The Plain Truth About FASTING
Is it suicidal starvation? Is it nature's way of healing sickness and disease? Is it dangerous, or beneficial?
seems almost no one knows the real TRUTH about Fasting. One doctor
called it the "Fast Way to Health." Another called it "starvation diet."
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!
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!
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?)
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
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
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
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
is sickness—disease—debility —pain and suffering? It is the penalty
being paid for the violation of the physical laws of the human body.
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!
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
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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
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."
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).
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
Never go TO extremes! If necessary, take a series of shorter fasts!
by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong Tbe PLAIN TRUTH September, 1962