Traditionally some Christians are branded with a mark of a cross on their foreheads once a year, and this is the day which is called Ash Wednesday. But since there is no such command or tradition in the whole of the Bible, what is the origin of this tradition? “Ash Wednesday” is the beginning of the period called “Lent” which was initially instituted by the Roman Catholic Church at the First Council of Nicaea in 325AD. Lent which meant “Spring Season” (Lencten in the Old English) was the six and a half week period (Excluding Sundays) before Easter where some sort of Fasting was encouraged in imitation of Jesus’ Fast of 40 Days.
While Fasting is a necessary part of a Christians Lifestyle, what does the Scriptures and The New Testament Writings tell us about Fasting? A 40-day fast leading to Easter is unheard of in the Bible. Just as Easter is a corruption of the “Feast of Firstfruits”, the 40-day Lent period is also a corruption of the true fasting period of 40 days called the month of Elul which points to the “Day of Atonement” which is the only Fast Day Commanded by God on His People. In fact, even though the 40-Day fast of Yeshua is taken as a biblical basis for this tradition, it is much more likely that Yeshua was also engaged in the fast of Elul as there are many allusions to this mentioned in the Book of Luke.
While Fasting is a of great value if we engage in it wholeheartedly searching for God, it is of more value if all of us engage in a fast which was prescribed by God and is mentioned in the Bible rather than following any particular edict brought on the world by a particular Religious Sect. Let us get to know the difference between Commandments and Tradition, as well as Biblical Traditions and Man-Made rules. Let us Fast in true repentance, rather than in showing a mark on our foreheads on a date or period made by man as a corruption of God’s true Word. Shalom!
Elul and the King in the Field – The meeting of Bride and Bridegroom
Christ – The Atonement Sacrifice – Allusions in Luke 4
The Day of Atonement, repentance, fasting and the payment for all our Sins
Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of Christ