Continued from Part 6…
So what caused these disciples to all of a sudden waiver in their faith to the point of not being able to speak and perform in faith and full authority as they had already done before? Could it be that they had not fasted enough? This is often cited as a prerequisite and/or excuse as to why a demon is not cast out or someone is not healed. After all, is this not what Jesus said that “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.“?
In researching this topic, many scholars believe that this part of the verse was not in the original manuscript but was a comment on the text posted in the margin and later through scrivener’s error got added to the text. This would make sense since it does not seem to correlate with the rest of the instructions Jesus was giving His disciples. It does not at all flow naturally or in cadence with the way Jesus was speaking, to all of sudden disclaim His very own statement that “nothing shall be impossible unto you.” by all of a sudden adding an impossibility.
It sounds more like a catholic copyist monk holed up in a monastery somewhere, who simply could not believe the magnitude of this truth and thought it necessary to add a disclaimer. And if it is the case that the text was altered here, then it would also necessarily be altered in Mark 9:29 which states, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” with many translations leaving off “and fasting.” altogether. And why not, since this narrative also completely omits (deleted?) the “nothing shall be impossible unto you.” lesson Jesus was teaching them when they asked him, “Why could not we cast him out?”
Here are several reasons to consider why fasting is not the issue here but rather faith:
- Jesus did not go to pray and fast before casting the demon out of the boy. He simply said, “Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.” Mark 9:25
- Nowhere in recorded scripture does Jesus stop to fast and pray before casting out a demon.
- When Jesus cast out demons, they did not “goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” but by casting out spirits with His word:
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: Matthew 8:16
- Jesus rebuked John’s disciples for asking Him why they and the Pharisees often fast, but His disciples did not fast at all. Jesus told 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.” Matthew 9:14-15
- How could Jesus rebuke His disciples for not fasting to cast out the demon when He had already established why they could not fast in the first place?
- Fasting does not cause demons to obey or to go out. Casting them out in the name Jesus does.
- If anything were to “goeth not out but by prayer and fasting”, it would have to be your unbelief, not a demon.
- Fasting causes your body and your soul to be submitted to your spirit.
- Jesus said that if you only have a mustard seed of faith, and speak to the mountain, it will obey you and nothing shall be impossible to you. If fasting and prayer were of primary importance, would He not have placed it first in His instructions?
- Prayer and fasting are the every day life of a true believer who prays without ceasing supplementing in tongues where words are too few.
- According to Finnis Dake, “Fasting humbles the soul before God (Ps. 35:13); chastens the soul (Ps. 69:10); and crucifies the appetites and denies them so as to give the entire time to prayer (2 Sam. 12:16-23 Mt. 4:1-11).”
- The fast that the Lord requires is not just abstinence of food but to:
- Deal your bread to the hungry (Isaiah 58:7)
- Bring the poor that are cast out to your house (Isaiah 58:7)
- When you see the naked, that you cover (clothe) him (Isaiah 58:7)
- Do not hide yourself from your own flesh (your fellow man) (Isaiah 58:7)
- Take away from the midst of you the yoke of other’s burdens (Isaiah 58:9)
- Stop putting forth (pointing) of your finger in blame, speaking evil of another, and accusations (Isaiah 58:9)
- Stop speaking vanity (boasting) (Isaiah 58:9)
- Draw out your soul to (care for) the hungry (Isaiah 58:10)
- Satisfy the afflicted soul (the needy) (Isaiah 58:10)
- Here are several things that the fast should not be:
- Complaining that God does not notice your fast (Isaiah 58:3)
- Afflicting your soul to have God take notice (Isaiah 58:3-5)
- Finding and doing your pleasures (Isaiah 58:3)
- Exacting your labors, being a taskmaster (Isaiah 58:3)
- Fasting for strife and debate (Isaiah 58:4)
- Fasting to smite with the fist of wickedness (Isaiah 58:4)
- Fasting to make your voice to be heard on high (Isa. 58:4)
- Fasting to afflict your soul (Isa. 58:4)
- Bow down your head as a bulrush and spread sackcloth as ashes under you to show others that you are fasting (Isaiah 58:5)
- Showing a sad countenance, disfiguring your face, and making a show to be seen of men (Mt. 6:16-18)
Doctrines that teach that you must pray and fast before you can cast out demons, heal the sick or raise the dead are all doctrines of men used as excuses to not have to be accountable to perform Jesus’ simple command to do the works that He did as He explained clearly in John 14:12. These men focus on the problem and not on the solution which is to speak to the mountain in faith until it obeys. Many are afraid to embarrass themselves that they will not even attempt it. Then others ‘try’ it and do not see instant results so they immediately give up and claim that it does not work, never having approached it in faith in the first place.
Unbiblical doctrines held by men are called “sacred cows” and as with any cow, you must kill and slaughter them to get to the meat or you will always stay a babe feeding only on the milk of the word.
Franciscus M. Dartee
Grow in Faith | Walk in Power
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