue robe with tiny bells and fruit charms dangling
from the hem. Brother Broadman announced, to a chorus of hallelujahs: “From now
on, there will be no more sermons on tithing. Last Saturday night I won the fiftymillion-dollar Lotto jackpot, and that’s good enough for me. But there WILL be other
changes here as well. From now on, I preside at the altar as your priest, so I’m
dressed for the part, according to Exodus Chapter 28. Don’t look at me like that,
folks. Some of you are telling me we’re free from the Law of Moses. That’s right, but
there are still eternal PRINCIPLES which must be observed in the Word of God.
Tithing predated the Law, at least it did for Abraham when he tithed on plunder
stolen from Sodom. And other practices predate the Law as well, so they must still
be valid today. One by one we’ll introduce them to our weekly worship. One ritual
practiced before the Law of Moses is animal sacrifice. If you truly love the Lord you
won’t believe in a cost-free Christianity. We’ll take this step by step. It was enough
of a shock for you to see me dressed like this today.
“But next week, I’ll start burning sacrifices on the church altar. But it’s up to
YOU to bring ‘em in, especially if you sin in some way. Ben, I know you’re always
asking God’s forgiveness for cussing. Sister Sharon, you’re always praying for God
to forgive you for getting drunk. So next week, I expect both you and Brother Ben
to bring in a calf to barbeque on our altar. If you guys are too poor to pop for a
whole calf, then two pigeons apiece will do.”
“But Brother Ben!” Sister Amanda objected. “We thought JESUS was the only
Sacrifice we need!”
“Maybe so, sister, but it’s also important to submit to authority. Remember,
rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. You people are lucky you won’t have to tithe
anymore! You couldn’t say that about any other faith church in the vicinity. Our
needs are simple. Just look at me. I’m the picture of prosperity. I’ve already spent
half my winnings and I’ve invested the rest on Wall Street. I picked some winning
stocks and before the year is out I should be a billionaire! I’ve learned to be content
with what I have. I’ve got all the good food a man could want, three homes, my own
personal jet, the world’s biggest collection of Rolexes, the best cars, a real swimming
pool, and the most respected family in Happytown. The elder and music director are
my sons, and they are also shining examples of Biblical prosperity. The ministry of
this church lacks for nothing, so there’s no need for me to ever teach tithing again.
But we would be cheating you people of the chance to learn about giving if we didn’t
put SOME restrictions on your Christian liberty. Now, if any of you guys don’t like it,
that door swings both ways. After I comment on some Old Testament scriptures,
we’ll top off today’s service with a few candlelit Gregorian chants and close the
service with the benediction.”
*****
Sharon wandered through the park with her butterfly net, looking nervously around
hoping no one was watching, or people might think she was nuts. Aha! Two pigeons

41

were contentedly feeding beside a trash can. As stealthily as a cat Sharon crept up
over them, net poised for action. But before she could swoop down on the pigeons….
“Hey!” a rough voice called. “What’re you doing?”
The birds flew away, frightened. Sharon looked up at a great big cop. “Don’t you
know pigeon poaching is against the law in Happytown?” he frowned.
“But…I…needed them,” Sharon faltered.
“Why?”
“To take to church?” she squeaked.
The policeman laughed. “Well, now I’ve heard everything! Praying pigeons! Are
you guys so hard up for recruits that pigeons have to populate your pews? That’s
crazy!”
The cop let Sharon off with a warning. But she and Ben had to show up at
church empty-handed. Ben’s backyard pigeon trap hadn’t worked.
Sweet incense wafted over the congregation from two burners by the baptistery.
A rectangular barbecue grill was set upon the altar table, coals glowing and ready for
something to cook on it. Brother Broadman asked if anybody had committed any sins
during the past week. Only Ben and Sharon confessed any. Ben had cussed at his
cat and Sharon had gotten plastered on Thursday night after an argument with her
in-laws.
“C’mon now!” Brother Broadman scolded. “Don’t tell me only Sharon and Ben
sinned this past week! What about you, Sister Helga?” he asked an elderly lady.
“Didn’t you do anything bad?”
“Well….I DID say ‘Oh, shoot!’ after I burnt my finger on the toaster,” she
admitted. “Does that count as a sin?”
Brother Broadman frowned. “Technically no, give or take a vowel or two, but it’s
better to be safe than sorry. Now, where’s everybody’s pigeon offerings, or lambs, if
you could cough up the cash for them?”
“Well?” Brother Broadman persisted. “Ben, Sharon, I know you two owe me
some meat, so where’s the beef?”
“Ah…I couldn’t afford that calf you wanted, Brother Broadman,” Ben hesitated. “I
know you had your heart set on filling your freezer with veal steaks.”
“Well, what about you, Sharon? Getting soused doesn’t come cheap in MY
church.”
“I’m out of a job, Brother Broadman,” she faltered.
“Well, where’s my pigeons, then!” he barked. “Unless you two were too stingy to
go to a pet store and buy me some!”
“I don’t think they sell pigeons at the pet store, Brother Broadman,” Ben said,
ducking down in his pew. “Honest, I TRIED to bring pigeons this week, but my
stupid cat wasn’t able to catch any for me, and my pigeon trap didn’t work.”
“And a cop almost arrested me for pigeon poaching in the park,” Sharon added.
“Excuses, excuses!” Brother Broadman bellowed. “All of you are lying to me
about whether you’ve sinned or not, too! There’s no human being alive who doesn’t
at least have a dirty thought at some time during the week! You were supposed to
bring in a beast or two to make amends for your misdemeanors. Ye are cursed with
a curse! The Bible plainly says that if you do the deed, you deliver the meat! Well,
next week, we’re gonna take you guys down the road of spiritual responsibility a
little further. This church is your spiritual boot camp. The wife and I want to head off
to Hawaii for a vacation to celebrate our big windfall, but first we want to ground you
guys in some of the oldest principles in the Bible. This I am determined to do over
the next few weeks. Even if it kills me I’m gonna instill some discipline in your souls!
Next week everybody bring something to barbecue, and that’s an order!”
The following week, the church was filled with squawking pigeons, easily caught
by the congregation because the police department happened to be on strike. One

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man brought in the coveted calf. The deacon took the animals to the back and
butchered them while Brother Broadman preached. “We’ll cook up those critters
when they’re all dressed and ready,” the preacher said.
That week several vegetarians quit, along with a few other squeamish folks who
barfed when they noticed that the “purtenance” or entrails, of the animals were
included in Brother Broadman’s unusual rites. Even a nurse out in the congregation
fainted at the sight of all the blood that was shed!
On succeeding Sundays more pigeons were cooked in church. One day the
roasting was done with the windows closed, since it was a cold day. That set the
smoke alarm off. A whole fleet of fire trucks arrived, sirens blaring. An irate cop
arrived. Brother Broadman got fined for running a smoking barbecue grill in an
enclosed space. “That’s persecution for you,” the preacher grumbled as the
policeman finished writing out his citation and drove away. “So church altar cookouts
are out. Fine and well, we can get around that technicality. Next week I’ll put up a
big open-air tent and we’ll hold our sacrifices underneath that.”
“Hey, Brother Broadman,” Lester Perkins asked. “Can I bring a pile of pork chops
to cook at the next service?”
Brother Broadman scratched his head. He was tired of munching on burnt
pigeons for Sunday dinner. “Well, they ain’t exactly kosher, but this IS 2008. Heck,
times are a’changin’, and we’ve gotta keep in step. So if you sin, bring ‘em in.”
It wasn’t long before teenagers came to Brother Broadman to get their zits
checked to see if they had a serious disease, in observance of Leviticus Chapter 13.
Parents of newborn babies would present a “poor man’s offering” of two pigeons, or
ducks poached from the riverbank. Brother Broadman was developing an even more
liberal interpretation of Old Testament Law by now, and roast duck tasted a lot
better than pigeon.
One week Sally Barton presented a whole ice chest full of quails shot by her
husband. “Sorry, pastor,” she said. “Last Sabbath Day I accidentally flipped my light
switch 27 times, ran my vacuum cleaner, and fixed Roger’s breakfast in the
microwave. I just can’t get it through my thick skull that on the Sabbath Day you’re
not even allowed to button your blouse or brush your hair. Stupid me.”
Brother Broadman grinned. He didn’t need any of the “sacrifices” brought by his
people, but he did get a heady feeling from the power he exerted over his flock.
“You’re forgiven, sister. Man, it’s been a while since I’ve tasted wild quail.”
Every week brought more changes. Brother Broadman thought some of Moses’
laws were a great idea, so he included more of those rites in his services, although
they didn’t predate the Law. When Brother Broadman insisted that all the men let
their beards grow, AND told them they were forbidden to trim the hair on the sides
of their head in keeping with Leviticus 19:27, half of them fled back to the titheenforcing churches. The women were also getting tired of some of the other Old
Testament rules and regulations. Why were they expected to save a “firstfruits” wad
of dough for the preacher every time they baked a pan of biscuits? He looked like he
needed it!
Putting on a brave face, Brother Broadman said at the next service, which had by
now been shifted to Saturday, in keeping with Old Testament Sabbath Law: “We’ve
had to liberalize our interpretation of Sabbath law just a little to make the keeping of
it possible. Unless you stay in bed with the covers pulled over your head, it’s
impossible to get through a whole day without doing some sort of work. You’ve got
to pull on your clothes, open a door, change your baby’s diaper, open the fridge,
drive your car to get way out to this church house, and all sorts of little things like
that. Just so long as you don’t do the laundry, mow the lawn, or cook a complicated
meal, we’ll count you guys as being faithful to keep the Sabbath. Sadly, we’ve lost a
lot of our men because of our new requirement to grow beards and sidelocks. But far

43

from getting discouraged and quitting this experiment in holiness like the devil would
want, next week we’ll be taking our faithfulness to the Law a step further.”
Next Sabbath morning, after a rousing call for sacrificial commitment to the cause,
Brother Broadman announced he was ready to introduce the congregation to yet
another rite which preceded the Law of Moses. And if it was practiced before the Law,
it still must be valid during the Church Age. So he reached under his lectern and
brought out a pair of garden shears. All remaining males of the congregation
stampeded out the front door, screaming that the preacher was out of his mind.
Brother Broadman scratched his head and said, “Now why did those fellows
forsake me? All I was gonna do was teach everybody how to shear a sheep.”
The moral of this story: The Law produces fear, not faith (Rom.8:15; Gal.3:12).

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The Chicken Chest
(spoken to soft organ music)
In church one afternoon
Bud was thinkin' bout the rent and the light bill too
When the preacher said next time
I'm gonna talk about the tithe
Now let's hear no lame excuses
If anybody out there refuses
It's only you that loses
Better put God to the test
Or you'll miss out on His best.
Bud heard his stomach growl
As the preacher preached real loud
If you don't pay a tenth
You're guilty of a big sin
So you'd better come forward and repent.
Bud knew that old preacher well
Remembered how he'd sit a spell
In his boyhood home so long ago
He'd sip iced tea and wouldn't go
Till Ma got busy in the kitchen.
If the preacher smelled fried chicken
He'd shoot the bull and stay
But if it was fried liver day
He'd soon be on his way
To visit rich folks down the road
Who always had a roast
The preacher would go to sit a spell
He'd stay until the dinner bell.
On fried chicken day it was a safe bet
That a long-winded guest they were gonna get
The preacher was always asked to stay
And say grace over the chicken plate
The preacher was asked to pick his piece first
The pieces the grownups left were the worst
The neck, the gizzard, the back and the wings
But Bud was too scared to say anything.
Bud acted polite but inside he fumed
To not get his fair share of the food
Bud fed those chickens every day
Watered them, collected their eggs
As the oldest, Bud caught the birds to kill
Cleaned 'em for Ma 'cause the sight made her ill
But the best Bud could get was a bony back
The wishbone went to the youngest, Jack.
Bud was tired of bein' fed scraps
One day Bud just up and snapped.

45

Poor hungry Bud did something sneaky
During grace when the preacher wasn't peekin'
Bud pinched the chicken breast off the platter
Put it in his pocket to nibble on later
But Old Blue snuck in while heads were still bent
That hound picked Bud's pocket before the "amen"
Pa heard Old Blue a-chewin' some food
Pa opened his eyes from sayin' grace
Guilt was written all over Bud's face
Blue sniffed at Bud's pocket to look for more
Bud's grease stains caused a big uproar
When Pa asked Bud how the hound had been fed
Bud confessed:"I pinched a breast!"
Bud remembered the whuppin' he got
But the preacher watchin' sure hurt a lot
Bud went to bed without any supper
But later Bud got the news from his brother
How the preacher’s plate was piled high to the sky
And how he inhaled one half of the pie.
Funny how the preacher preached on fastin’
Even while his waistline was expandin’
From all those missions of mercy he made
To roast beef, chicken, catfish and cake.
Bud reminisced as he sat in his pew
Hardly hearin' all the gobbledygook
About how blessed it is to tithe
To preachers who live a luxurious life.
Bud recalled how his own life had been a hard ride
A struggle to feed his kids and his wife
How a mean Scrooge landlord had raised his rent
At Christmas time when Bud didn't have a cent
All the pinto beans Bud said grace over
While the preacher got famous and grazed in clover.
Now it was high time Bud got redress
For all those thighs and chicken breasts
Bud stood up straight and raised his voice
Now at last I've got a choice!
Bud said he’d already paid his tithe
The Bible tithe was food and that was why.
Pastor, Bud said, I think Malachi 3:10 spells out
How the Lord wanted food, not money in His House
And there was hardly ever enough food on MY plate
Even though no chicken in our coop felt safe.
You used to be a bachelor preacher
When I was a kid I recall you were meeker

46

All the folks fed you 'cause you couldn't cook
They did it joyfully 'cause you taught the Good Book.
Then you married a rich man's daughter
And you rose up higher on the social ladder
But my wife and I you never did invite
For supper though you kept on takin' our tithes.
As I recall you never invited ma and pa
And their passel of young'uns to break bread with y'all
Dirt farmers in dungarees don't match your décor
You didn't need us or our chicken no more
Just money from the invisible poor.
No, I ain't gonna tithe on my leftover five
I’ll state my case in a way that’s polite
I pinched the wrong part when I was a kid
And pa shore gave me a whuppin’ for it
Now I’ll git my guitar and sing my new hit:
*****
(singing part, growing in intensity toward the end)
When I was a kid you robbed my chicken coop
Now you raid my piggy bank and drive a Lexus coupe
Though you've made your millions you're always wantin' more
Money from the hungry poor.
Jesus always said to take the lowest seat
But you’d always manage to pinch the nicest meat
From my father’s chair you’d say a purty prayer
But I never got my share.
Don't tell me more lies about your preacher tithe
You already got it when you gobbled up my thigh
While I got the back you ate the very best
The crispy juicy chicken chest.

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Cashing in on the Unpardonable Sin
What a convenient crowbar some fishers for funds find in Acts 5:1-11! A warning not
to lie to the Holy Spirit is turned into a tool to extort money out of the flock of God.
Clergymen who resort to this lie are guilty of a worse sin than Ananias and Sapphira
committed. It is a grave sin to hold back part of God’s Truth from the church to
protect your pockets. Many ministers have themselves been wrongly taught, and
have never questioned those who passed on flawed doctrine to them. So ignorance
abounds in the Body of Christ and the Church suffers because of it. God knows that
all His loved ones are still maturing spiritually while present in the mortal body.
Hebrews 5:2 says that Jesus can have compassion on the ignorant, and on those
"who are out of the way", (which covers those imperfect in their doctrine). The
commentary in the margin of my Bible clarifies "can have compassion on the
ignorant" as meaning: "can reasonably bear with". God picks us up when we stumble
and He bears patiently with us because we sincerely love Him and want to serve
Him in purity of heart. But what He cannot bear are those who deliberately hide the
truth to get rich. All sorts of sinners inhabited Jesus’ world of 2000 years ago.
Harlots, thieves, tax collectors, even murderous brigands like Barabbas. But about
the only sinners Jesus ever chewed out in the Gospels were self-righteous Pharisees,
who devoured widows’ houses and turned their converts into twice the son of hell as
themselves (Matt: 23:14-15). The worst of them were guilty of knowingly attributing
Jesus’ miracles to the power of satan (Mark 3:22-30). Insulting the Holy Spirit and
attributing His wonderful works of love to satan constitutes the unpardonable sin, a
sin committed by hostile Pharisees. This sin had nothing at all to do with
withholding monetary tithes! Deceitful preachers KNOW they’re scaring Christians to
enrich themselves. I sure would hate to be in their shoes on the Day of Judgment!
Jesus spends over half of Matthew Chapter 23 giving the Pharisees a verbal
whipping. The guiltiest of these religious experts knew Jesus was the true Son of
God, but they deliberately deceived the people because they would have had too
much earthly honor and wealth to lose by preaching the Truth and allowing the
captives to be set free. So they killed Jesus on a Roman cross to silence Him forever.
Jesus said: And ye shall know the Truth, and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32).
Jesus IS the Truth. Verse 36 says: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall
be free indeed. Jesus IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
Now back to Ananias and Sapphira. Exactly what sin could the couple have
committed that was so bad God would strike them dead for it? Contrary to what the
worst of predatory preachers would have you to believe, their sin had NOTHING to
do with monetary tithing. Their death didn’t even happen as punishment for being
stingy with freewill offerings! Yes, money was involved in their sin, but it was their
OWN money they lied to God about, not money they owed to the church. Actually,
this story begins in the preceding chapter, Acts Chapter 4. Instead of zooming on up
to where Ananias and Sapphira drop dead, as one crafty preacher did in his sermon,
let’s consider each relevant verse to get a feel for the contextual setting in which the
couple’s REAL sin against the Holy Spirit was committed.
Acts 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul:
neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own;
but they had all things common. ***What love, what unity in the Spirit of Christ!
What selflessness! A far cry from selfish televangelists who impoverish others to

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make themselves richer! That’s the kind of church Ananias and Sapphira belonged
to.
VERSE 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the
Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. ***You want to see more power in
your witnessing as a church? Start loving one another in the Love of Christ and
being concerned about one another’s needs. In that way, the world will know that
Jesus still lives, as it sees Christ living in and through you, and God will pour out His
power and Spirit of Grace upon your church as never before.
VERSE 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were
possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that
were sold. ***These church people showed by their actions that they actually
believed their treasures were laid up in heaven, not on earth, contrary to what
prosperity teachers will tell you!
VERSE 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet. And distribution was made to
every man according as he had need. ***Notice, the apostles didn’t grab this loot
and rush off to buy Cadillacs and Rolexes. The proceeds supported the needy in the
church! Today a lot of people are made to feel like leeches when they go to the
church for help to put food on their table. Sick or well, old or young, they’re either
told to go get a job or they don't deserve to eat. And they’re viewed as failures in
the sacrosanct School of Prosperity!
VERSE 36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being
interpreted, The son of consolation, a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus). * * *
We need more "sons of consolation" in the church today, and fewer "sons of
condemnation".
VERSE 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’
feet.
Acts 5:1
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a
possession,
VERSE 2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought
a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
VERSE 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy
Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Now we have reached a key verse skipped over by one unscrupulous minister who
didn’t want a monkey wrench thrown into his doctrine of devils:
VERSE 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine OWN? and after it was sold, was it not
in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? THOU HAST
NOT LIED UNTO MEN, BUT UNTO GOD.***Contrary to what fear peddlers would have
you believe, the apostles DID NOT REQUIRE each church member to sell their land
and give the money to the church, and the word "tithing" occurs nowhere in this
context, and nowhere is it implied. The land was Ananias’ to do with as he pleased.
His sin was in lying to God about what he did with his OWN money, not withholding
tithes and offerings! If Ananias had told the apostles that he was only donating part
of the money to begin with, he would not have been guilty of lying to the Holy Spirit
and he would not have died for giving less than the total price of the land. But
Ananias wanted credit for donating an amount he didn’t give. Plain and simple.
VERSE 5 And Ananias hearing these things fell down, and gave up the ghost: and
great fear came on all them that heard these things.
VERSE 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried
him.

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VERSE 7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing
what was done, came in.
VERSE 8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so
much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
VERSE 9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to TEMPT
THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband
are at the door, and shall carry thee out.***Sapphira was an accomplice to Ananias’
sin. In lying to the Holy Spirit, they tempted (provoked) Him to wrath. Again, no
mention of failure to tithe on his earnings, as greedy preachers twist this text.
VERSE 10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and
the young men came in, and carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
VERSE 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard
these things***Through this sad incident, the early church learned that God must be
held in reverential fear, not for non-tithing, but to avoid sins like lying to Him to
provoke Him!
In that church scenario where believers sold lands and houses and "possessed all
things in common", the needy were so well cared for out of the church fund that not
one among them lacked for the necessities of life. This was a very strong testimony
to the world of the Love of Jesus, much more effective than verbal witnessing only. I
John 3:18 exhorts us to love not just in word, but in deed and in truth. But truth was
absent in Ananias’ life. He and Sapphira were the equivalent of welfare cheats, in
that they wanted to live off the church fund and still hide away a nest egg to save for
a rainy day. That could be why they withheld part of the price of the land. If the
apostles believed Ananias and Sapphira had been left destitute by giving the full
price of the land, they could have taken charity from the church common fund, like
other needy believers. Through their lie, they would have filched limited church
resources from poorer believers. Here were two wayward sheep trying to pull the
wool over God’s eyes, but they didn’t live to brag about it to their grandchildren.
How many "faith" preachers in our day hoard vast riches for themselves while
crying to "seed sowers" on Social Security to send in money or they’ll go bust! How
many preachers have I read about who are filthy rich, owning SEVERAL multi-milliondollar mansions apiece, with swimming pools, tennis courts, and a fleet of fancy cars!
And all the while, they cry crocodile tears on TV pleading for “sweet little grandmas
out there” to give up some of their grocery money! How many of these evil religion
peddlers shamelessly appeal to the story of Elijah being fed by the last of a starving
widow’s flour and oil so they can put more bread in their bank account and fuel their
own lusts! And they teach their followers to grease God's palm with sacrificial
offerings TO THEMSELVES. Only in that way, it is claimed, will God ever relent and
grant desperate people a badly needed miracle! But never any mention that the
liberating truths of the Kingdom are to be FREELY shared, and certainly no mention
of what the Bible REALLY says about the Law of Tithing!
How many "faith" preachers in our day weep and whimper over starving babies
and cry about how many sacrifices they’re making for God, even as they’re dressed
head to toe in designer duds and diamonds? As they pull the wool over the sheep’s
eyes, God is provoked to see these shysters deliberately withhold part of the truth of
His Word from His flock in order to leech off the poor of the church and splash
around in the lap of luxury!
Why is the miracle-working power of God blocked in today’s church? I see some
of the answer in Acts 20:27: For I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the
counsel of God.***If monetary tithing had been in force in the early church Paul
would surely have mentioned it. The other side of the coin is this: If Paul had seen
that church-goers were being pressured to tithe money in some of the churches he

50

oversaw, and he KNEW it was nowhere sanctioned by the Word of God, Paul would
have spoken up and denounced the error publicly. He was an overseer over many
churches (II Cor.11:28). Paul guarded the church against so-called judaizers trying
to sneak legalism into a church called unto liberty. Paul would have chased
unscriptural doctrine out of the church like Jesus chased the money-changers out of
the Temple. If you don't love your flock enough to tell them the whole truth of God's
Word even if it cramps your ritzy lifestyle, you don't deserve to be their shepherd
because you aren't loving them with the unselfish love of Christ!
Monetary tithing was NOT enforced in the Church until the sixth century A.D.,
when it was made church law by the Roman Catholic Church. According to
McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature, two church councils were
held legislating mandatory tithing on money. The first was the Council of Tours in
567 A.D. The second, the Council of Macon in 585 A.D., enjoined the payment of
tithes under pain of excommunication.
Other references to the CATHOLIC origin of church tithing:
"As the Church expanded and various institutions arose, it became necessary to
make laws which would insure the proper and permanent support of the clergy. The
payment of tithes was adopted from the Old Law...The earliest positive legislation on
the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in
567 and the [canons] of the Council of Macon in 585." ---The Catholic Encyclopedia
"No law of tithing is found in the New Testament, although the principle of church
support is laid down in Matt. 10:10 (see also Luke 10:7) and echoed in 1 Corinthians
9:13-14." ---Roman Catholic Encyclopedia
Apart from the fact that we are not under law but grace, tithing on money is
nowhere commanded in Scripture, much less in that scary Ananias and Sapphira
incident. Others will differ with me on this most controversial of topics, and that’s
their right. But whenever a minister harbors secret convictions in his heart that
tithing on money is unscriptural, and makes it a point never to mention the
Scriptures which prove that traditional church teaching on tithing is wrong, he is
committing a grave sin. Especially when he says to his flock: "I have declared unto
you ALL the council of God." Rather than being Fishers of Men, such men are Fisher
for Funds. And what's more it is THEY who stand guilty before God in Ananias and
Sapphira’s shoes, not poor people who withhold "God's" tithe. Deceitful users of the
Word of God heap guilt on God's overburdened people, accusing them of selfishness
even as they withhold vital truth which would set them free from guilt-based giving.
In Acts 20: 29-31 Paul warns his fellow laborers to be vigilant in their watchcare
over the church of God: For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous
wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men
arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch,
and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one day
and night with tears.*** Unlike many today, Paul would never have withheld vital
truth which protects the flock of God from swallowing heresy!
It is only by the mercy of God that religious deceivers who hold back non-lucrative
truth from the body of Christ don’t meet the same fate as Ananias and Sapphira. But
Peter doesn’t hold out much more hope for such deceivers than he did for the couple
who fell dead at his feet for lying to God. This passage could have been written for
our generation:

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II Peter 2:1: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there
shall be false teachers among you, who privily (in a sneaky way) shall bring in
damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon
themselves swift destruction.***I noticed something here. Some might say to those
who preach strongly against sin: You’re not perfect yet, so shut up. Who are YOU to
judge what's right and wrong? But here we have Peter warning of those who would
deny their own Lord. Peter knew he himself had denied the Lord three times, but he
still delivered God’s warnings. If we waited till we were perfect enough to preach
against sin, none of us would qualify to do that till we got to heaven!
VERSE 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways (lascivious ways, as it reads in
the margin); by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. ***What a
convenient excuse fishers-for-funds have provided for sinners to turn away from
hearing the Gospel presented by God’s true servants! The shame of it all! God will
hold deceivers liable for hindering the spread of the Gospel of Salvation. And God
will hold them accountable for every single soul who refused to heed the Savior's
call to repentance because of the example they set in committing religious fraud in
the Name of Christ!
VERSE 3
And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make
merchandise of you: whose judgment of a long time lingereth not, and their
damnation slumbereth not.***This is God’s answer to religious frauds who brag that
they can have their heaven right here on earth with ice cream piled on top, and even
more in the world to come!
Most of those dishonest men of the cloth seem to get away with it in the here and
now, but God’s church has not escaped the consequences. Some churches have
suffered untold loss through being presided over by ministers of deceit out to enrich
themselves. How can God fill a particular church with His glory and power when
devious shenanigans have been going on under cover of darkness to keep the funds
flowing like milk and honey? I knew some preachers who knew their Bible inside out
from cover to cover. They were warm-hearted, kindly men who longed to see more of
the power of God in their churches. They could tell you the exact meaning behind
every Old Testament ritual under the sun, and the spiritual significance of every stick
of Tabernacle furniture. But never once did I ever hear them or any other pulpit
minister preach a truly scriptural sermon on tithing, just that we were to do it. A
proper sermon on tithing would include scriptures such as Deuteronomy 14:22-27.
This passage, as others do, makes it clear that only edible farm produce was ever
subject to the tithing ordinance. And contrary to popular teaching, tithes were (in
part) EATEN by the tithe-payer himself!
The ceremonial ordinances given by Moses have been nailed to the Cross (Col.
2:14). This includes the tithing ordinance, which never was on money to begin with.
And to prove that tithing is an ordinance from Mt. Sinai, you need only look at the
final verses of the book of Leviticus. Leviticus 27:30-33 cover tithing, and that’s the
last ordinance of the Law of Moses mentioned before verse 34, the final verse which
says: These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses FOR THE
CHILDREN OF ISRAEL (not us Gentiles!) in mount Sinai.
Yet ministers of greed will still twist the Word of God to get what they want out of
God’s people. They will refuse to let this dead work of the Law stay where God put
it.
Along with hundreds of other carnal ordinances of the Scroll of the Law, the
tithing law was nailed to the Cross with Christ, but unlike Christ, never was
supposed to be resurrected. But like disobedient religious experts of today do, King
Saul hung onto things God ordered destroyed, as you can read in I Samuel Chapter

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15. Saul excused his disobedience away, saying he could go ahead and spare the
best of the livestock God ordered destroyed so he could offer them up as sacrifices
unto the Lord. Some people would say Saul’s sin was a nitpicking peccadillo and God
shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. After all, Saul's intentions were allegedly good.
But Samuel says in I Samuel 15:22: Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and
to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the
Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.***When wily preachers
deliberately sit on scriptures they know they should be sharing with the people to set
them free, even though it be out of zeal for the offering of the Lord, they put
themselves in the same position as rebellious Saul. The Spirit of the Lord departed
from Saul (I Sam. 16:14). In many churches the poor are shamed instead of loved (I
Cor. 11:22; James 2:6). Between the implicit lies of money-loving ministers and the
lack of love in dead congregations, it’s no wonder such places never witness the
wonderful works of God in their midst. Faith works by love (Gal. 5:6). And no
wonder. For God is Love (I John 4:7-8). When you banish love from your midst, you
also banish God and the mighty workings of His power.
I received a prophetic word from the Lord concerning this terrible problem in
the church:
Making Merchandise of the Unpardonable Sin
Ezekiel 13:22; Acts 20:27-30
Desperate ministers of deceit are like bloodsuckers who try to squeeze the last drop
dry from anemic sheep, the way they change their tactics from bad to worse as they
sense the winds of change in My beleaguered body. In time of abundance fishers for
funds siphon off a little of the extra fat from well-to-do contributors and even urge
poorer saints to be willing to tighten their belts and do without a few luxuries,
supposedly for the sake of the “Kingdom of God.” They would dangle a glittery
prosperity carrot before the bedazzled eyes of My people, promising that they would
be repaid for their generosity on a ratio of a hundred to one. Scriptures would be
jerked out of their context to prove I was the ultimate investment, and “you can’t get
better odds in Vegas.”
What garbagey theology! The promises I made to those who sow seeds into the
Kingdom of God meant that a great harvest of souls would be reaped into My eternal
Kingdom, and the good works of My Spirit of Grace would be spread abroad to bless
many unto a newness of life. As for those who are hardened in heart and love riches
more than Me, their dirty money perish with them! Now that times are harder for so
many, they are switching from the carrot approach to the stick approach, both
diabolical perversions of My Word. Some are filling My children’s hearts with fear
that I will execute them like Ananias and Sapphira if they withhold donations from
their so-called ministries or refuse to tithe on money, which is nowhere commanded
in My Word. Most of those deceivers know that robbing My people of their sustenance
is a doctrine of devils! Saints whom I have chosen to enter into My perfect rest of
peace have been troubled and I shall surely trouble those who sow lies into their
hearts, saith the Lord. Those greedy deceivers who make the heart of the righteous
sad, whom I have not made sad, I shall make sad in return. That is the only return
they will get on their investment of lies. They shall surely have their day in the Court
of Heaven to answer for all they have done to hurt and rob My Body.
Satan instills lying guilt feelings in millions of My children today because they are
unable to give massive amounts of money to religious organizations. Some are told
that it is a sin against the Holy Ghost to be stingy in their contributions and they

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won’t get to heaven unless they open their wallets wide. Unfounded fear of being
guilty of the unpardonable sin has ruined the peace and the health of so many of My
precious children. But the unpardonable sin has nothing to do with money! It is a
sin against the Love of God which is committed by maliciously and deliberately
attributing the wonderful works of My Spirit of Grace to the devil, or speaking
slanderous words against My Holy Spirit, which brings eternal alienation from the
only One Who can perform the marvelous work of redemption down in your inward
parts.
The sin committed by Ananias and Sapphira was to lie to My Holy Spirit, not to
refuse to fork over ten percent of their wages to bogus ministries. If this couple had
admitted to Peter that they lacked the faith to give all the price of the land and so
were only giving part of the money to the church, they would have been spared
judgment because they would not have been lying to the apostles. They were not
even required to sell their land in the first place, for Peter said unto the couple,
“While the land remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was the
money not in thine power?” Ananias and Sapphira had the right to either keep their
land or sell it, and after they sold it they even had the right to keep the money or
just donate part of it. But these deceivers wanted to gain credit for giving a bigger
donation than they actually did, in order to live off the church common fund and hold
something back for a rainy day. But their rainy day came sooner than they
expected, saith the Lord, because you cannot deceive Me. I who weigh the thoughts
and intents of the soul knew those two were conspiring against Me, to rob My people.
So who is robbing My people today; poor saints who withhold part of their
paycheck from greedy ministers of darkness, or learned religious experts who
withhold that part of the Truth of My Word which they find unprofitable, and then
boldly declare unto My Church: “I have faithfully declared unto you ALL the counsel
of God.” Instead, they sell My people a pack of lies.
Most of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who try to scare My people with the story
of Ananias and Sapphira KNOW that the real issue in it was lying to the Holy Spirit,
not non-tithing or refusing to give a required donation. But these same false
ministers know their Bible inside out and yet they sit on truths I would share with My
people which would liberate them from the bondage of fear. These evil men and
women take advantage of My people’s ignorance of scripture to pry “tithes” out of
them, and to maximize their ministry income so they can live luxuriously like the
parasites they are. So who is really guilty, saith the Lord? Those who honestly
cannot afford big contributions and don’t give unless I direct them to, or lying
deceivers who hold back non-lucrative portions of My Word from their flocks? Poor,
destitute saints who hold back part of the amount these mooches want find out in a
hurry that it makes these men mean enough to breathe threats at them from the
pulpit and over the air. They just can’t stand to have their luxurious lifestyle cramped
by the poverty of their listeners. And so these men withhold truths unprofitable to
their banks accounts; scriptural truths of the Gospel of Grace which expose the
darkness and folly of the lies of the Gospel of Greed.
Liberating truths are
suppressed which would profit My Body and set them free from the lies which fill
them with fear.
I will surely go from place to place, saith the Lord, and I shall cut the leeches off
My Body. And I shall surely cut the fetters off My people so they can walk in the
liberty unto which I have called them.

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ADDING TO ACTS CHAPTER 15
In its early infancy, the church of Jesus Christ was mostly a Jewish church, composed
of people who had grown up under the Law of Moses. Even under the New Covenant,
many, if not most of, these Jewish believers continued to observe such Old Covenant
ordinances as circumcision, kosher food regulations, Sabbath restrictions, and many
other laws which had to do with “taste not, touch not, handle not” (Col.2:20-23).
The Laws given to Moses by God were interpreted and re-interpreted by Scribes and
Pharisees until many hard-to-keep customs (commandments of men) were also
imposed upon the faithful. Jesus denounced the doctors of the Law for adding extra
rigid rules to the Word of God:
Luke 11:46: And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! For ye lade men with
burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of
your fingers.
The last section of Acts Chapter 14 speaks of the success enjoyed by Paul and
Barnabas in their missionary journeys through Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch.
Many Gentiles were coming to faith in Christ. But “certain men which came down
from Judea” came on the scene and warned those Gentile converts that they’d better
be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses if they wanted to continue as believers in
Christ. This created such a controversy that Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to
consult with Peter, James and other apostles and elders of the church to settle the
question.
These godly men sought the Lord about this crucial issue, which was very wise,
because imposing upon the Gentile converts the heavy burden of the 613-ordinance
Law of Moses would be no light matter. James himself asks the brethren in Acts
15:10: Now therefore WHY TEMPT (TEST) YE GOD, to put a yoke upon the neck of
the disciples, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear? Legalists who hold
the ignorant and the fearful in bondage to manmade religious rules are testing God’s
patience!
So were the Gentile converts obligated to accept circumcision and submit to the
laws and customs of the Jews? Here is the conclusion reached by this first apostolic
council held at Jerusalem:
Acts 15:24: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have
troubled you with words, SUBVERTING (DESTABILIZING) YOUR SOULS, saying, Ye
must be circumcised, and keep the law: TO WHOM WE GAVE NO SUCH
COMMANDMENT;
VERSE 25: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send
chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul;
VERSE 26: Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
VERSE 27: We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same
things by mouth.
VERSE 28: FOR IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY GHOST, AND TO US, TO LAY UPON
YOU NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE NECESSARY THINGS;
VERSE 29: That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from
things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do
well. Fare ye well.
Notice particularly verses 28 and 29. The Holy Ghost Himself laid upon the new
converts no greater burden than those four necessary things: abstaining from foods
offered to idols, from consumption of blood, from consumption of strangled animals,
and abstaining from fornication. And furthermore, the apostles’ letter declares that if

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a Christian observes just these four requirements, he does well. Nothing is said
about adding such common religious customs as tithing, seasons of fasting, rigid
dress codes, banning beards on men, pulpit paraphernalia, fancy liturgy, restricting
activities on the Sabbath (or any other day),“making vows of faith”, or “sowing a
seed to meet your need.”
Some seem to think that the Holy Ghost forgot to add a few “necessary things” to
the list of four requirements sent by the apostles to the new Gentile converts. This
article will mainly address just two religious practices often added BY MEN to the
requirements of Acts 15 as being an essential part of Christian discipleship. First,
religious fasting.
Remember that the context of Acts Chapter 15 concerns Gentile converts who
had formerly lived a lifestyle which did not include Jewish religious practices. Some
of those Gentiles were probably intellectual types who had been interested in Greek
philosophy but had nothing to do with customs of organized religion. Others, who
had worshipped licentious heathen gods, might not have fasted in service to them at
any time. But the Jews, unlike the pagans, often fasted and prayed in penitence for
their sins and the sins of their forefathers as they awaited their Messianic Deliverer.
Fasting was a deeply entrenched part of their way of life.
Generally speaking, fasting was alien to Greeks and Romans who often reveled at
banquets and lived a more carefree life than the deeply serious Jews. Some Gentiles
of the Greco-Roman world did practice fasting, such as Gnostics and devotees of
other mystery religions. They would fast to detach their souls from the material
dimension and tune in to the world of spirits (demons posing as benevolent spirits).
But many more Gentile converts would never have fasted before, unless illness or
poverty made them miss a few meals. If fasting is God’s requirement, then why
didn’t the Holy Ghost mention this minor point when the apostles gathered in Acts 15
to decide what was required of Gentile converts?
Fasting proponents might argue that even if Paul never commanded fasting to the
church per se, he did say that all believers in Christ are spiritual Jews, So it follows
that God must expect Christians to incorporate into their lives all the religious
devotions practiced by Biblical Jews. But notice what Paul says:
Rom.2:28: For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision,
which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in
the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
In this context Paul is arguing that physical circumcision is not necessary for the
believer in Christ, because God now demands only inward circumcision of the heart.
The outward religious acts performed by Jews under the Old Covenant were only
shadows and types pointing to greater spiritual realities under the New Covenant.
This is borne out by:
Col.2:11: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without
hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ
Instead of cutting a bit of flesh off a man’s body, God wants Christians to put off the
“old man” the corrupt flesh nature inherited from Adam (Eph.4:22). Which begs the
question: Why do most Christians agree that circumcision was made spiritual only (in
putting off the deeds of the flesh, (see Col.2:11), but fasting, a Jewish tradition, still
has to be literally kept? Instead of thinking that going three days without a Kit Kat

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bar will make you holy in the sight of God, why isn’t it enough to abstain from actual
sins which will send your soul to hell (1 Pet.2:11)?
Temperance in all things is important, but the only food restrictions the Holy
Ghost gave to Gentile believers in Acts 15 were to abstain from blood, strangled
animals, and food offered to idols. Some think that this isn’t enough, and more
“discipline” must be added to earn God’s approval. Food has nothing to do with
commending us to God (Rom.14:17; I Cor.8:8). We are at liberty to eat or not to
eat, as we feel led. If you are deeply engaged in prayer, you are under no obligation
to have dinner at your regularly scheduled hour. It might sometimes be necessary
to delay eating until you feel deep in your spirit that you have prevailed in prayer and
the need is met. Or you might skip lunch while you are making an intense effort to
win someone to the Lord. Jesus was so deeply involved in satisfying the spiritual
hunger of the woman at the well that His own physical hunger was temporarily
forgotten (John 4:31-34).
In Jesus’ day the Pharisees, who sat in Moses’ seat of authority (Matt.23:2-3)
imposed fasting on themselves and their disciples twice a week (Luke 18:12). God
did not impose these twice-weekly fasts upon those Pharisees, and their only reward
was to appear more spiritual in the sight of others. But in this Age of Grace there is
no need to imitate the ritual fasting of the Pharisees. Our sins have already been
dealt with at the Cross. Our Deliverer has already come. We do not need to fast in
sorrow over the sins of our ancestors. We are responsible for our own lives and for
the choices we ourselves make. Besides, I know virtually nothing about my
ancestors who lived before my grandparents! All I know is they were mostly ScotchIrish-Pennsylvania Dutch, with a teaspoon of Native American. I know I had
blacksmiths in my family tree. But I don’t have to do research to find out what sins
my forbears committed ten generations back and bewail over them.
All we
Christians need do is remain humble before God, keeping our accounts with Him
clear through repentance when it is needed, and trusting in the Blood of Jesus.
Some object that expecting Jesus to pay for everything without chipping in our
own two cents’ worth of suffering is grossly unfair, and a little immature. This whole
argument is predicated on the silly notion that Christians don’t do enough suffering
to prove they love Jesus. Don’t make me laugh! There’s enough trials, sicknesses,
conflicts, storms, and persecution in the average Christian’s life that he doesn’t need
to impose more suffering on himself to wipe the smile off his face!
There is danger of spiritual pride in religious observances. The woman who fasts
twice a week is tempted to look down on the one who fasts just once a week, etc.
Actually, there is NO command given by the apostles to the church to fast for any
length of time! Even under the Old Covenant, only one ritual fast was commanded
by God: the Day of Atonement (Lev.23:32). Other regular fasts were added BY
COMMANDMENT OF MEN, such as the annual fast held by Jews on the 9 th of Av, to
commemorate a number of national tragedies which have occurred on that day,
among them the destruction of both Jewish temples.
Teaching New Converts? Not So Fast!
Before you take a young convert who is still aglow with the joy of the Lord and teach
him that fasting is essential for his spiritual health, remember this: When the fasting
question was brought up, Jesus immediately linked it with mourning (Matt.9:15). In
the days following His crucifixion his disciples would mourn and fast for sorrow of
heart, but their sorrow would soon be turned to joy (John 16:20).
In Acts 2:42-47 fasting is missing from the list of things routinely done by the
early church. It does say they praised the Lord, fellowshipped, continued in the

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apostles’ doctrine, broke bread from house to house and ate their food with gladness
and singleness (Gr. Phellos, pure benevolence) of heart.
When we lived in Holland I attended a church which occasionally called a church
fast, but otherwise did not overemphasize fasting. This church had one fatal flaw,
though: It taught that you might be saved by grace, but you were kept by works. I
eventually left this church for this very reason. But I will give them credit for one
thing. They kept one custom of the early church: regularly eating meals together as
an act of fellowship. Each Sunday, the congregation would divide into little groups to
meet over at different people’s houses to eat and visit. In that way the FAMILY
feeling of “church” was experienced. In the early church, the entire congregation
probably ate their meals “feasts of charity” (love feasts) together (spoken of in Jude
12). It was at that time they celebrated the Lord’s Supper (I Cor.11:20-22). Why do
I believe this? Because of verses 21-22. People were overdoing the wine and getting
drunk! You can’t get drunk from a thimbleful of wine! And in verses 33-34, Paul
exhorts the ones who come earlier to wait till the others arrive (probably poor
laborers who couldn’t get there early).
There is much more scriptural support for teaching new converts that eating
together as a church is helpful to spiritual growth, than teaching them that frequent
fasting is essential.
What about tithing? Should new converts be taught to tithe? The early church did
NOT practice tithing! If tithing is such an important doctrine, then why is it nowhere
commanded by Peter, Paul, or any of the other apostles? Jesus does mention tithing,
but in only two contexts, one where He is castigating some haughty Scribes and
Pharisees for their hypocrisy and lack of mercy (Matt.23:23; Luke 11:42). The other
example is where Christ describes a proud prayer offered up by an unrepentant
Pharisee who went home unjustified by God (Luke 18:12). Only those three verses
contain any remarks from Jesus about tithing, and they are all in an unfavorable
context! Jesus okays the Pharisee’s tithing of mint, anise and cumin, but He was
speaking to someone who lived under the Law of Moses and before the Cross. Jesus
said nothing about the Pharisee needing to tithe his money. Modern tithe takers
order their congregation to give TO THEM first dibs on their paycheck each week, but
Scripture clearly specifies what is to be tithed under the Law:
Leviticus 27:30: And all the tithe OF THE LAND (not of a paycheck!) whether of the
seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.
Leviticus 27:32 And concerning the tithe OF THE HERD, OR OF THE FLOCK, even of
whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth (not the first item counted) shall be
holy unto the Lord.
Nehemiah 10:35-37 specifies what items constitute a firstfruits (heave) offering unto
the Lord. The firstfruits offering was collected from whatever agricultural produce
ripened first (Deut.26:2).
It was presented by the Israelite farmer (not the
sandalmaker or fisherman!) to the officiating priest. The firstfruits offering was
presented early in the harvest season, some time before the tithe (every tenth item)
was gathered from the vast majority of the harvest which ripened later. What
exactly made up the firstfruits offering?
VERSE 35: And to bring the firstfruits OF OUR GROUND (no mention of money), and
the firstfruits of all manner of trees, year by year unto the house of the Lord:
VERSE 36: Also the firstborn of our sons, and of our cattle, as it is written in the Law,
and the firstlings of our herds, and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God,

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unto the Priests that minister to the house of our God******The first part of this
verse helps to prove the distinction between tithes and firstfruits, which are often
used interchangeably by pulpit preachers to get more money from poor folks who
buy groceries with what little is left after paying their bills. And, notice:
The firstfruits law applied to human sons, not just the firstfruits of cattle. But
tithes were not paid on every tenth child borne by a woman! The firstborn son was
payable to the Lord as a firstfruits offering, and even he was supposed to be
redeemed (bought back) by the parents (Numbers 18:15-16). But no one under the
New Covenant needs to pay redemption money to some preacher. We are NOT
redeemed with silver or gold, but with the precious Blood of Jesus (I Peter 1:18-19).
The Lord later accepted the Tribe of Levi as belonging to Him instead of the firstborn
of the Israelites (Numbers 3:45).
Notice also, the firstfruits were brought “to the House of our God, unto the
priests”. Even if it were okay to transfer the Tithing Law from the Old Covenant over
to the New (which God forbids!), you’d also have to transfer ALL the components of
that particular law, including the priests and the House of God! Just what IS the New
Covenant House of God, and who ARE the priests of the New Covenant?
I Cor.3:16: Know ye not that YE are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God
dwelleth in you?
2 Cor.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.
Saints, WE are the Temple of God! The new convert must not be left in the dark
about this important fact! He (or she) already has plenty of hurdles to overcome in
this life (peer pressure, satan’s temptations, etc.), without also being brainwashed by
greedy preachers who teach them that the CHURCH BUILDING is a literal storehouse
for money, rather than the believers themselves being the House of God!
Saints, not only are we the Temple of God, we are also the PRIESTS of God!
Another under-emphasized power secret new converts must know!
I Peter 2:5 YE also, as lively (living) stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy
priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
VERSE 9: But YE are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar (purchased)
people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of
darkness into his marvelous light. In those verses Peter made NO distinction between
“pew Christians” and “pulpit ministers”!
What kinds of items were brought by Israelite farmers under the Old Covenant?
Continuing with verse 37 of Nehemiah Chapter 10: And that we should bring the
firstfruits of our dough (bread dough, that is), and our offerings, and the fruit of all
manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the priests, to the chambers (storerooms)
of the House of our God; and the TITHES OF OUR GROUND (again, tithes are
distinguished from the firstfruits here!) unto the Levites, that the same Levites might
have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
Only EDIBLE tithes which grew or grazed on the ground were brought to the
Levites. OFFERINGS of the fruit of the ground and firstfruits of crops were brought to
the Temple storehouses by the people, but tithes paid to the Levites by the people
were to be stored in the cities set aside for the Levites and their families (Lev.25:32),
not in the Temple storehouse! Provision for Levites and the poor was also to be
stored within the city gates of all Israelite cities (Deut. 14:28-29). Scripture does not
command the ordinary Israelite to bring any tithe to the Temple storehouse, but to

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store them for the poor and Levites only, besides that tithe which was set aside for
their own personal use at the yearly Festivals. So that shoots a hole in the argument
that the church building is analogous to the place where ordinary Israelites brought
their tithes to the Levites! When do you ever hear any preacher rant and roar about
neglect of the third-year Poor Tithe? What about yelling at farmers for failure to
allow homeless people to glean ears of corn out of their field? Take a gander at the
Book of Ruth, and you’ll see God’s love for poor people, not just “spiritual Levites”!
Pulpit ministers often call themselves “spiritual Levites” but they could set their
sights higher. Numbers 3:9 and 8:19 says that the Levites WERE GIVEN AS GOD’S
GIFT to the sons of Aaron, the only Israelites allowed to be official priests! They
were, in effect, bondservants (virtual slaves) of the priesthood! Far from being the
kingpins, the Levites did the menial chores of the Tabernacle, such as setting up its
props, skinning sacrifices, transporting the Holy Things, ministering at the Door of
the Tabernacle of the Congregation, etc., while the actual priesthood drew near to
the Presence of Almighty God at the Altar!
Bad doctrine has been repeated millions of times from millions of pulpits over the
centuries, so I’ll repeat the TRUTH: The Levites presented their own “tithe of the
tithe” to the Priesthood who did not have to pay any tithes at all (see Numbers
18:26-28)! Only this tithe, PAID BY THE LEVITES, was ever stored in Temple
storehouses (Neh.10:38)! THOSE WHO PAY TITHES DENY THEIR OWN PRIESTHOOD
IN CHRIST JESUS! Seminary-trained preachers who downplay the priesthood of the
new convert (or any other Christian) by demanding tithes are sinning against God!
Tithe Teachers Cherry-Pick Only Profitable Plums
Why are preachers so picky about what they “spiritualize” in the Bible? According
to the laws of algebra, unless you do to one side of your equation what you did to
the other, your whole argument collapses like a haystack in a tornado! Jacob had
twelve sons (which comprise the House of Israel). Now, if you’re gonna spiritualize
one egg in a carton of twelve, you’ve just gotta spiritualize all the rest, or your
analogy just won’t fly! Why don’t we ever hear any sermons on “spiritual Benjamites,
Gadites, or Danites”? What about dudes like Reuben, Issachar and Naphtali?
Where’s the money in making spiritual giants out of these guys anyway?
And don’t you think it’s plum weird, the way preachers “spiritualize” the
agricultural produce of the Land of Israel into other greenery: filthy lucre? When did
they ever get God’s permission to do that?
Even if it WERE permissible to carry over the ancient Tithing Law and impose
mandatory tithing on non-edible things, are today’s tithers keeping (the preacher’s)
law perfectly by consistently tithing on all their increase, as is so often preached from
pulpits? Are tithers REALLY fulfilling those instructions perfectly? What about savings
on grocery coupons, birthday and Christmas gifts, free favors done by friends,
increase in the value of the family home? What about stocks and bonds, college
scholarships, etc.? When was the last time some pew Christian brought the preacher
a sack of tomatoes or a few watermelons as a tithe on their garden harvest? Does
God only care about the greenery churned out by the Federal Mint? Why do
preachers worship money so much, especially since the value of that old green dollar,
like the old gray mare, just ain’t what it used to be?
Preachers are always hollering about how God will curse you if you don’t tithe on
your increase (“increase” is an old English word for “harvest”). But assuming
“increase” also applied to cash money, what if cash became worthless tomorrow and
society had to revert to the barter system to run its economy? Don’t laugh at the
notion. It’s happened before. Before World War II the German Deutschmark
became so worthless it took a wheelbarrow full of them to buy a loaf of bread!

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Cigarettes became a medium of exchange in place of cash. What brand does your
local tithe collector smoke? If that dollar hits rock bottom, who knows HOW business
will continue in this old world!
So if you babysat your neighbor’s kid and they washed your car in exchange, how
would you tithe to the preacher on THAT increase? How many preachers would jump
ship if they didn’t get their ten per cent of the chickens the poor farmer in a barter
economy paid the vet for delivering a calf?
By ignoring the third-year Poor Tithe of ancient Israel and the seventh year
(Sabbatical) release from sowing and reaping and tithing, and failing to keep their
own self-imposed law of tithing on ALL financial gains, Christians and their pastors
are ALWAYS keeping the Tithing Law imperfectly, and, hence, bringing themselves
under condemnation (Gal.3:10). That, in a nutshell, is why so many people “tithe”,
and instead of being blessed by God, things only go from bad to worse!
Does Might Make Right?
Preachers make a lot of noise about tithing, but that doesn’t make them right. Some
think that he who makes the most noise for the longest time ends up winning the
argument, just by wearing down the opposition. That’s just what tithe enforcers do,
they way they drill into you a sense of obligation to “give till it hurts”, and especially
the way they confuse you by reinterpreting Old Testament terminology to make up
doctrines that aren’t really in the Bible. Next time some religious tyrant hammers
you over the head with the Law of Tithing, ask him if he’d like some of the crispy
lettuce out of your garden! And if he demands a “firstfruits” offering, offer him the
firstborn of your kitten litter!
Taking up offerings to relieve GENUINE needs is a good thing, but no man or
woman has the right to demand tithes or firstfruit offerings under the New Covenant
of Grace! Christ FULFILLED the Law of firstfruits and Paul says Christ IS the real
Firstfruits (I Cor.15:23)! For any preacher to demand a “firstfruits” offering, he must
automatically place Himself in the position of Christ, our only High Priest, because it
was the serving High Priest who collected firstfruits offerings under the Old
Covenant. Believers comprise the Royal Priesthood of the New Covenant but Christ
is the ONLY High Priest of our Covenant (Heb.4:14-16)!
I used to steer dangerously close to idolizing human preachers, the way I’d hang
onto their every word, but now it’s finally sunk in: ONLY CHRIST STANDS BETWEEN
US AND GOD (!!!) I have read that Scripture in Hebrews so many times, but it takes
the Holy Spirit to really drive it home to my deepest understanding. Christ in His
role as sole Mediator between us and God can’t be emphasized enough because this
glorious revelation is able to set folks free from feeling intimidated by preachers who
try to stand between ordinary believers and God. Some money-hungry preachers
even resort to scaring people with the unpardonable sin and divine judgment if they
don’t cough up the cash! Saints, God is opening up all the religious cages of fear
which have imprisoned His people ever since this ungodly, un-Christlike false clergylaity system first crept into His church!
Shout it from the rooftops:
For there is ONE God, and ONE MEDIATOR (Go-between) between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus!
The Old Mosaic system was pretty complicated. Even the overall total tithe
gathered from the Promised Land added up to much more than the simple ten per
cent latched onto by today’s preachers. Actually, there were several types of tithe in

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ancient Israel, destined for different eaters. One of them, the “Ma’aser Ani, or “poor
tithe” was collected just once every three years, in a seven-year tithing cycle. This
particular tithe was not brought to the House of the Lord at all, but stored “within the
gates” of cities for the consumption of poor Levites, fatherless children, foreigners
and widows (Deut.14:28). Does any church you know of donate all its tithe to the
poor every three years, and collect no tithe at all every seventh (Sabbatical) year, as
the Lord commanded the ancient Israelites? Tithing was NOT done during the
seventh year, and could not be done, since no crops were grown during that year
(Lev.25:20). If preachers were consistent in “applying” the tithing doctrine, they’d
not only collect tithes just once a year as the ancient Israelites did, they’d also give
the poor tither a break every seventh year! Israelite farmers had to trust in God that
He would feed them during those sabbatical years when the land was required to lie
fallow. God’s people out in the pews often have to live by faith and trust in Him to
restock their empty cupboards. But it’s doubtful whether preachers would be able to
“live by faith” without taking monetary tithes for a whole year! Just the idea would
send those “faith preachers” into a panic, wouldn’t it?
We’re supposed to be living under a far better covenant than Old Testament
saints did, but today an illicit tithe (money) is being extorted with threats of divine
retribution FROM THE POOR for the benefit of the spiritual elite. That’s religious
piracy, plain and simple. It’s the reverse of Robin Hood, robbing the poor to bless
the rich!
Monetary tithing was first laid down as church law in the Catholic Church during
the Middle Ages. Various church councils held in the sixth and eighth centuries A.D.
imposed monetary tithing on pain of excommunication. In succeeding centuries,
tithing was adopted by some Protestant denominations. But the Word of God,
correctly interpreted and applied in correct context, must always be the final
authority for deciding what is true or false. Even if ten thousand men of the cloth
preach a false doctrine as being true, it just don’t make it so.
While tithing has enriched a few and built great monuments to the pride of men,
it has caused financial hardship for struggling families, groundless guilt, and a
disorderly mingling of the Old and New Covenants. Tithing has exacerbated social
divisions between rich and poor in the Body of Christ. Tithing has weakened the
doctrine of the priesthood of all believers by demoting the many and exalting the
few. Tithing has helped build an unscriptural hierarchy called “clergy’ and “laity” in
the Body of Christ, although Jesus Himself said:
Matthew 23:8: But be not ye called Rabbi (Gr. Rhabbi, my master): for one is your
Master, even Christ; AND YE ARE ALL BRETHREN.
VERSE 9 And call no man your father upon earth: for one is your Father, which is in
heaven (Catholics address their priests as ‘father’, while Protestants address their
clergy as ‘Reverend’).
VERSE 10: Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
VERSE 11: But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Instead of a brotherhood of love in today’s church world, we see artificial
divisions made by men. Instead of walking in humility with a servant’s heart,
religious rulers rip off poor pew saints who serve them. Saints of God are being
deceived by bad doctrines which rob them not only out of money they need for their
own families, but out of their blood-bought spiritual inheritance as actually BEING
the spiritual House of God and Priests of God! Laws imposed by Moses upon the Old
Covenant Children of Israel are being “spiritualized” by modern “doctors of the Law”
to make them more profitable, then they are reimposed on saints of the Church Age.

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What is even more despicable is the sneaky way this is being done, by bewitching
emotional Christians with “deeply moving” religious snake oil soap opera tactics.
Guilt is laded onto the backs of sheep to make them bear burdens God never placed
upon them. You’ll hear in so many mealy-mouthed words: “Well…tithing (or
whatever) may not be EXACTLY required by Scripture, but out of love for Jesus and
gratitude for all He has done for you, you really SHOULD do it…and besides, you’ll go
to heck if you don’t write out that check out of respect toward your local “spiritual
covering” (Did that sound like smothering?).
So you don’t truly love Jesus if you refuse to buy pulpit spit which strips you of
your own priesthood under the New Covenant? Discernment must be made between
religious tradition OF MEN and solid, sound doctrine practiced by the early church.
We must contend earnestly for the truth (Jude 3).
Those who impose man-made legalism on the Body of Christ are only adding
their own regulations to the Word of God. They’re really saying that the Holy Ghost
didn’t put enough of a burden on New Covenant believers in Acts Chapter 15, so
they’ll help Him do His job better.
Deut.4:2: Ye shall not add unto the word that I command you, neither shall ye
diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God
which I command you.
Again, in Deut. 12:32: What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: THOU
SHALT NOT ADD THERETO, nor diminish from it.
God plainly says just do whatever He commands you to do, and don’t try to improve
on it to impress Him. Preachers talk all the time about the sin of omission, or
omitting things Christians are commanded to do. But they never mention the sin of
ADDING extra requirements for living the Christian life. Just think of how preachers
sin by adding hundreds of extra laws to God’s Word: New Covenant tithing, white
shirt and tie for church, special “love offerings” on certain days, no movies or TV, no
makeup or jewelry, no caffeine beverages, etc.
If you genuinely don’t desire to eat, that’s okay. If eating would be a distraction to
your prayer period, you are free not to eat. But these verses strongly imply that it is
a SIN to practice religious fasting as God’s requirement for righteousness, because in
doing so you’re ADDING TO what the Paul and other apostles require of Gentile
believers in Christ. Fasting is NOT COMMANDED by scripture to the Body of Christ,
nor was it even hinted at in Acts Chapter 15, where the Holy Spirit plainly spelled out
what was required of followers of Jesus.
One of the shorter scripture verses I Thes.5:25: Brethren, pray for us. Just four
words. If Paul had thought fasting would give him the victory over satan, that verse
would have contained six words: Brethren, fast and pray for us. But it doesn’t.
NOWHERE does any apostle request fasting along with prayer from the brethren. In
time of emergency fasts were proclaimed in ancient Israel. But the only time you
see the words “fast for me” was Queen Esther’s request of Mordecai and other Jews
to do this (Esther 4:16). If fasting were the spiritual dynamite it’s cracked up to be,
surely Paul would go to great lengths to instruct Christians to fast, which he never
did in His epistles.
In reading the book of Esther, you must remember the Jews were in Babylonian exile
at the time, banished by God from His Promised Land for idolatry and disobedience.
They lived in great sorrow of heart because of being geographically separated from
the place where God’s Name had been placed, the city of Jerusalem (I Kings 11:36).

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Our own experience of being allowed into God’s Holy Presence through faith in
Christ, and having the actual indwelling of His Spirit was unknown to them. Esther
knew God had fulfilled His promise to divorce His people for spiritual adultery (see
Ezekiel chapter 23). She felt an overwhelming sense of unworthiness and shame for
the sins of her people, fully aware she could not offer animal sacrifices for her sins
because the Temple and its services had been destroyed. But she needed a big favor
from God. Perhaps He might take pity on her endangered people if she humbled her
soul with fasting. She did not share our experience of being fully justified and made
worthy through the merits of the shed blood of Christ.
If you feel you have something far more important to do than eat, use common
sense. Who knows but what God might say to you, “Don’t have lunch now. Instead,
go talk to that man about Jesus before he leaves on the train in five minutes.” Or,
God might say you’re to delay your dinner till you finish praying EARNESTLY for all
the people on your prayer list, instead of just mumbling, “Lord, bless ‘em all.” But to
fast to torture the body to gain His favor, that’s quite another story. If you think God
ordered you to fast two days a week (or skip two nights of sleep for that matter),
first ask yourself why none of the New Testament apostles ever command believers
to perform such ascetic practices. Would God order you to do something His own
Word doesn’t demand of you? If you’re afraid of being punished by God for nonfasting, then you’re bound by a Jewish religious custom never commanded in the
New Covenant. Those who insist on religious fasting as God’s requirement must
appeal to Old Covenant verses addressed to the Jewish nation when they were under
divine judgment for sin. God never ordered people to fast in times of joy.
Many say that although fasting (like tithing) is not commanded to New Testament
believers, you SHOULD still practice it. Sez who? Surely not God! The above verses
in Deuteronomy plainly say God FORBIDS us to add extra requirements to what He
commands NT believers to do in Scripture. So that means: If Scripture doesn’t
command you to fast to get closer to the Lord, YOU SHOULDN’T, AND MUSTN’T!
Fasting to subdue the carnal sin nature doesn’t work (see Col.2:20-23). If anything,
fasting will only make you grouchy. Just ask any dieter. Sinful attitudes popped up in
Jesus’ disciples even while He walked among them (Matt.16:23; Mark 9:34; Luke
9:54-55). But Jesus didn’t order them to fast to overcome sin. If you give in to the
temptation to placate God through just one religious work, satan will trick you into
laying still other laws on yourself. In doing so fall from the grace of God (Gal.5:4).

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Rewriting Scripture to Justify Tithing
In order to justify monetary tithing (or any other kind) under the New Covenant, you
have to give Scripture a major rehaul.
Let’s begin with scriptures taken out of the Old Covenant (where tithing belongs).
Leviticus 27:30: And all the tithe OF THE LAND, whether of the seed of the land, or
of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S; it is holy unto the LORD.
Change to: And all the tithe OF THE FRUIT OF YOUR LABOR, whether of your savings
in the bank, or of the Fruit of the Federal Mint, is the preacher’s; it is holy unto the
preacher.
Verse 31: And if a man will redeem ought (any) of his tithes, he shall add thereto the
fifth part thereto.
Change to: If some poor widow wants to borrow back some of her tithe money to
eat, charge her 20% interest.
Verse 32: And concerning the tithe OF THE HERD, or OF THE FLOCK, even
whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD.
Change to: And concerning the tithe OF YOUR WORK WAGES, or OF YOUR
POCKETBOOK, even whatsoever passeth out of an ATM machine, the FIRST part of it
shall be holy unto the preacher.
Verse 33: He (the tithe payer) shall not search (inspect) whether it be good or bad,
neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change
thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
Change to: The tithe payer shall inspect his paycheck to make sure he gives the
BEST (biggest) part of it. If he changes his mind and decides to substitute a prettier
hundred dollar bill, he should just empty his wallet and fast until the next payday
rolls around.
Verse 34: These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the
children of Israel in Mt. Sinai.
Change to: These are the genetically modified commandments, which the PREACHER
commanded the church in Atlanta, Ga.
Deuteronomy 14:22: Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field
bringeth forth year by year.
Change to: Thou shalt truly tithe on all the wages you earn, that the boss pays you
week by week.
Verse 23: And THOU SHALT EAT before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall
choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil,
and the firstlings of thy herds, and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the
LORD thy God always.
Change to: And you shall pay, before the preacher, in the place where you’re sitting
in the pew, the tithe or your cash, of your wallet, and of your oil stock dividends, and
the first of your hard-earned paycheck, that you might learn to be afraid of the
preacher always.* * * Forget that bit about the wine, everybody knows they really
drank Welch’s Grape Juice back then. And don’t take scripture so literally that you
actually EAT the Lord’s tithe like they did back then! The preacher will do that FOR
you when he takes his buddies out to a lobster restaurant!

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Verse 24: And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or
if the place be too far from thee, which the LORD thy God shall choose to set his
name there, when the LORD thy God hath blessed thee:
Change to: If you live too far from the hole-in-the-wall and are unable to haul a
hundred-dollar bill to the place where the preacher is building a name for himself,
when you’re still living in poverty:
Verse 25: Then thou shalt turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand,
and shalt go unto the place where the LORD thy God shall choose:
Change to: No need to turn it into money, it’s always BEEN money! Bring that money
in to build a project which the preacher shall choose. (MONEY is mentioned in this
tithing verse! So the preacher must be right…or IS he?)
The next verse will blow you out of the water! New converts, hide your eyes!
Verse 26: And thou (the tithe-payer) shalt bestow (spend) that money for
whatsoever thy soul lusteth after; for oxen, or for sheep, OR FOR WINE, OR FOR
STRONG DRINK, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat before the
LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household.
Change to: Get rid of the wine and strong drink, for heaven’s sake! Old Testament
folks didn’t know they were supposed to drink Coke instead! That money's supposed
to go into MY church treasury! Must be a translational error! And the preacher shall
spend that money for whatever SPIRITUALIZED treats his soul LUSTETH after: for a
new car, a bigger and better suit, or for a trip to Hawaii, or whatever his little old
heart desires: and the poor tither shall go home broke and eat leftover pinto beans
in front of an old TV set, and he shall grumble about it with his whole household.
Verse 27: And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he
hath no part nor inheritance with thee.
Change to: Hey, wait a minute! Aren’t preachers “spiritual Levites” and ordinary
Christians…what tribe do THEY belong to? Poor little pew Christians, they ain’t got no
tribe, so they’d better pay up! Anyhow, the spiritual Levite that's hollering at you
from up in the pulpit, thou shalt not defraud him of HIS tithe. He’s got a brand new
car and home, and might inherit even more from his rich uncle. But having just a
little more never hurt, did it?
Verse 28: At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithes of thine
increase the same year, and shall lay it up within thy gates.
Change to: Every single week (or pay period), before Uncle Sam gets his cut, thou
shalt deduct ten per cent of thy paycheck and store it in the church treasury.
Verse 29: And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and
the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall
come and eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work
of thine hand which thou doest.
Change to: And the spiritual Levite in the pulpit, who owns a nice hunk of real
estate, shall consume the third-year tithe which should be feeding the homeless guy,
the fatherless, and the widow. Thou shalt tell them to go get a job or they don’t
deserve to eat anyway, and the preacher will stop blessing out his congregation for
being tithing deadbeats.

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On a more serious note, why isn’t the whole tithe given to the poor like they did in
ancient Israel? I sort of suspect God didn’t want tithes TAKEN from the poor in
ancient Israel like they are today!
Why, in all my long life, have I NEVER heard a tithing sermon based on this passage?
Leviticus 25:1: And the LORD spake unto Moses in Mt. Sinai saying,
Verse 2: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when ye come into
the land which I shall give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD.
Verse 3: Six years shalt thou sow thy field, and six years shalt thou prune thy
vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
Verse 4: But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath
for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
Verse 5: That which growth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap,
neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the
Land.
Verse 6: And the Sabbath of the land shall be meat (food) for you; for thee, and for
thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for the stranger that
sojourneth with thee.
Verse 7: And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the
increase thereof be meat.
The Israelites observed a seven-year agricultural (and tithing) cycle. Every
seventh year the land (and the tithers) got a break. No large-scale reaping was to
be done, so no tithes were to be paid. Any Jewish rabbi will tell you no tithes were
paid in ancient Israel on the seventh year, and tithes were never collected from the
wages of the poor. During the Sabbatical year, people were to take from the land just
what they needed for their own personal consumption, and nothing more. How would
this set with “conservative” preachers who holler about having a strong work ethic,
and making the most (money) out of every waking moment of your life? What if
somebody out in the congregation decided that every seventh year he would ditch
the factory job, sling on a backpack and go live off the land like the Indians did
before the coming of the white man?
Today’s tithers simply don’t get that seventh-year break commanded by
Scripture. They’re pressured to slave SEVEN years out of seven to satisfy Organized
Religion’s hunger for finances. When one job isn’t enough, people are encouraged to
work two. Preachers LITERALLY (and wrongly) apply the Tithing Law, while
“spiritualizing away” people’s need for physical rest, to keep the cash rolling in.
Parents who must work extra jobs come under criticism because they aren’t always
there for the kids and “have poor family values”. Think of it. God actually gave the
farmer a whole year off every seventh year from plowing, sowing and reaping,
besides their weekly Sabbath Day rest. God even cared about the land, which is
nothing but dead, wormy dirt! Funny how preachers don’t worry about other
Christians dropping dead from overwork. I kinda suspect God is a lot more merciful
than His supposed representatives up in the pulpit.
Let’s pay a visit to the three verses tithing teachers base most of their doctrine
on. But, unlike them, let’s also read (and airbrush to fit their doctrine) other verses
in the same context which clarify who this scripture is addressed to.
Malachi 2:1: And now, O YE PRIESTS, this commandment is for YOU.
Change to: And now, O ye pew Christians, this commandment is for YOU.

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Malachi 3:3: And he (God) shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall
purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto
the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Change to: And he (the preacher) shall sit in judgment on those lacking gold or
silver; and he shall terrify the sons of Gentiles, and plunder them of gold and silver,
that they may offer unto him an offering out of fear.
Verse 4: Then shall the offering of Judah and of Jerusalem be pleasant unto the
LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Change to: Then shall the offering of Nashville and of Chicago be pleasant unto the
preacher, as it always has been, and bigger than last week’s.
Verse 5: And I will come near to you in judgment; and I will be a swift witness
against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and
AGAINST THOSE THAT OPPRESS THE HIRELING IN HIS WAGES, the widow, and the
fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the
LORD of hosts.* * *Preachers either ignore this verse or ignore the inclusion of “the
hireling” (wage-earner) in this context where God is rebuking the LEVITES, not the
people, for failure to be kind to exploited groups of people.
Change to: And I, your tithe-collector, will sit in judgment upon you; and I will be a
swift witness against sorry offerings, and against adult members who don’t pay up,
and against falling offerings, and against those that don’t deduct a tenth from the
hireling’s wages, the stingy widow, and the tight-fisted fatherless, and that argue
with MY right to take your tithe, and don’t show me proper fear and reverence, saith
the preacher in the pulpit.
Verse 6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye SONS OF JACOB are not
consumed.
Change to: For I am the preacher who’s trying to tell you God’s wrong here! He said
“sons of Jacob” He REALLY means he’s rebuking the sons of the Apache Indians, the
sons of the Eskimos, the sons of the Gypsies, the sons of Latinos, etc., who are in
danger of being consumed for committing the sins in this passage!
Verse 7: Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances,
and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD
of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?
Change to: Even from the days of your fathers the Vikings, the Normans, the Celts,
the Africans and the Anglo-Saxons, you have departed from the ordinances of
Mosaic Law and have not kept them. Return unto a Mosaic Law never given to your
ancestors, saith the Preacher. Don’t’ sweat over the dietary laws, Sabbath laws,
circumcision, etc. but be sure to hang onto tithing! But ye said, Why should we
return to a church that tries to put Mosaic Law on us when Christ died to set us free?
Now we’ve reached the three verses tithing preachers love the most. But how
would you need to change them to justify THEIR tithing doctrine?
Verse 8: Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we
robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Change to: Will a man rob God’s supposed representative? Yet ye have robbed him of
what he wants most: money. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed the preacher? In
monetary tithes and big enough offerings.
Verse 9: Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

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Change to: That curse carries over into the New Covenant Gentile church, even
though God was addressing the Nation of Israel (sons of Jacob) ONLY (see verse 6).
Guess that’s a mistranslation.
Verse 10: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine
house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you
the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room
enough to receive it.
Change to: Bring ye ten per cent of all the paychecks, that there may be money in
my (the preacher’s) church treasury, and test GOD to see if he will open up an
unexpected source of income and shower you with money, that there shall not be
room enough to receive it.* * *So what if Jesus Himself says: Thou shalt not tempt
the Lord thy God, or put him to the test (Matt.4:7). So what if the whole Body of
Christ, , not some “church building”, is the New Covenant habitation of God
(Eph.2:21-22; I Pet.2:5?) Just disregard the fact that things radically changed after
the Cross, and you’ll get indigestion if you bring money into the New Covenant House
of God, which is the body of the believer (I Cor.3:16; 2 Cor.6:16).
Let’s go on to the New Testament, where you’ll search in vain for any command
by Paul (or even Jesus) to pay tithes on wages. Christ’s earthly ministry took place
under the final days of the period of Law (Gal.4:4). Only after the Cross did the New
Testament era actually begin. But even as He spoke of tithing under the Law, Christ
mentioned only tithes taken from things which grow out of the earth: mint, anise and
cumin (Matt.23:23). Christ did not command His own disciples (or anyone else) to
tithe on their wages. Christ modified the law on adultery to include looking lustfully
at a woman, but He did not change the tithing law to tax the wages of Christians!
Jesus did not support His own ministry through tithes, nor did His disciples. They
were (mostly) from the Tribe of Judah, and only the Levites qualified to ask for tithes
of any kind (Num.18:26).
Many preachers teach that since Jesus made certain laws harder to keep (e.g. the
prohibition against divorce and adultery) it follows that He also wants to make other
laws more difficult as well, and pass them on to the church. But the plain truth is
this: While scriptural teachings on the sanctity of marriage are repeated in the New
Testament epistles, tithing was a TEMPORARY ordinance for a specific nation, Israel
(Lev.27:34). Tithing was NEVER, NOT EVEN ONCE, given to the Gentile Church by
Paul or any other apostle. Paul teaches cheerful, gracious giving ONLY. Paul rebukes
Christians for every evil under the sun. But NOT ONCE does Paul remind the
churches under his oversight to pay their tithe, or rebuke any church or individual for
withholding ten per cent of their income from the church.
But did Jesus REALLY come to put His church under a heavier burden than was
borne by the Jews under Law, who did NOT have to tithe on wages and salaries? How
would you need to change the following verses to justify the kind of “stewardship”
sermons preached in today’s churches?
Matt.12:28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest.
Change to: Come to church, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I, the
preacher, will give you no rest.
Verse 29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in
heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Change to: Fill out my pledge card, and learn the ABC’s of faith; for I, the preacher,
am merciless and cold of heart: and ye shall find no rest for your souls.

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Verse 30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Change to: For my folks are uneasy because my sermons bite.
How would you modify the following NT verses to justify today’s tithing doctrine?
Does the Holy Spirit require Christian converts to tithe ten per cent of their
paychecks to the church? Let’s peek at Acts chapter 15 for a clue. The apostles are
debating whether or not new Gentile converts must start keeping the Law of Moses,
which included tithing (only on farm produce and ONLY to the Levites). What was
their conclusion? What is the modern preacher’s conclusion?
Apostles’ conclusion, Part I: Acts 15:24: Forasmuch as we have heard, that
certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting (upsetting)
your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law; to whom we gave no
such commandment.
Preachers’ conclusion, Part I: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain super
apostles which flew to your conference from our mega-church have taught you word
of faith theology, challenging your stingy souls, saying the offering needs to be
supersized, and you have to hang onto the preacher’s favorite Old Testament law,
and that, in a nutshell, is OUR commandment!
Apostles’ conclusion, Part II: Verse 28: FOR IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY
GHOST, and to us, to lay upon you NO GREATER BURDEN than these necessary
things;
Verse 29: That ye abstain from meats (foods) offered to idols, and from blood, and
from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye
shall do well. Farewell.
Preachers’ conclusion, Part II: Verse 28: For it seemed good to the church
treasurer, and to us, to lay upon you ONE greater burden than these necessary
things;
Verse 29: That ye abstain from meeting at home instead of church, and from
burdening us with unwanted questions, and from starting to think for yourself, and
from forcing us to move to a cheaper building: from which if ye keep yourselves,
that’s just the start. Oh, we almost forgot. God expects you to tithe ten per cent of
your net….we mean GROSS! paycheck! You are dismissed.
Are Christians REALLY under grace instead of law?
Romans 6:14: For sin shall not have dominion over (rule over) you: for ye are not
under the law, but under grace.
Change to: For sin shall not rule over you (that’s the preacher’s job); for ye are not
under the law (except for certain laws that profit the preacher), and you’d better
grease the preacher’s palm if you want to stay in his good graces!
Gal.3:10: For as many as are under the works of the law are under a curse: for it is
written, Cursed be every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in
the book of the law to do them (that includes every law in Leviticus, including animal
sacrifices and ritual washings).
Change to: For as many as are under the laws the preacher likes are under a
blessing that exists only in their imagination: for the preacher says: Cursed is every

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one who continueth not to keep OUR version of Moses’ tithing law (don’t forget the
firstfruits), but forget dietary laws, circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, etc.
Speaking of circumcision, it was just as hot an issue in the days of the First
Century church as tithing is in our day. I never hear preachers holler about bringing
back circumcision, which legalists in the early church tried to enforce, just like tithing
is enforced today. Maybe PROFITABLE doctrine is a bigger priority in the modern
church, and that’s why we don’t see many online forums debating Christian
circumcision. It’s safe to say that if preachers could get rich from circumcision, they
wouldn’t hesitate to transform spiritual circumcision of the heart into a big moneymaking operation. Money-hungry preachers are so economical with the truth, they’d
be able to twist the Word of God and “discover” 1001 reasons why ALL Christians,
including the poor widow, had to get circumcised as a requirement for church
membership!
Can you imagine the big stampede out the church door if circumcision WAS made
a requirement for church membership? But week after week preachers are snipping
away at people’s paychecks, without God’s authorization. Ten per cent may be the
difference between children eating a nutritious meal and having macaroni and cheese
five nights a week.
Preachers NEVER preach on this one (at least I’ve never heard it done). How
would you need to reinterpret this verse to justify tithing?
Proverbs 22:16: He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that
giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Change to: He who makes himself poorer to increase the preacher’s riches, and he
who showers rich preachers with more money, shall surely reap a hundred-fold
harvest of money (what else matters?).
Just for fun, let’s examine a passage of Scripture which tells Christians the proper
way to give. The context is Paul is taking up a collection to feed hungry saints in
Jerusalem. How do tithe-hungry preachers interpret these verses today?
2 Cor.8:11: Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to
will, so there may be a performance out of that which ye have.
Change to: Step out in “faith” and make a credit card donation out of what you don’t
have yet, believing that the LORD will come to the rescue with a windfall blessing
from an "unexpected source".
Verse 12: For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man
hath, not according to that he hath not.
Change to: Your hesitation is of the devil! Hurry up and give before satan argues
you out of it! Make a $2,000 vow of faith out of what you don’t think you have yet,
because even though you haven’t gotten that money yet, you ALREADY have it by
faith and it will soon materialize into the visible realm, so go ahead and pledge it by
faith and God will accept it.
Verse 13: For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye be burdened.
Change to: If our preaching means anything to you, you’ll be willing to pay for it,
even if it makes you poorer.
Verse 14: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply
for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there
may be equality.

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Change to: Charity begins here in this church, not at home! And it begins with us
here in this pulpit, so pay up! Forget this notion of us all being lovey-dovey brethren
looking after each other’s mutual welfare as equals. That sounds too much like
socialism and we’re way too conservative for that! Some sink, some swim. Tough
luck.
Verse 15: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that
had gathered little had no lack.
Change to: God wants ME to have the very finest because I’m far more important
than you are. Poverty builds character, and it wouldn’t hurt you to fast a few meals
anyway.
2 Cor.9:7: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not
grudgingly or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Change to: Every man (and woman) according as he feels intimidated by the
sermon, so let him pay tithes, because he has to; for the preacher loves his cash
cows.
Verse 8: And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always
having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
Change to: And the preacher is able to make the pressure pile up on you; that ye,
seldom having enough money left over to pay your bills, may give the preacher more
and more.
Verse 9: As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his
righteousness remaineth for ever.
Change to: The good Christian limits his giving strictly to the four walls of this
sanctuary, he has given to the preacher: his money remaineth here for ever.
How does Jesus Himself view the issue of equality in the Body of Christ?
Matt.23:8: But be not ye called Rabbi (Master); for one is your Master, even Christ;
and all ye are brethren.
Preachers act as if Christ had said this instead:
Peter, James, and John, you three are my inner circle. You’re head and shoulders
above the rest, so those church members out in the pews must call you Master.
Christ may be your main Master, but there are many other masters as well. That’s
the way the cookie crumbles. Some are masters, some are slaves.
Matt.23:9: And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which
is in heaven.
Christ did NOT say:
Some will be father figures over you to take tribute from you. Go ahead and call the
most important church leaders “Reverend”, “Father” “Holy Father”, “Your Grace”, etc.
The Father in heaven is just ONE of many higher-ranking fathers who rule over you.
Verse 10: Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ.
Jesus did NOT say:
You will be exalted masters and rule over God’s people as “little gods” in the pulpit.
Verse 11: But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant:
Jesus did NOT say:

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But he that is greatest among you shall take your money and scare you with tithing
sermons.
One famous televangelist boasted that those who didn’t agree with him would be
his slaves up in heaven. Christ did not tell His people to worship keynote speakers at
conventions and exalt them above ordinary Christians.
Verse 12: And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall
humble himself shall be exalted.
Christ did not say:
It’s okay if religious celebrities live like kings at the expense of the poor, and unless
you fight for your place in the pecking order you’ll end up a third-class peon in
heaven.
Jesus: On paying taxes (New Covenant tithing is a church tax imposed BY MEN)
Matt.18:24: And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute
money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
Verse 25: He saith, yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented
(appeared before) him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of
the earth take custom or tribute (tax)? Of their own children, or of strangers?
Verse 26: Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the
children free.
Paul outlined proper procedures for “doing church” decently and in order. Paul
ordained elders in the churches he established (Titus 1:5). But NOT ONCE did he
ever appoint any infernal revenue agent to garnish ten per cent of the parishioners’
pensions and wages. If you pay tithes, someone must physically receive them,
allegedly on God’s behalf. If God doesn’t authorize preachers to tax His children, it is
a major league SIN to take tithes! Now if Paul didn’t put early Christians under the
Tithing Law, modern churches shouldn’t be doing it either!
God’s own dear children are FREE from paying taxes to their own kingdom! But
tithe collectors in tall pulpits threaten them with the fires of hell for failure to cough
up ten per cent of their gross wages and salaries to THEM, the exalted
representatives of Big Religion! I think Jesus’ simple words about the children not
having to pay taxes to their own Father carries much more weight than ten thousand
pro-tithing sermons which appeal to Scriptures that just aren’t there.
Conclusion:
We are ALL brethren, of equal importance in the sight of God. God even disapproves
of lofty titles being used by preachers to set themselves apart from the rest of the
Body of Christ as lords over God’s heritage (I Pet.5:3). Giving is to be done
cheerfully, to meet true needs. You and I have just as much right to ask a preacher
for money (or tithes) as they have to ask us for it!

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74

SINKING FAST

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Satan’s Sly Tithing Lies
The following story is fictional, but it is based on disturbing teachings I’ve read on
various sites. The story is a composite picture of many mind manipulation games
I’ve observed at services. Satan is one sly guy, and he seasons his worst lies with
enough sweet sugar to make undiscerning Christians swallow his deception. I
noticed no author name or contact details on the particular site I’m thinking of.
Seems to me that any author who is sure that his/her viewpoint is Biblically sound
wouldn’t be reluctant to post that information in order to get feedback from readers.
*****
Bless Me, Brother, for I Have Sinned
Time to try a new approach, Brother Love thought. This us-versus-them business
has gotten the leadership nowhere.
Brother Love prepared to address his vast congregation. The sea of tired,
careworn faces were attached to impeccably dressed, mostly middle-class bodies,
but hard economic times were taking their toll and today’s sermon might not be easy
to swallow. Many dejectedly hung their heads, for rumor had it the “T” word would
(once again) be the preacher’s topic.
After a few introductory remarks, a few frozen faces relaxed into smiles. This
time Brother Love wasn’t hollering threats at his flock. As he eased into his sermon
his voice was as soothing as ointment on a burn. Could it be he was finally
beginning to look at life from THEIR point of view? Brother Love spoke of God being
a wonderful Heavenly Father, One Whose compassions failed not, a Refuge in the
time of storm, a Mighty Bulwark in times of trouble. Brother Love sensed he was
connecting with his congregation and gaining their trust.
Then came the bottom line. “Jesus is a merciful Savior,” Brother Love said, “and
He can have compassion on those who are beset by any human weakness. Christ
lives forevermore to make intercession for His people so their sins can be forgiven.
Sometimes, brothers and sisters, it’s easy to slip into sin because you’re afraid to do
what’s just and right in the eyes of God. Many of you have allowed FEAR, that dirty
four-letter word, drive you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. Many of you are
so reluctant to believe in God’s faithfulness that you have become robbers of God
Himself. Malachi 3:8 asks you this question: ‘Will a man rob God? Yet ye have
robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.’
“You have approached tithing as being a dreaded duty, instead of the blessing
God designed it to be. You have allowed pressure from other obligations to come
between you and your God. God deserves and expects ten percent of all the money
that falls into your hands. Jesus died to pay for your sins. The very least He
deserves is His rightful portion of your paycheck.
“My Bible teaches in Isaiah chapter 59, verses 1 and 2: Behold, the LORD'S hand
is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have
hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
“Ever wonder why you’ve been praying for the boss to give you that raise, or for
God to heal Aunt Susie, and the answer just won’t come? My Bible teaches that sin
breaks your fellowship with God and hinders your prayers. God simply can’t afford to
bless you if you withhold your tithe from His ministers who serve at the altar. Some
of you refuse to tithe because you quote I Peter 2, verses 5 and 9 and point out that
since you’re part of Christ’s Royal Priesthood and Old Testament priests did not tithe,
that lets YOU off the hook as well. By digging into God’s Word and discovering that
the Priestly order of the Tribe of Levi did not pay tithes, you have proven yourselves

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to be diligent students of God’s Word. Still, I question your MOTIVE for digging this
information out of the Old Covenant. True, Old Covenant priests did not owe Temple
Tribute or tithes because they were at the top of Israel’s social pecking order and the
lay people were at the bottom. But you forget, God has called His people to live by
a HIGHER standard than Old Testament people. YOU are called to go the extra mile,
not out of duty, but out of love. Jesus wants you to be a servant, and even if
Scripture does say you’re part of His priesthood, the lay members of this church
ought to pay tithes to His ordained ministers.
“If you’ll read I Cor.9:13 it has this to say about your tithing obligation: Do ye not
know that they which minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple?
and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? You cannot use your
priesthood as an escape from the Law of Tithing, folks. You might be a priest but
we’re the professional ministers of God and so we have a right to eat the fruits of
your labor. You say you’re walking in liberty and aren’t obligated to pay any set
amount, but don’t you realize you’re bought and paid for through the precious blood
of Christ, and you’re God’s bond slaves? Some of you are trying to cast off His yoke
and break free of God’s control. You might be part of Christ’s Royal Priesthood, but
you do not minister at the altar. You go to your jobs every day and work for secular
bosses. There were servant-Levites in the Old Testament who dared not approach
the altar, and they paid tithes out of the tithes they themselves received from the
people. They gave these tithes to the altar priests to live on. We’re your spiritual
parents in the Lord, and LOVE demands that you share of your bounty with us even
when the going gets rough. LOVE demands that you die to your old selfish nature
and tithe to those who break the Bread of Life to you.
“Some of you may have offended deeply in this area of trying to wriggle out of
your tithing obligation. Yet God has promised to forgive those who are truly contrite
in heart. Confess your sin of withholding God’s tithe today and He will pour out His
forgiveness upon you and restore His blessing to your life. Jesus will forgive you if
you tell Him you’re sorry for withholding His tithe. Oh, what a merciful Savior!
“Our choir is going to sing ‘Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was
shed for me’. Let this hymn minister to your hearts the grace and love of our God as
you search your souls. Ask God to purge you of the greed and selfishness which has
robbed you of your love for Jesus and caused you to rob Him of what is rightfully His.
As you search your hearts for hidden sin, come up front and let me and the elders of
the church pray for you. As it is written, confess your faults one to another, and pray
for one another, that ye may be healed. So come up front, brothers and sisters, and
I’ll help you seek God’s forgiveness so you can be greatly blessed by Him. Far from
robbing your families of the necessities of life by paying ten per cent of your
paycheck to the church, God has promised that if you do this, He’ll open the windows
of heaven and pour you out a blessing so there won’t be room to receive it. Mom
and Dad, be a good example to your kids. Don’t just tell them you love Jesus.
SHOW them.”
The stirring music swept over the congregation as Brother Love continued wooing
“God-robbers” to come up and confess. The faces of the white-robed choir glistened
beneath the stage lights. To work-weary, everyday folks too busy to join any choir,
they sounded like angels. One after another of the church members went forward,
gave the preacher his or her hand, and choked out confessions of some alleged sin.
Brother Love’s smooth hand touched one waiting head after another in the prayer
line, as he urged each person to pour out their guilt and shame to the Lord.
A widespread rash of weeping broke out as people fell under the spell of the
ethereal choral singing and the hypnotic, polished rhetoric of the preacher. The
atmosphere was so soggy with sadness that some even knelt between the pews,

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sobbing their hearts out. A very few got up and quietly left to clear their heads
outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Brother Love stooped down beside one frail old lady who appeared to be in her
80’s. “You’re SUCH a holy man, Brother Love, even if you ARE young enough to be
my grandson. Please pray for me to the Lord that he’ll forgive me for being stingy
with my Social Security checks! I could lower my thermostat in the winter time. But
my old flesh wants to be comfortable. Oh, the devil gets after me, Brother Love! I
need to fast more often so I’ll have more to give to his work! Please pray that I’ll
have the grace to skip a few more meals so I can afford to tithe. If I really loved
Jesus I’d be willing to wait till I got to heaven to get my good things. I’m willing to
burn out in the service of the Lord.”
“Of course I’ll pray with you, Sister Withers,” Brother Love said with a cheesy
smile. “Jesus gave His all for you, so now it brings you great joy to give more of
yourself to Him.” After Sister Withers repeated a melodramatic “prayer” after the
preacher, Brother Love gently raised the old lady to her wobbly feet as she steadied
herself with her cane.
Brother Love bragged on the woman to the rest of the church. “This little lady has
made Jesus her partner in prosperity!” he cried. “She says she’s even trimmed her
grocery budget so she can give the Lord a big thank offering! Sister Withers walks to
church and does without heat in the winter to prove her devotion to God. Lots of you
out there should be ASHAMED of the way you live, with all your extra fat and fancy
cars! As the ushers come forward to pray the offertory prayer, let Sister Withers be
a bright and shining example to inspire everyone here to give of their all to the
Master. Open your wallets wide to sow a seed of faith! Lots of weeping has been
done in our midst today, but your tears are as precious diamonds in the sight of God
and He treasures them. Godly sorrow leads to repentance. God is doing a marvelous
work in our midst. Choir, please continue singing softly as we ask our ushers to
come forward and receive the Lord’s tithes and offerings.”
*****
So what’s wrong with this preacher’s sermon?
In other articles in this book I go into exhaustive detail explaining why monetary
tithing (or any other kind) is not for the church.
There’s a multitude of things wrong with that sneaky sermon:
1. It’s professionally polished and pre-calculated to get the people to lower their
guard and accept lies as truth. God’s people have a right and a commandment to
prove all things (I Thes.5:21). Resorting to mind-bending tricks to control others is
a form of witchcraft. Any preacher who plays on religious sentiment to get what he
wants out of people is committing a terrible sin and is usurping of the Holy Spirit’s
place to lead and guide His people from their innermost being. The Jezebel of
Revelation persuaded God’s people to do unscriptural things (Rev. 2:20). You don’t
have to sound like a scary gangster to tell a lie. Satan used smooth talk to deceive
Eve (2 Cor. 11:3) and he still does this today through ministers of darkness who, by
cunning craftiness, lie in wait to deceive and toss the children of God to and fro with
false doctrines (Eph.4:14).
2. Brother Love appealed to the greatness and mercy of God to justify his tithing
doctrine, not correctly applied Scripture. He even appealed to Jesus being a merciful
Savior willing and able to forgive non-tithing. Truth is mixed up with error. Jesus IS

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merciful, loving and forgiving. But tithing is NOT a commandment to New Covenant
Christians, and is nowhere commanded to the church by any apostle. Jesus told the
Jewish Pharisees UNDER THE LAW that they should continue to tithe their garden
herbs, with no mention of money (Matt.23:23).
Jesus forgives mean-spiritedness
and stinginess of heart, but how can Jesus forgive non-payment of tithes if He never
ordered NT believers to tithe to begin with? It’s the ravening thieves in the pulpit
who need to ask Jesus’ forgiveness for stealing, not non-tithers! Whenever a
preacher ministers false guilt, he’s denying the power of the Blood of Jesus to
sanctify souls and make them righteous.
3. Brother Love presented himself as one who praises Jesus to the utmost. That’s
like a burglar hiding behind an innocent baby to avoid being shot. The devil hates
Jesus, but doesn’t hesitate to hide behind Him to avoid criticism! Get thee behind
me, satan!
4. Brother Love has all his bases covered. Unscrupulous preachers know that some
“laymen” have SOME Biblical knowledge, but count on the fact that John Q. Pewwarmer has to go to work every day and can’t spend endless hours digging out ALL
the facts in Scripture. So sooner or later, the “theological experts” will be able to trip
the wise-guy “non-ordained” Bible student up and get that one to give in and give
more! Brother Love admitted that some had figured out that they were priests under
the New Covenant, and since OT priests did not pay tithes, they shouldn’t have to
either. But Brother Love insisted that “out of love” NT believers should “go the extra
mile” and tithe anyway (where does the NT teach that you can keep any unscriptural
doctrine “out of love”?) Because Brother Love praised the goodness of Christ in the
same breath as he taught his bad doctrine, it would make Christians feel like crumbs
if they stood on God’s truth and rejected his lies. This is called doing a “snow job”.
Remember those old black and white TV sets where you’d get “snow” on the screen
and couldn’t see the whole picture? All some Christians can see is the preacher’s fake
whiteness, not the grunge underneath his indoctrination.
Even the demon-possessed damsel of Acts 16:17 knew how to say good things about
Jesus in order to achieve satan’s purpose. The devil doesn’t even mind if God’s
people give away ten per cent of their hard-earned cash to their preachers so long as
it serves his purpose. And what is Satan’s purpose? To get us back under the old
Law and its condemnation.
5. Throughout his sermon, Brother Love heaps condemnation on the parishioners
and reminds them that they are of an inferior status to “professional ministers”
(there’s no such thing as divinity degrees or seminaries in the early NT church). The
preacher abuses God’s love and forgiveness to soften them up so they’ll accept
blame for an act (non-tithing) which is not a sin under the New Covenant. By having
Brother Love remind his flock of their OBLIGATION to tithe the devil binds them to a
burden God has not placed on them. Satan uses the preacher to fill God’s children
with false guilt and He uses his false ministers to bring them back under the Law.
The whole book of Galatians and much of Romans is devoted to Paul’s effort to set
his brethren in Christ free from religious bondage. There is NO condemnation to
those who are in Christ Jesus and walk in the Spirit (Rom.8:1). Brother Love insists
that his people owe him an ongoing debt of ten per cent of their paychecks. But
believers are instructed by God to owe no man anything but to love one another
(Rom.13:8). Believers are not to give out of necessity (obligation, or HAVING to
give), but out of love to REAL needs in the Body of Christ (2 Cor.9:7).

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6. Brother Love makes believers feel ashamed for spending their hard-earned money
to properly care for their own personal needs. He tries to make them feel they are
being selfish by doing this. Paul, one of the chief apostles, said that he labored to
provide for his own needs as well as those of others (Acts 20:34). Today’s ministers
of deceit won’t stoop so low as to earn their own bread with their own hands, even
when they have lots of time on their hands to do fun things. They want others to
slave in order to provide luxuries for them. Predatory preachers hunger for the
widow’s mite. They expect elderly people, the poor and the sick to do without so
they can indulge their own dreams and lusts.
7. Brother Love downplays the priesthood of every believer, saying that “laymen” do
not minister at the altar like so-called professional ministers. There are no laymen in
the Body of Christ, and the word isn’t even in the Bible! Brother Love grudgingly
admits there is a priesthood of all believers, but he demotes them from full-fledged
priests to being the counterparts of Old Testament Levites, who did the menial
chores of the Tabernacle. Ordinary Levites ranked beneath the actual priestly clan of
the Tribe of Levi.
Being under God’s judgment for sins of their ancestors,
subservient Levites could not directly approach God’s holy things (Ezek.44:10-16).
Instead, they had an outer court ministry as being doorkeepers and housekeepers
for the Tabernacle, while the priests held the most honorable position.
Much confused teaching is going on about “spiritual Levites” (why don’t preachers
spiritualize the OTHER eleven tribes of Israel too?) All priests belonged to the tribe
of Levi, but not all Levites were priests, just like all Alabamians are Americans but
not all Americans are Alabamians. NOT ONE NT scripture says that paid professional
ministers outrank other sons and daughters of God in His Royal Priesthood. Hebrews
4:16 says we can now come boldly before the Throne of Grace. Far from being
inferior to paid preachers, all God’s children can enter the very Throne of God!
Old Covenant Levites could not enter into the Holy of Holies, only Aaron the High
Priest. We are made one spirit with Christ the Lord (I Cor.6:17). So when preachers
try to pry tithes out of you, they’re trying to get them out of Jesus Himself! And
when you pay them you’re agreeing with their lie that professional ministers outrank
you and stand between you and your Lord. You’re denying your spiritual union with
Jesus, the only High Priest of the New Covenant. Many preachers justify tithing by
appealing to Jesus’ Melchisedek priesthood, which received just ONE recorded tithe
from Abraham, out of the spoils of war, as described in Gen.15. Tithing strips a
Christian of his position in Christ. Not only are Christians priests (I Pet.2:5,9) and
priests never paid tithes to anyone, but Christians are joint-heirs with Christ
(Rom.8:17), and rich folks don’t usually collect income taxes from their own children,
not even in this world. An even stronger argument against milking the Melchisedek
priesthood for money is Christians are members of Christ’s own body (Eph.5:10).
Does it make sense for Jesus to tax His own fingers and toes? Nonsense!
8. Many Protestants poke fun at Catholics for confessing their sins to a priest who
stands between them and God. But Brother Love urges those who commit supposed
sins to confess them to HIM, so he can give them the same absolution a Catholic
priest gives to Catholic parishioners! Scripture teaches that there is only ONE
mediator (go-between) between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim.2:5-6).
So just like Catholics go to their human priest and say: “Bless me, father, for I have
sinned”, the Protestant parishioner will agree with their preacher that they are guilty
of sin, real or imagined, and will depend on their preacher to make things all right
with God again. Brother Love claims money tithes from his people because he’s their

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“spiritual father”. Jesus said to call no man on earth your father, because you have
ONE Father, who is in heaven (Matt.23:9). Jesus is the ONLY High Priest of the New
Covenant (Heb.7:26). When preachers take tithes and “first-fruits offerings”, not
only are they denying that Christ fulfilled the Old Law and its types and nailed them
to the Cross of Calvary (Col.2:14), they’re usurping Christ’s position of preeminence
over His people!
9. Brother Love paints God as a mean bill-collector who will shut off the lights in a
Christian’s life if he doesn’t pay his tithes. God’s sons are turned into fearful,
cringing slaves. Instead of setting preachers over God’s people as tax-collecting
lords, Jesus said that the greatest among the Christians would be the one willing to
be a servant (Gk. doulos, bondslave). Instead, predatory preachers (not all
preachers) tend to make slaves out of their congregations by demanding tribute from
them.
10. Brother Love mixes truth with error when he correctly states that Paul declares
his right to financial support because he’s serving the Lord full-time. But Paul does
NOT ask for any kind of tithes, or even mention the word “tithes” in I Cor. chapter 9.
Paul merely states that he has a right to eat and drink (even so-called “laymen” have
a right to such charity). It is a sin to be stingy with true ministers of the Lord who
need support you’re able to give them, but it is also a sin to tithe when God teaches
you that you’re free of the Old Law and its curse (Gal.3:10).
11. Brother Love perpetuates the false class system of clergy-laity distinction in the
Body of Christ, which began in the early Middle Ages long after the death of the
Biblical apostles. Jesus taught that we were to all relate to one another as brethren
(Matt.23:8). Paul, far from demanding ten per cent of everybody’s paycheck (that
would have made him wealthy) taught EQUALITY of well-being within the Body of
Christ (2 Cor.8:14). In your own body, your foot doesn’t starve your hand so it can
have more nutrients than it actually needs. God doesn’t want the “professional
minister” driving a Rolls Royce while the poor widow starves. The worst swindlers
(like Brother Love) don’t care if the poor widow cuts back on her cat chow and winter
heating to “finance the work of the Lord”. Jesus lambasted preachers who devoured
widows’ houses and warned them they’d go to hell for it (Matt.23:14; Mark 12:40;
Luke 20:47).
12. Brother Love plays on parents’ guilt by telling them that they’re setting a bad
example for their kids if they don’t tithe. What parent wants to fail their own
children? Preachers know their cash cows have cash calves who grow up to be a new
crop of money trees to be picked from.
13. Brother Loves teaches that Malachi 3:8 is God’s rebuke to Christ’s New
Testament Church. WRONG! The entire book is addressed to sinful Levitical priests
and “sons of Jacob”, not the sons and daughters of other nations (see Malachi 2:1
and 3:6). Old Covenant Law was given to Israel ONLY (Lev.27:34; Psalms 147:20).
God didn’t order non-Israelites to keep His kosher food laws. Israelites were allowed
to feed foreigners meat that had died of natural causes, rather than being
slaughtered (Deut.14:21). It was even okay for God’s people to sell such road kill
meat to the Gentiles to eat. Now, if God didn’t command Gentiles to keep His
dietary laws, then why would He have expected them to keep other Old Covenant
laws, such as tithing?

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14. Brother Love teaches a ten per cent standard of surrender to God. Well, if God
needs ten per cent of your money (He already owns you and all you have), then
what about other areas of your life? Does God only own ten per cent of your love,
devotion, talents and time? If preachers are so eager to grab ten per cent of your
paycheck then why don’t they demand ten per cent of the veggies in your garden
(the true Biblical tithe)? They’re after other kinds of lettuce!
15. Throughout his sermon Brother Love insinuates that people who don’t tithe don’t
love Jesus. In this way he puts a spirit of shame and guilt on them, which is spiritual
voodoo. What Christian wants others to doubt his love for Jesus? So when the plate
goes around, more goes in, which supposedly reflects love for Christ instead of the
greed of the preacher!
What IS Satan’s sneakiest tithing lie?
That disobedience to an unscriptural
commandment (tithing on wages to non-Levites in the Age of Grace) is a sin which
needs God’s forgiveness. Soul-damning lies can enter the church clinging onto the
coat tails of the most profound truths. It’s the lying, stealing thieves in the pulpit
who should weep between the porch and the altar for their sins, as in Joel 2:17).
What spiritual misery merchants are doing today is forcibly breaking into the tender
souls of God’s people to overcome them with waves of emotion, which has been
generated not by the Holy Spirit’s conviction for sin, but by polished, professional
preaching and musical manipulation. That’s spiritual rape of the Bride of Christ, plain
and simple.
Satan’s most dangerous lies are shrouded in misapplied scripture.

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Prophetic Message
Digging up Dead Traditions
Gen. 4:3-7; Mark 7:1-13; Luke 18: 9-14; II Cor. 11:14; Gal. 5:1-3;
Eph. 2:8-9; Col. 2:4-10; Jude 3
Yea, saith the Lord of the Harvest, a lot of stubborn weeds have been planted
over the centuries by religious authorities unwilling to let My people walk in the
liberty Christ died to provide for them. Traditions of men, no matter how deeply
entrenched they may be, or how long they have been accepted as gospel truth in My
Church, are unacceptable in My sight. They have the taint and the odor of fleshly
works on them. Even as Cain disregarded My clear instructions on how to properly
approach My presence, religious systems and traditions of men have discarded My
original divine order for worship, fellowship and service and set about building
structures of their own, to replace the foundations laid by the first apostles.
Religious pharisees unwilling to accept My Word at face value and unwilling to believe
that My Work on Calvary is totally complete, will preach a false formula of: Christ’s
best efforts+lots of religious activities+observance of men’s vain traditions+lots of
money=salvation. How like the devil, to add flowery religious fibs to My Word. How
very subtle he is about it. If tithing, enforced fasting, and frantic evangelizing to get
people to sign pledge cards is essential to maintain your salvation, then My Work on
the Cross is incomplete, and My intercessions for you in heaven as your High Priest
are insufficient. Instead I shouted from the Cross: It is finished!
Some legalists try to control My people with perfumed guilt-inducing techniques,
such as saying: "If you really loved Jesus, you’d do it anyway." But who are those
self-appointed judges to tell anybody that any tradition of men must be observed, or
their love for Me can be called into question! I said: "If ye love Me, keep My
commandments. I DID NOT say: "If ye love Me, keep the traditions of men, so as
not to rock the boat." "Unity at any price" is a flowery religious fib of satan, who
goes about as an angel of light seeking whom he may devour. The devil is very very
religious, and he often buries My truth under a big pile of misapplied Scripture. My
people are not to be auctioned off back into legalistic slavery to the vain traditions of
men, just to avoid troubling waters polluted by long-standing lies!
I feel like a farmer battling to dig up the enormous stumps of ancient trees
deeply entrenched in hardened soil and stubborn to remove. The soil is clogged with
dry, lifeless roots of vain tradition which impart no life; roots planted by pharaoh
pharisees out to serve their own ends, who care not that they have tangled up the
soil beneath their feet and turned it to shifting sand. I cannot sow My good seed in
the hearts of My people unless I first clear the ground of the weeds of men so it can
receive the life-giving Word of God to bring forth fruit into the Kingdom of God.

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SINKING FAST

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IS FASTING GOD’S KEY TO VICTORY?
Some swear by fasting as being THE key to God’s heart. Fasting can either be a
planned period of abstinence or it could simply be the result of an extended prayer
session where the need is so great and prayer takes on such intensity that hunger is
forgotten for a time. Such times would include periods of personal crisis, grief, or
interceding for others to be delivered from satan’s power. Fasting should not be done
to “beat yourself up” for being imperfect. Some believers are so sin-conscious they
are not Son-conscious. Some give lip service to the all-sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice
even as they strive to add their own suffering to “make up the difference.”
Even if a Christian insists they need to supplement Christ’s own sacrifice with
self-inflicted suffering (fasting) of their own, then it begs a few questions: How much
self-denial does it take to get God to answer your prayer? If you’re only praying for
five dollars, is five minutes long enough? Does God charge a higher fee if you want a
new car? What if you need a thousand bucks for a plane ticket to go visit a sick
relative? Will God be satisfied if you only pray ten minutes, or does He expect you to
fast a whole week because it takes more faith to get a grand than five bucks? And if
so, does God expect you to fast all food and liquid and subsist on water to increase
your bodily suffering, so you’ll accumulate extra suffering credits to pay for the
miracle?
Some Christians object that since the Old Testament saints often fasted, we have
to as well. But an example is not a command. Fasting is NOWHERE commanded in
the Law of Moses, except that it is strongly implied as a Day of Atonement practice.
Most of us are NOT Jews, and even if we were, to keep the Day of Atonement the
Biblical way you’d have to offer animal sacrifices on a stone altar and completely
abstain from work (Lev.23:27-32). Failure to keep ALL these stipulations results in
being DESTROYED from among the people of God. You can’t pick one practice out as
binding without observing the rest.
Many insist that we need to do our fair share of suffering to demonstrate our
worthiness to be Christians, and that’s why we have to fast. But ask any Christian
who has gone through heart-rending trials, or even been persecuted for their beliefs.
A very few have even been martyred for their faith in Christ. That’s quite enough
suffering, I think. And who’s to decide how much suffering is enough to buy favor
with God? Either our standing with Him is by grace through faith in Christ, or the
Bible didn’t really mean what it said about salvation being a FREE gift. Not of works,
lest any man should boast (Rom.5:15,16,18; Eph.2:9).
Fasting, like “seed-planting”, “praising for miracles”, positive confession, etc, gets
glory which should rightfully go to Jesus alone. Does fasting instill humility? NO!
Putting faith in “a fasted body” is like a beauty contestant who starves to win. But it
is Christ alone Who opens the Way into the Holiest Place (Heb.10:19). Fasting, like
eating, is a bodily function. Most everyone goes a few hours a day without eating.
The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (physical) (II Cor.10:4). Confidence must
not be put in the flesh (Phil.3:3).
Fasting was an old Jewish religious custom. Scripture does not attribute fasting to
the earliest saints, such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses was the
first faster in Scripture. When he received the Law on Mt. Sinai, he didn’t eat or drink
for 40 days and 40 nights (Deut.9:9).When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, he
found the Israelites committing idolatry. Moses angrily broke the stone tablets of
the Law, then went back up the mountain. Moses REPEATED his fast, for a total of 80
days (verses 15-19)! Moses was SUPERNATURALLY sustained! No one can live much
longer than three days without water. Very few, if any, could survive 80 days without

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food. Two months without food led to necrosis (bodily decay) in Irish hunger strikers
whose breathing had not yet ceased.
Religious tradition motivated the ritual fasting of the Pharisees, not Scriptural
command. Fasting was never given as a church ordinance by the Biblical apostles. It
is not even recommended! Even under the Law, only one regular fast was
commanded by God: the Day of Atonement, when Israelites were commanded to
“afflict their souls” (Lev.23:26-32). But zealous Jews thought they’d help God out by
imposing more fasts. Several fasts were added to the Jewish calendar BY
COMMANDMENT OF MEN: the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months of
the year (Zech.8:19). They
commemorated such national tragedies as the
destruction of both Temples on the ninth of Av. One fast was done in remembrance
of a political assassination, that of Gedaliah (2 Kings 25:25).
Although God never sanctioned those extra fasts, religious leaders thought
“holiness” should be harder to achieve. The proud Pharisee who thought he needed
no repentance fasted twice weekly (Luke 18:12). So much for praying for DAILY
bread (Matt.6:11). Speaking of daily bread, if regular fasting was demanded of firstcentury converts, why did needy widows of the church receive a DAILY distribution of
food from deacons (Acts 6:1-2)?
Jewish Pharisees would fast each Monday and Thursday. The only time a
Pharisee felt okay about breaking this pattern would be if a religious feast fell on a
Monday or Thursday, or if he were attending a week of wedding celebrations. During
a wedding feast, all ritual fasting was suspended.
Did Jesus command His church to fast? In Matt.6:16-17 Jesus says “when”, not
“if” ye fast, as many point out. But Christ was addressing Jews who lived under the
Old Covenant. They already fasted regularly. Why Jesus tolerated this fasting is
hinted at in Chapter 23.
In Matthew 23:2 Jesus said of the learned interpreters of Jewish Law: The scribes
and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. *****They proudly presided in Moses’ place as
Law giver. They added their own “oral traditions” (burdens) to the written Law.
VERSE 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do
not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.***Here is a key to understanding
why Jesus okayed the fasting already practiced by His Jewish listeners: Christ
encouraged reasonable submission to those who “sat in Moses seat”. But that was
before the old Mosaic ordinances were nailed to the Cross of Calvary (Col. 2:14).
Jesus did not veto the Jews’ obedience to expounders (expanders) of Mosaic Law,
but He did not want them to “do after their works” of hypocrisy and religious pride.
VERSE 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on
men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their
fingers.***Jesus called extra religious requirements OF MEN heavy burdens and
grievous to be borne. Christians have been eaten up with needless guilt over a
harmful heresy going around: “The longer you starve your body, the quicker your
hunger for Jesus will be satisfied”.
“sANctOREXIA” sounds like a deeply spiritual doctrine but beware! The devil is a
religious imposter! FAITH is the key to pleasing God, not fasting (Heb.11:6). Even
Eastern mystics “fast for miracles”.
Hebrews 13:9: Be not carried about with divers (diverse) and strange doctrines. For
it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats (dietary
restrictions), which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.* * *
*The Book of Hebrews teaches faith in the all-sufficiency of Christ. Its tone is

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sometimes stern towards negligent believers. But fasting is NOWHERE mentioned in
Hebrews as being a duty of discipleship!
Matt.23: 5: BUT ALL THEIR WORKS (including fasting) THEY (the Pharisees) DO FOR
TO BE SEEN OF MEN: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of
their garments.
In certain passages Jesus addresses MOTIVE. He said not to invite your own
kindred (or rich people) to dinner, lest they reward you in this life (Luke 14:14).
Rather, invite the sick and the poor. Jesus is not forbidding us to eat Thanksgiving
dinner with our relatives! He’s saying: Don’t forget the poor! I’m reminded of that
NEVER-PREACHED-ON (I wonder why?) tithing passage in Deut.14:22-29 which
states the true purpose of the tithe. It was used to provide food for a party of
Thanksgiving before God at the annual feasts of Israel. The Feast of Pentecost and
The Feast of Tabernacles were joyous occasions when the Levite, the stranger
(foreigner), the fatherless, and the widow in Israel would feast in the Presence of the
Lord with those who brought tithed agricultural products to their place of worship
(Deut.16:9-15).
Jesus okayed the Pharisees’ tithing of garden herbs, even while reprimanding
them for omitting the weightier MATTERS OF THE LAW: justice, mercy and faith
(Matt.23:23). Did Jesus say Gentile Christians must tithe today? No. Tithing, like
religious fasting, was performed by Jews UNDER THE LAW AND BEFORE THE CROSS.
Church Age believers are NOT under the authority of those ancient doctors of the
Law who dictated twice-weekly fasting. We are under grace, not under the Law
(Rom.6:14).
If Christians must fast, and fasting is spiritually beneficial, then why didn’t the
early church apostles write more scripture on its spiritual merits? I couldn’t find any!
Why didn’t they devote more time to teaching pagan converts about this alleged
key to all the blessings of heaven? Why didn’t Peter, Paul or John ever rebuke
anybody for not logging sufficient fasting days? If fasting is the great problem solver
and blessing bringer it’s cracked up to be, then those apostles did their converts a
great disservice by keeping mum on the subject!
Whenever God ordained times and seasons for feasting, sacrificing or other
rituals, God left no detail to speculation. Exodus Chapter 12 specifies which days the
Passover Feast must be held. God says that some people qualify to keep the
Passover, but others don’t (foreigners and hired servants). God orders unleavened
bread to be eaten. God instructs how to cook the lamb, and how to dispose of
leftovers.
If Matt.6:16-18 commands Christians to fast, it breaks God’s earlier pattern of
specifying “who”, “when”, “where”, “how”, “how long”, and “how often.”. Jesus’
listeners already knew what their particular fasting tradition was when they heard
Him tell them to “appear not unto men to fast”. Jesus wanted their fasting, like their
almsgiving (Matt.6:3-4) to be a private matter between themselves and God. How
can today’s Christians “appear not unto men to fast” when everyone is talking about
how hungry the big church fast is making them? The Pharisees would deliberately
appear miserable, to get people’s sympathy and admiration. Jesus said that would be
their only reward.
In Matthew 6:1-2 Jesus urges humility “when thou doest thine alms” (give to the
needy). Jesus did not decree that everyone in all circumstances must give alms.
According to the Jewish Talmud, a poor man was not required to give alms out of his
meager subsistence. Jesus was telling people that when they did hand out alms, not
to act like the Pharisees did. Likewise, in Luke 14:13-14, “when” is used again in
the same way as it is in Matt.6:16: WHEN, not IF, you fast. This time Jesus tells His

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listeners WHEN you prepare a feast (an especially nice meal for social interaction),
call the poor, the blind and other unfortunate folks instead of those in a position to
repay you. Now, if Matthew 6:16-18 is a commandment for Christians to fast, then
this other “when” passage must be interpreted in the same way! Throwing a fancy
dinner party for the poor is a COMMANDMENT you break at the risk of His
displeasure, even if you’re financially unable to do so. No, Jesus is addressing the
issue of a RIGHT ATTITUDE in doing things His Jewish listeners were doing anyway,
not commanding all Christians everywhere to fast or throw feasts.
Some scriptures are addressed to specific individuals, rather than having a
universal application. Jesus told a healed leper to “shew himself to the priest” and
offer a ritual gift (Gr.doron, sacrifice) (Matt.8:1-4.) Jesus also commanded the
healed leper TO TELL NO MAN. Does that mean we must offer animal sacrifices
today and keep it a secret when we are healed? Jesus asked the rich young ruler to
go and sell all that he had (Luke 18:22). Jesus did not ask Zacchaeus or Jairus to
sell all their possessions.
Matt.6:16-18 doesn’t say how OFTEN each person must fast. Once a lifetime?
Once a week? Can you have juice? It wasn’t clarified whether fasting must be done
without food and water night and day, as the Jews did in a time of danger (Esther
4:16). David sometimes fasted till sundown (Judges 20:26; 2 Sam.1:12; 3:35). Is
that okay? That’s similar to how Muslims keep their month-long Ramadan fast. They
fast by day and feast by night.
It wasn’t clarified whether expectant mothers, children, or sick and elderly
Christians must fast to be faithful. Nowhere does Scripture command Christians to
reserve specific day(s) of the week for fasting, or pick their own days. Christians
who “covenant” with God to fast on certain days come under a law of “observing
DAYS and months and times and years” (Gal.4:10). Every time “fast day” rolls
around, the believer might worry that if he doesn’t keep the “spiritual disciplines”,
God might discipline (punish) him. That’s fear, not grace (Rom.8:15).
I’ve read various pieces on how to properly break a fast, reflecting on the fact
that no rules about fast-breaking are given in Scripture! Even when the fast is
“over”, people are made to feel guilty if they don’t “show discipline” in resuming the
eating of food. “Discipline” (prolonging the misery) means just nibbling on a bit of
fruit, etc. for a couple of days. This really amounts to continuing with the fast in a
modified form, as approved “fast-breaking foods” have few calories. Eating anything
more than that for awhile is said to repel the sweet Presence of God the faster strove
so hard to achieve during His fast. I do know that prolonged communion with the
Lord, whether fasting is involved or not, is very refreshing to the soul. Being afraid
to spoil that sparkling clean sense of spiritual intimacy with Jesus by ending the fast
is a lot like giving being reluctant to ruin that just-brushed feeling by using your
teeth to chew your next meal!
But that’s nonsense, isn’t it? IN Matthew 15:11 Jesus said food does not defile
people (make them ritually unclean). It is SIN in every form which alienates God’s
Spirit, not the presence of food in His Temple (our body)! God doesn’t mind meat
(food) being present in His House. Just refer back to good old Malachi 3:10!
Where it concerns the resumption of eating after a fast, everybody’s needs are
different. Weak, watery foods might not suffice for some. David’s men found a
young Egyptian slave who had fainted in the wilderness after being deserted by his
master for being too ill to travel. The lad had gone without food and water three
days and three nights. David did not offer the Egyptian just a teaspoon of yogurt.
David fed him bread, dried figs and raisins, all energy-dense foods, so that his “spirit
came to him again” (I Sam.30:11-12).
Some caution that if you immediately go back to a normal diet you’ll only undo all
the benefits of your fast, so better keep your fuel tank on fumes, or God’s hands are

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tied, where getting your miracle is concerned! I thought God was mightier than that!
He upholds the entire weight of this earth WITHOUT anybody fasting and praying
that He’ll continue to do so! God is well able to bear our burdens too!
As for the body being an inherently evil thing to be punished for Adam and Eve’s
sin, that’s an age-old heresy. Adam ate the fruit out of a heart of disobedience, so
sin originated in Adam’s heart. The seat of sin is the heart, not the stomach (Mark
7:18-23)! Worship proceeds out of the regenerated spirit of man, not out of our
intestines, gall bladder, liver, stomach, etc.
Try telling someone who is ravenously hungry from a three-day fast that he (or
she) will lose the reward of their fast if they break that fast with something delicious!
That is an ascetic (body-punishing) attitude and falls into the “taste not” and
“commanding to abstain from meats” category (Col.2:21; I Tim.4:3). Once you feel
within your spirit that God has sent His answer, why should you continue to go
hungry? Rather, you ought to rejoice and eat your meals with gladness (Acts 2:46).
The early believers ate their food with gladness, not guilt!
Esther lived under the Law, in the days before “the way into the Holiest” (see
Heb.10:19) was opened through the blood of Christ. In great fearfulness she begged
God for mercy on her people, knowing that her nation was under divine judgment
(exile from the Promised Land) as punishment for idolatry committed by earlier
generations of Israelites. Esther had no access to the promises of the New Covenant.
Esther couldn’t even go to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer up sacrifices for her sins.
During that historical period, the destroyed Temple would be rebuilt by a few
returning exiles under Ezra and Nehemiah, but Esther had no access to the rites of
the Old Covenant. All Esther could do was cast herself on the mercy of Almighty God.
Sin had not yet been finally dealt with through the once-for-all offering of Christ, so
it would have been understandable if Esther had trembled at the thought of how
angry the sins of Israel made God. Although she was the queen, Esther was a virtual
captive in the court of a heathen king who did not observe Mosaic Law. Esther might
very well have feared that despite her own good character, her own prayers might be
rejected by God! But the emergency her nation faced called for bold action. Some
wicked official of the King was threatening to wipe out all the Jews in the King’s
domain. Esther pleaded with God to spare her people destruction. After her very
mournful three-day fast, she attended two banquets where wine was served
(Esth.5:6-8; 7:1). Despite the terrible national emergency worrying her, Esther did
not extend her abstinence beyond the predetermined three-day period (Esth. 4:16).
Although Esther dined on delicacies with the King, she still got her miracle from God.
The Jews were spared destruction. Her enemy Haman and his murderous henchmen
were hanged.
Overloading the digestive system after a fast is very unwise, but if you FEEL
hungry, eat whatever you feel you can tolerate, keeping in mind that lots of water is
essential to refresh the system.
Understanding the Complete Picture
Jesus’ warning against religious pride is the dominant, recurring theme of
Matthew 6:1-18. Jesus warns that almsgiving, praying and fasting must not be
done “to be seen of men”. Christ was addressing Jews who lived under Mosaic Law,
not Grace. If you keep part of that passage as a law you must keep it ALL. Jesus
tells fasters not to look unhappy. He instructs them to “anoint your head with oil”,
another Jewish custom not universally observed. So if you must fast in response to
this passage, you must get the oil bottle out too.
In Matt.9:14-17 John the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus why His disciples don’t fast
like they do. Jesus immediately links fasting with mourning. Jesus compares fasting

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to old wineskins which cannot contain new wine. They’ll burst. Jesus says it’s useless
to patch up an old garment with brand new cloth. It will tear. Fasting is a perfect
tissue match with Old Covenant legalism, not New Covenant liberty. Jesus wasn’t
trying to patch up old Jewish customs to hand them down to the church!
Jesus says that the children of the bridal chamber cannot mourn while the
Bridegroom is with them. But the days would come when the Bridegroom would be
taken away from them, and then His disciples would fast. In the days between Jesus’
crucifixion and His resurrection, His disciples did mourn. Their joy returned when
Christ rose again (Luke 24:52).
Many believe that since the Bridegroom hasn’t returned for us we must fast. True,
Jesus is not among us in His resurrected, glorified body. But He is continually with
us in Spirit. We are spiritually united to Christ by faith (I Cor.6:17). So how can we
say the Bridegroom is not with us? Jesus Himself said, just before His return to
heaven:: LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE EARTH
(Matt.28:20b). If you are filled with the joy of the Lord, why should you fast? That’s
like getting married in a morgue! The normal Christian experience should be “joy
unspeakable and full of glory” (I Pet.1:8).
Some think that only when Jesus is PHYSICALLY present with His people (in
heaven or at the Rapture) will they no longer have to fast. There are a couple of
flaws in this assumption. Even when Jesus walked the earth, He did not tell disciples
of John and the Pharisees to stop fasting just because He was physically present with
them. But Jesus did tell them that mourning was inappropriate for His own disciples
while the Bridegroom was with them (Mark 2:19). Jesus did not object to religious
Jews continuing their fasting customs. But Jesus did not order His disciples to fast.
The key question is: Is the Bridegroom with us or not? You believe He is only if you
take Matthew 28:20b at face value. Even when Christ comes again, His glorified body
will be a literal flesh and bone body (Luke 24:39). Jesus’ perfected body is awesome.
It can vanish, and can even pass through walls (John 20:19; Luke 24:31). But Jesus’
glorified body will be limited to one geographical location at a time. Whenever Jesus
sits on His glorious Throne in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3), He will be physically absent
from saints ruling in other parts of the earth.
Jesus will ALWAYS be spiritually present with each of His loved ones
(Matt.28:20b). The best way to picture God’s omnipresence (being everywhere at
the same time) is to think of millions of people viewing the same TV program at
once. God is able to reach and teach billions of souls simultaneously. Christ our
Bridegroom is spiritually present with us NOW, even though the marriage ceremony
of Jesus to us, His Bride the Church, is yet future (Rev.19:7).
Jesus called fasting an act of mourning (Matt.9:15). If, by definition, we must
mourn because His physical presence is not with us, then WHY DID THE DISCIPLES
REJOICE AFTER HE ASCENDED BACK TO HEAVEN (Luke 24:51-52)? This just doesn’t
make much sense if we’re supposed to mourn the absence of His resurrected body.
In John 16:7 Jesus tells His disciples that it was expedient, or better for them, if
He went away and sent the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. The Holy Ghost can be
present with everybody at the same time, which a physical being can’t do. Yet
instead of rejoicing in this better provision of Jesus, many believers act like the Holy
Spirit is a poor substitute for Jesus and they go on mourning.
“The children of the bridal chamber” who would fast are widely assumed to refer
to Church Age believers. But Christians, corporately, are Christ’s actual Bride. The
wedding guests and the Bride cannot be one and the same! The Greek word for
“children” in Mark 2:19 is “huios”. This word is used in a wide variety of applications
in the New Testament. According to comments in Strong’s Concordance, “children of
the bridal chamber” can be interpreted as “friends attending a wedding.” John the
Baptist called himself the Bridegroom’s friend, or, the groom’s best man (John 3:29).

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Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:14: Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I
(not the Pharisees) command you.
Toward the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, He told His disciples that He would
henceforth (from now on) call them His friends instead of His servants (John 15:14).
But at no time before the Cross did Christ refer to His Twelve disciples as a church.
Jesus didn’t even call the Seventy a church (Luke 10:1-24). But Christ did say “I
WILL (future tense) BUILD My church in Matthew 16:18. Only in one other passage
does the word “church” (Gr. ekklesia) appear before Jesus’ crucifixion, where He
addresses disciplinary problems which would arise once the church came into
existence (Matt.18:15-17).
Before Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, His disciples were still spiritually
unregenerated and living under the Law. Like John the Baptist and other Old
Testament saints, they were still “friends of the Bridegroom”. After His resurrection,
Jesus breathed upon His disciples and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John
20:22). I believe it was then that they were spiritually born again (I Pet.1:23). I also
believe that the Holy Ghost, not fasting, empowered them for Christian service at
Pentecost (Luke 24:49). Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples didn’t include
fasting! Jesus told them to tarry (wait) in Jerusalem until they were endued with
power from on High (Luke 24:49). Many assume that Christ’s followers fasted all ten
days they waited for the Spirit in the Upper Room, but a plain reading of Scripture
doesn’t support this (see Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4). The disciples continued in prayer and
supplication (no mention of fasting in this context).
Pentecost was the birthday of the Church. Before Pentecost there was no church,
just a band of disciples. When they were baptized into the one Body of Christ, they
were spiritually united to Him (I Cor.6:17;12:13). They became members of His
betrothed Bride (2 Cor.11:2)! This is a much closer relationship to God than that
enjoyed by Old Testament saints. Before Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary made spiritual
regeneration of the disciples possible, they were among
the GUESTS of the
Bridegroom, the ones Jesus referred to when He said, “In those days they will fast”.
Throughout his epistles Paul speaks of the Church as the body and BRIDE of
Christ (SINGULAR, not plural), though it is comprised of many members. In the Book
of Revelation, the church is not mentioned again after Chapter 3, until the very end
when she reappears as the Bride of Christ who has made HERSELF (singular)
ready(Rev.19:7). The children of the Bridechamber are PLURAL, not singular.
Jesus was not ordering His Bride to fast. Jesus prophesied that His disciples
would fast for sorrow of heart when He was violently taken away from them. Isaiah
53:8 speaks of the Messiah being “taken from prison and from judgment”.
Translator’s notes in the margin read: “He was TAKEN AWAY by distress and
judgment”.
Psalms 102:24 speaks of the coming Messiah: I said, O my God, TAKE ME NOT
AWAY in the midst of my days. Christ was to be taken away by a violent death, and
His disciples would sorrow greatly. But their sorrow would be turned into joy when
Jesus rose from the grave (Luke 24:41; John 16:20; Acts 2:46).
Old Testament sinners are sometimes commanded to humble themselves with
fasting, but nowhere in Scripture do people fast to celebrate their normal condition of
joy in the Lord. I’ve heard of people going on “thanksgiving fasts” to show gratitude
to God. But that’s akin to monks whipping themselves to achieve religious ecstasy
through self-humiliation . It is said that St. Malachy, the Irish monk who had a vision
of all the popes who would ever live, was taught that self-inflicted suffering would
bring him closer to God. Malachy beat his body and slept on boards.
Such severe treatment of the body is discouraged by Colossians 2:20-23 as being
a poor way to subdue the flesh. It’s almost as if some saints think that the unmerited
gift of Jesus’ joy isn’t fitting for a proper sour-faced religion. Suffering-obsessed

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believers are still saddled with a sin nature. They think they don’t deserve to be
happy this side of heaven. So they punish their own bodies to stay sad, in keeping
with their lowly earthly estate.
Beware of false religious mysticism. Satan can appear as an angel of light (2
Cor.11:14). Why do some people think God enjoys “sacrifices” of self-inflicted
suffering? Failure to “live a fasted life” could lead to guilt feelings for “depriving God
of a sweet-smelling sacrifice” He supposedly delights in! But Christ is the ONLY
Sacrifice we need to stay right with God! Adding our own efforts to Christ’s finished
work on Calvary is deadly to faith. Falling from grace results from putting ourselves
under a yoke of legalistic bondage (Gal.5:1,4).
The early church has often been called “a fasting church”, and that’s supposedly
why there were lots more miracles in those days. But could it be that those miracles
happened more as a result of a heart full of love than from an empty stomach? Acts
2:44-45 and Acts 4:32-35 shows how greatly Christians loved one another in the
beginning. They walked their talk. They would even sell their valuables to provide for
needy brethren, so that there was none among them who lacked for life’s
necessities. In the very beginning of the Church Age, the poor were tenderly cared
for, not neglected . Can you imagine that happening today? Instead, Christians are
taught that “successful” saints swim while those who don’t apply “God’s Seven Keys
to Prosperity” sink. “Seeds of faith” are sent to rich TV preachers instead of being
used to relieve poverty in the church. Helping a poor struggling family is a much
greater love gift to God than starving on a fast. Isaiah 58:7 makes it clear that what
God really wants is to see the hungry fed, the naked clothed and the homeless
housed.
Acts 2:42 says: And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and
fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Verses 46-47: AND THEY, CONTINUING DAILY WITH ONE ACCORD IN THE TEMPLE,
AND BREAKING BREAD FROM HOUSE TO HOUSE, DID EAT THEIR MEAT WITH
GLADNESS AND SINGLENESS OF HEART, Praising God, and having favour with all the
people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved***. No
mention of fasting in those verses. The early Christians shared meals in each others’
homes with gladness, instead of keeping mournful fasts.
The apostle James was reputed to be a strict adherent of Mosaic Law, and very
Jewish in His devotional practices. James allegedly spent so much time praying on
his knees that he developed calluses on them like a camel’s. In his epistle James
rebuked Christians for failing to prove their love in practical ways. He rebuked
believers for talking dirty. He rebuked them for double-mindedness. He rebuked the
rich for being proud and greedy. James rebuked Christians for fighting among
themselves. But he never upbraided anybody for failure to fast! James, that most
legalistic of Christ’s apostles, never once commands, or even mentions, fasting in his
epistle. James did urge sinning, double-minded believers to “be afflicted, and mourn
and weep” (James 4:8-9). Such an attitude of deep sorrow for sin could involve
fasting, but fasting isn’t mentioned even there. Instead of urging more fasting to
refine your faith, James exhorts believers to do more than just pray when a brother
or a sister is hungry for DAILY food (James 2:15-16). Feed them!
James tells Christians how to handle certain situations (James 5:13-14). If a
believer is afflicted, he is to pray (no mention of fasting). If he is merry, he is to sing
psalms (not go on a thanksgiving fast). Anyone sick is to call for the elders of the
church and have them pray over him and anoint him in the Name of the Lord. James
does not command the elders to fast and pray, just pray.
If fasting were such a critically important issue, why didn’t the apostles mention
it more? Except for Paul’s “fasting oft” (going hungry because of persecution, etc.)

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not much is said about fasting in the epistles. These doctrinal letters to the churches
NEVER bind fasting on believers! The apostles never specify how severe a fast has to
be, how long it should last, how often a fast must be undertaken, etc. In I
Thes.5:14-22 Paul gives a list of things faithful Christians are to do, including pray
without ceasing, or staying in a spirit of prayer. No mention of fasting in that list. If
you fasted without ceasing, you’d get to heaven faster than the preacher at the
potluck!
Some point out that the apostles sought God’s counsel with fasting (Acts 13:2).
The urgency of the apostles’ need for God’s guidance took priority over all earthly
concerns as they sought God in prayer. Yet it is also true that during the transition
from the Old Covenant to the New, the Jewish disciples still clung to some of their old
ways. In Galatians 2:11-14 Paul rebuked Peter for refusing to eat with Gentile
believers, out of fear of legalistic Jews. Even more significantly, in Acts 18:18 the
Apostle Paul shaved his head and made a vow in the Temple after the manner of the
Old Testament Nazarites, who would cut their hair when their period of consecration
was finished (Numbers 6:18).
Some time after Paul shaved his head as part of his vow-keeping ritual, he went
up to Jerusalem to attend one of the Jews’ three yearly religious festivals (Acts
18:21). Does this mean that we have to to follow Paul’s example and travel to
Jerusalem to keep the Jewish High Holy Days? In his epistles Paul never commands
anyone to “go up to Jerusalem” to literally keep the feasts of Passover, Pentecost,
and Tabernacles. We spiritually keep those days. Jesus is our Passover Lamb, of
whom we spiritually partake every day (John 1:29; John 6:48-58). Pentecost, which
came fifty days after Passover, was the day the wave sheaf offering (first ripening
sheaf of grain) was presented to the Lord by the Jewish High Priest (Lev.23:15). The
Holy Ghost (the Spirit of Christ, the Bread of Life) fills believers like He did on the
Day of Pentecost (Mark 1:8; Acts 2:1-4). The Feast of Tabernacles commemorates
the years the Israelites dwelled in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land
(Lev.23:33-44). We abide in Christ, our Living Vine (John 15:1-10).
In Acts 15:24 the apostles clearly state that circumcision (and Law-keeping) is not
required of Gentile converts. Yet Paul circumcised Timothy out of fear of offending
the Jews (Acts 16:3). Later on, Paul stood his ground and refused to also circumcise
Titus (Gal.2:3). The apostles did not teach circumcision to their Gentile converts.
They did not teach them to make Old Testament-style vows or keep Jewish rituals.
And they did not require tithing and fasting.
Even if the apostles had made fasting a condition of Christian discipleship, they
would not have assumed that a non-Jew raised in an idolatrous, party-going culture
was already familiar with fasting. That convert would need to be taught about fasting
and its merits from scratch. The apostles’ council of Acts 15 was held to determine
whether Gentile converts to Christ had to adopt Jewish laws and customs (that would
include fasting). Even James, who was zealous for the Law of Moses, sat on this
council (Acts 15:13). In verse 28-29 the apostles spell out what they, AND THE HOLY
GHOST require of the Gentiles, besides faith in Christ and walking in the Spirit. Only
that the new converts abstain from sexual immorality, the consumption of blood, and
meats strangled or dedicated to idols. The old wine of Jewish legalism was replaced
by the New Wine of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in
the Holy Ghost (Rom.14:17).
The closest I found to a fasting commandment in the epistles was I Cor. 7:5, and
it wasn’t even a commandment: Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with
consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer (some early
Greek manuscripts omit fasting); and come together again, that satan tempt you not
for your incontinency.

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VERSE 6: But I SPEAK THIS BY PERMISSION, AND NOT OF COMMANDMENT.
The Christian is not commanded by Scripture to fast. But neither is he
commanded to eat when he feels no need to. Faith, not food intake or lack thereof,
determines the quality of a believer’s service to God.
I COR.8:8: BUT MEAT (FOOD) COMMENDETH (approves) US NOT TO GOD: FOR
NEITHER, IF WE EAT, ARE WE THE BETTER; NEITHER, IF WE EAT NOT, ARE WE THE
WORSE.
Whether we eat or don’t eat, it doesn’t affect our standing before God. You are
free to eat and you are free not to eat. But if you decide to abstain from food and/or
drink during a season of prayer, don’t look upon fasting as adding to Christ’s own
redemptive work on Calvary. He meant what He said: It is finished (John 19:30).
These scriptures were written by Paul, apostle to the Gentiles (Rom.11:13; Gal.2:9).
Paul left no written instructions in the Bible on how to fast, nor did he ever command
Gentile believers to do it for any reason, not even as a weapon to defeat satan.
Can Fasting Make You a Miracle Worker?
Fasting can induce a “God owes me” attitude. If some non-faster easily obtains
the very blessing the faster prays for but doesn’t receive, this can cause resentment
and envy which could imperil the faster’s relationship with God. God is not obligated
to grant requests which oppose His express will or violate His Word. The penitent
King David fasted for seven days, begging God to heal his ailing infant son, who was
born of his adultery with Bathsheba. But no miracle happened. God did not spare the
child’s earthly life. David’s men asked David why he started eating again. David said
there was no point in continuing to fast (2 Sam.12:23). God had already given His
final answer: Someday David would go to where his son was, but his son would not
return to him.
Fasting, however hard or long, can never purchase one solitary
benefit from the Hand of God.
Some justify compulsory fasting by saying Jesus did it. But what does the Bible
really say about how Jesus ate? The lifestyles of Jesus and John the Baptist are
contrasted in Matthew 11: 18-19. John “came neither eating (bread) nor drinking
(wine), so people said John had a devil. Jesus “came eating and drinking” so Jesus
was called a winebibber and a glutton. BOTH men drew criticism! People noticed that
Jesus didn’t habitually fast. Jesus’ enemies twisted that fact to discredit Him. If
Jesus had eaten barely enough to keep a fly alive, the “winebibber and glutton”
allegation would be as ridiculous as calling a lion a vegetarian!
John was a frequent faster (ascetic). Jesus wasn’t. John lived on locusts and wild
honey (Matt.3:4). Locusts are grasshoppers, though some airbrush John the Baptist’s
bugs by saying they were really locust pods (carob). Carob is a cocoa substitute.
Did Jesus live a “fasted life”? He sacrificed His all for us, even His very life. But
scripture records only ONE occasion where Jesus went without eating for a prolonged
period: The fast in the wilderness, where He ate nothing for forty days and nights,
and was tempted by satan (Matt.4:1-5). Christ was supernaturally sustained by the
Word of God (verse 4). AFTER Jesus finished the fast He felt hungry (verse 2).
Eating DAILY was Jesus’ normal practice (Matt.6:11). He even feasted with
despised social outcasts and sinners (Matt.9:10-11; Luke 5:30). The Pharisees
upbraided Christ for dining with tax collectors and other scoundrels. They criticized
Jesus for freely enjoying His meals instead of fasting often. But did Jesus’ eating and

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drinking, even in the company of sinners, diminish His miracle ministry? No. Unless
hindered by other people’s unbelief, Christ enjoyed total success in His healing
ministry (Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:40). Devils were cast out. The dead were raised. Blind
eyes were opened. Deaf ears were healed. While John the Baptist languished in
prison, he heard about Jesus’ many miracles. These mighty signs and wonders
proved
that Jesus was the Jews’ long-awaited Anointed One (Gr.christos)
(Matt.11:2-6).
John the Baptist was among the greatest of mortal men born under the Old
Covenant (Matt.11:11). John was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb
(Luke 1:15). John was specially anointed by God to call the nation of Israel to
repentance (Luke 1: 16-17; 3:2-18). John ate grasshoppers and honey, and only
enough to keep going.
But if fasting were the key to a mighty miracle ministry, John the Baptist should
have healed many more people than Jesus, because he did much more fasting than
Jesus and His disciples. But it was Christ, the One Who “came eating and drinking”
Who performed those supernatural works of God. John had a wonderful prophetic
preaching ministry (Luke 1:76-77; 3:1-18). But NOT ONE miracle is attributed to
John by Scripture!
John called Jesus Someone Who was mightier than himself, One whose shoelaces
he was unworthy to untie (Luke 3:16). Christ would increase, while John was to
decrease (John 3:30).
If going hungry could work miracles, every fashion model could empty hospitals
and raise the dead! If fasting makes miracles happen, then why did people travel
over rough terrain to GO TO JESUS for healing in the Bible? They could have just
prayed and fasted at home to get healing from God!
Ephesians 6:10-18 speaks of the warfare of the Christian believer, and the
spiritual armor of that warfare. Verse 17 describes the Christian’s Sword of the Spirit,
the Word of God. Verse 18 exhorts Christians to pray with all prayer and supplication
in the Spirit, with perseverance and supplication for all saints. Some think
“supplication” means “fasting”. But “supplication” (Gr. deesis) simply means “a
prayer of petition”. If fasting is such a powerful weapon against satan, why is it not
even mentioned in Ephesians Chapter 6? It is the Word of God and prayer in the
Spirit which bring victory, not physical hunger.
Some think prayer in the Spirit must include fasting, even if they aren’t one and
the same thing. But I Cor.14:15 indicates that prayer in the Spirit is praying in
tongues. Paul says: What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with
the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the
understanding also.***Prayer and singing with the understanding are distinguished
from prayer and singing with the spirit, which cannot be understood by the natural
mind.
Just before Christ’s crucifixion, He ate (Luke 22:15). I don’t know about you, but
if I thought I was about to get killed in that way, I wouldn’t be ABLE to eat! After
supper, Jesus fought his hardest prayer battle ever in the Garden of Gethsemane. It
was an agonizing ordeal for Jesus, as He fought against the very strong survival
instinct built into every living creature, so He could go to Calvary for you and me.
Jesus won that battle WITHOUT FIRST FASTING, strengthened by an angel (Luke
22:43).
Ultimately it is God Who gives the increase (harvest) for our labors here below (I
Cor.3:6-7). Fasting is not a cure-all for spiritual weakness. The key to victory is
abiding in Christ and having His Word abide richly in us (John 15:7). We are to look
unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith (Heb.12:2). If Jesus finished it,
what can we possibly add to it to improve it?

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Is Fasting Essential for Godliness?
Fasting is not mentioned in Scripture before Moses, Giver of the Law. Religious
fasting is not attributed to such righteous men as Abel, Noah, Enoch, and Abraham,
Isaac or Jacob. While Moses was up on Mt. Sinai he neither ate nor drank for forty
days and forty nights. When he came down with the tablets of the Law, Moses
discovered sin in the camp of the Israelites. Moses broke the stone tablets.
Immediately after dealing with the offenders, Moses went back up the mountain to
intercede for the people of Israel for forty more days and nights, and to receive a
second set of tablets inscribed with the Commandments. Both times Moses did
without food or water, for a combined period of eighty days (Deut.9:9; 18)! Moses
had to have been supernaturally sustained by God, because no one can live more
than a few days without water. Irish hunger strikers have gone blind and suffered
bodily decay after two months without food. They had begun the process of dying.
Most lay in a coma at that stage. But Moses, who fasted for nearly three months,
was strong enough to walk back down that rugged mountain after both sessions in
God’s Presence! Obviously, Moses did not abstain from food to “mortify his flesh” as
is taught today.
None of Christ’s apostles command fasting or teach on its merits in their epistles
to the New Testament churches. Simon Peter, one of Christ’s chief apostles, was a
Jew, who would have been familiar with Judaism’s fasting tradition. Peter has much
to say about patient endurance of suffering and persecution. But not once does
Peter ever recommend “crucifying the flesh” through fasting. He doesn’t even
mention fasting in his writings.
What were some of Peter’s teachings on growing in faith? My own comments follow.
2 Pet.1:1: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have
obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of our God and our
Savior Jesus Christ.* * *Many fast to “mortify the flesh” (a Catholic doctrine). They
do this in hopes their “sacrifice” will generate mountain-moving faith which moves
the Hand of God. But Peter does NOT say we obtain faith by fasting for it. Faith is
freely given to us solely through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus
Christ.
Verse 2: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and
of Jesus our Lord.* * *We obtain the grace of God and peace with Him through the
knowledge of our God, Who is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 20:28). Old Covenant
saints were saved through the mercy of God, but they were kept in conditional
salvation through righteous works (Ezek.18:15-17). They were obligated to keep the
Law of Moses, which would have included keeping the fast on the Day of Atonement
(Lev.23:26-32), which was the ONLY regular fast ever commanded by God in the
whole of Scripture (later, other fast days were added by the legalistic Pharisees). Old
Testament saints performed many righteous works to stay on good terms with God.
But we live under the New Covenant. It’s not about what we do, it’s about what
Christ has ALREADY done on our behalf. We aren’t saved through our own works, lest
any man should boast (Eph.2:8-9). We don’t earn God’s grace and peace through
fasting or any other human work.
Verse 3: According as his divine power hath given unto us ALL THINGS that pertain
unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory
and virtue:* * * “Hath given” is PAST TENSE! God in Christ has ALREADY given us

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ALL THINGS pertaining to life and godliness. Why fast to try to convince God you
deserve spiritual blessings you ALREADY possess in Christ Jesus?
Verse 4: Whereby are GIVEN unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by
these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that
is in the world through lust.* * *Fasting is touted as THE way to “get closer to God”
and escape the corruption and lusts of this world. But Peter makes it clear that it is
through the promises freely given to us by God that we are able to do this!
What is Peter’s definition of a godly life?
Continuing with verse 5: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue
(Gk. arete, moral excellence); and to virtue knowledge;
Verse 6: And to knowledge temperance (self-control); and to temperance patience;
and to patience godliness;
Verse 7: And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (Gr.
agape, brotherly love).
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be
barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Fasting is not listed here as being important to achieve fruitfulness in the
knowledge of Jesus. Beware of fasting books which promote fasting as being the
price you must pay for closeness to Jesus. The devil will use anything, even
something seemingly meritorious, to distract you from what has already been done
for you and given to you through the sacrifice of Christ. Far from subjugating the
self nature, reliance on fasting or other religious works will surely inflate the self
nature with the satisfaction of being able to move God’s heart through self-effort.
Religion resents the grace of God and lampoons it as being “cost-free Christianity”.
Legalists think Jesus’ easy yoke and light burden must be made more challenging.
The fact that all genuine converts of Christ (not superficial believers) have already
surrendered their lives to Christ at the Cross is disregarded by religious legalists. Like
proud, hard-working folks who fall on hard times and refuse to take food handouts,
legalists would rather die than accept charity without helping to pay for it. Not even
from Jesus Who paid their spiritual bills two thousand years ago.
Even as they punish their own bodies to prove how humble they are, religious
ascetics want to save their own dignity by paying God their own two cents’ worth of
sacrifice. So they rush up to God’s Throne to present their own offering of “crucified
flesh” to the Father. Rejoicing in their own great achievement, they shove aside
their own High Priest and Intermediary Christ Jesus, Whose precious Blood has
already been accepted by God as being more than sufficient to purchase all the
blessings of the New Covenant. Unmindful of the once-for-all offering of Christ, they
beg the Father to reward them with favors in exchange for their own “sacrifice”. This
is a surefire way to fall from the grace of God, and the devil is well pleased.
Attempts to earn God’s blessing through fasting or other “sacrifice” is akin to the
way Catholics in South America still go on pilgrimages in honor of “the Virgin”. Some
will either crawl up a rocky mountainside on their knees, or tread up toward the
faraway shrine on their bare feet, suffering great pain. Overzealous Catholics
perform such “penances” to purge sin out of their lives and make themselves more
fit for heaven. This doesn’t testify to being justified solely through faith in Christ or a
believer ALREADY being seated with Him in heavenly places (Rom.5:1; Eph.2:6-9).

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Nor does a sad ascetic religion accept that Christ’s own Sacrifice of Himself is
sufficient before God the Father, and that through the ONE offering of Christ He hath
ALREADY perfected forever those who are sanctified (Heb.10:14). Jesus was actually
made a sin offering on our behalf so that WE might be made the righteousness of
God in Him (2 Cor.5:21)! When self-inflicted suffering is performed to sanctify the
soul and “take it deeper”, it is a denial of the soul-sanctifying power of the precious
Blood of Christ. Those who crawl out from beneath the covering of the Blood of Christ
and burrow deep into their own works find it’s hard to see the light of day and dig
their way out! A lying religious spirit can take you so deep you’ll drown in deception.
Is Fasting a Basic Instinct of Conscience?
Romans 2:14: For when the Gentiles (non-Jews), which have not the law, do by
nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves.
Verse 15:Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience
also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing
one another;)
Paul said that even Gentiles never taught the Law of the Lord already know
instinctively what is right and wrong. Unless a person is totally demented, he knows
deep down inside that it’s wrong to treat someone else in a way he wouldn’t want to
be treated.
Even an unconverted person can get a warm, fuzzy feeling of
satisfaction by pitching in to help rebuild a neighbor’s home which was destroyed by
fire. Even an unbeliever knows it’s wrong to take a new shirt from the store without
paying for it, and only a real crumb would swindle the man who saved him from
drowning. Most unbelievers know it’s a sin against humanity to steal food money
from a poor old lady walking down the street. Instinctive awareness of The Golden
Rule is what shapes the ethics of most unbelievers who have a conscience. People
stopped at random on the street might say, when asked why God should let them
into heaven: “I follow the Golden Rule, so I’m a pretty good person.” This shows
ignorance of the real truth, but it also shows that most people have a conscience to
some degree, though it’s a conscience marred by the Fall of Adam.
Unless there is extreme sorrow for sin (as in the case of the Ninevites in Jonah
3:5), natural conscience doesn’t usually prompt a nonreligious person to fast, or
bring conviction for failure to do so. Unconverted persons are very unlikely to forget
earthly hunger long enough to engage in an intense prayer session, unless they are
in serious enough trouble to plead with God to get them out of it. Aside from neglect
of eating due to long intercessory prayer for others, religious fasting has nothing to
do with the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”,
which is whole Law and the Prophets (Matt.7:12). Unless I eat in front of someone
who’s grieving, or my meal deprives someone else of food, or I eat to harmful
excess, my conscience isn’t violated by the act of eating.
Beware of Religious Legalism
Noah is the common ancestor of all humankind, Jews and Gentiles alike. After the
Flood, Noah offered up a burnt offering unto the Lord. God commanded Noah’s
family to replenish the earth’s population and have dominion over the animal
kingdom. God gave mankind permission to eat meat (for the first time), forbade
them to eat blood, and instituted capital punishment for murder. God gave no
commandment for Noah to fast.

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The first Scriptural mention of fasting was Moses’ miraculous abstention from
both food and water. Moses’ fast totaled eighty consecutive days, or two back-toback periods of forty days each, up on Mt. Sinai (Deut.9:9,18). Under normal
conditions, it is scientifically impossible for any human to live more than a few days
without water. God gave Israel, not Gentile Christians, the ONLY regular fast day in
Scripture: the Day of Atonement, when the children of Israel were to “afflict their
souls” in repentance (Lev.23:26-31). Jewish “doctors of the Law” doctored up God’s
Law by adding several other yearly fast days, without God’s authorization. The
Pharisees started fasting twice a week, and required it of their disciples for holiness.
Jesus said our righteousness had to exceed that of the Pharisees (Matt.5:20). Did He
mean we had to fast three days a week instead of two? That can’t be the right
interpretation, because Jesus Himself “came eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34).
Religious Jews criticized Jesus’ disciples for failure to fast, but Jesus defended them
(Matt.9:14-17).
Christians are forever asking each other: “How many days a week must I fast to
be better than the Pharisees? Can I have juice?” etc. But the real question should
be: Were the Jewish Pharisees REALLY divinely appointed to set the minimum
standard of righteousness for 21 st-century Gentile Christians? The Pharisees “helped
God out” by “improving on” His clearly stated requirements, not only in fasting, but
countless other areas: washing hands like a pre-op surgeon before eating, counting
your paces as you walked on the Sabbath Day, avoiding mirrors on the Sabbath, etc.
Far from being more righteous than anybody else, the Pharisees SINNED by adding
extra requirements to God’s Holy Word (Deut.4:2)! The Pharisees play foul ball by
moving God’s goalposts! God asked the Jews for just ONE regular fast day per year,
not dozens of them. God’s Law is perfect (Psalms 19:7). If it ain’t broke, for Pete’s
sake, don’t fix it!
Jesus had a bone to pick with those fasting scribes (doctorers-up-of the Law) and
Pharisees, who “sat in Moses’ seat”. But Christ defended their earthly seat of
authority in the Jewish community by saying in Matt.23:3: All therefore whatsoever
they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works (their
hypocrisy): for they say, and do not.
This is one saying of Christ which doesn’t directly apply to us. While we can
INDIRECTLY apply that by being law-abiding citizens, we are not under the authority
of those ancient doctors of Jewish Law who commanded regular fasting.
The self-righteous, fasting Pharisees were the only sinners Jesus ever “chewed
out”. I suspect Jesus got mighty irked at them for tampering with the Law of God and
turning it a miserable mess of petty rules and regulations, and a heavy yoke on the
necks of God-fearing people (Matt.23:4; Acts 15:10)
My conclusion: If you want to be better than the Pharisees, piece of cake. Don’t
add anything to the written Word of God! Really, though, none of us can meet God’s
standards of righteousness on our own merits. As one old hymn goes: our hope is
built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness. Our hope rests in Christ
alone, and in His own spotless record of righteousness, which bestows upon us God’s
free gift of eternal life (Rom.5:17-21)
New converts to Christ are so radiant with the thrill of what Jesus has done to
save them that “going on a fast” is the furthest thing from their mind. Many new
converts had never heard of fasting until someone more “spiritual” warns them that
fasting is required by God to stay on good terms with Him. Only when a religious
legalist insists that fasting is binding on Christians today does fasting become
entrenched in a new believer’s conscience as a requirement of righteousness, in
contradiction of Acts 15:28-29. At the very first church council, the apostles decided
not to lay the burdens of Judaism on non-Jewish converts. That includes fasting.

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One of the four restrictions placed on the liberty of Gentile believers was to refrain
from eating blood, which was also prohibited to descendants of Noah.
The glow of a new convert’s precious relationship with Jesus might last for several
weeks, bright and shiny as a brand new penny. But someone “deeper in the Lord”
has just informed the new convert that in order to “go deeper with Jesus” God
expects you to fast regularly (regular fasting originated with the proud Pharisees). If
you don’t “live a fasted life” to honor the One Who “came eating and drinking”
(Matt.11:19; Luke 7:34) you’re no real Christian at all, and might as well go back to
the hog pen of the world. It doesn’t take long for the new believer’s joy of salvation
to tarnish as he allows himself to be “discipled” by some modern Pharisee who’s been
“in the way” (in God’s way) for a long, long time.
Many point out that in Matt.6:16 Jesus said WHEN, not if ye fast. But Jesus also
said in verse 2: WHEN thou doest thine alms. Jesus was addressing Jews living under
the Old Covenant, who habitually fasted because the Pharisees taught them to.
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving were three major pillars of the Judaism of Jesus’ day.
Interestingly, prayer and giving alms (charity) to poor people continued to be widely
taught to the early Church. But early apostolic instruction on fasting is conspicuous
by its absence. Much of today’s “deeper” teaching on fasting comes from Catholic
mysticism or New Age philosophy, not from the Bible.
A blogger accused me of “not wanting to obey Jesus” just because I believe Jesus
was instructing Jews under the Law about proper motivation in religious devotions,
not putting a fasting law on Gentile Christians under Grace. But must all Christ’s
words be LITERALLY obeyed? Remember, the letter of the law kills (2 Cor.3:6). If
some of Jesus’ words must be literally enforced as law on Christians today, then to
be consistent, ALL Jesus’ words should be obeyed as plainly read, word for word,
with no exceptions! How about these precious gems from the lips of our Savior?
Matt.5:30: And if thy right hand offend thee, CUT IT OFF, and cast it from thee: for it
is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole
body should be cast into hell.
Mark 9:43: And if thy hand offend thee, CUT IT OFF: it is better for thee to enter into
life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be
quenched:
Mark 9:45: And if thy foot offend thee, CUT IT OFF: it is better for thee to enter halt
(that means crippled) into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire
that never shall be quenched:
How many preachers hammer away at their congregations with these instructions of
Christ on how to avoid going to hell? If Christians obeyed these words of Jesus as
much as they do Matthew 6:16, there’d be a lot of amputees in church! Hell will
freeze over before smug fasters who deprive themselves of ice cream to “humble
themselves” obey Jesus’ other commandment to mutilate their bodies to avoid
temptation to sin. When was the last time a repentant backslider in the church was
commanded to cut off some sinful body part to ensure he’d never be tempted to
commit that sin ever again? And when was the last time some self-righteous faster
gave away everything he owned in obedience to this commandment of Jesus?
Matt.19:21: Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and SELL THAT THOU
HAST, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and
follow me.
I can hear it right now. But that scripture was addressed to the Rich Young Ruler,
not us.

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Oh yeah? Here’s a similar passage, and to clarify who Jesus is speaking to I’ll start
with the preceding verse.
Luke 12:32: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the
kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a
treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth
corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
How many fasting Christians who boast of being heavenly-minded “spiritual giants”
would sell all their possessions from A to Z to give the money to some homeless
shelter, these same cash cows who lose their shirt making “vows of faith” to some
rich preacher who allegedly collects Social Security tithes on God’s behalf?,
If Jesus’ instructions to JEWS in Matt.6:16 on how to fast with humility must be
taken as a commandment for Christians to fast, then Christians have to LITERALLY
do everything else Jesus said. Mutilate their bodies and liquidate all their assets to
give to charity.
When, not if, you fast. The word “when” is also found in Luke 14:12 where Jesus
says: WHEN thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren,
neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a
recompense be made thee.****Instead of wining and dining the uppercrust, Jesus
wanted His followers to include the poor and disadvantaged of society. Most
Christians who interpret Matt.6:16 as a commandment to fast would never dream of
saying Jesus requires you to throw a dinner party just because He said “WHEN” you
make a dinner or supper.
But if the word “when” means “DO IT OR ELSE!” in one verse, even application of
scripture demands a similar interpretation in other statements of Jesus. If Jesus is
commanding you to fast as a requirement of holiness in Matt.6:16, He is also
commanding you to throw a dinner party to qualify for being a holy Christian, even if
you’re too poor to do it.
Rightly dividing the Word of God is important. MOTIVATION is just as important as
the act performed. Jesus said in Matt.6:1: Take heed that ye do not your alms before
men, to be seen of them. A note in the center of my Bible translates that usage of
“alms” as “righteousness”. Since salvation by grace through faith was not taught in
the period before Christ’s crucifixion, many Old Covenant Jews might have given
alms to help them keep their righteous standing with God (for the sake of doing it, or
out of necessity, as in 2 Cor.9:7). Giving was taught to the church as a loving
RESPONSE to obvious needs in the community, but not as a means of keeping
salvation secure. Under the Old Covenant, a Jew’s righteousness was composed of
his record of righteous acts (Ezek.18:5-9). In the future Tribulation Period, the
Church Age, when salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, will be over. At
that time, an individual’s good WORKS, or lack of them, will once again play a big
part in determining final salvation (Matt.25:31-46; Rev.14;13). Jesus was teaching
Jews still under the Law how to “do their righteousness” with a humble attitude so
they wouldn’t lose
their reward from the Father. Christ was correcting the
hypocritical example set by the Pharisees, not ordering the Church to fast.

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If Matt.6:16 is to be taken as a commandment for all Christians to fast, then an
even-handed application demands that verse 2 also be taken as a commandment for
all Christians to give alms, even the poorest of Christians. My own belief is that Jesus
was simply correcting the leaven (false teaching) of the Pharisees, who would give
alms, pray and fast in such a public manner that others would admire and praise
them for their big “sacrifice”.
Besides a few examples of fasting in the Book of Acts, and a couple of places
where Paul mentions his “fasting oft” in the context of suffering lack due to
persecution, there is only ONE
teaching verse in the epistles which touches on
fasting:
I Cor.7:5: Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye
may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that satan
tempt ye not for your incontinency (lack of self-control).
Biblical scholars disagree as to whether the earliest Greek manuscripts contain
the word “fasting”. But if during a season of prolonged prayer, husbands and wives
agreed to stay separate, other earthly concerns would certainly be set aside as well.
However, Paul makes it clear in verse 6 that he is speaking “by permission” not by
commandment. Even here, there is no apostolic command to fast.
My Personal Recollections
When I was first filled with the Spirit in 1970, my joy was brand new, totally
untarnished by deception of any kind. At first I enjoyed most everything about
church, the singing, the rejoicing, the teaching of the Word, the operation of the
Spiritual Gifts, the testimonies. Then I learned about fasting, and how fasting could
touch the heart of God on your behalf. Yet I had the most gnawing suspicion: One of
the things in this scenario of heavenly church joy just doesn’t fit in with all other
elements of this atmosphere. Even if we felt great exuberant joy in the Holy Ghost
and there was no “sin in the camp”, we were encouraged to fast, privately and at
least a few times a year and before every church conference. I thought, That’s not
asking too much, church fasts aren’t called very often, and it’s the least I can do. I
devoured religious magazines which extolled the fasts of great saints of the past, like
Esther and Daniel, and how spiritual fasting made them. No mention of the fact that
the salvation of Old Testament saints was maintained through faithfulness to Mosaic
Law. They were not joined to Christ as His Bride as we are, they were not sealed
unto salvation with the Spirit of promise, or seated in heavenly places like the
Church. I now realize it is error to put Old Testament burdens on people made free
by the Spirit of Liberty in Christ Jesus, or to forget the vast difference between how
people approached God under the Law and during the Church Age.
Without realizing it I began to veer into dangerous waters. I got the notion that
God couldn’t bless our church conference unless the yearly fast took place. It now
occurs to me that at least in a small way, we were caught up in a RITUAL of
“observing days and times” (see Gal.4:11), just like the yearly fast on the Jews’ Day
of Atonement.
It was with great hesitation that I shared this, because God has been so very
good to all of us, and I have nothing but good things to say about Him. If there’s
ever any deficiency, it lies with imperfect humans, not with God. Much was made of
the power of fasting to empower prayer.
But looking back, I recall only ONE
miraculous healing taking place at that church in the several years we spent there.
This particular miracle didn’t even happen during or after any fasting period: A
certain lady decided to confess to God that she preferred to stay on disability rather

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than go back to work, so she hadn’t really persevered in prayer to receive divine
healing for her lame leg. Well, she repented, and guess what? She decided to
remove her brace in the lounge behind the sanctuary. She made a grand entrance
into church, running like a teenager and praising God! I do give God the glory for
what I call the “quiet miracles” He gave us everyday. He protected all of us from
danger and provided for us in time of need.
But the question remains: Would God have blessed us just as much (or maybe
even more) at the church conferences if we hadn’t fasted to try to bring more of the
supernatural element into them? This lady who did get healed didn’t labor in fasting
and prayer to receive it. She didn’t even agonize in prayer over her lame leg. If
anything, she held the attitude that it wouldn’t be all that disastrous if God DIDN’T
heal her! The disability checks would have been her consolation prize.
I began to think that if I had a REALLY big request to make of God, I’d better
sacrifice my morning Pop Tart and storm the gates of heaven. Up in the church
prayer room, I’d pace back and forth and whip myself up into a state of spiritual
euphoria (the “get high on Jesus deception”). I thought fasting would get me higher
than praying with a burger under my belt. I began to associate that giddy, lightheaded feeling with God’s love and Presence. I’d get depressed when I didn’t feel so
ecstatic. I now believe those “downers” I experienced happened because I lost sight
of God’s FREE grace, and the fact I couldn’t purchase favors from God. As for fasting
to show how sorry I was for sin, I lost sight of the compassionate God who didn’t
want me to beat myself up for my personal imperfections.
When Christ answered a question about fasting in Matt.9:15, He immediately
linked this practice with mourning, not with any occasion of joy. Not one fast in
Scripture is ever performed to celebrate the joy and blessings of the Lord. Jesus
Himself says fasting is inappropriate when the “children of the Bridechamber”
(wedding guests) are rejoicing. And if that’s true, then how much more is fasting
inappropriate when His own beloved Bride, the Church, is filled with the Joy of Jesus!
Paul, apostle to us Gentiles, exhorts us to “rejoice evermore” (I Thes.5:16). This
would leave no room for religious fasting, which Jesus immediately identified with
mourning. If a Christian full of the joy of the Holy Ghost deliberately
torments his body just because the annual Big Church Fast rolls around and
everybody else is doing it, he’s deliberately quenching the Holy Ghost and
performing a religious activity in the flesh, not the spirit.
I Thes.5:14-28 contains a long list of ways the Christian is to live out His love for
Jesus. Fasting is missing from this list. That alone should tell you something.

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107

SINKING
FAST
DAY TWO
OF
THE CHURCH
FAST…

FAST WITH YOUR MOUTH SHUT!
Two ladies knelt at the altar to pray
Others were coming in
It was a special prayer meeting day
To help them more souls to win
Sister Bea, as smug as can be
Feasted her eyes on Sister Lenore
Lenore wore a size fourteen at least
While Bea wore a petite size four.
Hello again, it's Bea, dear Lord
I came my petitions to bring
I pray certain saints will sacrifice more
And brave a bit more pain.
I came to pray in a fasted state
So You could Your blessing outpour
Certain others are feasting today
Her hungry eyes bored through Sister Lenore.
I thank You, dear Lord, that I've grown so wise
Here are just a few of my gems
I've got a large heart but kept a small size
Christ's Bride must stay slim for Him!
How can we move massive mountains
If we can't control our own flesh?
Discipline calls for calories countin'
And learnin' to eat less and less.
Bea's "prayers" grew louder and louder
Lenore heard the worst of her words
When Lenore left she looked much sadder
All that altar ammunition sure hurt.
Sister Mary appeared mighty peeved
When she learned how Lenore had been scorned
I hope you're proud as punch, Sister Bea
You made a real meal of your fast for the Lord!
You never took time to know Lenore
I've known her for twenty-odd years
She stays up real late to pray to the Lord
Her prayers are well-seasoned with tears.
Lenore lost her sister six years ago
Anorexia drove her to her grave

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Lenore's dad died of a sudden stroke
Lenore doesn't know if he was saved.
Lenore's blood sugar is all shot
It makes her feel faint to fast any meals
Her car almost crashed before she could stop
When she blacked out at the wheel.
Lenore must not let much time go by
Without a snack to keep her levels up
I know she seems to be a big size
But giving up driving was even more tough.
Bea's comments could not have been colder
Lenore could ask the Lord to heal her
I'm sorry Lenore lost her sister
But fasting's a burden we all must shoulder!
This week we're doing our special fast
To make us meek and the devil weak
Not many saints through the battle last
We fast as we fight, others feast and retreat.
I still feel fine, let's discuss the deacon
I'll share a request with you
Pray for the deacon, his faith has weakened
His wife's acting worldly too.
Her jewelry's too bright, she got high on wine
Old Joe smokes stogies again
So many sick saints with a reprobate mind
Ben's livin' in unspoken sin.
I phoned Lenore her soul to exhort
She's making too many excuses
Regretfully to the Lord I'll report
That to fast she steadfastly refuses!
Something's the matter with that fat pastor
He's big as a whale and this fast won't help
He'd sell his soul for a seafood platter
His lard will fuel the fires of hell.
I caught him with a bucket of chicken
He swore he'd picked it up for his kids
He always hangs around the church kitchen
Throughout this fast he's sneaked tidbits.
That Twinkie junkie is worse than Lenore
He pops diet pills and vacuums food in
That pastor's not fit to serve the Lord
That man is a walking mountain of sin!

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Fasting has made me sharp as a tack
I see sin more clearly and know what to pray
Pastor is under satan's attack
Pray that he'll turn from his wicked way!
Praise the Lord for this fruitful fast
My food I didn't miss at all
It brought satisfaction and that's a fact
As bountiful as any banqueting hall!
Three weeks went by and no Lenore
Why wasn't she sitting in her usual place?
Had Lenore really turned her back on the Lord
And left Bea's church to search for God's grace?
Mary called up Lenore one day
Only to hear she was going away
Toxic fumes of hypocrisy
Drove Lenore out permanently.
When Mary saw Bea she shook her head
Your fast sure was fun, but look what you've done
Praying to God from a heart long dead
As you feasted on others and not on the Son.
Daily you dined on pastor pie
You skipped your meals and licked at Lenore
Because you're blind you think you're just fine
I doubt we'll see Lenore any more.
She's gone now, Bea, thanks to your work
We're finally rid of Sister Lenore
She's taken her full figure out of church
She won't be coming back anymore.
One distant day Bea came to receive
Rewards for works done in her life
Surely my fasting, my tithes and good deeds
Will testify I fought a good fight.
Barely saved through the trial of fire
The smell of smoke to her garments clung
Bea watched a sister whose weight had been higher
Receive God's praise for a job well done.
Humble at last Bea thought of her fasts
Her thoughts weighed upon her mind
If only I'd valued the things that last
If only I'd been more kind!
I should have kept my big mouth shut
But I fed on the flesh of my sister
All my fasting feasts got burnt up

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And her weight of glory got bigger.

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Spiritual Dangers of the Bridegroom Fast
The Bridegroom Fast has infiltrated the church. Some think you aren’t very spiritual
unless you torment your body…and enjoy it!
Our awareness of Christ, the Bridegroom, Who is physically absent from us,
should allegedly make us want to shut ourselves up in a tiny “prayer closet” and
starve ourselves so we’re one step closer to death and His sweet embrace. We
should feel only contempt for food and earthly comforts so we can concentrate ONLY
on Jesus, Who by the way, was called a winebibber and a glutton (Luke 7:34). Jesus
never committed sin of any kind, but this charge would have been ridiculous if Christ
had habitually starved Himself to become more spiritual.
What if Bridegroom Fasters treated earthly marriage the same way?
******
Celeste, a dreamy, misty-eyed woman, has just married Travis, the man she adores.
As they set off on their honeymoon her bridegroom takes her out to a fine
restaurant. As she looks longingly in Travis’ eyes, he asks what she’d like to eat.
“Nothing, darling,” she sighs. “You’re all I need. I don’t need food. Just take me
to the motel room.”
“Have it your way, but I gotta eat first,” Travis shrugs. He orders a big bucket of
chicken with free soda refills. He longs to share this fine dining experience with his
bride, but she won’t have anything, not so much as a Diet Coke.
“This is such a solemn occasion,” Celeste chokes. “My heart sings with sweet
exultation. My soul is being lifted up on eagles’ wings as I consider all you gave me,
my beloved.”
Travis looks up from his voracious munching and mumbles, “What’s that about
wings and gravy? Here, have some chicken wings and gravy.”
It’s one weird honeymoon. Day after day the bridegroom tries to have a good
time, but he’s worried about his poor anorectic wife. All she does is nibble a few
crackers in the motel while concentrating only on him.
“Just being with you is enough,” Celeste insists. “Nothing’s important to me but
your sweet caresses. How can I eat at a time like this?”
Instead of going out with Travis to the Nascar Races, Celeste hides herself away
in their motel room, wringing her hands and crying about her faults and failings and
how she doesn’t even deserve him. Travis wants to go walking with Celeste to go see
the the pretty beach, but all Celeste wants to do is kneel by the bed, beating her
breast and wailing, “Oh, how glorious to discover how ugly I am on the inside, and
to bask in the heavenly splendor of this bed with you, humbled by the revelation of
my disgusting imperfections. No, I will not leave this sacred place. Nor will I eat
tonight. How can I eat when you’re with me? Food distracts me from our sweet
kisses. Shall I pollute the temple of my body with food when I’ve devoted it to you?
Oh, how blissful to wallow in the shame of the revelation of my own worthlessness!
How sublime, to attain to this level of self-abasement! O my beloved, I’m so ugly,
and your love moves me to tears.”
Travis shakes his head. What on earth is she driving at? “Huh?” he finally says.
“What kinda fruitcake notions are goin’ through your head anyway? Who said you
were too ugly for me to marry? Ain’t I the best judge of who’s fit to marry me? As
for me, am I so ugly it makes you sick to look at me? Is that why my love makes you
cry. Woman, don’t I do enough to keep you satisfied?”
“But I want more of you! I don’t need any food, honest!”

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“If ya don’t wanna eat, suit yourself,” Travis shrugs. “There’ll just be more for me.
Women, can’t never figger ‘em out!”
The bride decides to continue to “live the fasted life” after the honeymoon to
show her love for the confused fellow. Travis thinks she’s flipped. Before they got
married and he became “her beloved bridegroom”, she was okay. Maybe Celeste had
been in some sort of cult and never told him about it, and now she’s suffering
flashbacks. Something’s eating at Celeste, but whenever she tries to explain, Travis
can’t make heads nor tails of it. So he decides to give her a week to pull herself
together while he does all the farm chores. The poor gal, she’s so love-starved she’s
too weak to get off the couch and take care of the house.
Finally he comes in from a day of harvesting corn. He’s pooped and decides he
can’t carry the load all alone anymore. He takes one look at her and says, “You still
layin’ on that couch?”
“Yes, Travis! I’m sick, sick from the love deep in my heart!”
He lays his hand on her forehead. “You’re cold as ice, no fever. Maybe we oughta
call the doctor.”
“No doctor can cure me of the love I have for you, Travis. I’m sick with a love
that’s deeper than the deepest ocean and higher than the highest mountain. You
don’t know how it makes me ache with longing for you while you’re out in that barn
feeding the chickens. Kiss me, my beloved. I want more and more of you!” She
reaches out to pull him closer.
He steps back and says, “We done enough huggin’ and kissin’. Now git up,
Celeste. It’s time to come down to earth and pull your weight around here. Git in
that kitchen right now and fix me some supper.”
“But I can’t! When I try to stand up my head starts spinning. See how love for
you affects me? Why, things on earth don’t matter anymore. I’m starting to see the
glories of the world beyond, and your face is growing brighter and brighter.”
“That’s just the western sun shinin’ through them curtains.”
Her eyes glisten with worshipful tears. “Oh, honey, it’s sheer bliss just lying here
and beholding your lovely face.”
The man knows she’s not all there. “What’s up with you anyhow? You act like it’s
a sin to eat. You barely nibble enough to hold body and soul together. Let’s go rustle
up some grub so you can git strong enough to git up off that couch and do
something useful around here. I’ll do the cookin’ tonight. I’ll fix us a nice big steak.”
“No, really, my love, I don’t need food. All I need is you. I’m afraid if I eat a
good meal, you’ll think I don’t love you enough and I won’t feel you here with me
anymore.”
He looks at her real funny. “What are you on, anyway? That’s crazy! Hey, I
know why you’re actin’ this way. You’re on some crazy diet to stay skinny for me,
‘cause you worry I’ll run off with a skinnier gal if you eat. Why do you feel so
insecure in my love? I hate seein’ you like this. You look like you’re half dead.”
“But that makes no difference to our love.”
“Well, it does make a difference to me! You’re so moonstruck you’re useless!
Nothin’s gettin’ done around here. I’ve been eatin’ my own lousy cookin’ every single
day and you ain’t had the strength to get up off of that couch and wash them dirty
dishes pilin’ up in the sink. There’s too much work around here for one man. There’s
clothes to wash, butter to churn, bread to bake, hogs to slop. Now go in that kitchen
right now and put some of that lovin’ in your cookin’ or I’ll bed down in the barn
tonight.”
******
That brings the lovestruck Celeste back down to earth. Some well-meaning
“marriage expert” had told this woman that eating is an act of guilt and shame, and

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to keep her husband’s love she has to act as if all she needs is the air that she
breathes and his sweet love. But her spiritualized, romanticized eating disorder didn’t
sweeten her romance with her bridegroom. He never demanded that she torture
herself to keep his love. He was there to nourish and cherish her, not to starve her.
His love is a practical love, played out in real life, not in Cloud Koo koo Land. The
bridegroom wants to fellowship with his bride at the kitchen table, not just in the
bedroom (prayer room for the Christian seeking closeness with Christ).
Many deluded dabblers in Christian mysticism are like misguided marriage
counselers. Even if there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the relationship the
Christian already enjoys with his/her Heavenly Bridegroom, Christians will try to
convince them that they need to fast to improve it. Imagine a sinner gets saved
when the Gospel is preached at some church. He’s the only one in the building who
lets himself feel happy. Everyone else is sour-faced. Even those who have been
born again are beating their breasts with shame and sin-consciousness. The baby
believer might feel like going out with his new Christian friends after the service for a
meal to celebrate the joy of his salvation. But they’ll glumly tell him the REAL way to
celebrate his joy in the Lord is to fast, and fast often. Otherwise Jesus might be
scared away by the presence of food in his stomach.
Jesus was the same guy religious authorities accused of being a winebibber and
a glutton, the one Who came eating and drinking (Matt.11:17-19). The same Guest
Who turned water into wine at a wedding (John 2:7-11). Jesus taught His disciples
to pray for their DAILY bread, not their occasional bread (Matt.6:11; Luke 11:3).
How can food drive His sweet Presence away!
Song of Solomon, penned by a rich king with lots of leisure time to spend in his
garden of love, is considered by many to be a picture of how Christians should relate
to a practical Savior, Who provided real wine for a wedding feast instead of ordering
the guests to fast when the refreshments ran out. Song of Solomon, objectively
read, is a spicy romance. But the lover in the Song of Solomon told the bride they
must go and check on how the crops were coming along. They could find love even
in the business of daily living (Song 7:12).
Instead, adherents of Christian mysticism fixate on those verses which depict the
girl’s lover as a flighty, here today, gone tomorrow character (Song 3:1-3). And why
did the lovesick Song of Solomon girl lose her lover and have to hunt for him?
Because she broke her fast with a Mars Bar! Is Almighty God, Creator of the
universe, so frightened of food that he heads for the hills when he smells supper
cookin’? My Bible says that God will never leave or forsake us (Heb.13:5).
ALL scripture is divinely inspired and good can be derived out of reading it (I
Tim.2:
Christ didn’t just feed the five thousand a bunch of uplifting words. He fed them
real bread and fish. Even after He rose from the dead He provided literal fish for His
disciples. He even cooked their breakfast (John 21:1-13). Viewing food and the act
of eating as sinful, or a necessary evil, springs from Gnosticism, a pagan philosophy
which declares all matter to be evil and only spiritual things to be good. Anything
can be abused through excess, but throughout the Bible food is repeatedly declared
to be God’s blessing.
A year or so after I got filled with the Spirit some family started going to our
church. This couple was deep into spiritual mysticism. The woman would screw up
her face as she knelt at the altar and make soft wailing noises. She never prayed any
other way. The man would choke up and cry and lament his sinfulness. They took
pride in getting up at five every morning to do their sad prayer ritual, thinking they
were expressing joy in the Lord and “going deeper” (off the deep end?) into Jesus.
When their weepy, sad prayer mannerisms started spreading in the church, the
pastor stepped in to stop it. This couple was trying to change the atmosphere in our

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church. Satan was using religion to sneak in some legalism and religious bondage.
The man didn’t take kindly to constructive criticism and the family left.
Failure to rightly divide the Word of Truth brings Christians under unnecessary
religious bondages. For example, when Jesus commented on the Pharisees’ tithing
practices in Matt.23:23 , He was addressing JEWS UNDER THE LAW, not Gentiles.
And when He preached on fasting in Matt.6:16-18, likewise He was addressing JEWS
UNDER THE LAW. Christ did not come to teach the Gentiles how to keep Jewish
traditions correctly (including fasting). In fact, Christ rebuffed one desperate Gentile
woman who pleaded for Him to heal her daughter. Jesus did heal the child because
of the woman’s faith. But He said that He hadn’t even been sent to anybody but the
lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matt.15:24).
If Jesus’ teaching on fasting binds fasting on non-Jewish believers under the postcross New Covenant, then we must also literally obey His instructions on keeping
other Jewish customs.
Matt.8:4: And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew
thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto
them.
Jesus commanded the healed leper to go to the priest for ceremonial cleansing.
This wasn’t a quickie procedure. The complicated, drawn-out ritual involved several
days of washings, shavings, pigeon offerings, etc. If we must follow examples like
this whenever we’re healed, there’s a problem. There’s no Levitical priesthood
around, and Christians aren’t supposed to offer animal sacrifices.
In Paul’s day, the infrastructure for keeping that particular command of Christ
was still in place, even though the New Covenant had just come into effect. The
Temple was still standing, and the Levitical priesthood was still functioning in
Jerusalem. Apparently it took Paul awhile to realize that Christ no longer expected
His people to follow Mosaic rituals He had fulfilled in Himself.
Paul told Christians to follow his own example (I Cor.4:16; 11:1). In Acts chapter
21 Paul got a visit from some legalistic Jewish Christians who were still hanging onto
the Old Law. They insisted that Paul join them in making an Old Testament-style
vow. These Judaizers were real kill-joys who went around making sure nobody
stayed free in Christ for very long if they ever did get free. They wanted
reassurance that Paul still kept the Law of Moses and all its rituals. To keep the
peace, Paul shaved his head and offered an animal sacrifice in the Temple, even after
his own conversion. Is that an example we Gentiles should follow today?
Acts 21:23: Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a
vow on them;
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they
may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were
informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly,
and keepest the law. . . .
Verse 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them
entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification,
until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
Peace gained by compromising God’s truth isn’t worth the price. Not long after
that, Paul was captured and spent years in prison. Legalism always brings bondage.
Interestingly, verse 25 of that same chapter reads: AS TOUCHING THE GENTILES
WHICH BELIEVE, WE HAVE WRITTEN AND CONCLUDED THAT THEY OBSERVE NO
SUCH THING, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and

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from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.* * * *Paul, who offered up an
animal sacrifice in the Temple, exempted Gentile believers from Jewish customs.
That would include religious fasting.
Some say since Daniel fasted we have to fast too. But Daniel also kept kosher
food laws and prayed three times a day facing Jerusalem. What Christian does these
things today?
What about two fasts the apostles held? They are found in Acts 13:2-3 and Acts
14:23. These JEWISH disciples, who had always fasted as part of their religion, were
transitioning from the Old Covenant to the New. Paul’s freedom manifesto, the book
of Galatians, hadn’t even been written yet. No mention of religious fasting after Acts,
only periods of hunger Paul suffered due to poverty. The most reliable Greek
manuscripts do not even contain the word “fasting” in I Cor.7:5, where husbands and
wives are not to withhold sex from each other unless they agree to do so during
fasting and prayer. Even if “fasting” is in the original Greek. It can’t be construed as
a command to fast, unless you also maintain that Paul was commanding the couple
to abstain from sex, which he definitely wasn’t doing.
Acts 15:7: And when there had been much disputing (argument), Peter rose up, and
said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made
choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel,
and believe.
8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy
Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH*
* * * * (not fasting).
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples,
which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 BUT WE BELIEVE THAT THROUGH THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WE
SHALL BE SAVED, EVEN AS THEY.
Verse 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that WE TROUBLE NOT THEM, which from
among the Gentiles are turned to God:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from
fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Verse 28 FOR IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY GHOST, AND TO US, TO LAY UPON
YOU NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE NECESSARY THINGS;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things
strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.
Fare ye well.
I find it significant that the Holy Spirit REPEATS this information at least three
times, to emphasize that Gentile believers are NOT under Jewish Laws and customs.
So why do Christian leaders contradict the Holy Ghost Who said NO SUCH THING
(Jewish religious traditions) should be practiced by Gentile converts, and NO
GREATER BURDEN than those four necessary things is to be laid upon them? Being
expected to torment your own body (or tithe) IS a greater burden than those four
necessary things. Because fasting didn’t make the Holy Spirit’s short list of
NECESSARY things, fasting must be UN-necessary. Otherwise, He would have had
the apostles teach converted Gentiles about it, who may never have practiced it
before coming to Christ. This apostolic conference would have been the perfect time
and place to bind fasting on Gentile believers.
Throughout Paul’s ministry the Judaizers (“Christian” enforcers of Jewish laws and
traditions) were a thorn in his side. Paul circumcised Timothy to keep them happy.
But he later stood his ground and refused to also circumcise Titus.

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Galatians 2:3: But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to
be circumcised:
4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily (in a
sneaky way) to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might
bring us into bondage:
5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the
gospel might continue with you.
Galatians 6:12: As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain
you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of
Christ.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have
you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.* * * *There’s fleshly satisfaction
in keeping religious rituals.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Gal.5:1: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and
be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.* * * *Your spiritual life becomes a
tangled mess when you dilute the grace of God with works.
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you
nothing.* * * *Religious works can cause a believer to stop relying on Christ alone
for justification before a Holy God.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the
whole law.* * * *Observe one Jewish law or ritual, you’re obligated to keep them
ALL! For example, tithing is only one (1) aspect of a body of harvest time laws which
had to be kept together with the others. But preachers cherry-pick their favorite
moneymakers and forget the rest!
Deuteronomy 12:5-7 (KJV) 5 But unto the place which the LORD your God shall
choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye
seek, and thither thou shalt come: 6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt
offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your
hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your
herds and of your flocks: 7 And there ye shall eat before the LORD your God, and
ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein
the LORD thy God hath blessed thee.*****Why doesn’t the pastor threaten to sick
satan on you for failure to bring your burnt offerings, your animal sacrifices, and the
firstborn of all domestic animals? Why no eating of these tithes and offerings before
the Lord like they did back then? These “done-away” rituals were every bit as
binding on Old Testament saints as the tithe! Where’s the burnt offerings, the ritual
vows and bloody sacrifices commanded in the same context as the tithe? Neglect
these OTHER Jewish ordinances, and you’ve broken the whole Law, even if you dump
your whole bank account into the church coffers!
Preachers spiritually interpret the burnt offering part these days, as they sure would
hate to see their green offerings go up in smoke. They assign a spiritual meaning to
the old animal sacrifices but the TITHE still has to be literally paid, because it’s been
spiritualized into MONEY, the holiest thing of all in their sight!

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In like manner, preachers enforce literal fasting while neglecting OTHER practices
God commanded Jews to do to show sorrow for sin and humility: bawling, baldness,
and burlap (Isa.22:12)!
Continuing in Galatians Chapter 5 with verse 4:
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law;
ye are fallen from grace.* * * *Reliance upon religious works of any kind to keep
God happy can make you fall out of the grace of God and imperil salvation.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but
faith which worketh by love.* * * *Nowhere does Paul ever recommend fasting as a
way to melt the heart of God. NOWHERE!
If fasting’s so vital, why didn’t the apostles warn believers not to neglect a
practice which prioritizes your prayers on God’s “to do” list? Where in scripture does
Paul teach on fasting and its merits? Did Paul ever say that you have to starve your
body to prove how hungry you are for Jesus? How many miracles does this apostle
attribute to fasting? Not one! And that goes for all the writings of Peter, John,
James, and Jude. Never do they prescribe fasting as a way to recharge your prayer
batteries or zap demons. Satan is more frightened of a heart full of faith than an
empty stomach. One preacher racked up 100 fasting days in one particular year, but
he didn’t see satan tuck tail and run.
No apostle ever tells you to fast to spank yourself for sin. If fasting’s so all-fired
important, why are the epistles so silent on it? Fasting, like tithing, has been
imposed on God’s people without authorization from the apostles, builders of Christ’s
church. How can fasting bring you closer to any Jesus, if He already dwells in your
heart by faith, and you are actually one spirit with Him (Eph.3:17; I Cor.6:17)? Even
pagans starve their bodies in order to detach themselves from the things of this
world and contact the spirit realm. Fasting to weaken the body’s grip on the soul so
you can soar up into the heavenlies is a pagan doctrine of devils. The apostles NEVER
taught this!
Col.2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why,
as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) AFTER THE COMMANDMENTS AND
DOCTRINES OF MEN?
23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and
neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Only the Word of God, RIGHTLY DIVIDED and applicable to New Covenant believers,
is binding on us today. Religious fasting to rack up Brownie points with God is a
deception of satan, although it may sometimes be necessary to postpone a meal to
get urgent praying done.
Immediately after asking the confused Colossians why they’re still observing
carnal ordinances (touch not, TASTE NOT, handle not) Paul asks them why they are
conforming to the commandments and doctrines of men. Commandments not to
touch or taste food came not from God, but men, the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Some
say since many early Christians fasted, we have to fast too. But many early
believers came from Jewish homes and had always fasted. Anyway, an example is
not a command.

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Jesus makes it clear the Book of Revelation is written only TO THE CHURCHES.
In fact, He repeats “TO THE CHURCHES” seven times so they’ll get the point
(Rev.2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). During His earthly ministry Jesus ministered to
Jews who still did religious things like tithing, fasting and animal sacrifice. He wasn’t
binding these practices on the church, which didn’t even exist yet. But the Holy Spirit
addresses Revelation to the church and no other group.
Jesus sternly rebukes several churches in Revelation chapters 1-3. For laziness,
fornication, adultery, idolatry, lukewarmness, you name it, they’ve done it. But NOT
ONE REBUKE FOR FAILURE TO FAST! Jesus commands backsliders to “be zealous
and repent”. In the Old Testament, God sometimes commands backsliders to rend
their hearts with sorrow and fast. But Jesus does not command these believers to go
without food, just repent.
Some maintain that because our Heavenly Bridegroom is not visibly with us, we
must fast, based on Christ’s own words.
Matt.9:14: Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the
Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long
as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall
be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
Jesus immediately links fasting with mourning. He never associates it with
rejoicing. Drummed-up depression is out of sync with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
In I Thes.5:16 Paul exhorts the saints to “rejoice evermore”. Constant rejoicing
would leave no time for fasting, since Jesus said fasting is an act of mourning! To
me, this is one of the strongest cases against New Covenant fasting. HOW CAN YOU
REJOICE AND MOURN AT THE SAME TIME! Unless through a sheer effort of
willpower, you quench the joy of the Holy Spirit within to put on a suffering act for
the Big Church Fast, because the pastor expects you to.
The disciples mourned after Jesus was killed. The Tribulation saints will, most likely,
mourn because of constant distress and danger. But after Jesus’ Resurrection His
disciples REJOICED, even after He ascended back to the Father (Luke 24:52). They
didn’t fast and cry when He went home. At Pentecost, Christ came in His fullness of
His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of His people. He is with us always (Matt.28:20).
Fasting “because the Bridegroom is not with us” is denying what Jesus said about
ALWAYS being with us.
When Jesus returns to rule Planet Earth, He will have many glorified saints
stationed on the other side of the globe carrying out various assignments for Him.
Then, as now, Christ will be constantly with them in Spirit. But it will be impossible
for Jesus to physically be everywhere at once with everybody at the same time. So
the argument that we must fast because the Bridegroom isn’t physically with us
doesn’t hold water. If we have to fast just because Christ isn’t physically by our side,
that would also apply to this Millennial scenario: If Simon Peter were ministering in
San Francisco while Jesus was in Jerusalem, he would have to fast because at that
moment in time his Heavenly Bridegroom wasn’t physically in California!
Paul said it was possible to be present somewhere in spirit while being physically
absent.
Col.2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I WITH YOU IN THE SPIRIT, joying and
beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

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Paul even tried, convicted, and sentenced one Christian criminal when He was
physically absent from the “courtroom”:
I Cor.5:3:For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as
though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my
spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit
may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Paul didn’t say he wasn’t with them, just because his body was far away. His
spirit was there. How can this be so? The Spirit of God within us is not limited to
time and space, as our bodies are. At conversion, we dwell in Christ and He dwells in
us (John 14:20; 2 Cor.5:17). That Mind of Christ within us knows all things, even if
our natural intellect falls short (I John 2:20). Sometimes Spirit-filled believers pray in
the Spirit for unknown people and situations in far-off lands, as the omnipresent Holy
Spirit detects their needs. If we are actually spiritually united with Christ the Lord,
how then can we say Jesus (the Bridegroom) is not with us? If you confess that
Christ is the Son of God, God dwells in you and you in Him, and in Christ is the
FULNESS OF GOD (I John 4:15; Col.1:19; 2:9). To take the point to its logical
conclusion: If we are filled with ALL the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19) and ALL the
Spirit of Christ dwells within us, then so does His nature as Bridegroom of the
Church! Obviously if the Bridegroom aspect of Christ is missing from us, then He
does NOT dwell in us in all His fullness. Old Testament saints were not spiritually
united with Christ during their mortal lifetimes. They could easily lose their salvation
(Psalms 51: 11-12). In fear and desperation they fasted to reach out to a God far
away in heaven, although they were aware that He made Himself known in the earth
(Psalms 73:25). Our experience of God is different from theirs.
Why is it that legalists give lip service to founding all church doctrine on “grace
through faith alone”, but then they burden the people of God with “spiritual
disciplines” never taught in any New Testament epistle? To bind fasting on New
Covenant Christians, you must do the same as you do with tithing: Import it from
the Old Testament or the Gospels. Technically speaking, the Gospels (the earthly
ministry of Jesus) transpired during the closing days of the Old Covenant, when
Jews lived under the Law and non-Jews were the odd men out. Why do I believe
Jesus lived during the Old Testament? Because the New Covenant didn’t take effect
until after Jesus died on the Cross and rose again. Because animal sacrifices were
still required of believers and Jesus Himself told a healed leper to offer the sacrifice
for healing required by Moses (Matt.8:4). Jesus never commands believers to offer
animal sacrifices today. So why would He order Christians to fast, when He didn’t
even make His own disciples fast during the closing days of the Old Testament
(Matt.9:14; Mark 2:18)?
Scripture places Jesus’ earthly ministry firmly under the Dispensation of Law, the
Old Testament.
Galatians 4:4: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,
made of a woman, MADE UNDER THE LAW,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of
sons.

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Mark 2:20 and Luke 5:35 are often used to prove that Church Age believers, who
comprise the Bride of Christ, are required by Christ to fast. Again, a right division of
Scripture is called for here. For centuries Jews awaited a Messiah. a mighty Deliverer,
who not only would save them from foreign occupiers but Who would be the
Bridegroom of the Nation of Israel. When John the Baptist proclaimed the coming of
the Bridegroom to the people (Jews) they knew what he was talking about because
they’d been taught to pray for such a Deliverer. Those Jews weren’t hoping for the
coming of a Bridegroom of the largely Gentile Church we have today. They didn’t
even know there was going to be a Church Age standing between them and the
Kingdom Age, where the Jewish Messiah would rule over all the earth. The people
understood John to be talking about be the Bridegroom of Israel in the person of
their long-awaited Messiah.
Even during Christ’s earthly ministry He said He was sent only to Israel
(Matt.15:24). The Church, the Bride of Christ, was a Hidden Mystery which did not
come into being until after His death (Col.1:27). Christ was not ordering His Bride
the Church to go on a fast to show her joy in being spiritually with her Bridegroom
(the Bridegroom Fast heresy). That’s nothing but New Age religion sneaking into the
church. Even pagan religions believe in the Bridegroom Fast, though they call it
something else. It’s weird and unnatural to fast out of a joyful heart, and there is no
precedent for this type of “joyful” fast in scripture. Jesus Himself said it was
unfitting to fast at a wedding celebration (Matt.9:15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34). This
pretty much contradicts the Bridegroom Fast heresy which teaches believers to fast
to celebrate intimacy with the Lord.
One fasting proponent wrote a blog where he pointed out that it was part of
Jewish tradition for both bride and bridegroom to fast in the days leading up to the
wedding ceremony. So it follows we have to fast while we wait for Jesus to get us.
Now to shoot some holes in that theory. To begin with, the apostles made it very
clear in Acts 15 that we Gentiles are NOT to observe Jewish laws as part of our faith.
And even if we did have to keep the Old Law, Scripture NOWHERE commands bridesto-be to fast before their wedding ceremony. That’s a manmade cultural TRADITION
of the Jews, not a Biblical law! Only “it is written” is binding on us, and only those
things applicable to believers of this Church Age. Since when do Gentile believers in
Christ have to act like Jews? Why do so many “charismatic” churches think they
must import elements of Judaism into Christianity to “enrich” and “deepen” their
Christian experience? I used to think it made my faith come alive when the preacher
spiced up his sermons with references to Jewish customs and gave them a spiritual
interpretation for the church. Oh, how deadly satan’s deceptions are! Before you
know it, Jesus Himself is no longer enough.
Titus 1:14: Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and COMMANDMENTS OF MEN, that
turn from the truth.
Mark 7:7: Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the
washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may
keep your own tradition.
2 Cor.11:3: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his
subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ.
Col.2:18-23 describes practices that are harsh on the body but do nothing to
make us more spiritual. Verse 18 plainly warns us that we can LOSE OUR REWARD if
we let others beguile us into such spiritual bondages. We can lose the victory of

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knowing who we are in Christ by succumbing to social pressure to fast or perform
some other difficult “spiritual discipline” as proof of our love for Jesus.
Yet another problem with the assertion that we must fast in the days before the
Appearing of our Bridegroom is this: Jesus made it clear that no one knows the day
or the hour of His appearing for the Church. The Jewish bridegroom and his wedding
procession usually came very suddenly to collect the bride, and the engagement
could last up to a whole year. THE BRIDE DID NOT KNOW when that torchlit bridal
procession would appear to carry her off to the wedding canopy. She simply didn’t
know if he would come in four months, six months, or ten months! What if she
starved herself to death because she thought he could come any minute, and he
took forever to come for her? Re that blog: BOTH bride and bridegroom fasted before
the wedding, but I just can’t quite picture our Bridegroom Jesus going hungry
in heaven while saints and angels freely feast from the fruit trees!
The ONLY regular fast day required in scripture was commanded to ISRAEL ONLY
(see Lev.23:27, 29). Fasting isn’t specifically mentioned even here. But the Jews
understood it to mean you could not eat on that particular day. There are other
examples where God commands the Jews to tear their garments and fast in
penitence for sin. Some Christians insist that we should feel continuing humiliation
over sin, even if God removed those sins as far as the east is from the west. But if
you’re going to keep the fasting part, why not tear your clothes also? Other fasts
were added by Jewish leaders who wanted to improve on God’s requirements, to
make themselves seem holier. Fasting was the traditional JEWISH way of expressing
sorrow for sin, deep desire for divine guidance, fear, or any perceived need to
humble oneself before God in a way that’s harsh on the body. It was NEVER
practiced even once to try to attain to greater heights of joy in the Lord!
I counted just 20 usages of the word “bridegroom” in scripture, covering both Old
and New Testaments. In every case that word was associated with great joy. Except
for times where God was judging Israel for sin and He said He’d take away the joyful
voice of the bride and bridegroom, among other judgments. Another case is in Joel
chapter 2 where God commands everyone, including newlyweds, to gather to fast
and pray to avert a locust plague. Unless you’ve backslidden so bad you feel like
you’ve come out from under the covering of the Blood of Jesus or you feel
threatened with other calamity and you lose your appetite, I see no case at all for
fasting, and no need to fast at all in conjunction with our Heavenly Bridegroom.
Isa. 61:5: I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he
hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of
righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride
adorneth herself with her jewels.
Ancient Israel pictured God as being their nation’s Bridegroom. This gave rise to
rejoicing, not the sadness of fasting. Jesus, Who habitually associated fasting with
mourning instead of joy, and was accused of not doing much of it Himself, said it
would be more advantageous for the disciples if He went back to heaven because He
would send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). Jesus said He would not leave His people
feeling like orphans. The Holy Spirit can be with every believer at the same time ALL
the time, whereas Jesus in His physical body couldn’t.
Even after Jesus went back up to heaven there was great rejoicing among the
disciples.

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Luke 24:51: And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them,
and carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Jesus was not physically present with them when the disciples DAILY went from
house to house, not only fellowshipping and praying, but eating together (Acts 2:4247).
Oddly enough, there is NO mention of fasting in the daily routine of these early
disciples. They were so happy they knew no better than to rejoice and to eat their
food (not fast from it) with gladness.
In Mark 2:20 and Luke 5:35 the key crucial question is: WHO is expected to fast
when Christ is NOT with them? THE CHILDREN (Gk. huios, sons)
OF THE
BRIDECHAMBER!
Remember the context.
In most Gospel passages Jesus is
addressing Jews under the Law. With the sole exception of preaching to some
Samaritans after meeting the Woman at the Well, Jesus never preached to crowds of
non-Jews. Only a few times do you read of Him helping some Gentile individual, and
even then only on account of their great faith. Jesus is answering a pointed question
put to him by the JEWISH scribes and Pharisees: Why do John the Baptist’s disciples
fast often, but your disciples eat and drink freely?
Jesus (Who enjoyed eating Himself, as Luke 7:34 and Matt.11:19 strongly
implies) replied that you can’t expect the children (sons) of the bridechamber to fast
while the Bridegroom is with them. The phrase “son of” was a common Hebrew
idiom. To be a son of something was to possess the characteristics of that particular
thing. Examples: “the son of peace” (Luke 10:6), “son” of consolation (Acts 4:36),
“son” of perdition (John 17:12). “Sons of the bridechamber” are wedding guests.
The guests and the bride are not one and the same! John the Baptist will be “friend
of the bridegroom” (best man) at Christ’s wedding to the Church (John 3:29). John
will be there as an honored guest, but John will not be part of the Bride. All the Old
Testament saints and the Tribulation martyrs will be among the guests. Most
believers will be killed during the Tribulation Period. While they’re on earth suffering
under the Antichrist, it will be a time of deep sorrow and trial. Gross darkness will
cover the earth, and there will be NO brightness in it because Christ, the Light of the
World, will be absent during that time (Isa.60:2; Amos 5:18, 20).
Like Old Testament saints, Tribulation saints will have to endure to the end to be
saved (Matt.10:21-22). Their salvation will depend on their own WORK of
faithfulness in time of terrible trial, rather than “grace through faith” as we know it
today. While salvation is not gained through human works in the present age
(Eph.2:8-9), Christ will only grant survivors of the Tribulation entry into His earthly
Kingdom IF they’ve performed specific good works (Matt.25:31-46). ). In that sense
they’ll be earning their salvation, though everyone gets into heaven only through the
Blood of Jesus (Rev.7:14). In that day God will once again emphasize the distinction
between Jews and Gentiles, as evidenced by Christ’s referral to “all nations”
(Gentiles), and God’s calling out men from specific tribes of Israel to do a work for
Him during the Great Tribulation Period (Rev.7:4-8). God says that today there is NO
difference in His dealings with people of different nationalities (Rom.10:12).
The Bridegroom will, in a very real sense, be absent from those believers on
earth. While they’re suffering privation and persecution on earth, He will be in
heaven enjoying the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with the Church, His Bride. Living
Tribulation saints will not be in heaven for the festivities. The Bridegroom will not fill
Tribulation saints with the spiritual refreshing of “Christ in you, the Hope of Glory”.
These saints might be relieved God forgave their sins but they will NOT overflow with
the joy of the Lord. Their earthly life will be a sorrowful, precarious one.

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Salvation through grace by faith alone was not experienced by Old Covenant
saints who had to win eternal salvation through faithfulness to God’s
Commandments, rather than being sealed in assurance of salvation. Further proof
that the Tribulation saints will live in a different dispensation is this: Christ
prophesied that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against His church (Matt.16:18).
Notice in the same verse Christ says He WILL BUILD (future tense) His Church. It
did not exist before the Cross. Daniel prophesied that the Antichrist would “wear out”
the Tribulation saints and defeat them (Dan.7:21, 25). Here you see a great
dispensational difference: Embattled, overpowered saints populate the Tribulation
Period, not the victorious church, the Bride of Christ. Contrast the miserable
condition of the overpowered Tribulation saints with the way the apostle Paul speaks
repeatedly of “the church” sitting in heavenly places with Christ Jesus (Eph.1:3;
2:6), and the way God ALWAYS causes us to triumph (2 Cor.2:14). If we’re ALREADY
seated with Christ in heavenly places, why is it necessary to fast to “enter into
deeper intimacy with the Lord”? NOWHERE does Paul or any other apostle teach that
fasting will exalt you to heavenly places or bring you closer to Jesus. If you’re a
Christian you’re ALREADY spiritually united to Him.
Jesus warns in John 9:4 that the NIGHT (time of dense darkness) will fall during
which time no one can work (at bringing in the harvest). This speaks of the
Tribulation Period, when God will authorize angels to preach the everlasting gospel
(Rev.14:6). Angels aren’t working as evangelists today, during the Church Age.
In both Mark 2:20 and Luke 5:35 Jesus says that in THOSE DAYS they (the
wedding guests) would fast. WHICH days? Many assume Jesus is talking about the
Church Age, the present day. But which other days might He be talking about? Here
is another context where Jesus speaks of THOSE DAYS:
Mark 13:17 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel
the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let
them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter
therein, to take any thing out of his house:
16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in THOSE DAYS!
18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
19 For in THOSE DAYS shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the
creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.* * * *Here, Jesus echoes
Daniel’s prophecy in Dan.12:1 about the coming time of unprecedented trouble.
20 And except that the Lord had shortened THOSE DAYS, no flesh should be saved:
but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
Repeatedly Jesus speaks of the days just preceding His Coming. His Second
Coming is different and distinct from the Rapture, where He comes FOR His saints
before returning WITH His saints to rule over this planet. Jesus prophesied a terrible
time of trouble that would be worse than ever before, to hit this earth during THOSE
DAYS. I believe Jesus’ use of the term THOSE DAYS also refers to the time
Tribulation converts to Christ will not feel any inner assurance of victory and just
might afflict their souls in fasting to try to get God to take pity on them. Possibly
they will see frightened Jews fasting, who have historically done this in time of great
danger, and Gentile believers in Christ will also fast. Also, believers won’t be
allowed to buy and sell without the Mark of the Beast and will, most likely, go on
FORCED fasts like Paul did when he had nothing to eat.
Remember when you were a tiny child and the electricity went out during a
storm, and there you were standing in the dark, scared and trembling at the thunder

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and lightning? You didn’t see your mom anywhere. Then you saw her coming
toward you with a candle telling you not to be afraid. You felt reassured not only by
her presence but the light she was carrying in her hand. How scary it will be when
all gladness and brightness, loving, caring and sharing is gone out of society and
satan runs rampant in the earth! Only the saints’ faith in the promises of scripture
will help them persevere in the face of brutal persecution and severe trial. The Light
of God’s Word will be the ONLY brightness in the hellish darkness of the Tribulation
Period. The lights won’t come back on in the earth till Christ, the Light of the World,
comes back with His Bride the Church, who have Him dwelling in their hearts through
faith.
If Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, and we are one spirit with Him, how can He
be absent from us? Unless you ignore verses like I Cor.6:17 it’s impossible to say He
is not with us. Matt.28:20 promises that Christ will ALWAYS be with us. One blogger
wrote that’s the very reason Christians ought to fast, contradicting Christ’s own
words that it’s improper to fast when the Bridegroom is with you. Jesus NEVER says
you ought to fast to celebrate intimacy with Him. That’s unbiblical spiritual
mysticism. Satan sneaks lies into Christ’s church by trying to improve on what Jesus
has already done for us and given us. Far from being pleasing to God, such an
attitude says Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself was inadequate and He didn’t give us enough
blessings to get us spiritually high. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
One reason I believe that Christ the Bridegroom will be absent from the earth
during the Tribulation Period is 2 Thes.2:7. He who prevents the Antichrist from
coming on the world stage will be taken out of the way. Once the Spirit of Christ
indwelling the Church is gone from the earth, Antichrist will make his appearance.
Only in His office of bringing men to Christ will the Holy Spirit still be present in a
grossly darkened earth. Persecuted, fearful, hungry Tribulation saints will feel like
God Himself has withdrawn from earth to let the devil do his dirty work unhindered.
After a long period of misery and mournful fasting, those who end up being killed by
the Antichrist will go to heaven to join the other guests at the wedding feast.
I get the impression that many saints fast and do other unpleasant things to
themselves because they feel a lingering sense of shame for sin. Our sin has
ALREADY been dealt with at Calvary. My Bible says we are actually made the
righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor.5:21). How did God do this? By dumping ALL
our sins on the Lord Jesus so He could bear them to the Cross. NOT by our fasting
to earn this freedom from shame and guilt!
Some object that Paul fasted so we must also. In 2 Cor.6:5 and 11:27 Paul lists
his “fastings” (periods of hunger due to poverty) among many other miserable trials
he suffered: shipwreck, beatings, character assassination, thirst, an unbearable
workload, etc. Paul did not impose these sufferings on himself as a spiritual exercise.
He went hungry because other Christians were either too poor or too stingy to take
care of him. The Philippians were extremely poor. But the wealthier Corinthians
failed to minister to Paul’s needs when they could easily have done so.
I Cor.4:8: Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and
I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to
death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are
strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are
buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;

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In this passage Paul contrasts the wealth of the Corinthians with the miserable
conditions he and his co-workers suffer. These affluent, selfish Corinthians were just
like the materialistic “King’s kids” of the modern Prosperity Movement. Every man
for himself and if you’re poor…tough luck. It’s your own fault. You can STARVE!!!
Fasting to punish the body resembles various Roman Catholic penances practiced
by those who try to earn heaven through personal suffering. It’s akin to whipping
yourself in a monastery or crawling on gravel up the mountain as you count rosary
beads. The false doctrine of finding joy in self-inflicted suffering has sneaked into
the Charismatic church.
I Cor.5:7: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are
unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Jesus is the ONLY sacrifice we need! Christ died on the Cross long before you
even thought of being born. In John 19:30 Jesus Himself said: IT IS FINISHED!
Why won’t believers believe this?

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Fasting is Spiritual Leaven
If you wish to "go back to your Jewish roots" as a Christian, you must fast, that's
part of the package. Paul warned the church about devious men who wanted to
pollute the Gospel of Grace with religious rituals of the Old Jewish Law.
Those who depend on religious works to help them keep right with God often
don't know any better. Nothing we do or say enhances the value of Christ's sacrifice
on the Cross. If anything, reliance on your own works can make you fall from grace
(Gal.5:4).
Some Christians feel like freeloaders if they let Jesus pay for their salvation all by
Himself. When believers don't feel Christ's torture on the cross is enough to keep
them on good terms with God, they'll fast to "share in Christ's sufferings" to make up
the difference. That's a religious crutch which lets Christians at least pay the tip so
they'll feel better about themselves when Christ settles their sin bill. Some boast
about how humble fasting makes them, even as they brag about doing it. But it's
even more humbling to know someone else took the rap for your sins. It's humbling
to say "Jesus paid it all, and I can't even chip in two cents to help Him keep me out
of hell."
Long ago I thought a faster's prayers were worth more than the prayers of those
who came to prayer meeting after a good meal. Immediately after I received the
Holy Spirit, I felt a joy inside I’d never, ever experienced before. Then I learned a
doctrine that stuck out like a sore thumb from all the teachings of the Bible that
sustained this feeling of joy. I had received the Promise of the Father (Luke 24:49),
the Blessed Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus said would empower all who received Him (Acts
1:8). In Luke 10:19 Jesus gave His disciples power over ALL the power of the enemy,
and these men did NOT fast at the time Christ bestowed this authority upon them
(see Matt.9:14; Mark 2:18). In verse 20 Christ said wicked spirits ARE (present
tense) subject to those he was speaking to at the time. And this occurred BEFORE
Pentecost, with NO mention of the disciples having to fast to gain this power over the
forces of evil. Not even before they were baptized in the Holy Ghost in Acts 2! In
fact, Christ’s non-fasting disciples rejoiced that wicked spirits were already subject to
them.
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils
are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all
the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.* * *If fasting
had been a prerequisite for being able to tread on serpents and scorpions, surely
Christ would have added that condition right here in this context! HE, not fasting,
empowers His people to live in victory over demonic forces.
Yet even though I had a wonderful Baptism in the Holy Ghost, I was taught that
Christians needed to do something IN ADDITION TO receiving the Holy Ghost to have
power over all the forces of the enemy. FAST! If going without food could defeat
satan, every anorexic on earth could raise the dead and cast out devils!
I’ll address one objection many would make that scripture DOES say fasting is
necessary to cast out devils. Matt.17:21 says: Howbeit this kind (of demon) goeth
not out but by prayer and fasting. However, Bible scholars dispute whether
Matt.17:21 is even in the original Greek manuscripts, or whether it was added in
later centuries when fasting legalism crept into the church. Some Bible translations
contain a footnote stating that this particular verse is not included in some

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manuscripts. Others place the verse in brackets, indicating that it is of doubtful
authenticity. In a parallel verse, Mark 9:29, some Bible versions do not contain the
words “and fasting”, which indicates they could have been inserted later by
translators. If that’s the case, it should just read that PRAYER is necessary to drive
out the most resistant demons. Jesus prayed before He raised Lazarus from the
dead. Obviously that was one of the hardest miracles He ever performed. But there
were other times when Jesus simply COMMANDED the dead to rise again instead of
praying, as in the case of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:55) and the son of the widow of
Nain (Luke 7:11-15). Nowhere does it state that Christ fasted before raising Lazarus
from the dead. He PRAYED, and then commanded Lazarus to come forth (John
11:41-43).
One problem with this idea that fasting being necessary before Christians have
power over demons: How hungry do you have to make yourself before Jesus’
promise that you ALREADY have power over ALL the forces of hell kicks in? The very
fact you have to wait long enough for meal-skipping to affect your BODY in order to
strengthen your SPIRIT shows that for at least two or three days you DIDN’T possess
power over ALL the forces of satan! Suppose satan got his licks in BEFORE your
blood sugar had time to crash and the power of fasting gave you power over him?
That waiting period would be a window of opportunity for the devil to do his dirty
work!
In most cases where Jesus cast out demons, Christ doesn’t pray for His Father to
do it for Him. Just like Jesus COMMANDED the dead to rise again, He simply ordered
the demons to leave, which isn’t the same as praying! Apparently Jesus expected His
disciples to do like him and just TELL those demons to get lost. Yet when a burden is
too big for us to handle, we need to PRAY to God for extra help.
You don’t have to buy God’s intervention through self-imposed suffering like the
prophets of Baal tortured themselves when they begged their false god to send a
miracle (I Kings 18:28). But you don’t have to eat if the prayer need is urgent and
you feel the strength to press on till the job is done. If you are in the thick of a
battle with satan, it would be just as ludicrous to break for lunch as a cop pausing in
the middle of a shootout for a doughnut break! Grabbing a snack would distract you
from your intense prayer session.
Christians get mixed messages from the pulpit. They’re taught that Christ is all
their righteousness, and ALL their sins have been washed away as far as east is from
west, and they have a righteous standing with God. True! But they’re also taught
that they’re so rotten and depraved inside that they need to fast to “humble” their
sin nature and gain God’s favor. This is contrary to Colossians 2:21-23 which teaches
that treating the body harshly doesn’t make you any holier.
I devoured “deeper life” magazines and went off the deep end, thinking I could
never beat up on myself or “repent” enough to please God. This spiritual voodoo
teaches Christians that just like the alabaster box containing the perfumed ointment
which anointed Christ, their souls need to be “crushed” in order to release the life of
Christ. Despite God’s promise that as He is so are we IN THIS WORLD (I John 4:17).
Despite the scripture which says we are made the righteousness of Christ (2
Cor.5:21).
But legalists still insist that Christians need to “be refined in the fire” to make
them good enough to face God after they die. This heresy is taught nowhere by the
apostles, founders of the Church. This notion is no different from the Catholic
teaching that your own suffering contributes toward your salvation, and if you aren’t
“holy” enough when you die you need to go to Purgatory to suffer more pain before
God will let you into heaven. I call this idea of contributing your own suffering (of any
type) to help buy your ticket to heaven “Supplemental Suffering Salvation”. If you

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fast to help Christ atone for your sin, it’s “Matching Funds Fasting” or “Residual Fee
Fasting”.
Those who teach fasting to create a sense of shame for sin believe that if a
Christian isn’t already afflicted with some horrible trial to keep his joy under
restraint, he should make his own body a “living sacrifice” by starving himself to
“deny the flesh”.
Or, Deep-End Life teachers teach that you must fast to “enter into the Holiest
Place” with God in the spirit, losing all consciousness of the things of earth (this
could be dangerous for a busy mother!). Funny, but the book of Hebrews teaches
that we are brought into the Holiest of All through the blood of Jesus, not fasting
(Heb.10:19). Although the Book of Hebrews teaches that only ONE sacrifice, that of
Christ Himself, is sufficient (Heb.7:27; 10:12), fasting advocates warn you that
unless you “make your body a living sacrifice” by starving it and forcing it to burn
itself for fuel, you don’t really mean business with God. Jesus NEVER taught such
devilish doctrines! Making your body a living sacrifice (Rom.12:1) means you
consecrate the members of your body to do God’s will and prevent your body from
giving in to fleshly lusts which war against the soul (I Cor.6:20; I Pet.2:11).
Thanks to weird ascetic doctrines floating around the Body of Christ, I struggled
so hard to “improve” on what I’d received from God that I made myself miserable.
My joy started feeling like a tarnished penny. Because I didn’t have supernatural
heavenly visions like Paul’s out-of-body experience, I felt like a failure! All my
singing, all my floor-pacing and praying, all my “sacrifices” to money-hungry
preachers, all my missed meals and confessing of (often imaginary) sin, and I still
hadn’t been raptured off the earth in a blaze of glory. I still had to think about
“earthly things” day in and day out.
Before long I lost a vital awareness of the love of God. Instead of achieving
greater glories of ecstasy, I felt deep grief in my innermost being. The devil started
making me worry that I’d committed the Unpardonable Sin, and sometimes I wasn’t
even sure what that was. It took me YEARS to become firmly persuaded that my
guarantee of going to heaven was rock-solid. Eventually I realized that even if I
never skipped another meal or paid another “seed-faith” offering till the day I died, it
wouldn’t make God love me any less. Many glum-looking Christians think they aren't
serving the Lord unless they're constantly suffering some type of “sacrifice” to keep
Him happy.
People swear by fasting as being good for your health, God's way of getting slim.
If that's your true motivation, might as well just call it a diet instead of a fast. But
apart from the fact that excessive fasting can ruin health, there is another reason it
can be harmful in that area. I suspect that religious fasting, like all other legalistic
things done to gain or keep God’s favor, might be the devil’s way of taking Christians
out from under the protection which comes from solely relying on the merits of the
precious blood of Christ. Since legalism brings Christians back under all the curses
of the Law, that would partially explain much of the poverty, depression, spiritual
oppression and physical sickness in the Body of Christ. Whatever you do to please
God, always examine your motivations. Ask God to help you to steer clear of
anything that is not of faith, for if your religious practices stem from a religious spirit
of fear instead of faith, they are of sin (Rom.14;23).
Some Christians think food is prayer poison. But Jesus said it's what comes OUT
of your mouth that defiles you spiritually, not what goes into it (Matt.15:11).
One preacher wrote that if you want an answer to prayer, you should be happy to
sacrifice to help bring it about. Is extra sacrifice really necessary to please God?
Psalms 40:6: Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou
opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

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Heb.11:5-6: By faith (not fasting) Enoch was translated that he should not see
death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation
he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith (not fasting) it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to
God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek
him.
Hebrews 10:10: By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body
of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same
sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
12 But this man, after he had offered ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER, sat down
on the right hand of God
You can't approach God's Throne on the merits of fasting. Just because you drive
past Dunkin' Donuts without stopping, do you seriously think God equates that socalled sacrifice with the torment His Son suffered on Calvary? Does that uneaten
doughnut purchase a single favor from the hand of God?
Failure to rightly divide the Word of Truth brings Christians under unnecessary
religious bondages. When Jesus commented on the Pharisees' tithing practices, He
was addressing JEWS UNDER THE LAW, not Gentiles. Likewise, when He preached on
fasting, He was addressing JEWS UNDER THE LAW. Christ did not come to teach the
Gentiles how to correctly keep Jewish traditions (including fasting). In fact, Christ
rebuffed one desperate Gentile woman who pleaded for Him to heal her daughter.
Jesus did heal the child because of the woman's faith. But He said that He hadn't
even been sent to anybody but the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Matt.15:24).
If Jesus' teaching on fasting (Matt.6:16-18) binds fasting on non-Jewish believers
under the post-cross New Covenant, then we must also literally keep other Jewish
customs He commented on.
Matt.8:4: And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew
thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto
them.
Jesus commanded the healed leper to go to the priest for ceremonial cleansing. This
wasn't a quickie procedure. The complicated, drawn-out ritual involved several days
of washings, shavings, pigeon offerings, etc. If we must follow this example
whenever we're healed, there's a problem. There's no Levitical priesthood around,
and Christians aren't supposed to offer animal sacrifices.
In Paul's day, the infrastructure for keeping that particular command of Christ
was still in place, even though the New Covenant had just come into effect. The
Temple was still standing, and the Levitical priesthood was still functioning in
Jerusalem.
Some point out that Christ said “when you fast”, not IF you fast in Matt.6:16-18.
Jesus was addressing Jewish listeners who regularly fasted in their devotions, not
Gentile believers of the Church Age. If this passage binds fasting on church people,
then Matt.5:23-24 must also be interpreted as a command for Christian believers to
bring a gift (Gk. doron) to a literal altar. Depending on the context in which it is
found, this Greek word can mean either a gift of any kind, or an animal sacrifice.
Contrary to modern televangelist teaching, money was never sacrificed on the
Temple altar, only edible things. Monetary contributions were deposited in a treasury
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Most would agree that Christ does not command Christians to offer up literal
animal sacrifices today. Matt.5:23-24 and Matt.6:16 have something very important
in common: Christ was teaching His Jewish listeners to do JEWISH things God’s way,
with the proper attitude. Jesus wasn’t commanding the Church to fast anymore than
He was commanding them to offer up a bullock on the church altar!
Fasting advocates cite King David, Queen Esther, Daniel, Anna and other Old
Testament (before the Cross) fasters as proof we must fast under the New Covenant
to please God. Old Testament saints lived under an inferior covenant, whereby they
approached a Holy God feeling very unworthy and fearful of His wrath. God says we
can come BOLDLY before His Throne of Grace, with no mention of fasting being
necessary to prepare you for the trip (Heb.4:16). Fasting appears NOWHERE in this
deeply spiritual epistle.
In Acts 20:22 Paul tells the brethren that he feels BOUND IN THE SPIRIT to go to
Jerusalem. Paul had previously bound his soul with a vow (Acts 18:18; Num.30:6).
Paul felt forced to go to Jerusalem to fulfill that vow. Something is wrong here. Paul
could have asked God to FORGIVE (RELEASE HIM FROM) THIS DEBT of Mosaic lawkeeping (Matt.6:12) in order to allow him to live in Christian liberty instead of
legalistic bondage. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of liberty, not bondage (2 Cor.3:17).
Despite Paul’s teaching about “submitting to one another” he ignored the warning of
God’s prophet. Paul went against his brethren’s counsel NOT to go to Jerusalem
(Acts 21:10-12).
Paul told Christians to follow his own example (I Cor.4:16; 11:1). In Acts chapter
21 Paul succumbs to pressure from legalistic brethren to go to Jerusalem to fulfill his
vow in company with others who would go through the same ceremony. Going back
to the old ways of worshipping God was very sternly warned against in the Book of
Hebrews, written at a later time by an unknown author.
Those Judaizers were real kill-joys who went around making sure nobody stayed
free in Christ for very long if they ever did manage to get free. They wanted
reassurance that Paul still kept the Law of Moses and all its rituals. To keep the
peace, Paul shaved his head and offered sacrifices in the Temple, even after his own
conversion. Is that an example we Gentiles should follow today?
Acts 21:23: Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a
vow on them;
24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they
may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were
informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly,
and keepest the law.
25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they
observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to
idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.* * **Paul, who
offered up animal sacrifices in the Temple, exempted Gentile believers from Jewish
customs. That would include religious fasting. Paul doesn’t teach fasting, or even
recommend it, in any of his epistles. Even the legalists who pressured Paul to keep
Temple rituals agreed that Gentile believers don’t have to live like Jews.
Verse 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them
entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification,
until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
Apparently it took Paul awhile to realize that Christ no longer expected His people to
follow Mosaic rituals He had fulfilled in Himself.

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Instead of defending His own Christian liberty before the legalistic Jewish brethren,
Paul kept his Temple vow. Paul sailed to Jerusalem, where Jewish leaders were
waiting to capture him. Paul went through a Mosaic purification ceremony and made
offerings for himself and each of his brethren (Acts 21:26). Paul had been a believer
in Christ for some time when he did this! Paul’s action amounted to a public denial
that He had ALREADY been purified by the Blood of Christ and that Jesus’ sacrifice of
Himself was sufficient. Notice in Numbers 6 to see how complicated it was to keep a
ritual vow, and all the offerings which had to be made. Part of the process was to
offer PEACE OFFERINGS. This was totally wrong, since Paul ALREADY had peace
with God through Christ (Rom.5:1). Jesus IS our Peace (Eph.2:14).
Paul pacified the legalists by going through this ceremony. But peace gained by
coming back under the Law isn't worth the price. Not long after that, Paul was
captured in “the city which is in bondage” (Gal.4:25). He spent years in prison.
Legalism always brings bondage.
Peter and James, the most legalistic of the apostles, agreed that Gentiles don’t
have to act like Jews or keep their customs.
Acts 15:7: And when there had been much disputing (argument), Peter rose up, and
said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made
choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel,
and believe.
8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy
Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH*
* * * * (not fasting).
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples,
which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 BUT WE BELIEVE THAT THROUGH THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WE
SHALL BE SAVED, EVEN AS THEY.
Verse 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that WE TROUBLE NOT THEM, which from
among the Gentiles are turned to God:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from
fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Verse 28 FOR IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY GHOST, AND TO US, TO LAY UPON
YOU NO GREATER BURDEN THAN THESE NECESSARY THINGS;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things
strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.
Fare ye well.
Significantly, the Holy Spirit REPEATS this information at least three times in the
Book of Acts, to emphasize that Gentile believers are NOT under Jewish Laws and
customs. So why do Christian leaders contradict the Holy Ghost Who said NO SUCH
THING (Jewish religious traditions) should be practiced by Gentile converts, and NO
GREATER BURDEN than those four necessary things is to be laid upon them? Being
expected to torment your own body (or tithe) IS a greater burden than those four
necessary things. Because fasting didn't make the Holy Spirit's short list of
NECESSARY things, fasting must be UN-necessary. Otherwise, He would have led the
apostles to teach converted Gentiles about fasting, who may never have practiced it
before coming to Christ. This apostolic conference would have been the perfect time
and place to bind fasting (and tithing, Sabbath-keeping, etc.) on Gentile believers.
Some say since Daniel fasted we have to fast too. But Daniel also kept kosher
food laws and prayed three times a day facing Jerusalem. What Christian does these
things today? Many Christians fast (or claim to), but how many brag about wearing

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burlap robes like fasting Jews did in the good old days? Catholic ascetics “doing
penance” would often wear scratchy undergarments, sleep on boards, do without
adequate blankets in the winter, crawl over pebbles up the mountain to shrines,
counting their rosary beads as they went. Nuns and monks would whip themselves
as well as fast. OT Jews threw dirt over their heads, went barefoot, tore their clothes,
wore sackcloth and shaved their heads. Christians who insist on fasting should
wonder why they neglect these other practices.
What about two fasts the apostles held? They are found in Acts 13:2-3 and Acts
14:23. These JEWISH disciples, who had always fasted as part of their religion, were
transitioning from the Old Covenant to the New. Paul's freedom manifesto, the book
of Galatians, hadn't even been written yet.
Some quote 2 Cor. 6:5 and 11:27 to prove that Paul practiced religious fasting
even after he received his revelation about being set free from the Law. But these
fastings were mentioned with other miserable ordeals he suffered, like beatings,
stonings, character assassination, lack of clothing, thirst, freezing cold and
shipwrecks. Paul did not impose these periods of starvation on himself as a “spiritual
discipline” to become more “Christlike”. Paul lacked food in the same sense he lacked
(fasted) clothing. Paul no more deprived himself of food as a “spiritual discipline”
than he deprived himself of warm clothes in the winter.
The REAL Christ came eating and drinking, see Matt.11:19 and Luke 7:34). Paul
endured FORCED FASTS because of poverty. The most reliable Greek manuscripts do
not even contain the word "fasting" in I Cor.7:5, where husbands and wives are not
to defraud each other unless they agree to do so during fasting and prayer. That's
the only possible mention of devotional fasting after Acts, and it's not even a
command to do it!
Paul endured these “fastings” partly because other Christians were either too
poor or too stingy to take care of him. The Philippians were extremely poor. But they
did what they could to help Paul. But the rich Corinthians failed to supply Paul’s
needs when they could easily have done so.
I Cor.4:8: Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and
I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to
death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are
strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are
buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;
Paul contrasts the wealth of the Corinthians with the miserable privations he and his
co-workers suffer. These affluent, selfish Corinthians were just like the materialistic
"King"s kids' of the modern Prosperity Movement. Every man for himself!
Even under the Old Law, fasting is commanded on only ONE day of the year: the
Day of Atonement (Lev.16:29-31), and even here fasting is only IMPLIED. The Day
of Atonement scriptures simply command an Old Covenant Jew to afflict his soul.
Several other fasts were added by Jewish doctors (doctor-uppers-of) the Law to
improve on God’s requirements to make the religious life of a Jew a more challenging
experience. Christians who insist on regular fast days (or any fast days at all) are not
following apostolic teaching in this, but the example set by legalistic Jews who fasted
twice a week to prove how spiritual they were (Luke 18:12). ONE fast by Christ is
recorded in scripture, and there’s no mention He ever did any fasting with His
disciples.

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Throughout Paul's ministry the Judaizers ("Christian" enforcers of Jewish laws and
traditions) were a thorn in his side. Paul circumcised Timothy to keep them happy.
But he later stood his ground and refused to also circumcise Titus.
Galatians 2:3: But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to
be circumcised:
4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily (in a
sneaky way) to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might
bring us into bondage:
5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the
gospel might continue with you.
Galatians 6:12: As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain
you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of
Christ.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have
you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.* * * There's fleshly satisfaction in
keeping religious rituals.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not
entangled again with the yoke of bondage.* * * *Your spiritual life becomes a
tangled mess when you dilute the grace of God with works. The old and the new
don’t mix (Luke 5:36-38).
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you
nothing.* * * *Religious works can cause a believer to stop relying on Christ.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the
whole law.* * * *Observe one Jewish law or ritual, you're obligated to keep them all.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law;
ye are fallen from grace.* * * *Reliance upon religious works of any kind to keep
keep God happy can make you fall out of the grace of God and imperil salvation.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but
faith which worketh by love.* * * *Nowhere does Paul ever recommend fasting as a
way to melt the heart of God or make miracle-working easier. NOWHERE!
If fasting's so vital, why didn't the apostles warn believers not to neglect a practice
which prioritizes your prayers on God's "to do" list? Where in scripture does Paul
teach on fasting and its merits? Did Paul ever say that you have to starve your body
to prove how hungry you are for Jesus? How many miracles does this apostle
attribute to fasting? Not one! And that goes for all the writings of Peter, John, James,
and Jude. Never do they prescribe fasting as a way to recharge your prayer batteries
or zap demons. Satan is more frightened of a heart full of faith than an empty
stomach. One preacher racked up 100 fasting days in one particular year, but he
didn't see satan tuck tail and run.
No apostle ever tells you to fast to spank yourself for sin. If fasting's so all-fired
important, why are the epistles (doctrinal letters of the apostles to the churches) so
silent on it? Fasting, like tithing, has been imposed on God's people without
authorization from the apostles, the founders and builders of Christ's church. How
can fasting bring you closer to Jesus, if He already dwells in your heart by faith
(Eph.3:17) and you’re already one spirit with Him (I Cor.6:17)? Even pagans starve
their body to contact the spirit realm. Fasting to weaken the body's grip on the soul

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so you can soar up into the heavenlies is a pagan doctrine. The apostles NEVER
taught this!
If fasting were a valid Christian doctrine, the apostles would have given specific
instruction on the correct way to carry it out. This would have involved a bunch of
rules and regulations: How to fast within strictly regulated parameters to protect
health, how to fast to induce heavenly visions, whether sick people, expectant
mothers or children had to fast to please God, whether you could have juice or
crackers before bed, the correct way to begin and end a fast, and how to avoid
feeling self-righteous like the proud Pharisee in Luke 18:12.
Religious fasting is a CARNAL COMMANDMENT OF MEN, taught nowhere in the
Pentateuch (five books of Mosaic Law). In the wilderness, God provides manna for
the Israelite to eat seven days a week, instead of expecting them to fast part of the
time (Ex.16:22-23). Fasting doesn’t appear as a national custom of Israel until you
reach the HISTORICAL books of the Bible, and even then it is invariably a response
to something NEGATIVE, such as being under God’s judgment for sin or some
national emergency. Unless you’re in some similar sorrowful predicament and don’t
feel like eating, why should you fast, if even Christ Himself said it springs from a
mournful spirit, not a joyful one (Matt.9:15). Self-generated sorrow is not part of our
abundant life in Christ Jesus!
Imitating the fasting customs of Jews under judgment is just as silly as going out
to the hallway to take a paddling with the kid who “cut up” in class, even though
you’ve done nothing to deserve it!
Recently I read an account of a young child who allegedly went up to heaven in a
vision. She saw lots of beautiful things up there prepared for God’s people. She saw
streets of Gold. She saw the wounds of Christ. The little girl saw the Virgin Mary
timidly hiding herself behind some mysterious door. Mary was crying copious tears
because people pray to her instead of to Jesus (I thought you were set free from the
spirit of heaviness in heaven and there’s no sorrow there!) I didn’t see much wrong
with the vision until Jesus allegedly said, in effect, that believers lose their salvation
if they “don’t like to fast”. Well, if you’re honest about it, God didn’t design us to
enjoy feeling weak and hungry. God didn’t design Adam and Eve to take pleasure in
starvation, or He wouldn’t have provided so many fruit trees for them and told them
they could eat FREELY from them (Gen.2:16).
What “Jesus” said is open to interpretation. Did He mean certain Christians were
backsliders because they fasted but didn’t enjoy doing it, or did He mean they didn’t
fast, period? You don’t have to actually like doing an unpleasant job in order to get it
done. Lots of folks drag their dead carcasses out of bed every single morning and put
in a grinding day at a tiring, boring job, and they do a great job because they’re
afraid the boss might fire them. I’m sure there’s a lot of Christians think they have to
fast to get to heaven and they make themselves fast so they’ll get there.
There was a lot of nebulous mysticism in the entire vision. “The Lord” says
certain rewards and crowns are prepared for those who praise Him the way He wants
them to. There is a crown of rejoicing (I Thes.2:19). But how do you determine
whether or not the praise you offer up meets God’s high standards, especially if your
religious practices are motivated by fear you’ll land in hell for not doing enough to
keep him happy? Praise offered up to earn or keep God’s favor is faith in worksbased salvation, and it’s deadly to grace! Just the same as religious fasting or
tithing. If you have to work for it to earn it or keep salvation, it ain’t a free gift no
more, just wages for WORKS (Rom.11:6).
Apparently the “Jesus” in the vision is punishing certain Christians for failure to
keep a practice (fasting) which none of the apostles taught on in their letters to the
churches. And even if He did expect it, what criteria would you use to determine
whether your fast was long enough, or harsh enough, or broken the right way in

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order to please Him? And how do you force yourself to enjoy tormenting your own
body so “Jesus” won’t complain that you don’t enjoy the suffering? What constitutes
a passing grade in Fasting 101? God gives no such guidelines anywhere in the Bible!
Whenever such spurious visions are given to adorable children who love Jesus,
people just might be more inclined to accept without question everything they see or
hear in the vision. But sound apostolic doctrine based on the WRITTEN Word of god
TO THE CHURCHES is to be our guide, not some cloudy, dreamy vision where the
“Jesus” figure makes it clear that salvation is kept by works of religion.
If the books of Romans and Galatians repeatedly teach us we’re not under the
written Law of Moses, then why should we be under the traditions of JEWISH sages
who made the Jews fast as an act of devotion to God (Mark 7:9)?
Col.2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why,
as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) AFTER THE COMMANDMENTS AND
DOCTRINES OF MEN?
23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and
neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.* * *Modern
translations help clarify the meaning of this verse. It might seem wise to treat the
body harshly and drum up a little (false) humility, but that does nothing to “kill the
flesh nature”.
Only the Word of God, RIGHTLY DIVIDED and applicable to New Covenant believers,
is binding on us today. Religious fasting to rack up points with God is a deception of
satan, although it may sometimes be necessary to postpone a meal to get urgent
praying done.
Immediately after asking the confused Colossians why they're still observing
carnal ordinances (touch not, TASTE NOT, handle not) Paul asks them why they are
conforming to the commandments and doctrines of men. Commandments not to
touch or taste food came not from God, but men, the Pharisees of Jesus' day. Some
say since many early Christians fasted, we have to fast too. But many early believers
came from Jewish homes and had always fasted. Anyway, an example is not a
command.
IN THE BIBLE, does Jesus rebuke Christians for not fasting enough? Jesus makes
it clear the Book of Revelation is written only TO THE CHURCHES. In fact, He repeats
"TO THE CHURCHES" seven times so they'll get the point (Rev.2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6,
13, 22). During His earthly ministry Jesus ministered to Jews who still did religious
things like tithing, fasting and animal sacrifice. He wasn't binding these practices on
the church, which didn't even exist yet. But the Holy Spirit addresses Revelation to
the church and no other group.
Jesus sternly rebukes several churches in Revelation chapters 1-3. For laziness ,
fornication, adultery, idolatry, lukewarmness, you name it, they've done it. But NOT
ONE REBUKE FOR FAILURE TO FAST! Jesus commands backsliders to "be zealous and
repent". In the Old Testament books of the Prophets, God sometimes commands
backsliders to rend their hearts with sorrow and fast. But Jesus does not command
these believers to go without food, just repent.
We’ll examine one of the most commonly-used scriptural arguments for the
fasting doctrine. In both Mark 2:20 and Luke 5:35 Jesus says that in THOSE DAYS
the children of the bridechamber would fast. Modern English translations help clarify
the meaning of “children” in this verse as meaning wedding GUESTS. A commonly
used Jewish idiom was “son” or “child” of something, which means someone displays

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the characteristics of a particular thing, as when Christ called James and John “sons
of thunder” (Mark 3:17). In Luke 9:54 you see what Jesus meant by this. James and
John had thunderous characteristics in their nature, as they showed by asking Jesus
if they could call down fire on an inhospitable Samaritan village.
Jesus also called the evil Pharisees children of hell (Matt.23:15). The Pharisees
acted like they belonged there, just like the children of the bridal chamber behave
like proper wedding guests.
He spoke also of a “son of peace” (Luke 10:6). If a peace-loving man lives in a
home you’re visiting, let your greeting of peace remain on that person. If not, take it
back.
Christ said that after He is taken away, the “children of the bridechamber” (the
wedding guests) would fast. If everyone was supposed to fast, why didn’t Jesus
simply say, “After I go back to heaven, ALL righteous people will fast” instead of
saying “when the Bridegroom is taken away the children of the bride chamber will
fast”?
Some would still insist that this predicted fasting was to be done by Christians of
the Church Age. But the word “children” in the KJV, however you interpret it, is
PLURAL, not singular. Throughout the epistles in ten different scripture verses, the
Church, the Bride of Christ, is spoken of as being ONE body (Eph.4:4;5:25-32).
There is a huge difference in how Old Covenant believers and New Covenant
Christians relate to Christ. The OT people of God were a CONGREGATION of
individual Israelites gathered together for Temple worship. But they were NEVER
viewed as being ONE spiritual Body indwelt by God’s Spirit, and having Jesus as their
spiritual Head.
Before Christ became the Bridegroom of the Church, He offered to be the
Bridegroom of Israel. The Jews often referred to their expected Messiah as the
Bridegroom of Israel. That’s why John the Baptist spoke of the Bridegroom to Jews
(John 3:29). John was the last of Israel’s OT prophets (Matt.11:13; Luke 16:16).
John introduced Jesus to Israel, not the Church (Luke 1:80; 3:16). But Israel as a
nation would reject their Messiah. Christ, their rejected Bridegroom, was taken away
from them. Where it concerned unbelieving Israel, Jesus did not promise that He
would still “be with them always” after He went back to heaven. I believe that after
the Jews stoned Stephen God turned His attention from Israel to the Gentiles. God
retracted His offer of the Kingdom to Israel, fulfilling Christ’s warning that the
Kingdom would be taken away from the Nation of Israel and given to others
(Matt.21:43). At the close of the Tribulation, the Jews will mourn when they realize
they killed their true Messiah (Zech.12:10). This would probably involve fasting.
After the third chapter of Revelation, you never hear from the Church again, for
she is in heaven. But you read much about the trials of non-raptured Tribulation
saints still on earth. In Rev.19:7-8 the Church, as the Bride of Christ, reappears,
and to HER (singular), is granted that she be arrayed in raiment clean and white. The
next verse, verse 9, says ‘Blessed are they (plural) who are called (invited) unto the
marriage supper of the lamb’. There is ONE Bride and many guests.
Ask any wedding planner. The wedding guests and the Bride are not one and the
same. John the Baptist fasted all the time, but he performed far fewer miracles than
Jesus. He will be the friend of the bridegroom, or Jesus’ Best Man (John 3:29). John
and countless other Old Testament saints will be the wedding guests, not the actual
Bride of Christ.
Other wedding guests, the martyred Tribulation saints, will not be part of the
Bride, either. They will become converted after the Church, the Bride of Christ, is
raptured to heaven. Having been martyred by the Antichrist before the Second
Coming of Christ, they will join the wedding party in heaven as GUESTS of the Bride
and Groom. All the mournful fasting they did on earth will be forever over.

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These particular guests will become converted after the Church, the Bride of
Christ, is raptured to heaven. People automatically assume Jesus is talking about the
Church Age, the present day, when He says “in those days they will fast”. But Jesus
must have meant the TRIBULATION days, because when He speaks of THOSE days,
it is usually in the context of that terrible period of history.
Mark 13:17 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel
the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let
them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter
therein, to take any thing out of his house:
16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in THOSE DAYS!
18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
19 For in THOSE DAYS shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the
creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.* * * *Here, Jesus echoes
Daniel’s prophecy in Dan.12:1 about the coming time of unprecedented trouble.
20 And except that the Lord had shortened THOSE DAYS, no flesh should be saved:
but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
Repeatedly Jesus speaks of THOSE DAYS as being the days just preceding His
Coming. His Second Coming is different and distinct from the Rapture, where He
comes FOR His saints to take them to heaven before returning WITH His saints to
rule over this planet. Jesus prophesied a terrible time of trouble that would be worse
than ever before, to hit this earth during THOSE DAYS. I believe Jesus’ use of the
term THOSE DAYS also refers to the time Tribulation converts to Christ will not feel
any inner assurance of victory and just might afflict their souls in fasting to try to get
God to take pity on them. Possibly they will see frightened Jews fasting, who have
historically done this in time of great danger, and Gentile believers in Christ will also
fast. Also, believers won’t be allowed to buy and sell without the Mark of the Beast
and will, most likely, go on FORCED fasts like Paul did when he had nothing to eat.
Despite Christ’s promise to be with us always (Matt.28:20), some insist we still
have to fast because our Heavenly Bridegroom is not visibly with us.
Must Jesus be always PHYSICALLY in our presence in order to say we don’t have
to fast? When Jesus returns to rule Planet Earth, He will have many glorified saints
stationed on the other side of the globe carrying out various assignments for Him.
Then, as now, Christ will be constantly with them in Spirit. But it won’t be possible
for Jesus to physically be everywhere at once with everybody at the same time. So
the argument that we must fast because the Bridegroom isn't physically in our
presence doesn't hold water. If we have to fast just because we can’t see Jesus with
our literal eyes or touch Him with our physical hands, that would also apply to this
Millennial scenario: If Simon Peter were ministering in San Francisco while Jesus was
in Jerusalem, he would have to fast because at that moment in time his Heavenly
Bridegroom wasn't physically in California!
Paul said it was possible to be present somewhere in spirit while being physically
absent:
Col.2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I WITH YOU IN THE SPIRIT, joying and
beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
Paul even tried, convicted, and sentenced one Christian criminal when he was
physically absent from the "courtroom":

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I Cor.5:3: For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already,
as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my
spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit
may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Paul didn't say he wasn't with them, just because his body was far away. His spirit
was there. How can this be so? The Spirit of God within us is not limited to time and
space, as our bodies are. At conversion, we actually become one spirit with Christ
the Lord (I Cor.6:17). That Mind of Christ within us knows all things, even if our
natural intellect falls short (I John 2:20). Sometimes Spirit-filled believers pray in the
Spirit for unknown people and situations in far-off lands, as the omniscient,
omnipresent Holy Spirit detects their needs. If we are actually spiritually united with
Christ the Lord, how then can we say He is not with us? Old Testament saints were
not spiritually united with Christ during their mortal lifetimes. In fear and desperation
they fasted to reach out to a God far away in heaven. Our experience of God is
different from theirs.
Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast
oft, but thy disciples fast not?
15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long
as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall
be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
Jesus immediately links fasting with mourning. He never associates it with rejoicing.
Drummed-up depression is out of sync with the joy of the Holy Spirit. The disciples
mourned after Jesus was killed. But after Jesus' Resurrection His disciples REJOICED,
even after He ascended back to the Father (Luke 24:52). They didn't fast and cry
when He went home. At Pentecost, Christ came in His fullness of His Spirit to dwell in
the hearts of His people. He is with us always (Matt.28:20). Fasting "because the
Bridegroom is not with us" is downplaying (or denying) what Jesus said about
ALWAYS being with us. Interestingly, Jesus in His role of Savior will still be at work
on earth to save people after the rapture. Otherwise, there would be no Tribulation
saints. But Christ in His role as Heavenly Bridegroom WILL be absent from the earth
after the Rapture because our Bridegroom will be in heaven with His Bride the
Church celebrating the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Today the life of a Spirit-filled believer is characterized not only by righteousness,
but by great peace and joy (Acts 2:46; 4: Rom.14:17). Tribulation saints will do their
best to walk righteously before God, like Old Testament saints did. But how can they
be full of joy, knowing they might any moment weaken and take the Mark of the
Beast out of fear? How could they overflow with joy, knowing plagues and famines
are sweeping the earth, and they might be slaughtered at any time? Those who
persecute these particular believers will be totally sold out to satan and irretrievably
doomed to hell be because they will have taken the Mark of the Beast. Persecuted
Tribulation believers won’t even have the consolation of hoping that their courageous
death might soften the hearts of their evil persecutors to lead them to Christ. More
than likely, the agents of Antichrist will be a whole lot scarier than the Roman tyrants
who threw early Christians to the lions.
In the Bible, fasting is ALWAYS associated with sorrow for sin or reaction to some
other kind of stressful event. Jesus never told believers to fast to celebrate their
normal condition of joy in the Lord. But yes, there WILL be a time when sorrow will

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be far more appropriate for believers than joy, and that will be the dark, deadly
Tribulation Period. Those who repent AFTER the Rapture will be saved by the Blood
of the Lamb as we are today. But unlike us, they’ll be KEPT in salvation through
their own faithfulness in performing good works (see Matt.25:31-46). Contrast this
precarious, CONDITIONAL salvation experience with Paul’s firm assertion that our
salvation is “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph.2:8-9).
Other conditions the Tribulation saints must fulfill in order to earn the right to
keep their own salvation: They must “endure” or “hold out to the end” (Matt.
24:13). They must do their best to keep God’s commandments (Rev.14:12). And
they must not, under ANY circumstances, accept the Mark of the Beast (Rev.20:4).
Even believers who take this Mark out of fear of starvation or torture will lose their
salvation because scripture warns that if ANY man takes this Mark, they’ll be forever
doomed (Rev.14:9-12). Notice, believers in Christ are NOT exempted from this
terrible warning! Even if the Antichrist were to torture them beyond all endurance!
The Tribulation will be a terrible time of tremendous stress, sorrow and fear of falling
away for believers, not a time of great joy in the Lord like that experienced by
Church Age Christians who received the Holy Ghost at Pentecost.
Why is it that legalists give lip service to founding all church doctrine on "grace
through faith alone", but then they burden the people of God with "spiritual
disciplines" never taught in any New Testament epistle? To bind fasting on New
Covenant Christians, you must do the same as you do with tithing: Import it from
the Old Covenant or the Gospels, when Jesus okayed the tithing of garden herbs
(Matt.23:23). The Gospels (the earthly ministry of Jesus) transpired during the
closing days of the Old Covenant, when Jews lived under the Law and non-Jews were
the odd men out. Why do I believe Jesus lived during the Old Testament? Because
the New Covenant didn't come into effect until after Jesus died on the Cross and rose
again (Heb.9:15-17).
Scripture places Jesus' earthly ministry firmly under the Dispensation of Law, the
Old Testament:
Galatians 4:4: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son,
made of a woman, MADE UNDER THE LAW,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of
sons.
Fasting has nothing to do with Christian joy and celebration in Jesus. Fasting is a
perfect tissue match with “the leaven of the Pharisees” (Matt.16:6,11-12), who were
the ones responsible for adding extra fast days to the Jewish Calendar, unauthorized
by God. Purge out the old leaven of religious legalism. When yeast is first mixed into
bread dough, it's barely detectable. But yeast blows bread dough up to three times
its original size. Just like human hearts puff up with pride when they think God is
impressed with their religious works. Leavened bread dough looks stable and
substantial, but exert a little pressure on it and the whole thing caves in. People who
swap their rock-solid faith in Christ for religious legalism will see their impressive
religious lives cave in when the devil puts pressure on them. A little religious leaven
puffs a believer’s heart up into the sin of relying on his own works to keep him in
right standing with God, instead of putting faith ONLY in Christ. This is what it
means to fall from grace, a very dangerous thing indeed.
I Cor.5:7: Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are
unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

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Jesus is the ONLY sacrifice we need! Christ died on the Cross long before you even
thought of being born. In John 19:30 Jesus Himself said: IT IS FINISHED!

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FASTING FOR FAVOR
Many of God’s precious children are struggling to earn favors from Him through
self-denial and fasting. And if their personal circumstances improve after the fast is
finished, they will tell everyone what fasting has done for them. See, fasting makes
me healthier, see, fasting makes me skinnier, see, I have won favor with God
through fasting.
And in the process God’s Son and His benefits, hard-won on of the Cross of
Calvary, are relegated to the background of consciousness. Rather than treating
fasting as an UNBROKEN STRETCH OF PRAYER, fasting is exalted to the primary
means of softening God’s heart to persuade Him to give a person's prayers first
priority on His "to do" list. There is a time for earnest prayer, whether you eat during
the prayer time or fast during it. But fasting must never degenerate into a hunger
strike to force God’s hand. We must continue with God the same way we began:
receiving good things from Him by grace through faith, not as wages for works.
Many saints of all sizes regard their bodies as a loathsome thing, promising God
that they will eliminate as much flesh as possible through fasting, because their
material bodies are unspiritual and unholy. That is the spirit of Gnosticism, an
ancient heresy the early church warred against. Gnosticism holds that all matter is
nothing but a necessary evil. Another popular belief of the second century, A.D.,
Montanism, emphasized frequent, rigorous fasts as a remedy for weak human
nature. But to say the body is evil is a lie of satan. The body should not be
regarded as a nuisance which has no spiritual significance. Our bodies are the
Temple of the Holy Ghost (I Cor.6:19). That alone sanctifies them and makes them
holy. We need our bodies to carry us around to do God’s will in the earth while we’re
here. Our bodies might not be perfect, but they’re a blessing and while they should
not be over-indulged, they should be properly cared for and nourished. If our body
is God’s Temple, how can it be called an evil thing? Jesus died for ALL of us!
Adam And Eve ate the forbidden fruit and brought God’s judgment upon
themselves and all mankind (Gen. 3:1-19; I Cor.15:21-22). Some fasting proponents
imply that since it was Adam’s physical appetite that brought ruin to the human race,
eating is just a necessary evil which should be kept to a minimum. And when eating
IS done, it should not be done with enjoyment. But Adam’s sin did not lie in the act
of eating, as such. Before the Fall, Adam was free to eat all he wished of every other
tree of the Garden except the forbidden one. The root of Adam's sin was rebellion
and lust for power, not a yearning to kill hunger pangs. It was a mind of rebellion,
not a hungry stomach, which induced Adam to partake of the forbidden fruit. Many
saints are at war with their own bodies, thinking that the material of their body is evil
and responsible for the original sin committed by Adam. But the sin proceeded from
Adam's heart, not his stomach. I believe Adam sinned the moment He decided to
take the fruit. In that split second between the time Adam decided for sin and
against God he fell from God’s favor. It was only after that sinful decision was made
that his arm reached for the fruit, his hand took it, and his mouth ate it. Adam was
no longer circumcised in heart, separated as holy unto the Lord. It is circumcision of
the heart which pleases God and leads to holiness, not the starvation and neglect of
the body.
One fasting proponent wrote that a piece of apple pie is a bigger hindrance to
God’s relationship with a believer than the devil! Religious ascetics often whip
themselves with “deeper truths of God” they “glean” from their Bible study. Heresy
springs from Scripture yanked out of context, or applying to the Church verses
directed to those under the Law of Moses. Even applicable truth taken to extremes or

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exalted way out of its proper place becomes heresy. For fasting to be enthroned in
such a high doctrinal position, something else must be dethroned and put in a lower
position in the believer’s life. And that important something is dependency on the
grace of God in Christ Jesus, Who alone is THE Way, the Truth, and the Life (John
14:6).
Fasting is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the three synoptic (similar
viewpoint) gospels, but not at all in the Gospel of John. All four books speak of
Jesus’ miracles and point to His salvation, but John’s gospel stands out from the
other three as a treatise on the divine nature of Jesus. These facets of Jesus’ nature
are especially emphasized in John’s gospel: Who Jesus IS to His people, and how
those who are born of God spiritually relate to Him. The other three gospels focus
more on what Jesus DOES, and how He teaches people to act out their devotion to
Him in practical ways. If fasting is such an important SPIRITUAL duty, then why do
the words “fast”, “fasted”, or “fasting” never appear even once in the most spiritual
gospel of all, the Book of John? Nor does “fasting” ever appear in John’s three
doctrinal epistles.
God is tired of guilt being heaped on people who eat instead of fast. God’s own
Son "came eating and drinking (Matt.11:19), though ONE fasting period (forty days)
is attributed to Him in Scripture (Matt.4:1-4) . Not once in God’s Word do the New
Testament Apostles actually command Christians to fast at all, but they allowed the
saints to settle that issue between God and themselves. God’s people are given a
list of things they must do, such as pray without ceasing, rejoice evermore, and be
filled with the Spirit (I Thes.5:16-22). Fasting appears NOWHERE on that list of
commands. As in the case of whether or not Sabbath observance or tithing is
required of Christians, it’s a good idea to make sure regular fasting is an actual
Biblical commandment, before subjecting yourself (and your family) to its stresses
and possible health risks. While sacrifice in our Christian life is sometimes necessary,
sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice is never commanded by God under the New
Covenant. We are free from the need to observe legalistic rituals (routines), the
“weak and beggarly elements” referred to in Galatians 4:9.
It is not God’s will for church leaders to impose fasting as a commandment. That
is irresponsible and risky. Some of God’s people have already done without good
things in their lives because of satan's attacks. Their soul is already humbled by
privations, and they feel too emotionally fragile to endure the additional emptiness
of a lengthy fast. Unless God gives supernatural strength, they might suffer clinical
depression or even panic attacks if they stop eating for too long. Others may be on
medication which requires them to eat. Some might be diabetic. Others might have
metabolic disorders or be recovering from eating disorders. Some of God’s people are
too ill to fast and must eat to keep their blood sugar from plunging. Many Christians
are always on crash diets to lose weight and they feel weak anyway, and would
suffer from cutting their calories to zero. A very few, and I don’t know who those
impoverished people are, might even be underweight or chronically malnourished.
Who’s mean enough to tell those people that if they don't fill their personal fasting
quota to earn it, God won't hear and answer their prayer? Even the priests of Baal
tried to buy their own god's favor through suffering (I Kings 18:28).
What stinks to high heaven is the superior attitude of believers who are puffed up
with pride about the fasting days they log. They imagine God keeps meticulous
records of all the Hershey Bars they gave up for special seasons of self-denial, as
they strove to prove that they were better than their pleasure-loving brothers and
sisters. The sweet treat they get for their self-denial is to go brag about it to the
other saints. But if they’re looking for the praise of men they already have their
reward (Matt.6:16).
Skipping meals during a season of prayer is to be done
discreetly, without boasting about it (Matt.6:16-18). The same principle of doing

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something PRIVATELY between you and God applies to giving money, or personal
prayer (Matt.6:1-4; 5-8).
God knows when you feel like your back is up against the wall and you forget all
other issues to be alone with Him. And after a long, hard battle with satan is won, it
is very offensive to God when people tell the prayer warrior, "If only you had been
fasting regularly all along, you wouldn't have had to be so desperate about it right
now." But has it ever occurred to such a judgmental hypocrite that the vast majority
of the time, that dear one might have a merry song in his or her heart because they
can sense the love of their Bridegroom caressing their souls? How, then, could it be
appropriate for that one to mourn in fasting? Unless a just-married couple spent their
wedding night in prayer for God to intervene in an unforeseen emergency, would
they fast on their honeymoon, or would they feast joyfully together?
What if a non-fasting Christian is so spiritually discerning that he or she can
already see by faith their Bridegroom coming just over the horizon of time? If you
can see your loved one coming toward you, how can you be sad enough to go round
with a mournful face and afflict your happy soul?
The most dangerous thing about fasting error is to lay the law down upon
yourself or others. Religious legalism is like New Year’s Resolutions. Beware. There’s
a fuzzy line between goal-setting and legalism. To say "I shall never again eat on
Wednesday" is to open the door for satan to lay a snare of condemnation for you.
What if the Lord leads you to witness to someone over lunch on a particular
Wednesday? Are you going to tremble in fear of God’s retribution if you violate what
has become a law and eat on Wednesday? Even if you “vow” to “fast without fail”
just one day a year, every Thanksgiving, the principle of legalism still holds true.
Temperance is a Christian virtue, but keeping your teeth out of the turkey won’t give
your prayers wings to fly.
Don't try to add your own contribution to Christ’s finished work on the Cross. We
are saved by grace through faith in His Blood, period. If you fast, give alms, sing in
the choir, or knit socks to try to earn or keep God’s approval, it is dangerous
territory you're on. You have fallen from grace and have strayed back into the
bondage of imperfect law-keeping and reliance upon self, not the Savior. So the very
"self" you are so anxious to "crucify" is what you depend upon to provide faithful
performance to gain power with God, and that is a hazardous trap of certain selfcondemnation.
Beware of the spirit of anorexia masquerading as something holy (sanctorexia).
It is a wasting obsession, which saps a saint's joy and vitality. So many of God’s
saints feel so superior as they fast frequently and watch their own flesh fall away and
the scale numbers drop. Many Christian women in their 20’s and 30’s look much
older because frequent fasting saps their bodies of vital nutrients. Even their oncejoyful countenance becomes a sour, shrunken mask of painful piety. When such folks
carry out their daily devotions they look like they’re getting a whipping instead of
actually enjoying the Presence of their Heavenly Father. It is because they have lost
the joy of their own salvation and the sweet savor of the Bride's perfume of ecstasy
has turned to the sour stench of death and decay.
Fasting is a work, just like alms-giving, praying for others, meal preparation,
singing in the choir, and countless other activities; some of which may be permissible
but not mandatory. Beware of pride, or a “God Owes Me” attitude. Whenever you
depend on works to keep you in God’s favor, it is an insult to His Son's finished work
on your behalf at Calvary. It is saying that what Jesus did in His own dreadful
suffering is insufficient and God requires much more in order to accept you. In
adding works to grace as the object of your faith, grace ceases to be grace
(Rom.11:6). You are saying that Christ lied when He said: "It is finished".

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A WEIGHTY MATTER
Nehemiah 8:10; Matt. 5:28; Luke 16:15; 22:28-30;
Romans 14:3-4; 2 Cor. 4:7; Galatians 4:8-9; I Timothy 4:3-5
When will God's people learn that to keep their priorities in line with what He
specifically put His Church into this world to do, and stop wasting His time trying to
get Him to hallow the twisted cultural values of this world? God's House is meant to
be a refuge from the oppressions of the world, not a promoter of them. Many women
use the excuse that they’re fasting for spiritual reasons, (or for health) but the REAL
reason is they want to get pin-thin to attract more men!
When will God's people realize that He did not create every woman to look the
same? There are differences in height, bone structure, skin tone, and musculature,
even within the same racial groupings. And_are you surprised_ He did not design all
women to be tall and willowy! Those who break this cultural beauty edict are not
suffering from some demonic affliction which needs to be cast out by prayer and
fasting!
Satan has taken a perfectly sound concept_healthy eating habits_and distorted it
to use as a weapon against women and girls in particular. He has convinced worldly
women that the heavier they are, the less they’re worth. Hollywood actresses are
setting the trend, defying even death to make themselves ever thinner; just so their
popularity will not die. Good health is far less important to these vain women than
being able to count their ribs. Although it is natural that women’s forms mature out
of early childhood, society pressures them to defy nature itself and strive to reverse
their own maturation. Satan wants women to look like starving boys!
Satan’s original lie: Eat from the forbidden tree, and you’ll gain in prestige. His
current lie: DON’T eat, and others will respect you more. His aim is to distort the
image of womanhood in revenge for the verdict and judgment of the Garden of Eden,
which cost HIM status. He hates to see women energetic and feminine-looking, as
God intended for them to be. He knows people can’t focus on more than one issue at
a time, so he drives the worldly woman to worry so much about her “fat” that she
never spares a thought for her eternal fate. The devil keeps her fixated on her body
image and other people’s opinions of it. Above all, he is delighted with the current
attitudes of vainglory and self-obsession which motivate the trend-setters of this
wicked end-time culture. It is bad enough that the beautiful, the popular and the
wealthy have grabbed all the best things of the earth for themselves and shoved
aside the humbler souls, saying: “This is OUR world, get out of our way!” But it is not
to be so in God's church. Certain individuals were noted for their physical
attractiveness in Old Testament history (2 Sam.14:25). But they were praised BY
MEN on the basis of their looks, not God. In this dispensation, just as He always has,
God takes pleasure in working through humble vessels full of the Glory of the Lord,
that the excellency may be of Him and not of the flesh.
A strange new doctrine is taking shape in God's Church, one never ordained
through the mouths of prophets or apostles: Girls, get skinny for Jesus! Its principal
tenet: In order for a female saint to qualify as an overcomer, she must first subdue
her flesh; that is, eliminate as much of it as possible. These misguided women
interpret God's Word to mean that the more meat they banish from their bones, the
more acceptable they are to Him . Thus, a woman’s body is seen to be her greatest
spiritual foe, something to vanquish via dieting. No corresponding sacrifice is
demanded of the male believer, except for when church fasts are called. God didn’t
write one set of rules for women, and another for men. Where in God's Word does it
stipulate that men are saved by grace alone, but His daughters grow closer to Him

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by starving themselves to resemble pre-teen girls; or worse, the current “lollipop
look” , a stick figure topped by a ‘too large’ head?
One TV preacher is so solidly built no chicken coop within a thirty-mile radius
feels safe from him. Yet he bellowed from his pulpit against women who gain weight
after marriage. But who is HE to claim the moral high ground? This particular pulpit
pilot was unfaithful to his first wife, then remarried another woman. I think that's a
much greater sin in the sight of the Lord than munching on a Hershey Bar!
Jesus set a precedent when He drove out the money-changers and merchants
from the Temple. These carnal men were using His House to carry on with the
commerce of this world. Likewise, the diet industry is pressuring women of the
Western World to think they need their products, telling even normal-weight women
that they need to slim down till they’re gaunt. When a woman finishes a plate of
food, it is seen as greed. If she were ladylike, people think, she would only just
nibble at her plate. Eating is now perceived as an act of guilt and shame, even by
God's own people who have been hoodwinked into adopting and sanctifying the
devil’s values. While corrective measures may be necessary when people’s health is
at risk, the quest for an elusive body shape can become an idolatrous obsession!
The last thing a wounded woman needs is to have the hang-ups of this world
thrust upon her again once she enters the church door. If all the women talk about is
"being beautiful enough to represent Jesus" that's finding fault with God's creation.
We should look well groomed and eat healthily, but we are to be Christ-obsessed, not
self-obsessed. Dieting for Jesus is NOT to be made a requirement of women’s
discipleship! Weight loss is NOT to be used as a yardstick to measure gains in
spiritual growth! And thinness is NOT to be made the measure of spirituality!
God's Church is meant to be a place where souls damaged by the lies of the devil
are mended. Many new converts come to Him with a lot of baggage heaped on them
by society. They see themselves as ugly rejects who failed to make a nice niche for
themselves in this perverted world. Often, a person will not come to Christ at all until
he is thoroughly fed up with “the way things are”.
Big Bigotry
When I lived in California many years back I visited a “radical” Christian church
which teaches you must perform lots of good works and continually mourn over your
human weaknesses in order to stay saved. One of the most sickening scenes I ever
witnessed in any church happened there one night. A visiting speaker invited people
up for prayer. One (very large) man went up to ask prayer for a bad leg.
Hmmm….now there’s one sin a self-righteous Pharisee can sink his fangs into!
Instead of seeing a fellow human being created in God’s image, all that beady-eyed
“evangelist” saw was a fat guy who ought to be ashamed of himself! The preacher
told the man he was sure his weight was to blame for his bad leg, and he needed to
ask God’s forgiveness for being big. So in front of everybody present, the man had
to repeat a self-flagellating “prayer of repentance” composed by that religious bully.
Think about it. What if some skinny teenage girl had gone forward to get healed
of muscle atrophy, hair loss, weak bones and bleeding gums? Would the preacher
have automatically accused the girl of starving herself, or would he have showered
tender-hearted sympathy on her? Would the alleged anorexic have had to publicly
“pray” for forgiveness for non-eating, even if her symptoms were caused by a rare
metabolic disorder? Bigots can be very inconsistent. It is a SIN to judge men’s
hearts by their outward appearance (John 7:24; James 2:1)!
If the fat man was a true believer in Christ, Scripture says this about him: He is
the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor.5:21). Period. The Bible makes no
exceptions for race, color, gender, or…size, which in today’s warped world, happens

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to be the last acceptable bastion of prejudice. Before assembled witnesses the
preacher made that man wallow in a hog pen of guilt, but there is NO
CONDEMNATION to those in Christ Jesus. Until the Rapture changes everyone into
beauty kings and queens, Christians come in all shapes and sizes. Christians are not
like a pack of eggs, all white and weighing exactly one ounce! Most eggs are brown
where I live, but they’re just as tasty as white ones!
Weight gain (or loss) usually has to do with simple math, not morality. I’ve known
some people who can watch TV all day long and eat like a horse, but never gain an
ounce. Normal people don’t have to pig out to gain weight. All it takes is consistently
taking in just ten (10) calories more per day than you expend to put on one pound
in one year. That doesn’t make God love you any less!
What the preacher made that poor man repeat was an outrage: “I am a glutton,”
along with other rub-your-nose-in-it “confessions”. Not one word was asked by that
spiritual butcher about the man’s overall health, or whether he was depressed or just
needed a brother to just love him as a person! He got treated like a dirty dumpster
by a beady-eyed bigot just because he didn’t have a bod that “glorified God”.
Larger people are stereotyped as stupid and lazy, too thick-skinned to have
feelings. Some try to overcome their cosmetic handicaps through a jolly personality
which can laugh off any insult. But many people, whatever their size, have been
kicked around so much they’re fragile as glass and think they need some preacher’s
approval to justify their own existence! If that poor guy had been aware of his own
value in the sight of God, instead of groveling in front of that jerk he might have
given him a stronger confession and walked out. I guess I didn’t have much selfesteem then, either. I’d been programmed to believe the widespread lie that
preachers, as “God’s anointed” are beyond rebuke as being the Big Chiefs, while us
poor peasants parked out in the folding chairs are just extras in God’s Kingdom.
After the big man sat down, I went up to tell the preacher I’d just gotten home
from a bus trip and they’d lost my luggage, so would he please pray that I’d get my
stuff back?
As if picking on the fat guy wasn’t enough emotional candy for the preacher, he
sneered and asked: “Sister? Do you serve the Lord?”
I didn’t voice my thoughts, which went like this: I work like a slave everyday and
when I get home, I’m dead. When do I ever get time to ‘do a big purpose in life’’?
What a loaded question! I said something like: “I think so” (at least I prayed
everyday, tired or not).
He replied: “Sister, I serve the Lord, and I NEVER lose MY luggage when I travel.
God takes good care of His slaves.” Does that smell of a “Job’s comforter”?
His words fit his theology, because he called himself God’s slave, not His son!
He’d taken a big bite out of that fat man to punish him for an outward flaw that was
visible to the naked eye. Now that preacher wanted to have ME for dessert, so he
searched my heart for something to criticize. Even if I WAS better-looking than that
preacher (at least I didn’t have a sour-looking face), most likely I didn’t “do as much
for God” as he did, so there was something else he could chew on!
I should have told that preacher it’s easy to be “spiritual” and serve “the Lord”
when you’re living off other people’s loot and don’t have to serve cranky customers
day in and day out, so until you’ve walked a mile in my worn-out work shoes,
buster, you’ve got no room to criticize ME!
But the fat man did get the worst of it. Even if it WAS his fault of for being big,
was that rude preacher so without sin that God picked him to humiliate others before
the whole assembly? While it’s unhealthy to devour twice as many calories as you
need, “biting and devouring one another” just might be equally offensive to God
(Gal.5:15). Today’s typical institutional church reflects not Christ, but the world and

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its values. Immorality and divorce abound. Where’s the outcry in the Body of Christ
about THOSE sins of excess?
Even Christians lust for glory and gold (James 4:1-6). That’s what “success” is all
about. Give to get, confess you’re blessed, pricey suits, loads of loot, detox and
Botox can fix just about any sin under the sun that’s worth worrying about. Only
cosmetic sins can cripple a Christian’s progress. Inward flaws can be airbrushed
away as lovable human quirks. But being poor, plain or plump is unforgivable!
Oddly enough the New Testament has much more to say about greed for money
than greed for a bucket of chicken. It says virtually nothing about outward beauty
being a prerequisite for “representing Jesus”! Where’s the big outcry in the Religious
Establishment about the rampant divorce rate in “church leadership” and preachers’
big appetite for women, fancy cars, money, mansions and power? So long as the
preacher’s rich and thin, that kind of gluttony doesn’t merit mention, even if it does
condemn a soul to the devil’s barbecue pit in the world to come!
Like a nodding sheep I let the preacher pray for the recovery of my lost luggage,
but I should have put confidence in God only, not in some professional “pray-er”.
That preacher made my skin crawl just being in his presence! Instead of exuding the
sweet fragrance of our Savior, some “ministries” give off the odor of a rotting skunk!
How could someone so unlike Jesus possibly claim to be His representative? I’ll
NEVER let any arrogant preacher look down his nose at me ever again! Those days
are gone forever! I wish I’d had the guts to stand up for that fat man and tell that
preacher that God is more worried about people being “sinny” than staying skinny.
Since that phony Pharisee was into self-humiliation as being a cure for sin,
whether real or imagined, what better penance could there have been for somebody
like him than to take the same medicine he forced down other people’s throats! I’d
have suggested a public confession that went something like this: “Please pray for
me, saints. I’m a guilt peddler who pounds repentance into people I know nothing
about. I’m a glory glutton who brags about my blessings. I’m a vicious vulture who
feeds off the failures and faults of others. I’m a skinny scoundrel with a Texas-sized
ego that constantly needs feeding. I’m a bitter little bully with a withered heart. I
need to cut bigger people down to size to make ME feel bigger! Maybe there’s
something to be said for eating and it isn’t such a big sin after all. If I kept my
mouth busy on a burger or a bucket of chicken, at least I wouldn’t be binging on my
big brother. So, y’all please pray for me that I’ll never again open my mean old
mouth unless it’s just to eat. If I kept my big fat mouth shut the rest of the time,
I’d do far less damage to the Kingdom of God! Can y’all say ‘amen’!”
May the good Lord hasten the day that proud preachers who know all about
everybody else’s sins become humble enough to see their own.
Dieting to Incite Lust
Millions of God's children all over the world are have to depend on Him to keep
daily food on their tables. Christ's main concern is to meet the needs of people who
call upon Him in faith, that the Father might receive Glory. He is busy about the work
of saving lost souls and seeking out His lost sheep. While millions perish for want of
spiritual and natural food, image-obsessed women worry that they will eat the same
luscious, abundant food their husbands so readily indulge in. And no, God doesn't
excuse carnal husbands for staring lustfully at skinny girls on the street just because
their wives are having a hard time getting their figure back after childbirth. God
counts that lustful look as adultery, regardless of the excuses men make for it. Sadly,
even some of God's daughters diet not for health and optimum vitality, but to make
men lust after them. A svelte figure gained through grueling diet and exercise is
viewed as a prize which must be shown off to eyes both male and female, married

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and unmarried. This turns the woman into a temptress who traps the male into
breaking Jesus’ admonition not to look lustfully upon a woman (Matt.5:28).
Fitness achieved through fasting can bring the same temptation to carnal pride.
How vain, for a woman to boast of the many days of fasting she's endured to gain a
gaunt figure which supposedly is “a good testimony for Jesus”, and to brag about the
heavenly reward she expects to get for such self-denial. This is a pointed dig at her
sisters who eat normally and are not so thin. In God's eyes, it is a far greater sin to
indulge in self-exaltation than to polish off a whole box of chocolates in one sitting!
Next time your big sister comes over for a hug don’t say anything to make her
feel small.

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God’s Kingdom Don’t Run on Fat
II Sam.1:12; 3:35; Romans 14:17; Col.2:16,20
One day the four pillars of the church decided to hold a fast before the coming
church revival. Sister Sarah would impose the most rigorous fasts upon herself,
while the other three ladies were more laid-back about it. Sarah was the eldest of
the four, and the most domineering. She was very religious but had a tongue like
sandpaper.
The fast would take place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, they all decided.
Each day the four would meet in the church sanctuary to storm the gates of heaven
and encourage one another in sisterly love.
Sarah would neither eat nor drink during that period. Flora Belle would drink only
water and diet Coke. Bessie Mae might indulge in a yogurt drink if she felt too faint.
But Elsie said her fasting practice was strictly between her and God and she only had
to answer to Him.
Sarah frowned at Flora Belle and Bessie Mae. “Jesus MIGHT have drunk water
while he fasted for forty days, but I doubt there were any Coke machines out in the
wilderness. My word, Bessie Mae! Jesus didn’t have yogurt in the wilderness. I
presume you don’t have yogurt while you’re fasting, Elsie?”
“No, Sister Sarah, and I don’t drink Diet Coke during a fast, either.”
"Good," Sarah smiled primly. "I knew you'd be in agreement with me on this,
Elsie."
On the second day of their fast the four ladies were kneeling at the altar in the
sanctuary. Sarah felt like she was wilting, and her throat was dry as parchment. Her
concentration drifted and she felt miserable. But she was proud of her self-discipline
as a stalwart soldier of the Cross. Her head wobbled sleepily as she pleaded with God
to reward her for her suffering and self-denial. Sarah asked the Almighty why their
pastor hadn't been man enough to make the rest of the church fast too. "If You had
to depend on the menfolk to undergird Jubilee Tabernacle with their prayers," Sarah
let God know, "this place would cave in like a house of cards." Hearing that, the
other three prayer warriors fought to stay properly solemn as they prayed earnestly
for the salvation of souls and healing of the sick.
It was just past eight o’clock in the evening, though the summer sun was still
softly shining. Sarah knew that Elsie had just dropped her husband off at his AA
meeting and she might already be back home. The four ladies had agreed to pray
privately at home the rest of the day after daily group prayer in the sanctuary, but
Sarah wanted to discuss a few things alone with Elsie. Sarah knew that Elsie's home
phone service had been cut off recently, so she tried to reach her on her cell phone.
All Sarah got was a recorded message which indicated that Elsie had switched it off.
Sarah decided to drop in on her anyway. As she drove down the Beltline Road,
humming a praise chorus, she passed Hog Heaven Barbeque. Something caught her
eye. In the front of the parking lot was a scratched-up, dented, rusty old van with
red-checked curtains in the windows. It looked like Elsie's van.

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Driven by curiosity, Sarah turned her car around and entered the Hog Heaven
parking lot. She parked and prayed for self control. As she walked into the restaurant
the sumptuous smells made her mouth water. But she must stay strong. Lo, and
behold, seated near the entrance was Elsie, hands folded and head bowed over a
pork barbeque sandwich, potato salad, and baked beans. She even had a Seven-Up
on the side.
“For shame!” Sister Sarah cried. “You've got the nerve to say grace over that
meal in front of the window, where all the world can see you!”
Elsie looked up. “And why should I be ashamed to give God thanks in front of the
whole world? Why did you come in here, anyway, unless you're hungry too?"
“You were supposed to be fasting, and you know it!” Sarah snapped.
“I said I would fast three days, not three nights," Elsie said. "If you’ll read your
Bible, you'll find out that sometimes David himself would fast just till nightfall. I had
a great prayer time today, and I did feel the power of God."
Sister Sarah pursed her lips primly. "You might feel it even more keenly if you
would fast as I do. I don't eat at night. I go to bed hungry and let my calorie deficit
build up. That makes me even more keenly aware of my hunger and dependency on
the strength of the Lord. You're pampering your body, Elsie, but we're called to
punish it into submission. Besides, the sun hasn't set yet, has it?"
Elsie gnashed her teeth and set her sandwich down. She had no appetite for
confrontation. "I was gonna wait till the sun finished going down at nine o’clock, but
I felt a migraine coming on and anyway, I’m not into all this legalism.”
“You are SO undisciplined! You aren't willing to humble your soul before God! You
aren't willing to suffer even a little to show God how desperate you are for answered
prayer!” Sister Sarah seethed. She felt like yelling, but didn’t want everybody
looking at her.
“Suffering?” Elsie retorted. “Oh, I’ve done plenty of that! I've already cried my
fair share of tears, what with Ray stumbling in the house drunk night after night.
Then we had that trouble with the neighbor kids setting our tool shed on fire. Five
hundred dollars down the drain. Then our phone got cut off because we can't afford
it anymore. We can barely keep up with the rent. So I know what it means to feel
desperate if anybody does! Last November Ray went to work drunk after an all-night
spree and said something crude to a female supervisor he doesn't like. So Ray lost
his job and we lived on beans for five weeks till I could earn some money helping
slow students with their homework."
"Even so, it's still hard to make ends meet. Last year we got a free Christmas
turkey from some church in the rich part of town, but you can't imagine how
embarrassed I felt having to buy my grandkids' presents at the thrift shop. Then Ray
had that liver operation and lost all that weight, worrying me sick. Not to mention
the bills his insurance wouldn't cover. Now, Sister Sarah, If you think I haven’t done
enough suffering to keep my dirt-poor soul humble, you're wrong! Oh, I’ve done
without lots of things, and if fasting from food earns us credit in God's payroll book,
then fasting from happiness ought to do that as well. Not that I'm being nosy, but
why did you come to Hog Heaven if you’re doing an overnight fast?”
“Well, I saw your car, and the Bible does teach us to exhort one another to
faithfulness in doing good works. I am sorry, though, that you've had to endure so
many trials." Was that a twinkle Elsie saw in Sarah's eye?
Elsie could see right through her. “Well, now, after all I just said you’ve got plenty
to chew on, Sister Sarah…even though you aren’t eating. I've struggled with liberty
versus legalism all my life, and I'll be the first to admit I've done a pretty lousy job
earning God's favors and answers to prayer. But if what Jesus accomplished on the
Cross of Calvary wasn't enough to pay for all God's benefits, I doubt my hunger
pangs would make up the difference."

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Sarah gave her a beady-eyed frown. "If I were you, Elsie, I wouldn't bother to
show up at our prayer meeting tomorrow. You can be sure I'll tell the others how
sumptuously you've been faring behind our backs!"
Sarah left Hog Heaven in a huff. She felt dizzy and her head hurt from hunger
and dehydration. She roared down the road, misjudging her distances and hitting the
gas pedal too hard. She turned a corner without slowing down and blew a tire. She
got a ticket from a passing policeman. Had satan set a speed trap for her? Sarah
wondered. If only she'd minded her own business instead of stopping by Hog
Heaven, she wouldn't have gotten mad and gotten a fine and flat tire.
Elsie cried all the way home. Ray came home from his AA meeting and asked
what was wrong. "Oh, nothing," Elsie sniffed. Then Ray asked what he could do to
make her feel better. Maybe he could take her out somewhere.
The revival was now underway, with soul-stirring music and powerful preaching.
How thrilled Elsie was when her husband came along to the first meeting with her
and got saved when the altar call was given. She’d been praying all week for Ray.
And as an added bonus, some young people from the local college came to church
and got saved. Elsie had the time of her life praising the Lord for answered prayer.
At the following midweek service Sarah stood up to testify. She looked peaked
and testy. “God gave me the strength to do without water and food for three days
and nights. I fasted and prayed for my lazy husband to get out of his Easy Boy
Recliner and come to the meeting with me and get saved. But that big reprobate
never did. Oh, well, this trial of patience will only serve to strengthen my faith. I
didn't see the answers I prayed for during the revival, but God is bound to reward
me for suffering for His sake. There are certain individuals,” she said pointedly, “who
sell their heavenly heritage for a bowl of bean stew, and they receive nothing from
God. They’ve got plenty of lard on their bones but they won’t sacrifice one ounce of
it for the Kingdom of God. Instead of lifting up their cross, they pick up their knife
and fork. Now I’m saying this in love. As I found out a few days ago when I was out
driving, spare tires come in handy. But they're for cars, not for people. Some of you
could stand to fast a whole month and get rid of the spare tire around your middle."
Feeling pleased with herself Sarah concluded: “Y’all pray for me that I can
continue to be a bright and shining example to all my brothers and sisters here.”
A certain man stood up and gave all the glory to Jesus for saving his soul. He
gave God thanks for giving him such a beautiful wife. He praised the Lord for every
cotton-pickin' ounce of her, and said it was her deep-down beauty which had led him
to Jesus.
Eyes aglow, Elsie stood up. “Saints, when I was younger I went on lots of diets.
I'd tell myself I couldn't eat this and I couldn't eat that. I'd starve for most of the
day, then eat a light supper and tell myself I couldn't eat another bite till next
morning. That's a law I laid on myself. And when some of you fast, you think, "I
can't let a single calorie pass my lips till the clock and calendar says my fast is over.
And if I do, God might punish me, or at the very least He won't meet the need I
brought to Him in prayer. A diet is a law and a fast is a law. I know praying is more
important than peeling potatoes, but are we under law or under grace? Jesus cried
from the Cross: "It is finished! How much of our heavenly inheritance is still unpaid
for and we have to make up the difference with our own suffering? Maybe I weigh a
little more than some of you, and maybe I spend more time in the kitchen than at
the altar," she said, looking over at the skinny Sarah. “But I saw plenty of answered
prayers this week. My husband found the Lord, and we all just heard him testify to
his love for Jesus, and how the Lord helped him swear off the bottle for good. Not
only that, God blessed Ray with a brand new job he likes better than the last one,
praise the Lord. Our nephew told us a bunch of his college friends are finding Jesus.
And as for Ray, it was the Living Bread of God's Word that reached him for Christ,

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not the meals I skipped. The Kingdom of God runs on the Oil of the Holy Ghost. It
don’t run on fat.”

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THREE REASONS MIRACLES ARE SCARCE
So many modern Charismatic churches long to see miracles occur on a scale
described in the Book of Acts. I have been in places where people seriously ill would
go up front to be prayed for by ministers eager to pray for them. All around me I
would hear intercessors pleading earnestly with the Lord to do some wonderful work
of healing for His honor and glory. Whenever people left the service unhealed I
would be left with this thought: Why don't perfect miracles of healing occur each and
every time the saints petition the Lord for them? Wouldn't it be in God's best
interest if getting the sick healed weren't such a long, drawn-out struggle? Any lost
people in the vicinity who heard about paralytics or blind people instantly receiving
their healing would surely rush to the altar to surrender to such a mighty, powerful
Jesus!
That isn't necessarily the case, though. You only have to read the gospels to find
out that Jesus still suffered plenty of opposition and contended with a lot of unbelief,
even though He succeeded in healing lots of sick folks. Jesus even raised people from
the dead. Many believed on Him because He raised up Lazarus (John 12:9-11). But
this only further inflamed the hatred of His religious enemies, who wanted to kill both
Lazarus (the proof of the pudding) and Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees and corrupt
priests of the nation wanted to be the final authority in matters of faith. They would
continually set traps for Jesus to get Him to say something so they could twist His
words. Religious law interpreters of His day took away the key of knowledge and
hindered others from entering into life (Luke 11:52). At the time of Jesus' first
coming, God could not yet usher in the Messianic Age of Israel and bring full
deliverance to Israel as a nation. Jesus wept because His nation would be swayed to
reject their own King, Who would have sheltered them from dangerous days ahead
(Luke 19:41-44). The opposition of Jesus’ foes even extended to denying evidence of
His resurrection so people would not believe in Him. The corrupt religious leaders
paid bribe money to soldiers to claim that Jesus’ body had really been stolen by his
disciples (Matt.28:11-15). Those greedy blind leaders of the blind had too much
power and prestige to lose by letting their people know the real truth.
Because God's revelation in Christ was warred against and rejected at that time
in history, only believing individuals, not the entire nation of Israel, would find
salvation in the immediate future. The literal earthly messianic kingdom promised to
the Jews through the prophets would have to wait. The Gentiles would first be given
their chance to receive Jesus as Savior. Not many years after Christ’s crucifixion, the
Roman general Titus and his legions destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 A.D.
Had the Jewish nation not been deceived by lies, they might have received their King
during Christ’s earthly ministry and been protected from that awful destruction. No
wonder Jesus wept over Jerusalem. If He were physically present in the earth today,
wouldn’t He also weep over all the corruption and deception going on in the
institutional church? Suppressing God's truth doesn’t bring a blessing. It always
brings bad consequences and great loss.
I asked the Lord about a certain church which had a great beginning but no
longer exists. Why, I wondered, didn't everyone see more signs and wonders during
the lifetime of that particular church? I was given three principal reasons:
1. LACK OF LOVE Surprising, because going to this particular church felt like being in
a family. The sisters would hug the sisters and the brothers would hug the brothers.
People would invite each other over to visit in their homes and get to know one

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another well. There were lots of smiles and sweet greetings. It sure did beat the stiff
formality of other churches. So long as the church was small and people were
generally of the same opinion in most matters, there was total harmony.
But the real litmus test of love comes when love is confronted by difference of
opinion. One missionary family was sent out from this church to a Caribbean Island
with the assurance their needs would be faithfully met. The missionary met another
minister who held some views different from the pastor's. The pastor ordered the
missionary to sever all ties with this man's ministry, but the missionary could not do
it on principle, because he felt that he had been led by the Lord to this other person
for fellowship. Abruptly and without warning, this man and his family were cut off
from further fellowship and relationship with the home church.
As the church grew, divisions crept up between the leadership and the other
saints. The people were told to do things which worked a hardship on their family
lives, such as join in a 24-hour prayer chain. Only problem was, the church was far
too small to support that project adequately. In a church which taught and sang
about liberty in the Spirit, little legalisms crept up, such as being forbidden to watch
TV, no wearing of jewelry, etc.
The poorer Christians (many were jobless at the time and struggling) were
warned about financial responsibility and "not mooching off the saints". One couple
walked out of that meeting in protest, right after those words were uttered from the
pulpit. People's giving began to be recorded, though all offerings were taken
"anonymously" in a box in back of the church. People who paid “tithes” and offerings
in cash instead of checks were sometimes suspected of not giving at all!
One brother hired a crew of painters from the church and defrauded them on
their wages. Instead of acknowledging the rift he’d caused in the congregation and
his need to repent of his theft, his sin was quietly covered up. But sin, like yeast,
only multiplies when it is buried (Gal.5:9). Repentance is the only remedy. These
days it's the victims who are urged to repent for getting upset at the offender!
Those who are sinned against are told to "just let it go". But does that make for true
reconciliation with born-again believers who ought to know better and still refuse to
repent? Compassion is called for, but those who defraud their brothers and sisters
are warned by the Word of God (I Thes.4:6).
Faith is a key component in seeing healings or other miracles happen in your
church. But faith works by love (Gal.5:6). Love is defined by how it behaves, not by
how it smiles. When you're a young believer, you can easily think that just because
the atmosphere in church is friendly, informal and relaxed there must be love. But
love does no ill to its neighbor (Rom.13:10).
2. LOOKING UNTO MEN RATHER THAN GOD Everybody loved the pastor and sought
his approval.
His happy, down-to-earth personality was a real asset to him.
Whenever any of the young believers had a question about the Word of God or any
issue of daily life, he could be depended on for a sensible answer. It was almost like
having Jesus Himself there, we felt. At that point in time we would have felt cast
adrift if we didn't have him there to depend on. You can reach the point where you
wonder where you'll get the word of the Lord from if a highly esteemed spiritual
leader were to vanish from your life!
There is a fine line between properly esteeming your leadership and beginning to
lean on them too much. The problem got even messier when "Brother Bill", the
elder, came along (the same one who was later sent off as a missionary). Brother
Bill had a more relaxed approach to life than the pastor. He was as humble as a little
child. He wasn't into a lot of legalism. We even spotted a Christmas tree in his home,
which was frowned on by the pastor, who didn't believe in Christmas. Many of the

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young people liked to talk with Brother Bill between services. After a while, some
people detected a spirit of jealousy in the air.
It's easy to think that miracles MUST happen because your leader is so wonderful
a person, so devout and prayerful, that God just has to relent and do some majorleague miracles in your midst. We young people went out street preaching with the
pastor one day. He preached his heart out as we sang faith choruses. We prayed for
a crippled man but nothing happened. I felt so let down afterwards, but knew it
wasn't due to any lack of zeal on the pastor's part.
The line between Jesus and the minister in the pulpit can easily blur if you're not
careful. It's so much easier to put your faith and trust in that which can be seen, but
God is a jealous God Who will not tolerate any rivals (Exodus 34:14).
3. BURYING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TITHE I realize this is a very prickly topic within
the church, and at first glance it seems like the Tithe would have little to do with
God's willingness to work miracles in the congregation. But perhaps "bondage" is
the key link between the two concepts. Healing brings freedom (Luke 13:12). When
you enforce any type of sacrifice upon the congregation as a binding duty, New
Creatures set free by Christ are brought back under servitude. This can lead to falling
from grace (Gal.5:4). That means you look unto your own works to maintain a right
relationship with God rather than the finished work of Christ on the Cross.
When church leaders force their flock to tithe on money, they bind their finances
to an ongoing debt, even though Scripture commands Christians to "owe no man
anything but to love on another"(Rom.13:8). Some might think it does no harm to
re-impose just one tiny little law, and you can still be free of all the other Mosaic
ordinances if you like. But it simply doesn’t work that way. The Law of Moses is a
package deal, and you can't just pick and choose the ordinances you like and reject
the rest as being made obsolete by the New Covenant. The tithe was for Israel only
and given by Moses from Mount Sinai (Leviticus 27:30-34). The final verse of
Leviticus states that these laws were given specifically for the Children of Israel. It
takes only ONE link to bind your liberty to the Law of Moses! Though the tithe be just
one ordinance of hundreds which constitute the Law of Moses, it is a slender iron
chain which binds the believer to the rest of the big iron mass of the Law behind him,
so that he is no longer truly free. Being under the Law brings a curse, not
deliverance and healing (Gal.3:10-13).
"But it's only ten per cent!" some will object. Why make such a big fuss about it
anyway? Well, part of the issue has to do with what people do with what they know.
God can have compassion on the ignorant, but those who KNOW that they are in
error and do it anyway are in hot water with God! The man who “knew not” was
beaten with few stripes (Luke 12:48), but he still suffered because of his ignorance!
And the one who DELIBERATELY did wrong got a far worse whipping in the end!
It's one thing to teach a dodgy doctrine because you genuinely believe it to be
true, it's another thing to harbor a doctrine you KNOW is not true. Being sincere in
preaching error doesn't make it right, but deliberately peddling error as truth is far
worse. That is hiding the key of knowledge which could open the door to spiritual
liberty for a believer in Christ! Cherry-picking and distorting Scripture for personal
gain is an ugly, inexcusable sin in the sight of God! Pity poor, trusting Joe Blow out in
the pews who doesn't suspect he's having the wool pulled over his eyes as he gets
threatened with God's judgment for non-tithing!
If you DELIBERATELY knowingly bury truth which could set God's people free,
you're no better than the believer who keeps his mouth shut when he ought to be
telling somebody about Jesus! The believer who keeps quiet might be scared some
tattooed biker will beat him up for witnessing to him. But the seminary-educated

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preacher who DELIBERATELY hides the real truth about the true Biblical tithe only
keeps quiet because he's afraid of losing income.
Perhaps it bothers a preacher's conscience less to take ten per cent from his
congregation than it would if he asked for twenty or thirty per cent. More than one
type of Biblical tithe was taken in ancient Israel, even though tithes were levied only
on agricultural produce (Deut.12:17; 14:22; Neh.10:37). Scholars disagree on some
obscure details, but there were actually three tithes paid by herdsmen and farmers in
ancient Israel: One tenth of all the agricultural produce of Israel (the Levitical Tithe)
was given to the Levites (Num.18:21). Out of the remaining 90% of the crop, still
another tithe (the Festival Tithe) was set aside to be eaten by the worshippers
themselves at at annual festivals in Jerusalem (Deut.14:22-27). And a special tithe
(the Poor Tithe) was taken every third year to feed hungry orphans, Levites and
widows (Deut.14:28-29). Opinions range from between nineteen and twenty-three
per cent as that part of a farmer's entire crop that was set aside as tithes. So why
don't preachers ask for nineteen or twenty per cent instead of just ten per cent of
churchgoers' income? Because it would empty the pews in a hurry, that's why!
Money taken by deceit is fraud. Theft is theft, regardless of the amount conned
out of the gullible. Like some preachers do today, Elisha's servant Gehazi could
boast that he touched neither the glory nor the gold when God did a wondrous work.
But Gehazi did touch the silver! Silver is worth only a fraction of gold's value. In II
Kings Chapter 5 a certain Syrian army captain, Naaman, is afflicted with leprosy, the
worst disease of that era. Only a miracle can cure Naaman of a disease which
slowly destroys the body and would turn him into a social outcast who must be
driven out of society to die a slow, withering death among other lepers.
Naaman has in his household a little Israelite girl who had been captured from
her homeland to become a personal servant for his wife. The little girl feels pity for
her master and tells her mistress about Elisha, a great prophet in Israel, who would
be able to heal him.
Word of this gets back to Naaman. Naaman contacts the King of Israel, who is
unable to do anything for him. But eventually Naaman finds out about the prophet
of God who can work wonders. To make a long story short, Naaman (somewhat
reluctantly) follows some very odd instructions from Elisha and is healed of his
leprosy. In gratitude, Naaman offers Elisha a huge reward. He is prepared to pay a
huge amount of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothes to
express his thanks to the prophet.
But Elisha turns the reward down (how many modern preachers would turn down
such a nice love gift)? He will take neither the glory nor the gold for the great thing
God has done.
But Gehazi, Elisha's cunning servant, has other plans. Surely God wouldn't mind
if he took just a little…and his evil deed could be covered up. So Gehazi runs after
Naaman as he starts on his trip home. Gehazi tells him something's just come up.
Two sons of the prophets have just arrived on Elisha's doorstep and they sure could
use a talent of silver and two changes of garments.
Naaman is surprised, but feels like he's getting off easy nonetheless. Go ahead,
he says, and take two talents of silver. So Gehazi had the loot delivered to a secret
hideaway where Elisha wouldn't find it. And even if he did, so what? It's only a tiny
fraction of what the Syrian owned.
Just take a tiny fraction, even if God didn't command that it be taken. What
harm could possibly come of it? Aren't ministers of deceit still doing that today?
Well, Elisha couldn't be bought. He had principles. God told him all about it. Not
only did greedy Gehazi end up with a little of the Syrian's loot, but a lot of that same
sickness the Syrian had been healed of.

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Naaman’s joy and gratitude toward God must have been boundless, but ever
after questions must have nagged at the back of his mind: Just why had Elisha firmly
refused any material reward, only to do such a sudden about-face? Had Elijah’s God
been unable to foresee the arrival of two needy visitors? Had He been forced to go
back on His Word and depend on Naaman’s resources to meet their needs, because
He had no other options? Were there, after all, limits on the power of the God of
Israel, just like the gods of the Syrians? Or was this change of heart really Elisha’s
idea, and a mere resort to situational ethics? Did the Word of the Almighty change
like the wind? Because of greedy Gehazi, Elisha’s testimony could have been
unjustly tarnished. Worse yet, the perfection of God's ways might have been
diminished in the eyes of the Syrians.
The apostle Paul didn’t hide God’s truth under a bushel basket to make himself
richer. Boldly Paul says in Acts 20:27: For I have not shunned (avoided) to declare
unto you ALL the counsel of God (not just Paul’s favorite parts). I’m not saying
honesty will automatically bring healing and deliverance to and through the Church,
but think about it. Would Paul’s ministry have been nearly as successful in doing the
works of his Master if he had acted contrary to his own Master and deliberately
deceived babes in Christ by withholding vital truth and selling them false doctrines?

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GRACE AND LAW DON'T MIX
Some legalists find a ready loophole to justify their mixed gospel of works and grace
in their interpretation of various Scriptures. They threaten New converts with being
cut off when they continue not in God's goodness, as in Romans 11:22. But what
they mean by that is this: you'd better measure up to THEIR interpretation of what
constitutes goodness. You can be more assured of staying saved IF you go out
witnessing with our team each and every Saturday. IF you "win" at least one person
to Christ per year (or other specified time period). IF you fast at least two days per
month (or more frequently if you can). IF you maintain a certain appearance that
meets our standards of holiness. IF you tithe all your money great and small into
our collection plate, because you should support the place you're being fed first. IF
you do this and IF you do that it will be proof positive that you really LOVE JESUS
and are staying on the trail that leads to heaven.
People are swayed by the PHYSICAL APPEARANCE of the tithe teacher. If he
preaches behind a tall pulpit, wears a pricey suit and tie, stands at least six feet
high, looks as imposing as a funeral director, and brags about going to ceme…I
mean, seminary, most Christians will just take the man’s word for it that they have
to tithe, and will just ignore his misapplication of all the scary curse scriptures he
digs up out of the Old Covenant.
But what if some guy in jeans and T-shirt also gave a talk about tithing, in an
informal setting where everybody sat around in a circle in folding chairs? What if this
guy presented strong scriptural PROOF that tithing is not for today? Just because of
his humble appearance most Christians wouldn’t be as quick to believe him as they
would the starchy seminary graduate in the thousand-dollar suit.
God isn’t impressed by the religious show going on today in His Name. The
apostle James was very practical in his definition of holiness. James 1:27 says: Pure
religion and undefiled before God and the father is this, To visit the fatherless and
widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James gave
us a simple, no-nonsense definition of how to properly live the Christian life. It takes
the grace of God to be in the world and still remain untainted by it, but true holiness
doesn't just say "don't do this", it puts feet to its love. It goes out and helps those
who are suffering or in need.
But even good works can impart a false sense of superiority or security. Good
deeds can be done to “be seen of men” (Matt.6:1,5). Even acts of charity can be
performed out of fear, rather than springing up from the Life of Christ within. Good
deeds done in the energy of the flesh nature are a slippery slope. Religious acts done
to impress God can be superficial at worst, and be a source of self-sufficiency and
pride even when they are performed well. Some people think they have won large
numbers to Christ within a short period, and find it hard not to brag about it. But
how many new "converts" say an insincere prayer just to placate a friend or relative,
then six months down the road they return to the hog pen of sin and show no further
interest in the things of God! What needs to be brought to people's attention is
something out of fashion these days: a revelation of the awfulness of sin in the sight
of God and the need for repentance. Some think that all Jesus ever focused on is
love and making people feel more positive about themselves. But in Luke 13:3 He
says: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
As for fasting, it's strictly between an individual and God. No apostle ever
commands the early Church to do it, yet you are free to refrain from eating if you
feel a need for uninterrupted, intense prayer. A good comparison would be a soldier
in the middle of a battle. If the battle heats up he doesn't usually stop and start

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dinner, but concentrates only on the warfare at hand. If a New Covenant believer
refrains from eating for a time it should not be seen as keeping a compulsory
religious ritual, otherwise that's straying back into the area of law. Regulations which
have to do with "touch not, taste not, handle not" are not for the New Covenant
believer (Col.2:20-23). The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but
righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom.14:17). Nowhere in the New
Testament does Christ or any of the apostles ever rebuke born-again believers for
failure to fast, not even in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, when Jesus rebukes several
churches for things they've neglected to do. Among the seven churches of Revelation
are some spiritually sick ones, including the Laodicean Church, which is often
compared to the pleasure-loving, materialistic churches of today. Jesus rebukes the
Laodiceans for being lukewarm toward Him, and for boasting about their riches and
self-sufficiency. If ever a sorry bunch ought to be exhorted to call their wayward
church to a fast this one should be it. Jesus warns them to be zealous and repent
but He does not order them to fast to outwardly demonstrate their repentance, as so
often happened in the Old Testament. Christ is far more interested in what is going
on inside of the Laodiceans’ hearts than whether or not they skip a few meals to
prove they are good religious people.
Then there's the do's and don'ts of everyday life. In my younger days I was part
of a church where liberty in Christ was preached, but there were unspoken standards
to observe, which were just short of being considered laws. Mixed bathing was
improper. Jewelry was frowned on, though some of the sisters wore a wisp of
makeup. Television was darkly frowned on by the pastor, and back then, you didn't
even have the excuse of hooking it up to a DVD to watch your favorite preachers!
Christmas was a no-no. The pastor's wife always kept her skirts the "proper length",
not too colorful and just below the knee. If one of the young girls wore her skirts
above the knee the pastor's wife hinted they should wear their skirts longer (very
sensible advice). After I met my husband he said he liked me in ankle-length skirts,
which suit my artistic temperament to a tee. But the pastor’s wife thought I overdid
it and once again pointed to the just-below-the-knee standard. A couple of other
women in the church liked the longer skirts, too. One girl even made the pastor's
wife gasp because she wore pant suits!
The pastor’s wife did wear her hair long (and up) for awhile, but later she “took
her liberty” and wore it shorter than a lot of men did. So did her daughter. We
visited many churches together as a group. One church insisted that women wore
head scarves during services. In another church about half of the women wore
them, the others didn’t. At our church, it made the pastor feel uncomfortable to see
them because they were legalistic.
Some of the churches were against mixed bathing (ours was) The head scarf
church saw nothing wrong with the sisters wearing swim suits in front of the
brothers.
It makes me wonder why some activities are virtual sins in similar
churches and perfectly all right in others. Why do some churches avoid other
people’s legalisms like the plague only to make up their own legalisms? Talk about a
pick-and-mix bag!
To this day I wonder if the pastor of my first church ever read all the scriptures
I've studied on tithing. He was the one with the formal religious education and must
have come across those never-mentioned Scriptures (no other preacher ever
mentioned them either). He cited literally hundreds of Scriptures from the pulpit,
from both Testaments, and I would sit in the pew taking copious notes as if my
spiritual life depended on it. But the pastor definitely didn't read this Scripture
where GOD instructs a worshipper what to do with money from the sale of tithed
farm produce:

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Deuteronomy 14:26: And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul
lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for
whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and
thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy household.
Besides refuting the (manmade) doctrine that drinking wine is a sin, this one
verse throws a monkey wrench into the notion that it's wrong for the worshipper to
eat the tithe! According to Scripture, that's all you COULD do with the true Biblical
tithe. Not only did the worshipper himself eat some of the tithe, but it was also for
the feeding of the Levite, the widow, the stranger and the fatherless (Deut.12:1718;14:29). How eye-opening it was to me that Deuteronomy 14:26 actually
encourages the worshipper to buy wine or strong drink with the tithe money! But all
the churches we were affiliated with frowned on alcohol of any type, though, in John
Chapter 2, Jesus’ very first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding feast.
One of the choruses we sang was “There’s wine and oil in Zion”, yet the consumption
of literal wine was held to be a sin in our church.
To this day I wonder how those preachers I knew in my youth, who went to Bible
school and taught us out of every book in the Bible, could have skipped over those
passages which show how Israel really tithed and the fact that the Lord encouraged
the Israelites “out in the pew” to buy strong beverages for themselves with money
from the sale of tithes! No sir, I never ever heard Deuteronomy 14:26 preached on
in my entire life!
I get the feeling our pastor was very reluctant to differ in doctrine from the
mother church in Texas. Once, in the course of his sermon, he read this passage to
us: II Thessalonians 2:1-12. Only he skipped right over verse 7 which says: "For the
mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he that now letteth (restrains) will let
(restrain) until he be taken out of the way. This verse occurs in the context of the
future appearing of the Antichrist, explaining that Someone is acting as a Restrainer
holding him back until He is taken out of the way. Once the Holy Spirit in His office as
Restrainer of the Antichrist is taken out with the Church at the Rapture, then the
Antichrist will be free to make his appearance on the world stage.
II Thessalonians 2:7 lends support to the doctrine of the appearing of Christ for
His saints at the Rapture (I Cor.15:51-53; Thes.4:13-18). God has not appointed the
Church to suffer the wrath of the Tribulation Period (I Thes.5:9). The mother church
in Texas did not believe the whole Church would experience a pre-tribulation
Rapture. They believed that only the most spiritual saints (the firstfruits) would
escape the Tribulation altogether. That speaks of earning the Rapture through works,
rather than being delivered from the outpouring of God's wrath upon a sinful earth
through the merits of Christ alone. Christians must take care how they build upon
the foundation God has laid in their lives, but earning the Rapture through personal
piety is inconsistent with the clear teaching of Scripture that our salvation comes
only by grace through faith in Christ's finished work on Calvary (Eph.2:8-10). Good
works come out of our relationship with Christ; they don't cause the relationship or
earn that relationship.
Having begun our walk with Christ in the Spirit, are we then to perfect ourselves
through fleshly self-effort (Galatians 3:3)? The pastor taught us that we should
become strong in the faith so we would be able to stand when the Antichrist was
revealed. We were to remain sober and vigilant and be on the lookout for signs of
Antichrist's coming as the condition of the earth deteriorated. But Scripture does not
teach us to look for the emergence of Antichrist. Nowhere does the Bible give Church
Age believers instructions on how to survive the Tribulation Period (e.g. storing extra
food and purifying irradiated water, or how to stay alive and reasonably well during

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the outpouring of the plagues of Revelation). Instead, the Bible teaches us to look
for the Blessed Appearing of Christ for His saints (Titus 2:13).
Many believe that only the "holiest" believers will be raptured to heaven (the
Partial Rapture Theory), but how small some people's idea is of how good holiness
has to be to satisfy God's demands! As the heavens are higher than the earth, so
much higher are God's thoughts than the thoughts of puny, petty human beings
(Isa.55:8-9)! How inadequate each and every one of us are to measure up apart
from abiding in Christ, our Living Vine. The branches of a grape vine don't struggle
to bring forth grapes. They’re certain to produce grapes if they remain in the vine
drawing life from it sap (John 15:4-5).
Some secular workplaces offer insurance policies where the boss contributes
some and the employee contributes the rest of the cost of the policy. That's just what
a lot of Christians try to do today. They try to “match funds” with Jesus, Who alone
paid the entire penalty for our sins. Legalists say: "God wants you to do YOUR part.
It's not an easy ride to heaven. Christ died for you, but unless you live for Him the
best way you know how, you won't make it to Glory.
One popular “Scripture” is: God helps those who help themselves. But that
commonly quoted “Scripture” isn’t even in the Bible! People's best efforts at imitating
Jesus just won't cut it. Jesus paid the ENTIRE price for our redemption. He shouted
"It is finished!" as He gave up His last breath for you and for me on the Cross of
Calvary (John 19:30). Jesus didn't say He only made the down payment and we had
to make up the rest. In fact, whenever we try to impress God by keeping religious
laws of any kind we have fallen from dependency on the Grace of God in Christ
(Gal.5:4). Keeping a long list of do's and don'ts in order to impress God deals a
death blow to true saving faith in God's one acceptable Sacrifice for sin, Christ Jesus.
In Luke 18:9-14 two men approach God in prayer. One of them is very sure God
sees him as a perfect, upright, moral man who has done no wrong. Just imagine
what he might say if he spoke like your everyday modern man in the street: "I
thank thee, God," he starts off piously. "First off, I thank You that I'm not so bad as
this wretched slob standing next to me. I fast not one, but TWO days a week, and I
ALWAYS pay my tithe on time. I even surpass what the written Law actually
commands us to tithe on. I tithe on my Wall Street profits. I tithe on my tulips. I
even tithe on my CD collection. Just look at this sorry tax collector here who had the
gall to appear in this holy place. He ought to hide his head in shame! What does HE
have to offer you that I don't?" And the proud Pharisee sticks his tongue out at the
poor sinner standing downwind from him.
All the sinner can do is cast himself upon the mercy of the Lord. "God, be
merciful to me a sinner!" he cries. And guess who God counts as righteous in his
sight? The Pharisee who goes around looking miserable and hungry twice a week for
the admiration of men, or the man who has nothing to offer God except the sacrifice
of a broken heart and a repentant spirit (Psalms 51:17)? It was the one who cried
out to God with empty hands to receive who was granted mercy and justified rather
than the one rich in his own so-called good works.
Based on scripture viewed from the perspective of the New Covenant, I am led to
believe that compulsory tithing is a sin in the sight of God because it brings the
believer back under bondage to the Law and its curse (Gal.3:10-12). Rather than
bringing a blessing, tithing to men spiritually damages both the payer and the
receiver in these ways:
1.

2.

Paying tithes denies a believer’s own priesthood in Christ (I Pet.2:5,9). Old
Covenant priests did NOT tithe on money or anything else!
The tithe receiver (“spiritual Levite”) is actually playing “altar priest”,
although there were NO literal altars in New Testament churches until error

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crept into the church and elements of the Old Covenant were mixed with the
New. The early Christians’ only altar was Christ’s heavenly altar, upon which
SPIRITUAL sacrifices were offered by faith. The early church met chiefly in
private homes (Rom.16:5; I Cor.16:15,19). Only Aaron, the High Priest,
could receive that particular tithe (the Levite’s tithe to the priesthood)
destined for the Temple, their “House of the Lord”. Tithe-collecting preachers
are really guilty of impersonating the ONLY High Priest of the New Covenant,
the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb.7:24-28). That is a dangerous sin to have to
answer to God for in the Judgment!
Depending on fasting, tithing, traditions, “sacrifices”, etc., is a mine field of
spiritual traps. Only Christ in us can truly please the Father (I Cor.15:10; 2 Cor.3:5).
Nothing else can ever meet God’s holy standard of perfection!

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FASTING, FAITH AND FOOLISHNESS
Just for fun, let’s begin with a little trivia quiz:
The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself
strong on behalf of:
(Choose One)
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

those whose stomachs are empty for Him
those whose pockets are emptied for Him
those whose singing is perfect for Him
those whose heart is perfect toward Him
all or none of the above

Answer found in (II Chron. 16:9).
Now let’s crack open those Bibles some more and ponder a few interesting points.
In I Thessalonians 5:12-22 Paul delivers God’s exhortations to believers. One of
them is to pray without ceasing (verse 17). But Paul does not tell them to fast
without ceasing. In fact, fasting appears nowhere on that list of commands. Paul
did not say that every prayer must be accompanied with fasting, or even that fasting
makes you outstrip all the rest spiritually...although fasting without ceasing will
surely get you to heaven faster than everyone else!
In Luke Chapter 2 Anna the prophetess prays and fasts both night and day,
departing not from the Temple of God. What a godly woman she must have been.
But I don’t dwell day and night in some church building. I must perform many
mundane physical tasks. I must shop, cook, wash and clean, and work at my
computer. I need energy to do all those things and more, so I can’t fast most of the
time like Anna did. If I punished my body like an ascetic I would be too sick and
weak to get out of bed.
When I was a young girl with fewer responsibilities I enjoyed the euphoric feeling
of detachment from “the things of earth”. I just couldn’t understand why other
church folks, who had to toil and sweat every day for a living, had so much trouble
with fasting. One friend of mine wrecked her health trying to sacrifice as many
meals as possible, and still go to a job every day. She felt guilty whenever she tried
to eat normally, because there were so many needs out there in the world to fast and
pray about. Above all, she wanted to get closer to God, and thought fasting was the
price she had to pay for this. Believe me, if she had kept it up, she would have
gotten closer to God than the rest of us...by dying and going to heaven! She
wouldn’t listen to anybody until she had a dream where she was holding a baby in
her arms that was pitifully crying: Why won’t you feed me? God showed her we must

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take care of the bodies He gave us. While we live in this world we need our bodies
to carry us around and do things. You wouldn’t get very far if you didn’t put gas in
your car, would you? Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn
(Deut.25:4). Is God more concerned about the well-being of oxen than that of his
own people who must work hard most days? There have definitely been times when
some mother has gone on a fast, but still had to prepare her family’s meals. But if
the chef of the household decides to fast, he/she should not have to sit at the table
and glumly watch everybody else chow down on T-Bone steaks and brownies while
she sits at the table with water and a toothpick. Without going hungry, the family
could show consideration for a fasting mom (or dad) by eating things which don’t
pamper the palate (Dan. 10:2).
I read of one woman who wanted to get healed at a special meeting. So she
prayed and fasted 3 days to prepare herself to receive God’s blessing. But it didn’t
pan out as she expected. The zealous woman didn’t receive her healing at that
particular meeting but a sinner who hadn’t even fasted for one hour got healed.
The woman got pretty steamed about it. After all, hadn’t she EARNED her healing by
fasting for it?
In 2 Cor.6:5 Paul speaks of his frequent fasting, but fasting is listed with other
miserable trials he suffers, among them beatings and shipwreck. Some scholars
believe that the “watchings” and “fastings” in this context aren’t deliberate religious
exercises performed by Paul, but are sleep deprivation and hunger caused by
persecution and hardship. Just before “watchings”, “tumults” (tossing to and fro)
and “labours” are mentioned. Paul suffered shipwreck at least three times (2
Cor.11:25). After one particularly violent storm at sea, the ship was broken up and
Paul had to swim for his life (Acts 27:21-44). Adversity in Paul’s life often made
eating and sleeping impossible (Acts 27:27-36). Paul’s basic needs weren’t always
met by church contributions. In 2 Cor. 11:9 Paul tells the Corinthian church that
when he was “present among them and wanted” (lacked), other brethren from
Macedonia sent him support.
The Macedonians were poor. But they contributed to Paul’s ministry (2 Cor.8:1-6;
11:9). By contrast, the Corinthians were materially affluent (I Cor.4:8). Paul NEVER
should have gone without having his basic needs met while he labored among the
well-to-do Corinthians. Paul had to toil at a secular occupation just to eat, so he
would not be “chargeable to any of them” (I Thes.2:9). It wore Paul out. The longer
hours you must work, the fewer hours are available for sleep and rest.
It didn’t take the First Century church long to begin to lose the fervency of her
First Love for Jesus and the brethren, spoken of in Rev. 2:4. Jesus said in John
13:35: By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to
another. Acts 2:45 and Acts 4:34 speak of the sharing that went on in the earliest
days of the church, and how that there was no one among Jesus’ followers who
lacked for basic necessities. Yet Paul and his associates sometimes went without
basic bread even as they ministered spiritual food to the rich Corinthian church! How
many modern preachers would go on ministering in a place where nobody cared that
they had to go on a forced fast for lack of adequate support?
Some Practical Suggestions
Many Christians have lived victorious lives without ever going on a fast. Some
find fasting more of a hindrance than a help, because it creates the temptation to
self-sufficiency and spiritual pride. Fasting can sap a Christian’s energy and leave him
lethargic. Ask any dieter. A long stretch of feeling hungry can cause irritability.
Fasting can sour the disposition, rather than conveying the love of Christ to others.

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Fasting can lead to a works mentality which takes a believer’s focus off the grace of
God in Christ.
Delaying meals to concentrate on prayer (as opposed to deliberately tormenting
the body) should happen only within the framework of New Covenant Christian
liberty (Gal.5:1). Some believers might want to snack during a day-long prayer
meeting, others might think it an unwise distraction to stop for refreshment. The
same principle of Christian liberty would apply in controversial areas such as whether
or not to observe a special day unto the Lord, or whether it is okay to enjoy an
occasional glass of wine. Let every person be fully persuaded in his own mind
(Rom.14:5).
There are a wide range of opinions on what constitutes a fast, whether it has to
cover whole days or just a number of hours solidly devoted to prayer. Some say your
abstinence must cover at least one overnight stint before it counts as a fast. But
there are occasions in Scripture when someone fasted just until nightfall, as David
did in II Sam. 1:12 and 3:35. The important thing is to PRAY in the Spirit and spend
as long a session as it takes till you feel deep down in your heart that you’ve won
your victory in the heavenly places and that particular season of prayer is finished.
God is not standing over you with a calendar and a stopwatch.
Once your
assignment in the prayer room is done, it’s done. If you choose to abstain from
eating during a special season of prayer, use sanctified common sense in breaking
your fast. If it lasted more than a day or so, it might be a big shock to your system
if you resumed eating by having a triple bacon cheeseburger with Jumbo Fries and a
Jumbo Shake! Everybody’s different, but if your digestive system feels sluggish, it’s
best to begin with light meals; perhaps some fruits, stewed prunes, light soups, or
even yogurt or eggs if you crave protein right away. For quick energy, nothing beats
a handful of raisins, the perfect Biblical food!
Everything we do, whether eating or forgoing all earthly activities to concentrate
solely on prayer, is to be done for the glory of God, not out of some dark motive (I
Cor. 10:31). Regardless of how spiritual something you do seems to be, whatsoever
is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). In that context Paul addresses one of the
biggest moral dilemmas of his day: Is it wrong to consume foods which are
dedicated to idols before being offered for sale in the market place? Some early
Christians thought eating such food wasn’t a big deal, so long as they gave thanks to
God for it, since an idol isn’t a living thing anyway, and there is only one God. But if
they ate the controversial entree, viewing it as a thing devoted to idols rather than
as a blessing given by God, their eating was not of faith, but of sin.
I Corinthians 10:31 speaks of eating to the glory of God. I Timothy 4:3-5 says
that God created food, and nothing is to be refused if thanks is given for it. These
verses are in the middle of a list of doctrinal errors introduced into the Church by
seducing spirits which lead people astray from God’s truth: Forbidding to marry, and
commanding to abstain from meats (foods), which God hath created to be received
with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of
God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. For it is
sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Far from being a necessary evil, food can be sanctified (made holy) by the word of
God and prayer! So who is to tell me that eating properly (not excessively) is a gray
area if not a downright sin, and only fasting is holy unto the Lord! Besides, the
above scripture says God made that food for us to eat!
Colossians 2:16 says: Let no man therefore judge you in meat (food), or in
drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. If
anybody (however subtly) questions your love for God just because you’re about to
sit down to a sumptuous meal, just tell them God treats His kids real good, and He’s
just spread a table before you in the wilderness of this world, so you aren’t going to

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insult your Heavenly Host by turning it down. He satisfies your mouth (not just your
soul) with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalms
103:5). You’ll grow old in a hurry if you starve your body of key nutrients too often.
Years ago I read a newsletter put out by one ascetic group. They often requested
prayer for health problems different ones of them had. I wondered why God would
allow such dedicated servants of His to be sick so often...till I found out that they
seldom ate proper meals and fasted most of the time, subsisting on tomato juice!
Well, I’ve got news for them, man shall not live by tomato juice alone! You can’t rob
your body of key nutrients day after day after day and still expect to fend off illness.
Joel Chapter Two was one of that group’s favorite source scriptures, but they focused
only on the section (verses 12-17) where God commands His people to sanctify a
fast to cry out to Him to forgive them for their sins. In the context of that scripture
the Israelites were in danger of having their food supply gobbled up by a locust
plague. God wasn’t trying to starve those people by demanding that they fast
themselves to death; He wanted to insure their spiritual well-being, and one fringe
benefit of this would be to keep them from starving in the future. Far less emphasis
was given to verses 24-26. which promise an abundance of food and WINE for God’s
faithful people. Why focus only on the fasting and forget the wheat, wine and oil? If
part of a verse applies, it ALL applies!
Whenever the wheat, wine and oil part is mentioned by those who preach on Joel
Chapter 2, they are always applied in a spiritual way to the church. That helps
prevent prickly questions, such as: Why would God bless His people with wine back
in OT times when Christians are told wine drinking is now a sin?
The wheat, wine and oil CAN be viewed as deeply significant types. Jesus is our
wheat (Bread) of Life (John 6:31-35). We enjoy the New Wine of the Spirit (Acts
2:13). We keep our lamps full of the oil (anointing) of the Holy Spirit (Matt.25:4).
But why aren’t legalistic teachers more unbiased in the way they “carry over”
elements of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant? If the wheat, wine, and oil of
Joel Chapter 2 are always spiritualized in applying them to the church, then why is
the fasting part always taught as being LITERALLY binding upon the church? Why
can’t fasting also be taken as being spiritual, rather than literal? Is it not enough to
spiritually fast from sins of the heart which dishonor God?
Passover was the most important Jewish High Holy season. But instead of killing
and eating a literal Passover lamb, eating matzo (unleavened bread), and ridding our
homes of literal leaven (yeast), Paul admonishes Christians to KEEP THE FEAST by
getting rid of the leaven of malice and eating the bread of sincerity and truth (I
Cor.5:8). If Passover is to be kept only spiritually by Christians, then it follows that
KEEPING THE FAST (Day of Atonement, see Acts 27:9) is to be done only spiritually
today, in abstaining from evil.
When do you ever hear the preacher order the congregation to fast from filth on
TV, impure thoughts, selfishness, lust, etc.? That’s the kind of fasting needed in the
church today, the only kind that makes a difference in the eternal soul of man.
I remember feeling mortified if, during a church fast, I absent-mindedly ate a
potato chip or a jelly bean. I would fear that I had “driven away the sense of God’s
Presence” by failure to keep my calorie intake on zero. It would be years before I
became one hundred percent convinced that our closeness to God rests entirely on
faith toward Christ in the HEART, not an empty feeling in the stomach!
Jesus Himself says in Matt.15:11, to those still living under the Law: Not that
which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth,
this defileth a man. Eating is often seen as a necessary vice by ascetic Christians,
and a very unspiritual activity. But eating, as such, does not defile us! Only gluttony
or damaging the temple of the Holy Ghost by living on junk food might make food
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Although God did call for a fast to meet a national emergency in the Book of Joel,
it is wrong to use this scripture to put a fasting law on the people of God and make
them feel guilty for eating. If God wants most believers to eat just barely enough to
sustain life, why would He promise the fasters in Joel that they would “eat in plenty”
in Joel 2:26? If you insist on applying every single thing in that chapter to modern
believers, why not thank God for blessing this year’s wine vintage also and raise a
glass of wine to celebrate? Although it is much more of a blessing to read this section
in a spiritual light and thank God for the Holy Oil of His Anointing, the New Wine of
His Spirit, and for His spiritual Bread, the Lord Jesus Christ, which are far better!
But most likely the ancient Israelites to whom this passage is primarily addressed
took the prophet’s words literally. Though their sins were covered by repeated animal
sacrifices till the coming of Christ, they were not yet spiritually born again as we are
today, and their inheritance was the literal Land of Israel. They lived under a
CONDITIONAL covenant, where they were responsible for meeting God’s terms in
order to receive material blessings. So long as they loved and served the Lord they
could expect God to bless them with rain in due season, in order that they might
enjoy literal, visible blessings, the fruit of that Land He’d given them: wheat and
wine and olive oil to help them live long, healthy lives in this earth.
Although you can interpret scripture from a spiritual perspective and get richly
blessed that way, this passage in no way teaches that you cannot serve God unless
you “live a fasted life”, as many ascetics insist. Even under the Old Covenant, God
promises His people in the Book of Joel that they would eat in plenty, not be put on
short rations!
Fasting Does Not Guarantee Valid Supernatural Experiences
The enemy can be oh, so, subtle, the way he uses religious practice to sneak a bit
more error into the Body of Christ. If the body is starved of basic nutrients long
enough, hallucinations or even visions can be induced. Even New Agers and eastern
mystics fast to help detach themselves from the material world and tune in better to
the invisible realm of spirits. Just because a Christian has fasted a long period of
time does not validate the vision induced by the fasting, or mean it is of the Lord.
Jesus fasted forty days and nights to prepare Himself for His mission. During that
time satan showed Christ a vision of all the kingdoms of this world and told Him how
He could get the rulership over them by taking a convenient shortcut which bypassed
the Cross. But the Holy Spirit was watching over Jesus and Jesus didn’t fall for the
devil’s lie. Jesus would not accept satan’s lying vision as God’s reward for His
protracted fast. satan even appealed to scripture to try to get Jesus to fly off the
pinnacle of the Temple to test God’s willingness to protect Him. Oh, the devil is the
most religious being you’ll ever meet. If a saint fasts for any length of time and
says afterward: “God showed me a brand new doctrine because I fasted for a long,
long time,” you’d better take a second look at the “new revelation”. If the “deeper
truth of the Word” deviates from orthodox Christianity as taught by the original
apostles, or if it supplants the Lordship of Christ, it comes from satan. Fasting does
not confer automatic doctrinal infallibility upon a saint. We receive what God imparts
solely through His grace, through the merits of Christ alone, not as wages for
suffering through a long fast. Christ’s work on the Cross is a finished work, and we
can’t contribute our two cents’ worth to make it any more complete than it already is
(John 19:30).
Does Fasting Make a Person Holier?

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Not necessarily, otherwise every anorectic person on earth would be a saint! Unless
the time normally spent eating is spent instead in calling upon the Name of Christ in
heart-felt faith and repentance (whenever necessary), fasting is useless. Fasting can
become a spiritual snare by lessening a saint’s dependence on Christ. We are
sanctified through Jesus alone, and by the Spirit of God (I Cor.6:11). It’s possible to
fast and still be out of fellowship with God while doing it. Fasting does not guarantee
access to God’s Presence or a right relationship with Him. Only the precious Blood of
Jesus brings us those blessings. Fasting does not restore us to right relationship to
God once it is broken. On one occasion King Saul ordered all his troops to fast until
they’d finished fighting a long, hard battle and defeated the Philistines (I Sam.14:2445). But Saul’s son Jonathan had not heard his father’s order, and ate some honey
he found in the forest. Despite their hunger, the men of Israel managed to win the
battle. Afterward Saul tried to inquire of the Lord about future military action, but got
no response. Someone must be to blame for God’s refusal to commune with him,
Saul reasoned. So lots were cast to find out who had offended the Lord. Jonathan
was taken in the lot. Jonathan confessed to eating the honey, out of ignorance. He
said their victory might have been even greater had the men not fought the battle on
an empty stomach.
Too hardened to humble himself before God, Saul shifted the blame to someone
else instead of first examining his own heart. He implied that the Lord had refused to
give him guidance because his son had broken the decreed fast. Saul’s approach to
placating God was essentially no different from the way the prophets of Baal tried to
get the attention of their own god by slashing themselves with knives (I Kings
18:28). If Saul supposed it would endear him to God to make his troops fight an allday battle on an empty stomach, it didn’t work. Saul felt humiliated before the
people because God no longer recognized him as a great leader. God would not
appear at Saul’s beck and call to answer Saul’s questions. So Saul had to take his
frustration out on somebody. His fasting had only made him more irritable. Saul
was mad enough to kill Jonathan, his own son, to save his own dignity. But the
people would not let Saul do it. Still, Saul had foolishly cursed anyone who ate that
day, and told Jonathan he would “surely die”. What did poor Jonathan do to deserve
a dad like that? Jonathan’s reprieve was short-lived. Jonathan died in battle in I
Samuel 31, along with those who had kept that particular fast. God had already
made up His mind on Saul in I Samuel 13, the chapter just before Saul called for his
army to fast to try to gain back God’s favor.
The problem with Saul’s fasting was this: It wasn’t accompanied by heartfelt
repentance for disobedience. Fasting is no substitute for obeying God's orders. In I
Samuel 13 Saul got tired of waiting for Samuel to arrive, so he tried to offer up a
sacrifice himself, contrary to God’s explicit instructions. In doing so, Saul had, in
effect, rejected God as Supreme General of the army of Israel. Imagine how the
prophet Samuel felt as God gave him the sad assignment of informing Saul that he
had been rejected from continuing as king. It must have felt like waving a red flag in
front of a bull, but Samuel obeyed God and delivered the message. Saul’s carnal fast
didn’t soften God’s heart in Chapter 14. Keeping an empty religious observance was
not good enough to patch up Saul’s relationship with the Lord. Saul’s token act of
humility didn’t change Saul’s heart. Saul’s rebellion against God eventually led to his
murdering a whole city of priests and their families. Saul took vengeance on them
because Ahimelech, the High Priest, had given David a few loaves of stale bread and
a sword as he fled from Saul’s wrath (I Sam. 21:1-9; 22:11-19).
One commonly cited example of a non-fasting reprobate is Esau. Hebrews
12:16-17 exhorts us not to be like that profane person Esau, who for one morsel of
food sold his own birthright. Even Esau’s tearful repentance was not enough to
regain the birthright he’d so cheaply sold. The sad story is told in Genesis 25:29-34.

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Jacob, Esau’s brother, was cooking up some lentil stew when his brother Esau
returned empty-handed from hunting. Esau was very hungry. Perhaps Esau thought
Jacob was just joking, but Jacob offered to sell the stew to Esau in exchange for the
birthright of the oldest son. Esau agreed and accepted Jacob’s hospitality.
So Esau’s sin is commonly held to be that he ate when he ought to have been
fasting. But it goes deeper than that. Esau was no man of faith. He had no respect
for his birthright as the elder son of Isaac, son of Abraham. Esau did not do what
God would have expected of a righteous man, which would have been to keep on
walking past the temptation and not look back. Esau might have felt faint from
running after game he never caught, but instead of looking unto the Lord to give him
strength to get past the temptation of the pottage, he trusted in that ill-gotten
pottage to renew his strength. Esau’s heart was set on earthly things, not on the God
of His fathers. Had Esau fled that temptation and gone elsewhere to get a meal, it
would have been no sin. Esau’s sin lay not in eating the food but in the way he got
it. His transaction with Jacob was the fruit of a perverse heart attitude which caused
him to cast contempt upon his own birthright.
If, as some believe, Esau’s sin lay in non-fasting, what about Jacob, the son who
DID get the birthright? At the time of Jacob’s deception of Esau, does the Bible depict
him as a man of faith? Was he much better morally than Esau? Did Jacob fast and
pray to persuade God to give him Esau’s birthright? Most likely not. Instead of
waiting on God to fulfill His promise, Jacob resorted to deception and trickery to get
what belonged to another. Jacob did eventually become a man of faith, though. He
wrestled all night to get God’s blessing (Gen. 32:24-30). So Jacob went on at least
one vigil (night spent without sleep) but nowhere in Scripture does it say Jacob ever
went on a fast. Even if Jacob was fasting at the time he cooked the stew, it was still
a sin to tempt someone else to sell something eternally precious for a mess of
pottage. Esau sinned but Jacob sinned too in being his tempter.
Jacob broke the
tenth commandment (Ex. 20:17), although a wily guy like him might wriggle out of
that one by saying that particular law wouldn’t be set in stone until the time of
Moses! Jacob was no angel. Jacob had sins of his own which needed atoning for. Did
God choose Jacob over Esau because Jacob fasted? No. God chose Jacob over Esau
before either of them was born or could rack up any good works. It was by God’s
predestination that Jacob was chosen instead of Esau (Rom.9:10-16).
God had the foresight to know that while Jacob had a shady beginning in life, he
would eventually own up to his sins and become a man of faith. The Lord searches
the wide expanse of the earth looking for a heart full of faith, not for an empty
stomach (2 Chron.16:9).
The Punished Plane
All day long, Turkeybird Airlines was plagued by complaints from consumers for
passenger delays, lost luggage, etc. Everybody, from senior management to ticket
staff was absolutely furious with the passengers. But they dared not punish the
passengers…at least, not in any obvious way. Not only was the airline angry with the
passengers, they were hacked off because the plane had come in the wrong color!
How to punish both the plane and the passengers at the same time? Piece of
cake! Take all refreshments off the plane, but, make the plane fast as well. That’ll
learn ‘em! Maybe a bit of self-denial would make the passengers finally learn
patience and gentleness, and the plane would get so thirsty for kerosene it would
change its true colors from red to snow white and soar higher than it ever did before.
It was a hot, sweltering day. To buffet the flesh of the ornery passengers, the
bleu cheese buffet in First Class was cancelled. The air conditioning was deactivated.
No staff showed up to assist passengers or clean the plane. The loudspeaker struck

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a note. Then a sweet voice announced that an unforeseen delay in takeoff had
occurred. It would be at least three hours, maybe more, before the plane taxied
down the runway. So could everyone please be patient?
Babies began to wail. Hot, smoggy air seeped through the plane door, left open
just a crack to prevent the passengers from suffocating. People walked up and down
the aisles, swearing a pigsty was more sanitary. Some hollered: “Where’s the plane
people? I need a Coke!”
The pilot nodded sleepily over his cockpit controls, wondering why, nine hours
later, his plane had failed to fly on the power of the patience produced by an empty
fuel tank. Why wasn’t this fast working meekness in the impatient passengers?
If only they’d stop screaming and change their attitude, this plane could soar
higher and faster than ever before. Oh, well…
Attitude is Everything
If you give anything, glaring and with gritted teeth, whether it be money, sacrifice, or
a day of fasting, it is not a service of faith. Rather than being a sweet savor rising to
the Throne of God, it stinks in the nostrils of God. At best a season of forced fasting
might be just a hunger strike to get what you want out of Him. You think you’ve
swapped that day’s meal ticket for the privilege of "writing your own ticket with
God", and your self-imposed suffering obligates Him to wait on you hand and foot to
repay you.
With such a mean-spirited attitude you might as well break out the Ben and
Jerry’s and scarf down the whole pint. Love must be the motivation for every service
we render unto the Lord, or it is unacceptable, no matter how self-sacrificing your
"spiritual discipline" seems to be. Speaking of discipline, it can have a negative
connotation, in that it feels like punishment sometimes. Prayer and Bible reading are
disciplines, in that they are to be faithfully and consistently done, but they can be
pleasant things, so long as the Christian doesn’t feel tired. Deep knee bends and
getting up early to go to a job you hate would be unpleasant disciplines.
A little boy might be “disciplined” by setting him in the corner for “time out”, but
what if he looks up at you and says defiantly: “I might be sitting down, but inside I’m
standing up!” Some people stare at the clock and the fridge while fasting. A lot of
good it does them! They might be appearing to do something spiritual, but on the
inside they’re already eating the pepperoni pizza in the freezer!
The Sabbath As a Discipline
If fasting from food can be interpreted as a discipline (something to be faithfully
done) so can the Sabbath Day, given by God to the Israelites. Once a week, EVERY
week, for the rest of their lives, the Children of Israel had to abstain from work of
every kind (Jesus later relaxed the rules, by healing on that day). That meant no
cooking, no washing, no sawing in the toolshed. If a woman found a gray hair in the
looking glass she couldn’t pull it out till the Sabbath was over. Walking more than
3100 feet was held by Jewish rabbis to be a violation of Sabbath restrictions.
A whole day off from work, just imagine! Not just a day off from the old grind at
the mill, but a day off from waxing the floors, making lunch sandwiches, cleaning the
bathroom. But even if a Jew wanted to do something fun, like carve a new flute, he
wasn’t allowed to, even if the office WAS closed for the day.
Many Israelites must have kept the Sabbath only outwardly, while on the inside
they were planning some new work project to earn their next shekel. Did regular

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observance of a day of fasting from work make these people holier in their conduct
than heathens who didn’t keep the Sabbath Day?
Paul plainly says in Galatians 2:16: By the works of the law shall no flesh be
justified. If keeping a mandatory law given by God couldn’t make a person holier,
how much less would keeping a manmade law of regular fasting make someone
more saintly on the inside!
Isaiah 58:3: Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou (God) seest not?
Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge (notice)? * * *
God’s answer: Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your
labors (oppress your workers).
VERSE 13: 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 (God), not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure,
nor speaking thine own words.
A common thread runs through the fasting and Sabbath-keeping of the Jews. It was
possible to do it not as unto the Lord, but in such a way that it could serve a person’s
selfish interests instead.
The record of history shows that ritual fasting from food and Sabbath keeping
(fasting regularly from work) did NOT purify the hearts of the Children of Israel. The
tribes of Dan and Ephraim, especially, fell into gross idolatry (calf worship, etc.). In
722 B.C. the northern ten tribes of Israel reaped the reward of generations of
idolatry and rebellion against God. They were carried away by Assyria and became
known as the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Later, a similar punishment for idolatry befell
the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin when they were carried into exile by
Babylon. God was not fooled by outward observance of fasting and the Sabbath.
If the OT Sabbath-keeping of Isaiah Chapter 58 was not passed on to the mostly
Gentile church by the apostles, then clearly, neither was the fasting tradition of
Isaiah Chapter 58 passed on to Christ’s New Covenant Church.
Brother Harvey’s Cleansing
The church I attended in my youth would always hold an three-day fast to prepare
for its annual church convention. Every saint worth his salt was expected to
participate, except the ill and expectant mothers.
Once the fast was over I couldn’t help but wonder if we might see more miracles at
the convention services because we’d done our bit to “earn” them. I saw Brother
Harvey, a laid-back church elder, sitting in the grass, sunning himself. Contentedly he
sighed, “Ah, nothin’ like a good old fast to clean your insides out.”
How that shocked me! All our holy church fast was to “Brother Harvey” was a
detox diet (that hadn’t even been invented back then)!
Did Harvey fast just because he was an elder and the pastor expected him to do
it? Not a word from Harvey’s smiling lips about how abstaining from food helped him
soar higher into heavenly places! Was a clean colon enough of a reward for Harvey?
EX-lax might have done the trick even better.
Fasting: A Carnal Ordinance of Men

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That memory persuades me like no other that “going on a religious fast” (as
opposed to neglect of eating as a by-product of fervent prayer) is a carnal (bodily)
ordinance OF MEN, much the same way that male circumcision and fasting from
work on the Sabbath Day are carnal ordinances given by God to different groups of
believers living during dispensations BEFORE THE CROSS.
Both Abraham and his son by Hagar, Ishmael, got circumcised on the same day,
along with male slaves “born in his house” (Gen.17:23). It does not say whether the
cutting off of a little of their flesh was accompanied with any religious instruction.
Even if it were, circumcision is still a carnal (bodily) ordinance.
Abraham was justified (made righteous) by “believing God” even before His
circumcision (Gen.15:6; Rom.4:3,9-10). What about Ishmael, who also got
circumcised? In Genesis 17:18, right after he underwent that operation, Abraham
said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee!” Ishmael and his mother were
loved and cared for by God, but Scripture hints that Ishmael may not have been a
particularly pious person. An angel told his mother that he would be a “wild man” at
odds with his neighbors (Gen.16:12). Ishmael mocked Isaac at his weaning party.
So he and his mother were banished from Abraham’s camp (Gen.21:9-16).
Circumcision, like other carnal observances, does not change the heart.
Hebrews 9:9: Which (the wilderness tabernacle) was a figure (representation) for
the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that COULD
NOT MAKE HIM THAT DID THE SACRIFICE PERFECT, as pertaining to their
conscience;
VERSE 10: Which stood only in meats (foods) and drinks, and divers (different)
washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
The “time of reformation” is already past! Christ has already offered Himself up for
us! What further “sacrifice” could God demand? Notice, the Old Law was all about
food and drink ordinances, washing, etc.
During a fast, the body takes a break
from assimilating food. All eating, both plain and pleasurable, is forbidden. On the
Sabbath Day, the bodies of observant Jews get a rest from work. All work, both
vocational and hobby, is forbidden. The key concept is “forbidden”. “Forbidding food”
or “commanding to abstain from meats” fits in with the Old Law, not our New
Covenant of Grace (Col.2:21; I Tim.4:3).
Are Christians Commanded to “Live a Fasted Life”?
Even some non-religious people “live a fasted life” and that life tends to be a
short one. My younger brother suffered from anorexia. Adam viewed all food with
suspicion, as a necessary evil. What little he ate he went outside and ran off after he
ate it. Then when cancer struck, he had no strength to fight it and died shortly
thereafter. It is a demonic deception to think food is only a necessary vice, to be
shunned by those who truly love the Lord!
Nobody’s got the right to hold you up to some bizarre standard of how to impress
God! God has called us to love one another, not heap condemnation on each other!
That’s the devil’s job! Let Jesus be your example, not some self-righteous ascetic
who is trying to pay for his ticket to heaven by his own suffering!
Jesus taught His followers to pray: Give us this day our DAILY bread, (not our
occasional bread!) Again in James 2:15-16: If a brother or a sister be naked and
destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye
warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful
to the body; what doth it profit? Some supersaints think the body is nothing but a
crude cocoon which will someday be shed, so it should be neglected anyway. A

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selfish believer might cop out of his responsibility to show compassion to the hungry
by saying: "Rejoice, brother, that’s a sure sign God wants you to fast." Then his eyes
might rake up and down the body of the poor saint and then he might go on to say:
"It wouldn’t hurt you to shed a few pounds anyway. And fasting is such good
discipline for the flesh. So count it all joy, brother."
Or, that Scrooge in sheep’s clothing might sanctimoniously say that it must be the
hungry believer’s fault that he’s in need, and His Heavenly Father is giving him a
whipping for some sin in his life. The hypocrite might tell his hungry brother that
“until you get your heart right with God, and learn to hunger for spiritual things first,
nothing would be solved if I bailed you out of this mess.” He could even quote
Proverbs which warn against sloth, and that those guilty of it will go hungry in the
winter. The hypocrite might smugly say that it would be “going against the sovereign
will of God” to “interfere”, and if he provided a can of beans to feed his hungry
brother, he would be “hindering God’s “work of purification” in his life. And once the
door is shut on the hungry saint, the smug dispenser of wisdom can hurry back to
his own dinner. Whether he eats or fasts, that hypocrite cares little whether God’s
hunger for having the hungry fed, the naked clothed, and the homeless housed is
satisfied (Isaiah 58:7).
Significantly, food was distributed to poor widows DAILY by deacons of the First
Century Church (Acts 4:35; 6:1-2). It is often said that elderly Christian women
should fast and pray frequently like the Jewess Anna in Luke 2:36-38 (who lived
under Law and was awaiting the Messiah). If elderly widows must fast like Anna,
why would the church go to such lengths to provide food for them DAILY?
In I Timothy 5:1-16 Paul tries to prevent the church’s welfare program from
being abused by those well able to support poor relatives. Paul lists some good
works poor widows supported by the church should perform. Verse 5 admonishes
widows to continue in supplications (petitions to God) and prayers night and day (no
mention of fasting). Verse 10 mentions other practical way widows can show their
love for Christ (hospitality, washing saints’ feet, raising children, works of charity,
etc). No mention of fasting there, either!
Legalistic Fasting Leads to Bondage
God spoke to my heart two examples. A child works so hard on a special project to
please his beloved father he forgets to eat and drink for many hours (not necessarily
days). The father is very pleased by his child’s single-minded devotion. But the
father would not want his child to do without his food and drink every single day. He
would not want him to think he must suffer in order to earn his love. That is
bondage, not faith.
The other example God gave me is found in I Kings 18:28, where the priests of
Baal are so desperate to make their god Baal hear them and answer their prayers
they cut themselves with knives till they bled. Some saints think that God won’t pay
any attention to them unless they suffer enough to earn it, so that’s why they fast
all the time. If we must suffer to get a blessing out of God, nothing is more
convenient than fasting. It leaves no visible marks (except looking hungry) and it’s
much more civilized than whipping or stabbing yourself.
I’ve known some who hold one big fast after another, and scarcely give their
body a break in between.
But such an extreme obsession with fasting begs a
question: Every time some new prayer request prompts a fast, did the Lord put that
burden on them, or could people occasionally be controlled by a religious demon of
bondage masquerading as the Holy Spirit?
Know what makes me 100% sure that one brother I knew crossed the fine line
between godly zeal and bondage? He said something like this: "The world eats, but

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our food is to do our Father’s will." He was misapplying something Jesus said in John
4:34, where Jesus has just spent time ministering to the Samaritan woman at the
well. Jesus’ followers have just returned from town with groceries and are begging
Him to eat something (it was probably lunchtime). But He says: "My meat is to do
the will of Him that sent me and to finish His work."
Jesus thrived spiritually on accomplishing the will of His Father, as all of us do.
He was so intent on satisfying this woman’s spiritual hunger that His own physical
hunger was not at the forefront of His consciousness. But that is not to say Jesus
never felt the need to eat, or considered eating an unspiritual vice which spiritual
giants can easily dispense with. Now here’s a shocker: One of the first things Jesus
did after His resurrection was to cook breakfast for his disciples ( John 21:9-14), and
it was around that breakfast campfire that Peter reconciled with Jesus after denying
Him three times (verses15-19) . Jesus didn’t scowl at Peter and tell him he had to
fast in sack cloth and ashes and flagellate himself with chains to prove himself
worthy of being restored to His friendship. Wonder of wonders! Immediately after
being reunited with Jesus Peter ate breakfast (which means break a fast, not begin
one!). And right after his meal Peter was immediately reinstated as a full-fledged
apostle of Christ.
Jesus was practical as well as spiritual. He fed hungry multitudes with literal
bread, as well as with spiritual bread. He said in Mark 8:3: If I send them away
fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way, for divers of them came from
far. Now, if as the aforementioned preacher implied, spiritual food is all we need,
then why didn’t Jesus just dismiss the crowd to walk home solely on the strength of
the spiritual bread He had been feeding them for three solid days? Why did He
bother to feed them barley bread also? Because Jesus provides for the total needs
of our total being. He is the Redeemer of our body, not just of our soul (Rom. 8:23).
If God feeds the sparrows, He will feed us also (Matt. 6:26). Our Heavenly Father
knows we need food, drink, and clothing (verses 31-32). If natural food were
unnecessary Jesus never would have said our Father knows we have need of it!
How dangerous, designating our God-given need to eat as an activity fit only for
worldly folks, as if nourishing our bodies were in the same league as snorting coke
or popping E’s. Swearing off nutritious meals in favor of asceticism sounds oh, so,
spiritual, but it really springs from a lying religious spirit of bondage. Satan’s
ministry is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). If he can’t kill us, he’ll at least try
to slow us down by robbing us of vitality and destroying our health. Your body stops
feeling hungry after 3 or 4 days of abstinence (normally). You can easily think that
your feeling of light-headedness and detachment from reality is a spiritual
mountaintop which is a much better place to abide than breaking your fast and
resuming the “carnal” part of living the Christian life. Satan can masquerade as the
Voice of the Lord and try to make you think you never need to eat again, because
“you’re just a bit closer to heaven” by weakening the body, and “you’re entering into
the death of Christ” that way. But satan specializes in religious deception. He knows
you’re way too smart to do drugs or commit adultery. He has to be far more subtle
about destroying you. It was a religious lie satan fed to Eve in the Garden of Eden
when he told her she could enter into a higher state of awareness by eating the
forbidden fruit. Beware of swallowing “Christian” mysticism that can make you go off
on a dangerous tangent! That is one of the signs of an unbalanced religious cult.
Perverting the practice of fasting is satan’s way of sanctifying anorexia and turning
our basic biological need to eat into a base act of carnality, laced with guilt. But a
believer can be just as close to the Lord at the dinner table as he is at church,
because at both places glory can be given to God for His faithful provision of both
material and spiritual nourishment. I see food as a gift God gives His children, not as
a vice. I am not called to the ascetic life. If I were, God would not have helped me

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become a fairly decent cook, or helped me to perfect many recipes. I am called to
glorify God in the kitchen, just as I strive to glorify him when I speak or write of His
wondrous goodness.
ONCE Jesus endured a forty-day fast in the wilderness, to prepare Him for
greater challenges to come. But Jesus did not stay in that wilderness. Nor does
Scripture say that Jesus ever repeated that fast. His cousin John the Baptist lived in
the wilderness and he fasted all the time. He was called by God to that life, but not
everyone has the same calling (Rom. 12:4). John ate only enough grasshoppers and
honey to keep himself alive. The eating habits of Jesus and John the Baptist are
contrasted in Matt. 11: 18-19 and in Luke 7:33-34. Jesus’ enemies accused Him of
excess in food and drink. I think they said that because they compared Jesus, Who
ate and drank in moderation at wedding feasts, with John, who never went to
parties, hardly ever ate, and never touched wine. Next to John, just about anyone
would look like a glutton! Now if fasting were the thing that makes us righteous,
John the Baptist would have been more righteous than Jesus, because John did much
more of it. Instead John says to Jesus in Matt. 3:14: I need to be baptized by You,
and do You come to me?
Some Christians are too ill to fast. The closest they could come, if they wanted to
join in a church fast, would be to forego tasty foods (Daniel 10:2-3). One person I
know is hypoglycemic and must eat a snack every three hours or risk fainting. Few
people on earth love Jesus more than this woman does. God doesn’t say to her: "If
you can’t pay, don’t bother to pray." Fasters’ prayers don’t get “fast-tracked” over
other prayers prayed in faith. JESUS already paid our first class postage!
If God ordained the “spiritual discipline” of fasting, then why did He provide food
EVERY DAY for the Israelites, even enough for the Sabbath, instead of sanctifying the
Sabbath as a fast day (Ex.16:4-5)? For that matter, why didn’t the disciples just
mortify their bodies and abstain from eating till the Sabbath Day was over instead of
breaking it and picking grain in a field to satisfy their hunger (Matt.12:1)?
There WAS no weekly “fast day” in the days of Moses! The Pharisees started that
tradition under LAW, and we don’t need to continue it under Grace!
Don’t Destroy the Temple of the Holy Spirit!
Abstinence during a time of intense spiritual warfare might sometimes be necessary,
but frequent fasting robs the body not only of calories (fuel), but of protein, which is
utilized by the body to repair damaged tissue and form healthy new cells. Excessive
fasting robs the body of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and sometimes even
adequate water. If done too severely or frequently, fasting readjusts the basic
metabolic setpoint of the body and puts it in a starvation mode (like yo-yo dieting).
My anorectic brother survived for years, though he was painfully thin. Adam ate his
meals from a saucer or a teacup, afraid to use a normal-sized plate! I lived clear
across the country, so I wasn’t around every day to watch the flesh drop away from
his bones. No one could get through to Adam. He died at the young age of 37.
Since the body thinks its very survival is at risk, the body will become much more
efficient with calorie expenditure when it is regularly starved of key nutrients. The
“fasted” body goes into survival mode. It will tend to hoard every calorie consumed
instead of burning it for energy. Fasting can ruin your basal metabolism (rate at
which calories are burned). Those who try to go back to eating normal meals like
their friends and family after a long period of “living the fasted life” discover that
their bodies are very slow to burn calories, although they may keep active. Some
frequent fasters I knew tended to have a pale, waxy complexion and prematurely
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As in the case of crash-dieting (daily calorie intake of 1000 or below), all systems
non-essential for personal survival are the first to shut down when severe fasting is
practiced. A very few fasters (I knew just one, personally) flirt with death in order to
“get closer to the Lord”. This particular girl stopped having her monthly period for a
couple of years. She worried that she might never be able to have children. In time
she moderated her fasting habits and through prayer, was healed. She went on to
marry and have a large family.
When more calories are expended than ingested, the first energy source drawn
upon by the body is glycogen (a carbohydrate compound) in the liver. Theoretically,
fat would be the next thing burned by the body. But whenever fasting is combined
with inactivity (like dieting without exercise), muscle cells might be the next to go
before fat reserves are drawn upon. And if the body is “buffeted” long enough, and
has exhausted all its other power sources, it might even begin to eat its internal
organs. Gums might bleed from lack of key nutrients, particularly vitamin C. Teeth
and hair might begin to fall out, as the body’s most important organs, the brain and
the heart, take priority in distributing what little nourishment is still circulating in the
bloodstream. The skin loses its glow and vitality. Some Irish hunger strikers
reportedly suffered blindness before death took them.
Wasting away of muscle tissue and organ damage does not open the Way to the
Holiest of all. Only the precious Blood of Jesus does that (Heb.9:8-15; 10:19-20)!
Fasting carried to extremes becomes a satanic heresy destructive to the Temple of
the Holy Ghost. Deliberately destroying God’s temple will probably provoke Him to
anger, not sweeten your relationship with Him.
The Deeper Life deception justifies religious fasting by saying that the weakness
brought on by depriving your body of nutrition makes it possible for God to sustain
you with His strength, which brings Him extra glory. By the same reasoning, you can
break your foot with a hammer and plead for God to supernaturally help you walk in
your self-induced weakness! That’s like snake handlers giving God an opportunity to
protect them from the hazards of self-induced snakebite. God has ENOUGH
opportunities to show Himself strong on our behalf because there is always some
area in our life where we need His help. We don’t know about every possible danger
that could come our way. We aren’t smart enough to solve every possible problem
that could pop up. God protects us in thousands of ways we don’t even know about.
Fasters DELIBERATELY crash their blood sugar and deplete their energy levels on the
premise that as long as they’re eating, they’re strong as Superman and God isn’t
getting enough glory and might get put out of a job. Actually, starving yourself to
give God a chance to shine is a form of tempting God, “putting God to the test”,
which is forbidden in Scripture (Deut.6:16). You decide to starve yourself, then
expect Him to supernaturally empower you to run dangerous equipment at work or
fly a plane safely.
I Corinthians 3:17: If any man defile the temple of God; him shall God destroy;
for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. * * * * *”Defile” as used in this
context is explained in marginal notes as meaning “to destroy”. I looked this use of
“defile” up in my Strong’s Concordance and found that the Greek word used here is
phtheiro, which means “to shrivel, or to wither, or to spoil, through any means”. The
temple of God can be wrecked through debauchery or excess (in most cases that’s
how it happens). But it can also be destroyed through the shriveling, withering
effects of severe asceticism. I’ve seen plenty of pale, anemic-looking Christian
women who look older than their years. Fasting does make you fashionably thin, but
regular loss of nutrients can ruin the metabolism, sap a woman’s energy, wither
muscle tissue, cause premature graying, and wrinkle the complexion. Fasting (done
to excess) accelerates aging and can help cause depression. Far from being a
necessary evil, Scripture refers to our body as a holy temple of God!

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Beware of Legalistic Bondage in Fasting
Even under the Old Law there was only one day of the year when God said His
people were obligated by law to fast, except for times of national emergency: the
Day of Atonement, a time of national sorrow for sin. Even then fasting was only
IMPLIED because God told them merely to “afflict their soul” (Lev.23:32), and if you
were eating prime rib, obviously you wouldn’t be afflicting yourself. Other annual
fast days were added later BY COMMANDMENT OF MEN (oral traditions added to the
written Law). Those extra fasts were NEVER authorized by God! By contrast, you’ll
see quite a number of days where God commands the Jews to FEAST in His honor!
Whenever God called the nation of Israel to fast and seek Him (in time of national
sin or emergency), He expected them not only to appear in His Presence to pray, but
to set aside during that time their daily occupations. How many hard-working
Christians have felt pangs of guilt just because they had to relax the rules of their
church fast in order to keep from collapsing on the job! And if you have to operate
heavy machinery at work, it can be downright dangerous to you or your co-workers
to diminish your mental alertness with fasting!
Fasting goes hand-in-hand with mourning (Matt. 9:15). There are times we pour
out our heart in sorrow or desperate prayer to God, and it is then we forget about
food and its preparation. It is possible to receive strength from above when we are
focused solely on the Lord and shut out the things of earth. When we realize that in
and of ourselves we are poor and empty creatures (Matt.5:3: Rev.3:17-18) we
remember that our sufficiency is of God (2 Cor.3:5). But contrary to one fasting
myth. If self-starvation really were the key to greater reliance on God, than by
logical inference, the consumption of food would make us feel like Popeye the Sailor
Man who can whip a whole army after eating his spinach. NOWHERE does Scripture
teach saints that they need to starve themselves to realize that God is their strength!
That’s a Catholic doctrine from the Dark Ages, along with all the other penances
Catholics taught to help people earn their way to heaven.
Unless the Lord, according to His plan and purpose, calls someone to the ascetic
life, eating properly is to be the norm, not the exception. In Psalms 28:7 David
sings: The Lord is my Strength and my Shield. David sings of his rejoicing, and he
didn’t say it took self-starvation to believe God was His Strength. If you’ll read
through the life of David, his only recorded fasts happened when his child was dying
(because of David being under judgment for sin) or when David mourned the defeat
of the Israelite army and the death of King Saul. All of his fasts commemorated very
sad, negative events, not his joy in the Lord.
Nehemiah 8:10 says: The JOY of the Lord is your strength. Jesus always
associated fasting with mourning, never with joy (Matt. 9:15). If we are strongest in
the Lord when we are most joyful (and not fasting), how can the drummed-up
sorrow of a fast generate the joy of the Lord? Some Christians think all eating is a
very unspiritual thing, and in order for a day to be holy they must fast upon it. But
Nehemiah doesn’t tell his listeners to fast. Instead he instructs them: Go your way,
eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions for whom nothing is prepared: for
this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your
strength. Nehemiah urged the people of God to eat and drink good things on a holy
day when God’s Law was being read to the people. Such an activity would be
classified by most as a RELIGIOUS or WORSHIP activity, which ought to be
accompanied by solemn fasting instead of what Nehemiah told them to do: Do NOT
be sorrowful, and enjoy the best foods and beverages. The logical implication is that

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if those Jews were supposed to be sorrowful instead of joyful, Nehemiah might have
asked them to fast instead.
That example is Old Testament, some will say, and the Way to Life demands
greater sacrifice. It’s true that the early Church had to suffer much and sacrifice
much. But they were also full of the joy of the Lord. Some folks think fasting is THE
key to God’s power, just because it causes considerable discomfort. But God lives in
the praises of His people (Psalms 22:3). I believe that when you are full of the joy of
the Lord it is a sure sign God’s Holy Anointing of Power rests upon you. Personally I
have found two other practices even more powerful in obtaining answers to prayer:
Praying in the tongues of the Spirit and praying the Word of God (tailoring my
English prayers according to what the Bible has to say about God meeting my
particular need). When God breathes life into His written Word through the unction
of His Holy Spirit, it’s dynamite!
I read one article which stated: You read about lots of fasting in the early
Church, but no eating in the early Church. Wrong! Acts 2:46-47 says of the early
Church (who, by the way, spent much time in the Temple, like Anna of Luke 2:37):
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from
house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising
God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church daily
such as who should be saved.
Paul, who often suffered deep privations, declares in I Timothy 6:17:God gives
us richly all things to enjoy (not fast from to prove how spiritual we are).
Some Christians think that you must fast to get people saved, but the early
believers, who ate together often, won plenty of people to Christ. Why? Because
the glorious Love and Joy of Jesus drew those people like a bee goes for honey. If
the early Christians had gone around looking like they’d subsisted on nothing but
sour lemon juice, how many sinners would have been drawn to join them and get
the same blessing they had? Precious few, I think! I think the absence of LOVE in
the church drives more sinners away than the presence of FOOD in the church
kitchen!
There will be eating in the Millennium, and lots of it. In Luke 22: 28-30 Jesus
commends those who have stood by Him during His trials. He promises His people a
great reward for their faithfulness. A kingdom has been appointed for them in which
they will eat and drink with Him at His table in His Kingdom. If eating were nothing
more than a necessary evil, to sustain temporal life, why would Christ promise His
disciples that they would dine with Him at His own table once they are resurrected to
everlasting life in immortal bodies? Bodies which, by the way, will not require natural
food to keep them running!
All true believers are invited to the great Marriage Supper (not Marriage Fast) of
the Lamb spoken of in Revelation 19:9. Those who attend will be present in their
resurrected, immortal bodies, not their old carnal ones. And I don’t expect to sit at
Jesus’ table with just a glass of water and a toothpick .
Another Scripture passage which points to Millennial eating is Ezekiel 44: 1-3.
This passage speaks of a gate of the Holy City which has been sealed shut and is
only for the Prince, the Holy One (Jesus) to enter. This prophecy of the sealing of the
Eastern Gate in Jerusalem was fulfilled in 1517 by Suleiman the Magnificent. This
Turkish ruler was certain he could prevent the Jewish Messiah from entering the Holy
City by doing this. For added measure the Muslims also placed a cemetery in front of
the Eastern Gate, thinking that this would surely deter the Promised One from
someday entering into the Holy City. But that will pose no problem for Jesus. Either
He will order His angels to unseal the Eastern Gate or He will simply pass through it
the same way he was able to penetrate solid walls and locked doors to visit His
disciples after His resurrection (John 20:19, 26).

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But what does this passage have to do with eating? Plenty. The ruling prince of
the area will appear in that city gate to eat bread in the Presence of the Most High as
an act of worship (Ezek. 44:3).
One church I know of does loads of fasting but precious little loving. If you as
a visitor go to that church, why, they’ll hardly even speak to you. After the meeting
they’ll just gather in their tight little cliques and ignore you. Then they wonder why
their church doesn’t grow much, and visitors quit coming after two or three visits.
You can starve yourself to death and even give your body to be burnt in the service
of Christ, but if you don’t have love in your heart, brother or sister, all your
“sacrifice” will amount to nothing (I Cor. 13:3).
God is far more concerned with the content of a person’s heart than the lack of
contents in his stomach. Even if your stomach is as hollow as the Grand Canyon
your prayers will get no answer if your heart is empty of faith and love.
To sum it up: Is your faith in Christ Jesus and His Grace, or is your faith in
fasting?
It isn’t the emptiness of our stomach that moves God to act on our behalf, but
the faith in our heart.

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Fasting: a Weak and BEGGARLY Element
In Galatians Chapter 4 Paul addresses the problem of Christians living in bondage to
weak and beggarly elements (rudiments) of the world ( (Gk. stoicheon, elementary
principles), which “Judaisers” had tried to impose upon them. Paul takes issue with
legalistic Christians who are still so bound to Judaism and its old customs that they
try to bind these religious rules onto baby believers. These “weak and beggarly”
elements are what you’d call the elementary ABC’s of religious observance, man’s
effort to please God through faithful performance of ritual. But Paul would have none
of it. In verses 5-7, Paul tells the Galatians that they have been adopted as sons
into God’s family. They aren’t pitiful beggars who must perform rituals to get God’s
attention and earn his mercy!
Gal.4:9: But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God,
how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements (ABC’s of Jewish legalism)
whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Verse 10: Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years (that would include
regularly fasting like the Pharisees, who fasted each Monday and Thursday).
Verse 11: I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Paul doesn’t commend the Galatians for doing their best to be good religious
people. He rebukes them for forgetting that they are sons and returning to the
begging bowl of religious rituals. I’m reminded of professional beggars in my part of
the world. Some Eastern European immigrants send their women and children to
beg in front of stores, looking sad and wearing old clothes. Old Testament saints
clung to outward forms of religion, to prove their faithfulness to God so God would
take pity on them and come to their aid. Old Covenant believers didn’t know from
one day to the next whether they would retain God’s favor. Their fasts were usually
motivated by grief, sorrow for sin, or fear of danger. As they fasted, they would seek
God with a sorrowful face. Many of them would throw dirt on their heads, tear their
clothes in grief, or wear sackcloth to show deep humility. In this way they humbled
themselves and fearfully approached God to BEG Him for mercy.
The Old Covenant was an inferior covenant (Heb.8:13). The UNCERTAINTY and
precariousness of a believer’s continued salvation was one of its many drawbacks.
People approached God in great fear and trembling, uncertain as to the outcome.
Reverence toward God must always be maintained in the heart of the believer, but
now we can enter BOLDLY into the very Presence of God through the precious Blood
of Jesus. We don’t need to come to God with a long face, fasting, throwing dirt on
our heads, wearing a burlap sack and walking barefoot up to a distant shrine. We
come to God as His dear children, not as pitiful outcasts holding out a begging bowl.
Fasting is a “weak and beggarly element”, like the wearing of sackcloth and ashes
(Daniel 9:3). The Prophet Daniel did the best he could to intercede for his people,
considering he lived under an inferior Covenant and the Jews had lost their Temple,
along with all its ceremonies. Pray reverently and earnestly like Daniel, but
remember this: Daniel lived under the Old Covenant and we live in the Church Age.
Our New Covenant is a far better covenant established upon far better promises
(Heb.8:6). We are made one spirit with Christ by faith (I Cor.6:17). God has
ALREADY blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Eph.1:3). We are
already seated with Jesus in Heavenly places (Eph.2:6). Daniel did not enjoy these
blessings during his lifetime.
During Jesus’ ministry, and even before the beginning of the New Covenant,
wicked spirits were made subject to Christ’s disciples. Demons could be cast out
through the imparted authority of Christ, Who has all power over the forces of
darkness (Luke 10:19-20; I Pet.3:22). Daniel did not have this power and authority,
since Christ’s earthly ministry had not yet begun, Jesus had not yet sealed satan’s

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defeat on the Cross, and the New Covenant had not been ushered in. Instead, Daniel
prayed with great mourning, depending upon mighty angels to push back demonic
forces so his answer to prayer could arrive (Daniel 10:13). Daniel lived under the
Old Covenant. He did not have spiritual authority to cast down powers of darkness.
There were occasional miracles of healing before Christ came, but not one example
of any demon being cast out through prayer.
Daniel was a very wise, godly man. So godly Daniel received assurance from God
of his own resurrection (Dan.12:13). Daniel was mightily used of God, despite the
fact fundamental elements of Jewish worship were no longer available (the destroyed
Temple, animal sacrifices, pilgrimages to Jerusalem for Feast Days, etc). But Daniel
was not spiritually born again through the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5).
Daniel was greatly beloved of God, but he was not a member of the Body of Christ
(see I Cor.12:27). We enjoy spiritual blessings Daniel didn’t have under the Old
Covenant. We can pray in the tongues of the Spirit, Daniel couldn’t, because the
Spirit had not been poured out yet upon the Church (I Cor.14:2,14-15).
Although we have all these great spiritual blessings at our disposal, many insist
our prayer experience should be exactly like that of Daniel. Many copy Daniel’s “21day fast” (the Daniel Fast) by subsisting on plain peas, lentils and beans, etc. I tried
doing this in a time of great trial, but no miracle breakthrough came to resolve the
situation. The Daniel Fast is much less severe than total fasting, but it bears some
similarity to the Catholic Lent season, which forbids certain foods to be eaten,
contrary to I Tim.4:3. If eating bacon instead of beans sabotaged prayer, surely the
apostles would have mentioned this in their writings!
Daniel lived under the shadow of God’s judgment upon his erring nation, which
had been taken captive to a heathen land. Christ had not yet come to make final
atonement for the sins of Israel. The Israelites couldn’t even pacify God’s righteous
wrath with animal sacrifices anymore. No wonder Daniel prayed with great fear and
trembling, even with shame because of the sins of his ancestors. But things
dramatically changed at the Cross. Jesus won for us not only redemption from sin,
but unimaginably great spiritual blessings, including being sealed in salvation with
the Spirit of Promise (Eph.1:13). Even Bible prophecy proclaims our final victory and
satan’s ultimate destruction. But some pray as if the final outcome were in doubt, as
if Jesus hadn’t already defeated satan on Calvary. Those bound by ascetic practices
call themselves rotten sinners who are unworthy to beg God for mercy, though
Scripture proclaims that Christian believers are made the very righteousness of
Christ (2 Cor.5:21), and there is NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus
and walk in the Spirit (Rom.8:1). Although we highly esteem Daniel’s godly example,
our prayer life can’t exactly mirror his.
Dependence on fasting is very inferior to prayer in the Spirit. Prayer in the Spirit
looks not upon our own human inadequacy, but unto Jesus alone, Who is the author
and the FINISHER of our faith (Heb. 12:2). We can stand on the promises of God
already freely given to us by the grace of God in Christ. Such prayer isn’t dependent
on outward form and ritual. If anyone insists on fasting the way Daniel did, then
wearing sackcloth and ashes and confessing the sins of your ancestors is part of it!
Regular fasting seems like a respectable way to get God’s attention. But it was
the Pharisees who invented weekly “fast days”, not God! It’s very safe to say that
nobody can prove out of his Bible that God ordained regular weekly fast days, or
ordered any other regularly scheduled fast besides the Jews’ Day of Atonement!
Sometimes people in the Bible fasted in times of sorrow or danger, but never in times
of joy. NOT ONCE did God ever command fasting to be done to “bring the power
down” in church, or to keep a Christian’s joy under restraint!

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Tithing and Fasting F(laws)
Jesus said a tree is known by its fruits (Matt.12:33). What are a few of the fruits of
the modern tithing doctrine and other “sacrificial” giving gimmicks promoted by
preachers today?
1. By resurrecting tithing, one of 613 laws of Moses and coming back under it,
tithe-collectors sabotage Jesus’ action of nailing Old testament ordinances to
His cross (Col.2:14). Tithe collectors bring Christians back under the whole
Law and back under its inherent curse (Gal.3:10).
2. Tithing causes financial hardship and loss of time together for poor families
who must take extra jobs to be able to tithe and still survive. This has a
ripple effect. There are only 24 hours in a day. Less time is available for child
training and family devotions (Prov.22:6). Less parental supervision makes
the child(ren) more vulnerable to bad influences from the world, as the
children’s peer group rushes in to fill the vacuum left by parents who work
most of their waking hours. Instead of pursuing after God and His will, poor
people must chase after the dollar to be able to pay bills and still tithe. They
are forced to forget Christ’s instruction to “take no thought” for the needs of
tomorrow (Matt.6:34).
3.

When parents aren’t able to do a second job, they are forced to choose
between bringing in “God’s” tithe or adequately providing for their families.
When they cave in and pay tithes (or even offerings) out of what is needed to
care for their kids, they are going against Jesus’ warning against making a
‘corban’ (ritual gift) out of what should go to family support (Mark 7:9-13),
thus making void the Word of God through observance of manmade
traditions. When people use money to pamper rich preachers instead of
providing for their own household, they automatically make themselves
infidels, according to I Tim.5:8.

4. When blessings for tithing fail to materialize, it can shatter a believer’s faith in
God’s faithfulness. Despite the fact Malachi 3:8-10 was addressed to Old
Testament Levites, not to New Testament believers. It’s the ignorant (or
deliberately deceptive) PREACHER, not God, who promises Christians
blessings for tithing on money, which God never commanded in either
testament. Failure to prosper after tithing makes it easier for satan to tempt
the believer to doubt all God’s REAL promises!
5.

Instead of getting a windfall by falling for the preacher’s “Breakthrough With
My Last Buck Blessing” gimmick, those who give to the rich only fall into
deeper poverty (Prov.22:16). I’m speaking from experience here. It feels like
God is ignoring your prayers for financial deliverance, when even out of
ignorance, you “plant a seed to meet your need”. Even a “sacrificial widow’s
mite” gift of your last five dollars won’t make God change His mind about
being true to that warning in Proverbs. God doesn’t endorse a false gospel of
satan with blessings. He hates being treated like a slot machine!

6. Tithing worsens the rich-poor divide in the Body of Christ. The “standing” of
families in church depends on faithful “tithing”, contrary to James 2:9. An
unscriptural clergy-laity division among believers is reinforced through tithes

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being paid by “pew Christians” to “spiritual Levites”. Non-tithers can be
excluded from the most exclusive church cliques as big tithers are given star
treatment.
7. Non-tithers are often forbidden to “minister” in church, contrary to I
Corinthians Chapter 12. Spiritual gifts of poor Christians can be ignored, and
their personal ministry disregarded because non-tithing is perceived to be a
fatal flaw in their relationship with Jesus. Although NO ONE is EVER
commanded to tithe by the apostles or rebuked by them for failure to do so!
8.

The priesthood of all believers (I Pet.2:5,9) is weakened as “leadership”
assumes the role of Old Covenant priests and collects an unscriptural money
tithe. Tithing under Grace is garbagey theology cooked up by the moneyhungry religious Establishment. Preachers call themselves “spiritual Levites”.
But most members of the tribe of Levi DID pay tithes in the Old Testament
(Num.18:25-28). And they paid them to Aaron the High Priest. The actual
priesthood did NOT tithe. We are priests under the New Covenant (I
Pet.2:5,9). Jesus is the ONLY High Priest of our covenant (Heb.7:20-28)! And
as for preachers claiming the right to take tithes under Christ’s Melchisedek
priesthood, go back and reread Abraham’s interaction with Melchisedek in
Gen.14:18-20. Abraham handed his tithe directly to Melchisedek, priest of
that particular covenant, with NO intermediaries to pass it on to this priest.
There are no mediators between the believer and Christ (I Tim.2:5). We are
made one spirit with Him through faith (I Cor.6:17). So how can we rank
lower on God’s totem pole than pulpit preachers? Anyone who collects tithes
today from God’s Royal Priesthood (regular believers) is a fraud usurping
Jesus’ position as High Priest of the New Covenant, even if he is doing it out
of ignorance!

9. Even as they accuse non-tithers of “failing God” and “disobeying His Word”,
tithe collectors ADD TO the Word of God compulsory “sacrifice” which was
never demanded by the original apostles, contrary to 2 Cor.9:7 and Deut.4:2.
Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice is NEVER demanded under the New
Covenant! Jesus made ONE SACRIFICE forever, and it is ENOUGH in the sight
of God (Heb.10:10-12).
10. Tithe enforcers LIE to God’s people about His merciful, loving nature by
painting a grim picture of Him as one who demands continual sacrifice and
hardship to “prove your love for Jesus”. Jesus Himself prefers MERCY to
sacrifice (Matt.9:13). Like the wicked Pharisees, greedy preachers prefer
sacrifice to mercy. They condemn the guiltless by making a sin out of failure
to keep monetary tithing, a LAW OF MEN imposed on Christendom by the
Roman Catholic Church long after the death of the apostles.
11. Tithe-collecting corrupts a preacher’s motives. Honesty might be the best
policy, but it doesn’t always make a guy richer in this world. Money is a highly
addictive temptation, just like drugs or gambling. Knowledge of the truth
doesn’t automatically set preachers free from serving mammon instead of
God (Luke 16:13). Even those who discover the truth through careful
unbiased study of God’s Word might continue to take tithes out of greed or to
beef up the church budget, hoping pew Christians never wake up to the truth.

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12. Tithing is a very dangerous doctrine. It robs believers both materially and
spiritually. Putting confidence in this dead work of the Law to please God
(Col.2:14) carries with it the risk of falling from the grace of God and losing
salvation (Gal.5:4).
13. Tithing under the New Covenant means someone must collect the tithe as
God’s representative and place himself or herself between you and Christ as a
surrogate Old Covenant priest! That’s mixing the two covenants and creating
“another gospel”, expressly forbidden by the Word of God, and which carries a
terrible curse (Gal.1:8-9)! Christ is the ONLY Mediator between God and man
(I Tim.2:5). Anybody pretending to be a Levite so he could take tithes from
the people (or perform any other function of a Levite) would formerly have
been struck dead by God (Num.1:51).
14. By misrepresenting God as a vengeful tax collector, tithe enforcers ruin the
relationship between God and ordinary Christians. Pew Christians are robbed
of their peace with God (Rom.5:1) through threats of divine retribution for
failure to keep this false doctrine of men (Ezek.13:22a; Rom.8:15; Gal.5:12).
15. Money gives a heady feeling of power. Like heroin it is highly addictive and
people will do dishonest things to get more and more of it. The power to
siphon off wealth from the weak leads to pride and abuse of the poor.
Powerful, rich preachers count on their listeners’ ignorance and use it to fill
their hearts with fear in order to extort more and more money.
16. One crowbar used by the worst of the worst is fear of committing the
Unpardonable Sin. Such unscrupulous snakes love the Ananias and Sapphira
story in Acts 5:1-5. Christians are told that either they cough up the cash or
God might strike them dead like he did those two! That terrible tale works
like a charm for tithe-collectors so long as verse 4 is skipped over. Ananias’
land, and the money from the sale of that land, belonged to HIM, not the
church. Ananias’ sin lay in lying to the Holy Spirit, plain and simple. Tithing
is neither mentioned nor implied in the context!
What are some possible fruits of legalistic, ritual fasting (as opposed to skipping a
meal or two during a period of intense, uninterrupted prayer)?
1.

Fasting can be seen as a supplement to Christ’s Sacrifice of Himself for us on
Calvary, done out of a feeling of HAVING to do it (like “giving out of
necessity” in II Cor.9:7), to “stay on God’s good side”. This is contrary to
salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Any
religious ritual, however costly or unpleasant, performed to earn or keep
God’s favor is a sacrifice offered up in vain. God isn’t pleased with it.
Reliance upon religion instead of Christ carries with it the danger of falling
from grace and forfeiting salvation (Gal.5:4).

2.

Some rely on fasting to “purify” the soul. We are purified and sanctified not
through personal suffering and “sacrifices”, but only through the ONE
sacrifice of the precious Blood of Jesus alone (Heb.10.14; I Pet.1:2,18-19).

3.

Fasting can be performed as a penance (a Roman Catholic doctrine) to
punish oneself for sin, when sincere repentance and faith in the Blood of

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Christ ONLY are needed for being made right (justified) with God (Rom.5:1; I
John 1:9).
4.

Fasting can be used as a bargaining chip with God to try to get what you
want out of Him, in the same way the priests of Baal inflicted suffering on
themselves to try to win their god’s favor (I Kings 18:28).

5.

Pride in “keeping the flesh under subjection” can cause feelings of superiority
over non-fasters (Luke 18:12). Religious rituals can minister pride, not
humility.

6.

Confidence can be put in weakened flesh (Phil.3:3) to win spiritual battles,
much the same way a sumo wrestler puts confidence in his strength and bulk
to beat an opponent.

7.

Compulsory fasting forbids good things God created for our enjoyment (I
Tim.6:17). “Commanding to abstain from meats” belongs in the category of
“touch not, taste not, handle not” ceremonial ordinances which are no longer
applicable today (Col.2:21; I Tim.4:3.) Putting ourselves under religious
restrictions (non-eating) on certain predetermined days is NOT part of our
Covenant of Grace. It is Law.

8.

“Covenanting” with God to ALWAYS keep certain day(s) of the week as a
“fast day” or for any other kind of religious activity runs the risk of failure
and condemnation for breaking a self-imposed law. It means that you are
BOUND to abstain from eating as a religious duty, just because the earth has
rotated on its axis seven times since the last “fast day”. Routine fasting is a
form of “observing days and times” as in Galatians 4:10.

9.

Preoccupation with fasting can cause a neurotic fear of accidentally ingesting
a tiny amount of food on “fast day”. If a tiny bit of food is ingested before a
long-awaited sunrise or sunset (your choice) ends a particular fasting period,
a profound feeling of failure or sorrow could turn your “mountaintop
experience” into terrible fear of God’s punishment. Sometimes that fear is
subconscious, but it is there. Why? Because you’ve left the Promised Land of
God’s free grace and gone back to the land of fearful bondage, and deep
inside your spirit senses this.
The fruit of religious legalism is FEAR
(Rom.8:15). Prematurely “breaking your fast” through an absent-minded
nibble or sip of something can cause fear of “driving away the Spirit”. God
will never leave nor forsake His children (Heb.13:5).

10. A negative attitude toward food and eating can arise by designating these
earthly concerns as selfish or carnal, although Jesus taught people to pray
“Give us this day our DAILY bread (Matt.6:11). Jesus fed the crowd literal
bread after feeding them spiritual bread (Mark 8:1-9). Far from extolling the
virtues of the “fasted body” as being God’s ideal, Jesus was unwilling to send
his listeners away fasting (verse 3), lest they faint on the way home. If
fasting confers supernatural strength and power, then why did Christ need to
feed them natural as well as spiritual bread? Jesus plainly says that things
we eat don’t spiritually defile us (Mark 7:15). Whether we eat or don’t eat
doesn’t affect our standing before God (I Cor.8:8). We are not to judge one
another in matters of meat and drink (Col.2:16). The Kingdom of God is not
meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom.

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14:17). God’s Kingdom is a feast of spiritual blessings, not the absence of
stew in your stomach!
11. Frequent fasting can sap a believer’s general health and vitality, as well as
cause depression and a souring of the disposition. Joy attracts lost souls to
Christ much more than appearing miserable in fasting.
12. “Sanctifying a church fast” can make those unable to fast (the ill, expectant
mothers, etc.) feel guilty, because the verb “to sanctify” implies the fast is
holy and MUST be observed by ALL. “Sanctifying a fast” is an Old Testament
concept (Ezra 8:21; Joel 2:15), done by Jews under the Law in time of
personal or national crisis. Not one incidence of “sanctifying a church fast”
occurs in the New Testament, not even when the whole church banded
together and prayed for Peter to get out of jail (Acts 12:5).
13. Many feel OBLIGATED to fast because of examples found in the New
Testament. But we are no more bound to keep fasting, a Jewish custom,
than we are bound to copy Paul’s example of shaving his head for a ritual
vow (Acts 18:18).
Only what is SPECIFICALLY COMMANDED TO THE
CHURCH is a duty for New Testament believers. Just two cases of fasting
occurred among the apostles in the Book of Acts when they were praying
about sending out missionaries (Acts 13:2-3;14:23). The apostles were
Jewish men still attached to some of their old customs, like “going up” for
Jewish feasts (Acts 18:21) and Paul’s religious vow-keeping. In the KJV,
Cornelius the centurion is recorded to have fasted, but ancient Greek
manuscripts differ on whether the word “fast” was originally included in
Acts 10:30. Some texts read merely that Cornelius was observing the
Jewish hour of prayer (the ninth hour, or three o’clock). As a “devout”
Gentile “God-fearer” (even if he wasn’t a full-fledged proselyte) Cornelius
might have fasted even before his conversion to Christ, as a Jewish custom
of personal piety. Acts 10:2 mentions Cornelius’ frequent alms-giving, a
typical Jewish act of piety. In verse 4, an angel appeared to Cornelius and
said his prayers and his alms (no mention of his fastings) had risen up to
God’s Throne as a memorial. In another case, Saul did not eat or drink for
three days after being temporarily blinded by his vision of Jesus (Acts 9:9).
It is unclear whether Saul, a recently converted Pharisee who would have
habitually fasted like other Pharisees (Luke 18:12), deliberately refused
nourishment, or simply couldn’t eat and drink due to shock. Significantly, in
verse 11, where the Lord appeared in a vision to Ananias and instructed him
to go minister to Saul, the Lord mentioned Saul’s praying, not his fasting.
Other than these isolated occasions NO OTHER CASE of religious fasting
(only periods of hunger due to hardship or food shortage) are recorded in
the New Testament.
14. Keeping a compulsory church fast burdens some more than others. Salaried
church leaders are free to pray and fast all day without extra responsibilities
to distract them or tire them. They can enjoy a “more spiritual” environment
than those who must fast (and barely pray) in a hectic, unedifying secular
workplace. Some people must work strenuous or highly repetitive, fastpaced jobs during “fast days”. Health and safety can be jeopardized as
fatigue sets in while running heavy machinery, lifting, etc. Such people
cannot stay focused on prayer all day. Their boss pays them for their time at
work, and expects them to stay focused on doing their job.

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15. Ritual fasting alters a believer’s relationship with God. When a believer is
first saved, his entire focus is on the redeeming love of Jesus, and how
Christ loved him enough to die for him as an unmerited act of love. In his
heart burns a fervent “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Pet.1:8). It feels
like a spiritual honeymoon. But once legalism creeps into the life of the
believer, the glow of divine joy begins to fade from his countenance and an
agonizing fear of “losing out with God” eats at the back of his mind. Instead
of continuing to rejoice over what Jesus has done and glorying in it, the
Christian begins to think: God will only work mightily in my life if I show
myself worthy of it through a life of continual “sacrifice”.
16. However subconsciously, some believers think God ENJOYS seeing us suffer
and we have to pay for His favors (or make amends for our sins) in fasting
installments, much like a child thinks he pays for his pranks in spanking
installments!
17. Some think that unless they “fast for miracles”, their prayers won’t be
answered and they will get nowhere with God. But does fasting prompt God
to pour out more miracles? John the Baptist and his disciples fasted much
more often than Jesus and His disciples (Matt.9:14). Jesus “came eating
and drinking” (Luke 7:33-34). But NOT ONE miracle is attributed to John the
Baptist personally, though John did much more fasting than Jesus! Some
Christians think that unless they fast for three days (or other period), they
dare not even try to pray “the prayer of faith” to defeat satan. In Luke
10:17 Jesus’ team of seventy disciples reported back to Him, rejoicing that
even the demons were subject to them THROUGH JESUS’ NAME (not through
fasting). Jesus gave His non-fasting disciples power over ALL the power of
the enemy (verse 19). This happened even before Jesus’ death on the Cross,
and before the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, and before the inauguration
of the New Covenant! If Christians must first fast in order to defeat the
powers of darkness, then the focus is taken off Christ’s own victory on
Calvary and put onto us and our ability to “storm the gates of heaven” on
the fumes of our own weakness. If God’s power doesn’t kick in until we
reach a “fasted condition” three days after the beginning of our abstinence,
then it follows that for at least one or two days we DIDN’T have power over
ALL the power of the enemy, contradicting Christ’s own plain words! An
example in point: Raising someone from the dead is one of the mightiest
possible miracles which can be performed in this world. In Acts 20:7-11 Paul
the Apostle met with some disciples on the first day of the week to BREAK
BREAD (eat) not to fast. Paul preached so long to them that a young man
sitting in the window fell asleep. He fell a long way down and hit the ground
hard, resulting in death. Notice that Paul didn’t call for the brethren to stop
their communal meal and fast a couple of days before attempting to raise
the young man from the dead. Both before and immediately after this
miracle, Paul ATE! If fasting is essential for miracle-working, then why didn’t
the Christians “get serious with God” enough to start a fast to “bring down
the power”? Because Paul knew He ALREADY HAD the power of the Living
Christ inside of him, and he couldn’t increase this power by contributing his
own two cents’ worth of suffering!
18. Non-fasting Christians are made to feel like “drop-outs” in the School of
Faith, carnal fence-sitters who are digging their own spiritual graves with

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their knife and fork. They are often told that those who fast will receive the
greatest rewards in heaven, while non-fasters will barely make it in. But
NOT ONE incident of fasting is recorded in the Bible before Moses. Fasting in
service to God is not attributed to such righteous saints as Seth, Noah,
Enoch, Abraham and Isaac. Without his first fasting to earn it, Enoch walked
with God (walked uprightly before His God) and was taken by God without
first dying (Gen.5:24; Heb.11:5). Walking with God requires dying to the old
selfish nature of sin, but it does not require self-starvation. The only other
person recorded to have escaped physical death is Elijah, who DID go
without food for a time, in I Kings 19:8. Elijah was fleeing from Jezebel. He
was hiding in the wilderness and was heavily discouraged. An angel
appeared to Elijah and fed him a meal. The angel did not tell Elijah to fast to
defeat his discouragement. Empowered by that food, Elijah was able to
continue his journey to Mount Horeb for forty days.
Elijah did not
deliberately starve his body for “self-mortification”. He was supernaturally
empowered to draw strength from what he had already been fed. One
normal meal would sustain a person for several hours, and maybe even a
whole day. Just imagine hiking across the USA without stopping to eat, your
body still fueled by the spaghetti you ate forty days ago! A normal forty-day
fast would put the body in “starvation mode” and cause it to eat its own
tissues for survival. Scripture plainly says Elijah went in the strength of
bread eaten, not in the weakness of a religious fast.
19. Satan knows believers can’t focus on more than one thing at one time. When
good things happen, fasting can easily get the glory due to Jesus alone. In
an of itself, fasting has no eternal merit. In order for one thing to take the
primary place in a believer’s faith and practice, something else (faith in
Christ alone) must take a lower seat at the table.
20. Fasting feeds on the current “Hunger for Jesus” craze, which seems oh, so
spiritual, but teaches that we only grow closer to God through personal
suffering (a lie of satan). It is implied that only through “dying to” our own
personal well-being and depriving our bodies of nutrition can our hunger for
the Life of Christ be satisfied. This springs from Gnosticism, an early heresy
fought against by the apostles. Gnosticism holds that all matter is inherently
evil and only the invisible is good. Thus Christians are encouraged to “crucify
their flesh” and become ascetics “so more souls can be saved.” If this is true,
then why did the Son of Man “come eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34)? That
is the example Christ set for us. Why is that verse overlooked by those who
teach fasting as a binding obligation for Christians? Through promoting sad
asceticism as God’s highest will for His children, satan makes the Christian
life seem more like a funeral than a joyous celebration of our Risen Lord.
But natural and spiritual nourishment do not necessarily conflict with each
other, any more than an eggshell is evil just because the yolk is more
important.
21. “Fasting for self-mortification” is something Jesus never practiced Himself, or
any of his disciples. ONCE Jesus abstained from food for a prolonged period.
Throughout his forty-day abstinence, Christ was supernaturally sustained by
the Word of God (Matt.4:4). Only AFTER His fast was finished did Christ feel
hungry (verse 2). To imitate Jesus’ long fast perfectly, you would need to do
like He did and be able to convert the Word of God into fuel usable by the
human body! Far from being ascetics, Jesus and his men ate and drank

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freely (Matt.9:14; 11:19). Fasting to “mortify the flesh” is a doctrine which
crept into the church long after the first apostles died. It became a popular
“discipline” in Catholic monasteries, practiced by nuns and monks who
struggled to “crucify themselves” to achieve higher levels of “spiritual
ecstasy” and closer “union with Christ”. (They also beat their backs with little
whips to “get closer to God”). Through faith in Christ alone we are ALREADY
joined to Him spiritually (I Cor.6:17).
22. Far from increasing spiritual awareness, fasting can FOOL you! There is a
fine line between our yet-unperfected soul, which interacts daily with this
world (I Pet.2:11) and our spirit, that already perfected part of the Christian
where God’s Spirit resides (Rom.7:22). Once hunger pangs fade during a
fast, a floaty, lightheaded, detached feeling can take over. This euphoric
state can be mistaken for receiving a deep anointing of the Spirit of God.
The soul can be positively influenced by the spirit, even as a sick body can
depress the soul. Our soul can and does respond to the deep, restful joy
which comes from our spirit. But beware of getting carried away with the
counterfeit. “Getting high on Jesus” is a SOULISH concept, a popular
buzzword used to convert hippies to Christ in the early 70’s. You can get
thrilled by a religious meeting where there is a big-name preacher and a
bombastic music band.
But if the preaching and singing was pure
professionalism without the power of the Spirit, the thrill doesn’t last very
long, even if that service left you feeling like you could whip old satan with
one hand tied behind your back. But just let the boss chew you out the next
day, and you’ll crash back down to earth in a hurry! I’ve experienced this
myself: It can be a rainy day in our “Doubting Thomas” soul, but perpetual
sunshine in our faith-filled “spirit man” because God is fellowshipping with us
continually there. Even when we feel “down in the dumps” we are still
spiritually united with Christ.
23. Fasting to “get the anointing” is a doctrinal error never taught to the Church
by Jesus or any apostle. If fasting could bestow special anointing on
Christian believers, Scripture is strangely silent on this point. NOWHERE in
the New Testament are believers ever told to fast to get a greater anointing
from God. Sick people aren’t even instructed to fast for their healing! The
word “anointing” appears only THREE times in the New Testament. In one
context (James 5:14) “anointing” is done with olive oil that is poured on a
sick person as elders pray over him to get well. The other two incidences of
“anointing” both appear in the same verse: I John 2:27, where John speaks
of the anointing (Gk. chrisma, unction) which believers have ALREADY
received in full, which anointing teaches them all things. This refers to the
fullness of the Holy Spirit, given as God’s Gift through the prayer of faith, not
fasting (Acts 8:15-17; Rom.5:5).
24. Fasting is sometimes (consciously or subconsciously) used to “help the faster
enter into the death of Christ” by bringing him or her “just a bit closer to
physical death and the Glory World”.
But whenever the Christian is
instructed to mortify or crucify anything, it isn’t his arms or legs, it’s his old
carnal nature, and its evil affections and lusts (Rom.8:13; Eph.4:22;
Col.3:9). Fasting is often touted as a means of achieving greater personal
holiness, but NOT ONCE in all his writings does Paul ever recommend fasting
as a good way to “enter into the death of Christ” or “kill the flesh”. Col.2:23
discourages the notion that harsh treatment of the body gets rid of sin. Paul

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never once recommends fasting as a means of “hearing more clearly from
God”. Even shamans, Eastern religions practitioners and New Agers rely on
fasting to tune out the physical world and tune in more clearly to the world
of spirits. We must not “learn the way of the heathen” (Jere.10:2).
Christians are rebuked for many faults and sins in Scripture. But, interestingly, NOT
ONCE is anybody ever rebuked in the New Testament for failure to tithe or fast! We
are to follow Jesus, God’s perfect Example for righteous living, not sentimental
religious tradition. Jesus did not “buffet His body” through ritual fasting. So why
would He expect His followers to do that to their own bodies? Christians are exhorted
by religious zealots to cheerfully bear the burden of tithing and the “spiritual
discipline” of fasting to “prove their love for Jesus”, but who laid these burdens upon
them, God or men? God commands Christians to “owe no man any thing but to love
one another” (Rom.13:8). Why, then, would God contradict Himself by saying that
“pew Christians” owe much more than love to “pulpit ministers”, i.e. an ongoing debt
of ten per cent of all earned income, perpetually payable each and every week until
Jesus comes again? Did God ever demand that New Testament believers “live a
fasted life” (slowly starve) to prove how hungry they are for Jesus?
Acts 15:28: For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you NO
GREATER BURDEN than these necessary things:
VERSE 29: That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from
things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do
well. Fare ye well.
Regularly paying some preacher ten per cent of your paycheck (especially if you’re
poor) or starving your body as a religious ritual IS a greater burden then those four
“necessary things” required of Christians by the Holy Ghost! Jesus’ yoke is easy and
His burden is light (Matt.11:30). We are God’s children, not abject, cringing slaves of
religious bondage. Ours is a glorious liberty (Rom.8:21; Gal.4:31).

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Prophetic Word

Don’t Go Around Bragging
I Kings 18:28; Micah 6:8; Matt.5:20; Luke 11:52; 18:9-14
Don’t parade your goodness before men to seek praise and admiration from them.
It was the haughty Pharisee who pointed at his chest with pride and prayed thus
from his darkened heart: “Lord, I thank thee that I am better than other men. Not
only do I abstain from evil deeds, I fast twice a week. You owe me a great deal of
thanks for that. I bet this sinner standing next to me is a real glutton and drunkard.”
Jesus said that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you
could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This saying has filled many with fear that if
they don’t fast twice weekly or more, they aren’t exceeding the righteousness of the
Pharisees. But the key truth is this: Did I Myself require twice-weekly fasting, or did
the Pharisees impose it upon themselves? “It is written” ought to be the guide for
the definition of righteousness, not manmade traditions added to the Scroll of the
Law given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Even under the Old Law, fasting was required only
on the Day of Atonement. Extra fast days were later added to the Jewish liturgical
calendar BY COMMANDMENT OF MEN. The religious legalism I see in My church is
like a rancher who asks his hired hand to go brand his prize bull. But the cowpoke
goes the extra mile for his boss, reasoning that his boss is paying him well for
making the animal miserable. So he inflicts even more pain on the bull by castrating
it. Proud of himself, he goes to collect a windfall paycheck for doing more than it
was his duty to do. But all he gets from his boss is a chewing out and his walking
papers, not money. Why? Because the rancher required obedience and faithfulness
of the cowpoke, not the infliction of needless pain. The Pharisees were little better
than the priests of Baal who slashed their own flesh with knives to impress their
demon god with their suffering.
Those Pharisees were not accounted as righteous because they added extra
requirements to My Law. I never gave them the authority to sit in Moses seat, so as
to lay grievous burdens upon My people. The scribes and Pharisees acted as barriers
to keep people from entering into life. They tried to keep My Kingdom an exclusive
club which had such strict rules to keep that only a few could qualify for membership.
In order to accomplish this, they raised the hurdle between Me and My people higher,
so that many potential converts and “common people” turned away from Me in
defeated frustration. The Pharisees seized Moses’ seat by force because it appeared
to be vacant, and SOMEBODY had to keep My people under a heavy yoke! The socalled interpreters of the Law ADDED to that Law and made it a grievous burden to
bear. In so doing, they took away the key of knowledge of the Most High Who said:
“He hath shewed thee O man what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Not only did
the renowned doctors of the Law take away that precious key of knowledge, they
used it to shut the door of the Kingdom to prevent the humble from entering in. The
Pharisees’ so-called “righteousness” was all external pretence, not internal reality.
They were all sham and no substance.
I see the same thing going on today, religious legalists sitting in Moses’ seat and
legislating new laws about standards for the observance of “ouchy” areas such as
fasting, giving, and sacrifices of all sorts. A modern misconception is this: Those
Pharisees were so holy and blameless it would be near-impossible to exceed their
righteousness. Don’t deceive yourselves, My people! If the Pharisees were so holy,
why did Christ give them a verbal thrashing about their wicked pride, their hypocrisy,
and their inner uncleanness painted over by supposed good works? What kind of

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holy person devours widows’ houses and makes a convert twice the son of hell as
themselves? No, you can’t exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees in your own
strength, even if the righteousness of the Pharisees was just a farce. In My sight, all
of humankind is equally worthy of hell apart from the saving Grace of My Son, the
Lord Jesus.
But the legacy of the self-righteous Pharisee lives on and on, even in this Age of
Grace. There are saints spare of flesh but bloated with pride that they have trained
their own bodies not to need daily bread. A few are so “spiritual” that they forego
eating regular meals and fast most days. They look disdainfully at others and say:
“If you really loved Jesus and cared about the Kingdom of God you’d lay down your
fork and lift up your cross.” My, how My kids love to lay guilt trips on each other!
John the Baptist would have been considered an ascetic saint. He shunned most
human contact, except what was needful for My service. Like Daniel did for three
weeks, he “ate no pleasant bread”. But John ate in this austere way all the time,
even on non-fasting days. Never would you spot John at a wedding feast or other
festive occasion. John had no use for insincere ceremony. He kept his distance
from a Temple “beautified” by King Herod with Hellenistic designs. He steered clear
of the corrupt Temple priesthood.
Scorned by other Jews for being bizarre and
“having a devil”, John abstained from all the legitimate pleasures of life, mourning for
an Israel gone astray from their God. His consecrated life was a rebuke to the
hypocrites of Israel who depended on outward ritual to make them acceptable to
Me. In order to hear My Voice more clearly, John ate little and cloistered himself in
the wilderness, away from society’s corrupting influence.
But John’s cousin Jesus served Me by mixing freely in society to reach out to
others. He was even accused of being a winebibber and a glutton, just because He
would often dine with sinners who needed his help. Whether the food was rich or
plain, Christ would partake of it with a clear conscience after giving Me thanks for My
provision before all assembled at the table.
There were occasions when Jesus fasted, but unlike John the Baptist, eating
meals was the norm rather than the exception. Yet I accepted both men as My
righteous servants; Jesus because He is My spotless devoted Son, and John, because
He acknowledged his own need to be made righteous by Christ. How tragic, the way
My children form splinter groups and reject each other over points of practice
irrelevant to personal salvation! I don’t expect everyone to be each other’s mirror
image in all aspects of life. Let each Christian accept that each saint has his own
particular calling from Me. Let My people learn to love, not just tolerate, one another
in the Bond of the Spirit, so long as key doctrines pertaining to salvation and
personal holiness are faithfully observed.
If you feel the need to persevere in prayer without pausing to eat, then you may
refrain from eating. But continue to give me thanks, just as those who eat freely
give me thanks over their meals. But don’t heap scorn on somebody else who feels
the liberty to eat instead of fast. Some people MUST eat every day, because of
medical concerns or because their jobs are so strenuous. Those who join you in your
prayer campaign but cannot fast through to its end can use practical wisdom without
coming under bondage. They might limit their intake to very basic snacks, not out of
legalistic compulsion, but only as a gesture of consideration toward you, so as not to
distract you from your intense praying. I will not condemn them for being unable to
function for 2 or 3 days on an empty stomach.
If you wish to fast, you may, but beware of the self-righteousness of the laborer
who was called first to work in the vineyard. At the end of a long day of heat and
stress, he felt that he deserved a much bigger reward than his fellow laborer who
was hired last and was spared the same degree of wear and tear he himself suffered.
While riches and success can induce great pride in a saint, so can suffering and self-

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denial! No one ever got to heaven by outshining someone else, only through the allsufficiency of Christ to redeem him from his wretched lost condition.
Yet I see so many who boast that their body is a lean, clean machine which can
go from strength to strength even though their stomach is always sitting on empty.
But all I can see is their hearts are sitting in a Pharisee’s seat full of pride, and
they’ve got no room to boast. Some starve their body so much they confuse the
anointing of the Spirit with a dangerous psychosomatic euphoria, which dissipates
after awhile. It is then the “spiritual giant” falls from his mountain top with a crash,
both emotionally and physically. Satan has lured many saints to an early grave by
causing them to associate food with sin, and making them fear I’ll punish them for
not “filling their fasting quota” for the week. If there was a week during which they
skipped fasting to celebrate a festive occasion or entertain guests, they would feel
guilty and try to “make it up” the following week out of fear. It is then fasting
becomes a heavy yoke and a demonic obsession, a religious eating disorder. In the
hands of ill-advised, immature, reckless individuals, fasting, like a narcotic, can be
lethal. Fasting can never purchase one solitary benefit, however small, from My
hand. There is an inbuilt spiritual hazard in regular fasting. Reliance upon fasting as
a regular religious work performed to buy My favor can cause you to fall from My
grace, just like tithing, religious circumcision, animal sacrifice, observance of Sabbath
rituals, or performing religious “penances” prescribed by some human clergyman.
If you have trouble with fasting, just forget it. Fasting for fasting’s sake is a
mere religious rite, NOT a virtuous addition to what My Beloved Son suffered for you
on Calvary. Concentrate on prayer in the Spirit, which is infinitely better. Faithful
prayer is discipline enough for saints who are tempted to think only on worldly
things. I won’t even count it a sin if you feel premeditated fasting is unhelpful and
never do it again. So long as your prayers are offered up with earnest faith in My
faithfulness and you seek Me without unnecessary distractions, that is acceptable
with Me. I require continual prayer and consecration, not the emptiness and rigor of
self-starvation. I’ll go so far as to say I DON’T REQUIRE YOU TO FAST AT ALL
ANYMORE! YOU’RE FREE IN CHRIST JESUS! I am letting My people out of their bird
cages of religious legalism, to allow them to soar like eagles in heavenly places!
Just respond to Me in love and obedience toward the Living Word, the Christ in
you, and enjoy Me! As in the case of unscriptural tithing of money, compulsory
fasting under the New Covenant is a legalistic bondage I didn’t ordain and don’t
endorse. I didn’t die to set you only 80 or 90% free, but COMPLETELY free! It takes
only one slender chain to bind you to the Old Law. Remember, religion is a cruel
mistress and a very seductive one. You have only one Master, Christ. Ritual
religious fasting of any kind is a bondage of fear, not an act of faith. DO NOT ADD
EXTRA REQUIREMENTS TO WHAT IS COMMANDED THE CHURCH BY MY SPIRIT
THROUGH THE BIBLICAL APOSTLES.
I am about to appear for you in the air, so now is our time to rejoice and be glad,
not to mourn! Spend whole hours in meditation on My Word and in deep prayer for
others as well as yourself. Pray in the prayer language I have given you. Fasting is a
permissible thing, not a compulsory act. Fasting is not the be-all and end-all of
Christian experience. You can crack a nut with a rock, you don’t need to blow it up
with dynamite. Many deeply spiritual saints call fasting dynamite for moving
mountains in spiritual warfare, but that same dynamite can shatter their health when
carried to extremes, or when it becomes an occasion for pride and an end in itself.
Your true goal ought to be a heart full of faith and dependency on Me and empty of
self-sufficiency. That is what I am searching the earth to find, much more than an
empty stomach sticking out with pride!

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Why Not Enforce OTHER Jewish Penances?
Funny how Christians are SELELCTIVE about which Old Covenant practices they insist
are still binding in the spiritual lives of believers, even as they profess belief in the
ALL-SUFFICIENCY of Christ’s suffering for them on the Cross. Christians justify
compulsory religious fasting by (correctly) stating that God sometimes commanded
the Nation of Israel to fast when they fell into sin, or when their nation was under
attack. But what else did God command them to do?
Isa.22:12: And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to
mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:
13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and
drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall
not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
Verse 14 reflects God’s disappointment that the inhabitants of Jerusalem didn’t do
certain things when the Persians invaded their city. God would never forgive them
for throwing doomsday parties when they should have been doing some major
league mourning. The words “fast” or “fasting” do not appear here, but verse 13
strongly implies those Jews were expected to stop eating. Other than this passage,
the Book of Joel (where God commands the Jews to fast because a locust plague is
threatening them with starvation) is the ONLY other context in all Scripture where
God specifically commands fasting to be done on any day other than their annual
Day of Atonement. Jer.36:6 mentions something to be read in the Lord’s House on
THE (singular) fasting day, which obviously would have been the Day of Atonement
when Jews were expected to afflict their souls. Yet religious Jews fasted many other
days on their own initiative, or Jewish leaders commanded their people to fast. But
it is debatable whether God inspired all those extra fasts, or whether a deceiving
religious spirit was behind many of them.
Some fasts lasted several days. Other fasts lasted until nightfall, after which it
was okay to eat (Judges 20:26; 2 Sam.1:12; 3:35). Many Christians would find
such a “sacrifice” laughable since you don’t have to go to bed on an empty stomach.
In every single case, without a single exception, those OT Jews fasted because of
something negative. They were overwhelmed with sorrow, fear, or a feeling of utter
helplessness in the face of a major challenge or emergency. They NEVER fasted to
show their joy in the Lord or to try to enter in to greater spiritual ecstasies.
The word “fasting”, though strongly implied, does not appear in Isa.22:12. But
two other things are commanded here: BALDNESS AND WEARING SACKCLOTH! If
fasting is so important that God won’t forgive you if you don’t do it, surely the
apostles to the churches would have mentioned that minor point, and surely they
would have equally enforced baldness and sackcloth as binding on believers! Think of
it, it doesn’t specifically say that God refused to forgive those people for not eating,
but He did refuse to forgive them for failure to shave their heads and wear burlap!
In the OT OUTWARD works of contrition were much more important than they
are under the New Covenant. Now, the Old Man of sin is reckoned as dead and there
is an INWARD transformation into the likeness of Christ. Our spiritual rebirth into the
Body of Christ gives us a new identity as children of God to replace our old identity
as rebellious enemies of God living in sin.
Next time your pastor chews out the congregation for failure to fast, show him
Isa.22:12 and ask him why he doesn’t shave his head to show sorrow for sin. Why

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doesn’t the congregation wear sackcloth and dust themselves with ashes like Daniel
did?
I think it would have been a much greater sacrifice for a Jewish woman to shave
her head than to skip meals for a day. Women generally wore their hair long and it
would have taken years to grow it back!
In Daniel chapter 9 Daniel not only fasts, he throws ashes on himself and wears
sackcloth. Also, Daniel repents for his ancestors’ sins as well as his own. Despite
the fact Daniel had zero control over the actions of his forbears. I find it difficult to
understand why Daniel needed to repent for something somebody else did before he
even thought about being born!
Interestingly, while God commands His people to shave their heads in Isa.22, He
specifically forbade His priests to shave their heads in Lev.21:5. Also, God forbade
ALL the Israelites to cut the hair on the sides on their heads (Lev.19:27). So it makes
me wonder if this commandment in Isaiah to make themselves bald was an
aberration, instead of something God would normally demand of His people. In like
manner, it could be construed that the Jews’ extra fasts should not be viewed as
things God originally intended for them to do. Sin and its consequences disturbed
the normal course of the Jews’ lives and made them feel compelled to fast and carry
out all these other miserable expressions of sorrow and fear.
In Micah 1:8 the prophet laments the idolatry and other sins of his nation.
expresses his distress this way:

He

Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like
the dragons, and mourning as the owls.
Imagine some Christian pastor following this example to show his church people how
much he hates sin. If any preacher stripped naked and ran down the church aisle
wailing and howling like an animal, he’d be hauled off to the crazy house!
What did God command affluent women to do in Isaiah 32:11?
Tremble, ye women that are at ease (have it made); be troubled, ye careless
(carefree) ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins
(waist).
Really now, what if this scripture were as literally enforced as OT admonitions to
fast? What if all the spoiled rich ladies in church stripped their clothes off and ran
around stark naked except for a burlap belt around their waist? The pastor would be
even more faithful to watch over his flock and that church would get a red hot
reputation!
The Jews often tore their garments when they mourned and fasted. If this
practice were literally enforced and people tore their tops, church would turn into a
den of iniquity. More men would show up at the next Big Church Fast in hopes of
getting a glimpse of some female cleavage!
The ONE place where NT believers are commanded to mourn and weep instead of
rejoice is James 4:9 where James commands backsliding believers to be afflicted,
and mourn and weep. James commands backsliding believers to be heavy-hearted
instead of joyful. Contrast this with Paul who says: Rejoice evermore (I Thes.5:16).
Paul went so far as to say he ALWAYS rejoiced even in times of sorrow, which sounds
contradictory until you consider that man is a 3-part being: spirit, soul and body.
Your soul can be down in the dumps about the troubles of this life while your
perfected spirit is still full of joy. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22). It is
against God’s will for anyone to deliberately try to squelch their joy in the Lord in

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order to put on the Church Fast mourning act. The ONLY time Paul recommended
mourning was when the Corinthian church needed to disfellowship an unrepentant
adulterer whose sins they were trying to overlook (I Cor.5:2).
Though he was the most legalistic of all the apostles, James, a VERY strict Jew,
does not mention fasting or order anyone to shave their head or cover their head
with ashes. When a Christian is in unbroken fellowship with the Lord Jesus and living
in the Light, he does not have to mourn over sins. His sins have been washed away
by the Blood as far as east is from west (Psalms 103:12). Even David, who lived
under the Law, held this testimony in his life. Punishing your body for “sin in your
life” shows a lack of faith that you really have had all your sins washed away by the
Blood of the Lamb. That’s just as weird as forcing bitter medicine down your throat if
you’re well.
Ever since Pentecost, OT legalism has been steadily creeping into the church in
one form or another. But if one OT penance is binding upon Christian believers they
ALL are!
******
Heb.10:6: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy
will, O God.
8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin
thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law

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Let’s Make a Deal, I’ll Skip a Meal
Ever wonder what church would be like
If Christians stopped starving and did more loving?
Isn’t God tired of the pushing and shoving
The greed, the hatred, the sin inside?
Fast from the sin
Welling up from within
Feed the poor and walk in the Light.
Harry the Pharisee said to the Lord
My debt to You I must repay
Let’s settle this thing the easy way
I’ll fast to prove that You I adore
I’ll sacrifice fat
On Your altar, plus cash
How could You ask for more?
So let’s make a deal, I’ll skip a meal
I’ll starve while others feast
For that You’ll shower blessings on me
Christians will know my religion’s real
‘Cause I’ll look thinner
And come out a winner
In church I’ll be a big wheel.
So what if I don’t love my brother
So what if I don’t feed the poor
So what if I kick him out the door
To face life out in the weather
‘Cause he can’t pay his rent
And he don’t have one cent
‘Cause his job flew off like a feather?
I’m a Christian landlord saved by grace
See, Lord, I’ve starved two whole days
So don’t You owe me a little praise?
My mansion in heaven’s a fancy place
But I don’t give a damn
About that poor man
Who’s sound asleep on the hay.
I’m Hector, a Christian house painter
I know Scripture like a pro
I teach dumber saints how to grow
I fast at the altar, but look at me later
I do a quick job
I spray on cheap slop
Why do a good job for lost sinners?

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I hired four men from my church
Who couldn’t tell Hebrew from Greek
I showed them magnificent charity
I needed their help to do my work
So I gave them a job
They weren’t paid a lot
But they got more than what they were worth.
Christmas was coming, I needed the cash
Heaven and earth I searched for cheap paint
Two bucks a can which I hated to pay
I watered it down to make it last
One man protested
He said God detested
The way I sprayed on cheap crap.
I told that feller to watch his tongue
I was the one who’d studied a lot
I was the one walking closest to God
They must obey me till we were all done
Those dumb customers
They’re all worthless sinners
Hurry, get done, grab the money and run!
The weather got cold, my profits were low
I skimmed off the cream to live like a king
When lunchtime came I had everything
Sandwiches, cookies, man, what a load
The men nearly starved
One said, have a heart
Give us a cookie, we’re hungry and cold.
I couldn’t believe he was asking ME
To share MY cookies free of charge
I told him to fast if life was so hard
I told him he had to bring his own treats
That man gnawed his knuckles
While I ate and chuckled
My business wasn’t no charity.
This other feller, he had a nerve
His wife was expectin’ a baby
But that didn’t get houses painted more quickly
He asked for a quarter so he could call her
I said there ain’t time
You won’t git a dime
You ain’t here to goof off, just work!

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That thorn in my side didn’t think I was right
He threw down his paint brush and quit
I knew lots of Bible without doing it
At least that’s what he told me that night
Heck, what did he know?
My words were like gold
When I stood up in church and testified.
I got to go to seminary
I was the brightest bulb in the class
I’ll find ways to make money fast
Till they lay me in the cemetery
God blesses go-getters
And nobody’s better
Than the brainiest Bible teacher, ME!
So now I’m back at another church fast
So what if I refuse to repent?
It ain’t enough to fast from sin
It’s harder to fast from fries and Big Macs
When my stomach’s hollow
That shows enough sorrow
Fasting makes me a holy man.
So let’s make a deal, I’ll skip a meal
O Lord of love in heaven above
So long as my tummy’s feelin’ rough
You’ll turn a blind eye to all I steal
You’ll pour out Your blessings
On all that I’m getting
No matter how hurt others feel.
So long as I sacrifice fat
God don’t think I’m all that bad.

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Prophetic Word

Fasting is of Fear, not the Rest of Faith
When satan turns the pressure up it’s natural for My people to feel squeezed inside
and desperate for a solution. But don’t go thinking you won’t get any answers from
Me unless you suffer to earn it first.
The priests of Baal cut their own bodies and tortured themselves to placate their
cruel god and try to win his favor. Some fasting is motivated by deep, gut-wrenching
fear that you won’t be found deserving of the miracle unless you torment your own
body. Others fast because their preacher told them fasting is necessary to “pray the
prayer of faith”. Despite the fact that NOT ONCE in all their epistles to the churches
did any of My apostles ever teach fasting is a necessary component of effective
prayer. In the apostolic epistles to the mostly Gentile churches, fasting isn’t even
mentioned or encouraged as a powerful weapon of the Spirit which fortifies the
prayer lives of My people.
Jesus touched on fasting when He taught JEWS who were used to doing it and
had been raised to think it was a requirement of service to God. Jesus taught His
listeners to observe whatever the Pharisees commanded, because the Pharisees sat
in Moses’ seat of authority as lawgivers (Matt.23:3). These men dictated twiceweekly fasting as proof you were a devout Jew (Luke 18:12). But Neither Jesus nor
the apostles ever taught converted Gentile Christians to start fasting or doing any
other difficult works Jews habitually did to try to prove their devotion to God. Jesus
told healed Jewish lepers to obey Moses’ commandment and go through a special
cleansing ceremony which involved various washings and sacrifices (Luke 17:14).
Jesus did NOT command healed Gentiles to do such a thing. The apostles forbade
anyone to teach converted Gentiles to keep Jewish religious customs (Acts 15:24).
Preachers who force Christians to act like OT Jews are subverting their souls and
shaking them loose from the stabilizing foundation of faith in Christ alone.
You are not living under the Old Covenant, during which time people continually
feared they might lose their salvation because of personal sin. The people who lived
during Christ’s ministry did not have the newness of the Life of Christ inside of them
to lead and guide them and help them overcome satan. Old Covenant saints were
still dead in trespasses and sins waiting for the Lamb of God Who would take away
their sins ONCE AND FOR ALL, and sanctify them once and for all. Before Christ was
sacrificed on the Cross, My ancient people had to repeat cleansing and sacrifice
rituals every single year in remembrance of the sins they’d committed throughout
the past year since the previous sacrifice (Heb.10:3-14). So it was proper and fitting
for these people to mourn over their sins which had to be remembered year after
year. The ONLY fast the Law commanded was the Day of Atonement Fast, when My
people were required to afflict their soul and mourn over the sins they’d committed.
The penalty for refusing to fast on that day was severe. The guilty party would be
cut off from being included in the nation of Israel. NOWHERE does Jesus or any
apostle ever warn NT Christians of any penalty for failure to fast. If you were under
threat of punishment for non-fasting and the apostles failed to warn you about it in
Scripture, then they would be guilty of failing to pass that warning on to you!
Jesus ALWAYS associated fasting with mourning, never with joy as some
Christians do today (Matt.9:15). It is highly improper for a Christian who is full of My
joy to try to force sorrow on himself to appear more “spiritual”. I see many believers

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who I set free in the Spirit bind themselves back up, wailing and mourning at altars
to banish feelings of joy they feel guilty for feeling. That is a false religious demon at
work. My joy makes you strong (Neh.8:10).
Yet instead of teaching My people to be glad in the Lord, many preachers sadden
their hearts by making them feel ashamed for the exuberance they manifest in their
lives about all I have done to heal, deliver and bless them. It’s all about CONTROL.
People who are miserable want you to be miserable too. It’s a form of spiritual
bullying to be told you’re in danger of going to hell unless you put on a sad face, fast
and cry all the time. Just because some respected preacher teaches you that being a
Christian is a miserable business and you’ve got no right to act happy till you get to
heaven, don’t believe it! An empty stomach doesn’t empty the heart of sin or fill it
with faith and love. Some of the most dedicated fasters refuse to feed the poor or
deal kindly with their neighbor. They refuse to fast from sin. Which do you think
would delight me more? To see you suffer through a marathon fast or feed people
who are going hungry because they’re out of work?
Fear of having their prayer rejected or put on the back burner of My “to do list”
motivates many Christians to fast or do something else to “offer up a sacrifice” to
move My hand on their behalf. In the back of their minds they imagine a god hungry
to see his people suffer, just like many are hungry to watch some entertainment on
TV. I’m not like that, My people.
Fasting, unless it “just happens” because you don’t want to be distracted by
earthly things during prayer, is largely motivated by FEAR, not faith. Fear that My
Son’s sacrifice on Calvary isn’t enough to purchase your miracle from My Hand. Fear
I might punish you if the rest of the church fasts but you eat. Fear that I won’t think
you love Jesus enough if you don’t impose this extra suffering on yourself. Fear of
what other Christians might think if they fast a couple days a week but you don’t
believe you’re required to do it. Fear that satan will get stronger and steal your
victory in Christ unless you starve your own body. Fear that you’ll “drive the
anointing away” if you eat, even though I have promised never to leave you or
forsake you, and have promised that My gifts and calling are without repentance.
Fear that if you don’t look haggard and hungry or beat yourself up with self-reproach
that you aren’t worthy of My Kingdom. Fear that you’ll never “conquer the your
carnal sin nature” unless you faithfully starve yourself, contrary to Colossians 2:23
which teaches that punishing your physical body is of no value in conquering the sin
nature.
If fasting was able to defeat the devil and move mountains, My dearly beloved
people, the apostle Paul would surely have mentioned those important points in his
treatises on spiritual warfare. Not only would he have given fasting an honorable
mention in his epistles, he would have heavily stressed fasting as an essential part of
the Christian’s life. PAUL DIDN’T EVEN RECOMMEND FASTING, NOT ONCE!
As he took his leave of a group of beloved Christian brethren, Paul was able to
say that he had faithfully shared ALL my counsel with them (Acts 20:27). Read all his
epistles to the churches. Where does Paul stress the need for fasting to accompany
prayer to achieve victory over satan?
Read the epistles of John, who talked endlessly about love. If John thought
fasting played a vital part in loving your neighbor, surely he would have mentioned it.
Read the writings of Peter and Jude, who hated sin and denounced it in the church,
not just the world. Not one mention of fasting being necessary to overcome sin and
the devil. Read James, the most legalistic of all the apostles. Fasting doesn’t appear
in his epistle at all. Not even once!
It’s not what YOU do to earn My favor that counts. It’s how you respond to what
Christ has ALREADY done on your behalf that brings you victory over the world, the
flesh and the devil.

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******
Heb.4:3: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn
in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from
the foundation of the world.

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