In lesson 5 we took an in depth look at the Esther fast and the Daniel fast. Today we’re going to understand the self-examination fast and the dominion fast.
3. The Self-examination fast—The One Day Fast
Leviticus 23:27 says, “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall bea day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.”
The Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur, (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר or יום הכיפורים), is one of the holiest days of the year for the Jewish people. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. It’s important to note that this verse from Leviticus does not mention fasting. In order to understand that Yom Kippur does indeed mean a day of fasting, we need to look at a parallel verse in Jeremiah 36:6:
“Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD’S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.”
For the Jews, the fasting day is the day of atonement. For the Christian, however, the fasting day is any day we need to engage in a self-examination process. Remember 1 Corinthians 11:27–30 which was quoted in Part 1?
“Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.”
Before we participate in a communion service, it’s very important that we go before the Lord in a self-examination process. Take a day to fast, pray and read as much of God’s word as possible. Our attitude in self-examination should be like David’s in Psalm 19:12, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.” Ask God to reveal the hidden and unconfessed sins in your life. You may be surprised at what He shows you.
4. The Dominion Fast—The Forty Day Fast (Matthew 4)
Meditate a moment on these two questions. Why did Jesus fast for 40 days and 40 nights? If Jesus didn’t have to fast after His baptism, then why did He do it?
The answer might astonish you. He did it for authority! Didn’t Adam lose his dominion after he sinned in the garden by eating the forbidden fruit? Didn’t Esau lose his birthright because he ate? But Jesus is God, isn’t he? Doesn’t He have the authority already as God? Well…yes and no.
Jesus certainly did have the authority of God as God the Son while He was in Heaven before coming to earth as a man. As the Son of God, a perfect man, He is no more or less human than you or I. He voluntarily gave up His Godly power and authority to become a man. As a man, He had to learn to lean and depend on His Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, just as you and I need to learn these things to grow in our spiritual walk.
When Jesus returned from the wilderness after fasting and being tempted by Satan, He returned in the power of the Holy Spirit. So what can we conclude from our Lord’s example?
Fasting makes us tough in the spirit and fasting makes the inner man rise up and say, “Satan, who do you think you are to mess with my family, or put fear in my mind, or inflict my body. Greater is He that is in me.” By fasting 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus recovered His dominion. He was well equipped to serve His Father’s will to the utmost. Are you ready to serve our Father to the utmost.
The Other Biblical Fasts
There are three other fasts in the Bible that we will not cover in depth. I want to encourage you to look up the Scripture references and study them on your own. These fasts are:
The Fast Before Battle—Judges 20
Fasting to lift God’s judgment from one’s life—1 Kings 21:27–29
The fast for healing—Isaiah 58:6–9
We’ll complete our study of fasting in Getting on the Fast Track—Conclusion.