Back to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index

Should  the  elect of God who live during the gospel age fast on the Day of  Atonement  just  as ancient Israel did?

There is no doubt that the elect of God who lived during the time when the temple existed practiced many of the rituals and observances  associated  with the agreement with ancient  Israel.  But, does scripture support mandatory fasting on the Day of  Atonement for the elect of God today?

There are three basic things that must exist in order for fasting on  the Day of Atonement to fulfill the purpose for which it  was  intended:

1. A temple in Jerusalem in which God's presence can dwell.

2. A Levitical Priesthood to officiate on the Day of Atonement.

3. A sacrificial system officiated over by the Levitical  Priesthood.

A  short  survey of the Books of the Law will reveal that  it  is impossible  for the elect of God, an Israelite, or a  Jew to  observe  the Day of Atonement as directed under  God's  first agreement with national Israel. Without a temple for God's presence to dwell in, a  Priesthood, and a sacrificial system, the conditions and the reasons for which this national fast was intended do not exist. Therefore,  it is impossible for the elect of God to fast as  those under the agreement with ancient Israel did.


The  apostle Paul's writings leave no doubt about where the  spirit  of God dwells on earth today:

"Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and the spirit  of God dwells in you? If anyone corrupts the temple of God, God will bring  that  one to corruption; for the temple of God  is  holy, which you are" (1.Cor.3:16-17 KJV Para.). See also 1.Cor.6:19-20; 2.Cor.6:16.

The New International Version translators use even stronger  language in their translation of these verses:

"Don't  you  know that you yourselves are God's temple  and  that God's  spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple,  God will  destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple" (1.Cor.3:16-17 NIV).

The  ancient  Israelites fasted  in order to show their obedience and to  beseech God  not to leave his dwelling place among them. Today,  the children of God are the temple of the living God  and they have his spirit dwelling within them with the promise  that  he will  never leave them; therefore, there is no need for  them  to fast for the same reasons as the ancient Israelites:

"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father  will love him, and we will make our abode with him" (Jn.14:23 KJV).

"Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the  age" (Matt.28:20 NIV). See also Heb.13:5.


The children of God are reconciled to God  through the blood of Christ, repentance, and baptism, and they have the presence of  God   dwelling within them through the holy spirit (1.Cor.6:19). Because of  this, they are kept in a continual condition  of  righteousness and purity before God the Father and Jesus Christ.

Because  children of God have the presence of God  dwelling  within them  and the promise that God will not leave them, there is  no logical  reason for a child of God  to fast on the Day of Atonement, which is the day on which Israel as a nation fasted in order show their sincere desire for him to dwell among them.


Some people might wonder if it is important for the elect of God  to fast on the Day of Atonement when the Levitical priesthood  begins to officiate in a temple dedicated to God in the future.

The  scriptures  confirm  that, before the  destruction  of  the temple  in 70 A.D., many of the elect did participate in  some  of the  rituals  and observances of God's  agreement  with  national Israel, which demanded a priesthood and temple for their  practice. See Acts 21:17, 26-27, which is dated approximately 57-58 A.D.. This example of the early Christians shows that,  when the temple system is  again  established  in Jerusalem,  if a child of God who lives during this time wants to  fast on the Day of Atonement out of respect for  the  temple system,  they could do so with a clear conscience. However,  because God's  spirit dwells within the elect of God, his children cannot fast for the same reasons as the Israelites did under the first covenant.

Only if  the temple is rebuilt, the sacrificial  system is established again,  and God's presence dwells within that  temple, can fasting on the Day of Atonement be done for the same reasons it was done in ancient Israel. However, it can only be done for those reasons by people who do not have the spirit of the Father and the spirit of the Son dwelling within them.