Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why 40 days instead of 21?

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854
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Akhilah's question:
I am writing becuase a friend of mines is doing a 40 day Daniel fast at her church and I have decided to do it with her. The only thing is I don't understand why it is 40 days instead of 21, seing as how Daniel only fasted for 21 days. Also the church keeps making reference to when Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before being handed over to his enemys. Shouldn't this be called the Jesus fast instead of the Daniel fast? Why is the church fasting for so long and referencing it as a Daniel fast? I have been praying and trying to stay faithful to the fast but this part is a little confusing. I appreciate and thank u for your time.
Good question Akhilah! People have been doing the equivalent of the Daniel Fast for the Lenten season for over 1,000 years. Lent is the time of fasting in the liturgical churches, like Episcopalian, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Anglican and others. The season is actually more than 40 days, but they do not normally fast on Sundays, in honor of the Resurrection of Jesus. So there are 40 days of fasting, plus Sundays when they don't fast.

There are two Daniel Fasts in the book of Daniel. Chapter 1 is about a ten day fast. Chapter 10 is about a 21 day fast. Some people may choose to do a three day fast or even a day time fast. It is good for beginners to try shorter durations for the first times they do a partial fast or total fast.

It is common for pastors to teach about the 40 day total fast of Jesus during this season, because it is the same number of days. However, we won't get handed over to Satan at the end! Rather, we will celebrate the victory we have over Satan, because of the humble and sinless death and powerful and victorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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