fASTINGThe Plain Truth About FASTING

Is it suicidal starvation? Is it nature's way of healing sickness and disease? Is it dangerous, or beneficial?


IT seems almost no one knows the real TRUTH about Fasting. One doctor called it the "Fast Way to Health." Another called it "starvation diet."

One person asked, "If I missed two meals in a row, would I die?" Apparently many people seem to feel that if they missed more than one meal they would at least be in serious danger.

Some people believe in fasting from the very moment they feel the first warning signs and pains of a cold or an approaching fever. Many people say: "You should always feed a cold, but starve a fever." But is this true?
Is fasting dangerous? Is it beneficial? Is it nature's way of healing?

Time to Know TRUTH


You think you already know the answer? Don't be too sure!

I know of hundreds, if not thousands of our readers who think they know the truth about fasting—but who do not—and EVERYBODY needs, seriously, to read this article!

On the one hand sensible fasting is not a "starvation diet," and those who have the "starvation fear" are at one erroneous extreme—whether ignorant layman or professional physician. Most doctors, incidentally, have studied medicine, not fasting as an aid toward elimination of disease. One doctor said to me: "We doctors have been kept so busy treating sick patients with drugs and medicines, we have had little time to study the causes of sickness and disease, or much about diet and nutrition."

In the "healing arts"—(an unfortunate and incorrect term)—professional men have tended to specialize each in his one field only. The medical physician seeks the cure almost exclusively by drugs, or surgery. The Chiropractor seeks to cure everything by manipulating the spine—perhaps with the aid of prescribed diet. The Naturopath by "natural" means. Medical doctors generally ridicule fasting in the case of sickness or disease, just as they would avoid recommending chiropractic treatments, or any other method outside their one field of medicine. Fasting is simply outside their field. A few medical doctors have advocated fasting, but certainly they are in the minority.
But to look on sensible fasting as "starvation" is an untrue extreme, based on plain ignorance.

On the other hand, some go to the opposite extreme of regarding fasting as a CURE-ALL.

Neither extreme is the truth!

Wise fasting, under proper conditions, is beneficial, not dangerous!

On the other hand, just as I say, truthfully, "there is not a cure in a carload of medicine," so I say fasting never HEALS!

Those two statements, in the paragraph above, will come as a shock to many. Millions firmly believe that medicines cure diseases. I have never heard a physician make such a claim. Many doctors have admitted candidly that medicines do not CURE. "We only use medicines," these doctors have said, "to aid nature."

But, the few who do believe in fasting when ill will surely be shocked to see the statement under my by-line that FASTING never HEALS! Yet that statement is absolutely true—and it's about time we come to understand what fasting is—and what it is NOT!

Fasting Never HEALS


Fasting does not HEAL!

Healing is a divine miracle. (Write for our free booklet, Does God Heal Today?)

Healing is the forgiveness of SIN-— and none can forgive sin but GOD. Fasting is self-inflicted—a human effort, not divine miracle—and fasting cannot forgive sin.

Jesus Christ healed the sick, It always His WILL. He healed the sick in ancient Israel, long before His human appearance, born human of the virgin Mary. One of His names is Yahweh-Ropheka—which, translated into English,  means  OUR  GOD-HEALER.

To the griping, complaining Israelites in the and lands approaching Mt. Sinai. He said. "I am the LORD that healeth thee." And in the original Hebrew-language, in which Moses wrote this, His name was given as "Yah Ropheka."

David knew God heals, as surely as He forgives sin: "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases" (Psalm 103:3). Isaiah explained how. When Jesus was spending a whole night healing all that were sick, we read, in Matthew 8:16-17: ". . . and healed all that were sick; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet (Isaiah 53:4), saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."

How, then, did Jesus "take them"— that is, bear them—or pay the penalty in our stead? Peter explains it: "by whose stripes ye were healed" (I Peter 2:24).

Sickness Is a PENALTY


What is sickness—disease—debility —pain and suffering? It is the penalty being paid for the violation of the physical laws of the human body.

It is not natural to be sick, it is UNnatural! God so designed the mechanism of the human body that, given proper food (and few indeed know what that is! ); drinking the right amount of pure water; breathing properly of pure air; getting sufficient exercise—-and that is not necessarily a great amount; obtaining sufficient rest, recreation and sleep; maintaining normal regularity of elimination, which includes more frequent bathing and rub-downs than many realize; and keeping the mind in a positive, cheerful, active and peaceful state, the body would never be sick!

Very few understand this. I have just named the seven laws of health, which God has given each of us, as a human individual, the responsibility of regulating.

Of course, it is true that even many if not most doctors know so little about proper food and diet that they are unable themselves to observe the dietary law of health. That law is the one most frequently broken. Violating that law, say some of America's and England's most famous doctors, is the cause of 90% to 92% of all sickness and disease!

Most people think they can put anything that pleases the palate into the mouth and call it "food." That is not true. Potassium cyanide might taste good—I really don't know, for 1 never experimented, and never intend to! —but every doctor will agree that it is not food! It will kill you—QUICKLY! The only difference is that excess of starchy   "foods," sugars, and greases, kills   you---SLOWLY, GRADUALLY, OVER A DURATION OF PERHAPS TEN, PERHAPS SIXTY YEARS—and sets up colds, fevers, rheumatisms, tuberculosis, heart diseases, diabetes, kidney disorders, and dozens of other ailments along the way in the meantime!

Very few know that they ought to breathe more deeply, and be sure to obtain fresh air during sleep—even by leaving a window partly open. And so millions upon millions of people violate this simple health rule. And all cigarette smokers!

Almost no one knows the value, to health and long life, of regular daily RUB-DOWNS—good, brisk, vigorous (not necessarily over-vigorous or violent) rub-downs, with a bath towel, brush, or other means. A daily shower or bath, ended by such a bath-towel rub-down, is my personal method.

Some people still have the "every Saturday night" bath tub idea! Your body eliminates poisons through the skin. It needs bathing to cleanse it of these wastes daily, or almost daily— and, in some kinds of work or sports, possibly more than once daily. Yet most people on earth are SO IGNORANT of GOD'S LAWS respecting physical health that they take a bath once a week—or, like the comic-strip character, "Li'l Abner," they may "take a bath every six months, whether they need it or not." In fact, I have wondered whether some of the nomad Bedouins of the middle-east deserts ever take baths!

The food we eat passes through the alimentary canal, with needed elements being absorbed into the blood stream on the way, and the waste then expelled. God has given every normal human a very plain signal to know when elimination time arrives—and this can be regulated into an established HABIT at regular convenient times of day. Yet probably most women, and a large portion if not half of men, are suffering from constipation—due to pure neglect, and, probably, faulty diet and in some cases lack of exercise!

YOUR Responsibility


The point is this: Obeying THESE seven laws is the responsibility of each individual. This knowledge is Available! There is no excuse for human ignorance. Such knowledge always has been accessible. These laws we, ourselves, either observe and obey—or else we violate them and bring on lowered vitality, depleted energy, befogged and dulled minds, a feeling of "dopey" laziness, and almost countless diseases.

Now Jesus Christ never broke a single one of these laws! And Jesus Christ was never sick—not for a minute!
Yet His body was just like our bodies! He set us the example. He demonstrated that, if we obey the laws God has given as. our responsibility to obey, the BODY ITSELF will function regularly, in perfect health, strong vigor, vitality, energy and   strength—and   NEVER   get   sick!

It is a far more precision-designed-and-made mechanism than a Rolls Royce automobile. It just won't break down or get sick—OF itself! It functions automatically. But, like your automobile, it needs "being taken care of," as one conscientious chauffeur put it. Your automobile needs the right kind of fuel, oils and greases. It needs watching to see that there is proper amount of water in the radiator. Yes, it needs attention.

The trouble is, most of you give careful attention to your automobiles, but give almost NO ATTENTION to the care of your own bodies!

Now what is the BlBLE definition of SIN? Sin is the TRANSGRESSION OF LAW (I John 3:4). Of course it means law of God—but it includes these physical laws. These physical laws, too, were set in inexorable living motion by GOD. Sin, spiritually, is the transgression of THE spiritual law of LOVE—divided into the TWO great commandments, Love toward God and Love toward neighbor— enlarged into the Ten Commandments, and magnified by Jesus, and ail through the Bible—especially the New Testament. This law is a SPIRITUAL law! It can only be fulfilled—or kept —by spiritual love, which is the LOVE OF GOD, which one can have only by God's GRACE, through His Holy Spirit —which IS that spiritual love! The penalty   for   violation   of   that   law   is
THE   SECOND,   and   ETERNAL,  DEATH!

When you are sick, the physical laws that regulate the human mechanism have been violated! Of course, there can be injury from accident or violence. You, yourself, may or may not be responsible for that. Accidents nearly always result from carelessness—but of course it could be the other fellow's carelessness! Perhaps you drank a germ in drinking water—supposing it was pure water. Yes it is possible—and sometimes happens—that the sick or injured one did not, himself, violate the physical law. But, regardless, NATURE'S LAWS were violated, in every case.

So, sickness, disease, injuries, are the PENALTY of physical SIN! Jesus Christ Himself said so! Healing is forgiveness of the sin, and miraculous removal of the   PENALTY.

Healing Is Forgiving SIN


Once Jesus Christ was in a house in Capernaum. Crowds flocked in. The house became jam-packed, many unable to enter. Then came four men carrying on a pallet a man sick with palsy. Unable to get through the crowd, they climbed on the house-top, tore off several tiles, and let the man on the pallet down through the roof in front of Jesus.
"When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."

Immediately the Pharisees and doctors of the law among the crowd began to accuse Jesus of blasphemy—claiming to forgive sin! He said to them: "Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house"  (Mark 2:1-11).

Jesus Christ performed this healing in order to show  that healing is THE FORGIVENESS OF PHYSICAL SIN— and, by divine MIRACLE, the REMOVAL of the penalty being suffered.

How is this penalty removed? By the POWER of the Holy Spirit, because Jesus Christ was flogged—beaten with stripes—scourged—he was beaten so that he was disfigured, or marred, more than any man (Isa. 52:14). He, who never broke nature's physical health laws—who never was sick or diseased, PAID THE PENALTY of our physical transgressions IN OUR STEAD. Thus, if we accept His sacrifice (of being so scourged before being nailed to the cross) God, by divine miracle, has promised to remove from us the penalty we are paying in the form of sickness or disease.

All humans have SINNED—spiritually. Sin is the transgression of God's LAW. All have broken the spiritual law. The PENALTY is the second DEATH—and it is eternal punishment. But we can have this penalty removed. How? By the fact that Christ paid the death penalty for us—He bled to death—His blood was His physical human LIFE. The law took His life instead of ours. If WE REPENT, and believe, then by divine miracle God's Holy Spirit REMOVES the death penalty from us. Our sins are forgiven by the BLOOD of Christ, and we are saved from the second death!

God HEALS by precisely the same principle! Not by Christ's BLOOD—but by His STRIPES we are healed (I Peter 2:24). He paid  the PENALTY in our stead. He did the suffering for us, so God can remove it from us!
God revealed this dual truth about spiritual forgiveness and physical forgiveness through David: ". . . Who forgiveth ALL thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases" (Psalm 103:3). It is as much God's will to heal as it is to save!

WHAT, Then, Is Use of Fasting?


Now it ought to become crystal clear that fasting is not healing. Fasting does not forgive sin. Fasting is not a miracle.
Yet, I myself have put many people on fasts of from three days to two weeks, who were afflicted with rheumatism, ulcers of the stomach, constipation, high blood pressure, fevers—and after the fast they were rid of the sickness or disease.

Well then, didn't the fasting heal them? NO —emphatically NO!

Let me explain what happened. Fasting is good, for certain things—indeed many things—when intelligently and properly used. But what happened is this: the sickness in these instances was brought on by faulty diet. It was the penalty of putting improper things (usually excess starch, sugar and grease) into the stomach. Now the first thing that happened was, that on beginning the fast these people stopped sinning. They stopped, by fasting, putting more of these toxin-producing elements (really poisons, not foods) into their stomachs.

Secondly, fasting tends to speed up the elimination of toxins and poisons. Fasting is not pleasant. The Bible refers to it as "afflicting the soul"—that is, the body. So, they suffered the PENALTY of having eaten that poison, supposing it to be FOOD. In fact, the fasting intensified the penalty by speeding up the elimination.

In a word, what happened in fasting was this: 1) they stopped the sinning that caused the penalty they were suffering; 2) they paid the PENALTY IN FULL themselves, in a speeded-up intensified form. And 3) when it was paid, they simply didn't have the sickness or disease any longer.

But THAT IS NOT HEALING!

Now we come to the question:  If fasting is not healing, and we do believe, and intend to RELY ON JESUS Christ as our Healer, should we ever fast, when ill?

SHOULD We Fast, Then?

The answer is, YES, always—PROVIDED you understand it is not a means of healing—it is not a substitute for healing—it actually has nothing to do with healing! But it does have a lot to do with stopping the SIN of eating wrong things!

When Jesus healed, He said, "Go, and sin no more!" (Mat. 5:14.) One of the conditions to being healed is that we STOP sinning—stop breaking nature's laws. We need to learn what we can about God's dietary laws, and about proper nutrition and diet.

In fasting, we do stop the physical sinning of eating wrong things. We let our stomachs rest from the effects of improper food. And, in the case of a cold or fever, any kind of food is merely pouring more kerosene on the fire!
You should emphatically NOT "feed a cold." That old saying, "feed a cold, and starve a fever" is a maxim of Benjamin Franklin. What Franklin meant was: "IP you feed a cold, you will soon have to starve a fever."

To prevent sinning, always STOP EATING the very moment you feel the first warning signs of a cold or fever—those little pains around the back of the neck, or down the spine. In fasting, you will start paying the penalty you have incurred in intensified and speeded-up manner. But, to have the penalty removed, obey God's command of James 5:14-15, and rely on CHRIST, not on the fasting!

Nearly everyone, today, is eating an excess of starches, sugars and fats. The Bible forbids the eating of animal fat. Starch is a modern invention—millers take wheat, corn, and rice apart, take out the 12 alkaline mineral elements, leave the 4 acid-reacting elements. The sugar refiners do the same to natural sugar.

Start drinking lemon juice! Take no sugar with it. Start with a half-lemon every morning—with or without water. As you become used to it, increase to one whole lemon, and, finally 11/2  or 2  lemons, depending on  how large the lemons are. This has an alkaline-reaction. In a month or two you will notice quite a difference. Your mind will be sharper—more clear. In many cases, especially if not too far advanced, rheumatism or arthritis will disappear under this lemon-juice habit —especially if you eliminate starches, sugars and greases from the diet. Notice, I did not say CURE or heal. But, since lemon juice has a strong alkaline reaction in the body, it simply means the stopping of the physical SIN, and in due time you will have paid the penalty. Once paid, the penalty is not there any longer—unless you bring it on again by sinning!

An authority on nutrition said: "Eat only such foods as will spoil, and eat them before they do."

WHY do flour millers give us white flour; sugar refiners white sugar? Because freshly-ground natural whole wheat will spoil. By removing the real FOOD value—the 12 mineral elements— and in addition perhaps adding an artificial preservative or bleach, they prevent spoilage. Even most so-called wholewheat flour you buy today contains artificial additives and preservatives.

What SHOULD we do? First, if possible (coo often it is not), we should procure whole-grain hard wheat, grown in proper soil without synthetic fertilizers, and then, with a home stone-grinder, grind our own whole wheat— using it up before it spoils.

Squeeze out a glass of orange juice. Let it stand ten minutes. Drink it—and then squeeze out one more orange and drink it immediately. Notice the difference! There will be a noticeable difference in taste. The oxygen in the air makes a change in freshly-squeezed juice within ten minutes. FOODS OUGHT TO BE EATEN WHILE FRESH!

How Long to Fast


But finally, back to fasting. Jesus never put sick people on fasts for healing. In every case He healed them by-divine miracle—and in most cases the healing was immediate. The Apostles healed through the miraculous power of God's Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ—but they did not use fasting as a means of healing. Healing is a MIRACLE.

Then WHY do I recommend fasting from the very moment of the first signs of sickness, disease, or even a cold or fever? Not for healing, but merely to immediately stop sinning. Then DISCONTINUE FASTING as soon as you feel and see that you are healed. Rely on God for the healing.

But let us get this straight. Seeing and feeling is not FAITH—and God heals according to your FAITH. Faith must precede the healing—and remain firm until you are healed. Faith is your evidence that God is healing you. But after the healing has taken place, then you will see and/or FEEL that you are healed, and then stop fasting. I simply know that so many, today, do not have the faith for immediate healing. You should have—and this faith is actually Christ's faith, imparted to you —given to you through God's Spirit as His GIFT—but if you are so far from contact with God, and so close to the material interests of this world, that you do not have this faith, then I know that it is better that you continue the accelerated PAYING of the penalty, and continue to PREVENT further violation of nature's laws by continuing the fast—until there is the physical evidence of healing.

However, even then, fasting must NOT BE CONTINUED TOO  LONG!

Unwise over-lengthy fasts CAN prove FATAL!

It is true that both Moses and Jesus Christ fasted 40 days. But they were physically in far better and stronger condition basically than any of us today, and besides, they were fasting only for spiritual reasons, to draw closer to God in prayer—not to cleanse the body of toxic excesses. Such a fast would be MOST UNWISE FOR MOST PEOPLE, TODAY!

Unless one is under the constant daily obsetvation and supervision of a competent physician who is fully experienced in fasting, I would advise, with strongest emphasis, never  FAST LONGER THAN  TWO WEEKS—14 DAYS, and that only if you are in normal good condition while fasting, and if you are under 55 years of age. Between ages 55 and 65, I definitely would limit any fast to seven days—and over 65, to THREE  DAYS.
Never go TO extremes! If necessary, take a series of shorter fasts!

by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong Tbe PLAIN TRUTH September,  1962

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