Luke 5:33–39, Fast often…eat and drink? The sayings of Yeshua are often enigmatic. This passage is one of them. Here is one possible interpretation of these difficult words of Yeshua. It was evident by the questions the Jews were asking Yeshua that he and his disciples weren’t following the accepted norms of the day in how they expressed themselves religiously.
Yeshua explains that our religious expression rather should fit the spiritual times and seasons (as determined by the Spirit of Elohim) in which we find ourselves, and that we shouldn’t just blindly follow men’s religious traditions. This will put us out of synch with the heart and will of Elohim.
Yeshua then goes on to illustrate his point by saying that some things don’t fit with other things because they’re mismatched such as a new patch on old clothes, or new wine in old wineskins.
The bottom line is this: If one tries to pound the proverbial round peg into the square hole, both the peg and hole will be ruined. Or put in spiritual terms, what is to be gained from trying to beat the round peg of YHVH’s will into the square hole of men’s traditions or expectations? Sometimes the old traditions are better, and sometimes the new ways are better. Wisdom and being in tune with the will and heart of Elohim will determine which way is preferable.
As we grow stronger in our spiritual maturity, hopefully we will learn to bend more with the wind of the Holy Spirit, and not so much with the winds of men’s doctrines, traditions and opinions.
Besides the Bible commanding the saints to do so, why do we “afflict our souls” (i.e., fast) on Yom Kippur? What are the spiritual benefits? How does it bring you closer to and in unity with your Creator and your fellow man? Why should fasting be part of your spiritual growth regimen? Learn how fasting makes your spirit man stronger and your flesh nature weaker — all in this video.
It [the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur] is a day to afflict your souls (Lev 16:29 and 23:27) or literally “to humble ourselves.” The word afflict is the Hebrew word anah (Strong’s H6031) meaning “to oppress with the idea of humility or meekness in mind coupled with the idea of a suffering life rather than with one of worldly happiness and abundance” (The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 2, p. 682). The JPS Jewish Study Bible translates the phrase afflict yourselves as “you shall practice self denial.”Although this verse does not specifically mention fasting as a component of Yom Kippur, Jewish understanding on the term afflict your souls is firm that this refers to fasting (the ArtScroll Tanach Series Vayikra/Leviticus Commentary, p. 404). With this view in mind, the pre-eminent nineteenth-century Orthodox Jewish sage, Samson Raphael Hirch in his commentary translates afflict your souls as “starve your vital spirits” (The Penteteuch-Leviticus, p. 678). However, there is a scriptural link to be found between afflicting one’s soul and fasting (i.e., abstaining from food). That link is to be found in Isaiah 58, which some Bible commentators believe is a reference to Yom Kippur. In verses three and eight, the terms afflict [one’s] soul and fast are used synonymously. The word for fast is the Hebrew word tsuwm (Strong’s H6684) meaning “to abstain from food.”We also see the connection between fasting and afflicting the soul in Psalm 35:13 where David states, “I humbled/afflicted my soul with fasting.”
Additionally, rabbinical thought teaches that Leviticus 23:27 suggests five afflictions that one must endure on Yom Kippur: no eating and drinking, no washing oneself, no anointing oneself, no wearing leather shoes, and no cohabitation. It is suggested that these five afflictions correspond to the five times the term soul/nephesh are found in this passage (i.e., verses once each in 27 and 29, twice in 30, and once in 32; see Baal HaTurim’s commentary on Lev 23:27).
Christian commentators, Keil and Delitzsch begin to connect the dots for us as to why fasting is tied to atonement. We read, Continue reading →