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Jesus' 40 Day Fast-Hallucinations?


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#1 Duncan

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 05:18 PM

I teach, or attempt to, teach Gospel Essentials. Last week we discussed fasting and I talked albeit briefly on Christ's 40 day fast. One of the participants says that Jesus was hallucinating in order to have gone through the temptations of the Devil and that it really didn't happen. I asked him what he meant by hallucinations and he said something about seeing things that aren't there. I get what he is saying but would Christ have hallucinated to some degree after fasting for 40 days?
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"On a surprising number of occasions as a professor of religion at the Brigham Young University, I had returned missionaries object to something being taught that was new to them by saying, "How can this possibly be true? I have been a member of the Church my whole life, I am returned missionary, and I have never heard this before!" Thus their understanding has become the standard by which the truth of all things is to be measured"

Joseph Fielding McConkie, Between the Lines:Unlocking Scripture with Timeless Principles, 157


#2 ERayR

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 05:24 PM

I teach, or attempt to, teach Gospel Essentials. Last week we discussed fasting and I talked albeit briefly on Christ's 40 day fast. One of the participants says that Jesus was hallucinating in order to have gone through the temptations of the Devil and that it really didn't happen. I asked him what he meant by hallucinations and he said something about seeing things that aren't there. I get what he is saying but would Christ have hallucinated to some degree after fasting for 40 days?


Anyone who has truly been a subject of the devils ministrations knows better thsn this. Was Joseph Smith hallucinating when he was bound by the power of the devil. I don't think so.
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#3 CASteinman

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 05:59 PM

I teach, or attempt to, teach Gospel Essentials. Last week we discussed fasting and I talked albeit briefly on Christ's 40 day fast. One of the participants says that Jesus was hallucinating in order to have gone through the temptations of the Devil and that it really didn't happen. I asked him what he meant by hallucinations and he said something about seeing things that aren't there. I get what he is saying but would Christ have hallucinated to some degree after fasting for 40 days?


It is not so clear to me what is meant by fasting for 40 days.

Here is why.

In the Middle East today, when they fast, it is during daylight hours. During the night they eat and drink. Is this a remnant of long ancient practices? Did Jesus fast this way?

I note that if someone does fast by not drinking either water or eating food, the lack of water will kill them in about 4 days. Lack of food, but adequate water, will allow someone to live for about 30 to 40 days. There are some accounts that suggest one might live up to 76 days without food, but these are not clear.

People who do drink water but do not eat for long periods of time do not necessarily hallucinate. Jesus may have gone without food for that length of time, but if he went without water, it would only be through special spiritual help or power. Either way, he would not have to be hallucinating unless he were about to die. The last few hours of a person starving might include hallucinations. But this person would not be likely to be walking around. They would probably also be in great pain and having convulsions.


Note: I have gone 3 days without food and water. It was annoying but it was only toward the end of that period that I felt like it might be hurting me. But at that point I was a bit weak and I think if I had gone 8 more hours, I would not have been able to take care of myself.

Edited by CASteinman, 30 June 2012 - 06:02 PM.

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#4 Duncan

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 06:07 PM

It is not so clear to me what is meant by fasting for 40 days.

Here is why.

In the Middle East today, when they fast, it is during daylight hours. During the night they eat and drink. Is this a remnant of long ancient practices? Did Jesus fast this way?

I note that if someone does fast by not drinking either water or eating food, the lack of water will kill them in about 4 days. Lack of food, but adequate water, will allow someone to live for about 30 to 40 days. There are some accounts that suggest one might live up to 76 days without food, but these are not clear.

People who do drink water but do not eat for long periods of time do not necessarily hallucinate. Jesus may have gone without food for that length of time, but if he went without water, it would only be through special spiritual help or power. Either way, he would not have to be hallucinating unless he were about to die. The last few hours of a person starving might include hallucinations. But this person would not be likely to be walking around. They would probably also be in great pain and having convulsions.


Note: I have gone 3 days without food and water. It was annoying but it was only toward the end of that period that I felt like it might be hurting me. But at that point I was a bit weak and I think if I had gone 8 more hours, I would not have been able to take care of myself.


most interesting!
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"On a surprising number of occasions as a professor of religion at the Brigham Young University, I had returned missionaries object to something being taught that was new to them by saying, "How can this possibly be true? I have been a member of the Church my whole life, I am returned missionary, and I have never heard this before!" Thus their understanding has become the standard by which the truth of all things is to be measured"

Joseph Fielding McConkie, Between the Lines:Unlocking Scripture with Timeless Principles, 157


#5 volgadon

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 06:45 PM

In the Middle East today, when they fast, it is during daylight hours. During the night they eat and drink. Is this a remnant of long ancient practices? Did Jesus fast this way?


There is actually more than one way to fast. Among Jewish pietists, the norm is to fast completely from Saturday night to Friday afternoon. That is, from one Sabbath to another. Even during the Sabbath they consume only the minimum required to fulfil the commandment of the Sabbath feasts. Some ruin their health, but others, such as Yitzhak Kaduri, survive well beyond their hundredth year. When it comes to Christ's forty day fast, at least the literary tradition requires it to be complete cessation of food and drink. There are obvious parallels between Christ in the wilderness and Moses at Sinai. In Jewish tradition, Moses assumed a quasi-angelic status when in the presence of God, going without earthly things, symbolised by food and drink.
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Calba Savua's Orchard


I assure you that it is you that is ignorant of ancient Judaism. Read the Bible instead of listening to your teachers who appose [sic] the bible. -Echo

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#6 CASteinman

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:17 PM

There is actually more than one way to fast. Among Jewish pietists, the norm is to fast completely from Saturday night to Friday afternoon. That is, from one Sabbath to another.


Are you saying that they go utterly without food and water for more than five days?
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#7 volgadon

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:41 PM

Are you saying that they go utterly without food and water for more than five days?


For the most part, yes. There aren't more than a handful, and they are absorbed in contemplative prayer and other forms of meditation. That is a key component.
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Calba Savua's Orchard


I assure you that it is you that is ignorant of ancient Judaism. Read the Bible instead of listening to your teachers who appose [sic] the bible. -Echo

i REALLY NEVER NEW YOU WAS A UNLEARNED PERSON. -Lucy Ann Harmon, a facebook anti-Mormon

#8 CASteinman

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:46 PM

For the most part, yes. There aren't more than a handful, and they are absorbed in contemplative prayer and other forms of meditation. That is a key component.


Wow. That is pretty impressive. I wonder if perhaps its a bit too much.
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#9 volgadon

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:58 PM

Wow. That is pretty impressive. I wonder if perhaps its a bit too much.


You aren't the only one to have thought that way. http://webcache.goog...n&ct=clnk&gl=us
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Calba Savua's Orchard


I assure you that it is you that is ignorant of ancient Judaism. Read the Bible instead of listening to your teachers who appose [sic] the bible. -Echo

i REALLY NEVER NEW YOU WAS A UNLEARNED PERSON. -Lucy Ann Harmon, a facebook anti-Mormon

#10 Freedom

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 11:10 PM

There is also the consideration of the symbolic number 40. This could have been mentioned to denote a complete physical experience (4 x 10) rather than 40 actual days of not eating. Moses's 40 years in the wilderness would be another example.

I think, also, that the experience of fasting cannot be taken in isolation. Was he hallucinating? If so, then how are we to explain the many other miracles performed in front of witnesses.
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#11 Storm Rider

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:02 AM

Hallucinating? No, I reject this position. In this situtation I believe that Jesus did as the Bible states and fasted for 40 days. I don't think it matters how strict a fast he undertook. What I know is echoes the comment above; anyone that has suffered the buffetings of Satan knows for a certainty they are not hallucinations. This individual that thought this way has a great journey ahead of him once he is able to have faith.
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When from Thy stern tutoring, I would quickly flee, turn me from my Tarshish to where is best for me. Help me in my Nineveh to serve with love and truth; not on a hillside posted, mid shade of gourd or booth. When my modest suffering seems so vexing, wrong, and sore, may I recall what freely flowed from each and every pore. Dear Lord of the Abba Cry, Help me in my duress to endure it well enough and to say, . . . 'Nevertheless.'” - Neal A. Maxwell

#12 zerinus

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:33 AM

Mosiah 3:

7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.


Edited by zerinus, 01 July 2012 - 12:34 AM.

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#13 Garden Girl

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 08:15 AM

Volgadon... help me out here... isn't the number "40" more symbolic... like Moses/children of Israel wandered in the wilderness 40 years... like it rained for "40 days and 40 nights"... Christ's 40 day fast... and, after his resurrection, before his ascension, Christ met with his apostles for "40 days" while he taught them.
Aren't there certain numbers used similarly, like 7 etc... i.e., who's to say his fast was actually 40 days?

GG

Edited by Garden Girl, 01 July 2012 - 08:16 AM.

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#14 volgadon

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:34 PM

Volgadon... help me out here... isn't the number "40" more symbolic... like Moses/children of Israel wandered in the wilderness 40 years... like it rained for "40 days and 40 nights"... Christ's 40 day fast... and, after his resurrection, before his ascension, Christ met with his apostles for "40 days" while he taught them.
Aren't there certain numbers used similarly, like 7 etc... i.e., who's to say his fast was actually 40 days?

GG


You've got it. 40 is used to denote a large number and to group certain events together.
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Calba Savua's Orchard


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#15 CASteinman

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 01:31 PM

You aren't the only one to have thought that way. http://webcache.goog...n&ct=clnk&gl=us


I am comparing my own experience of 3 days. But then, I was hitchhiking across Europe and it was cold. Maybe if I was in a comfortable environment and not exerting myself so much I might have been able to go 2 more days?

Still, we are talking about Jesus going 40 days. I don't think he was without water that whole time -- or if he was, it is supernatural.
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#16 The Nehor

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 02:13 PM

Are you saying that they go utterly without food and water for more than five days?


I've done it. It sounds harder then it is. I wouldn't recommend it without water but it is doable.
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#17 Yep

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 02:03 PM

I teach, or attempt to, teach Gospel Essentials. Last week we discussed fasting and I talked albeit briefly on Christ's 40 day fast. One of the participants says that Jesus was hallucinating in order to have gone through the temptations of the Devil and that it really didn't happen. I asked him what he meant by hallucinations and he said something about seeing things that aren't there. I get what he is saying but would Christ have hallucinated to some degree after fasting for 40 days?


Well, here is a little of the Yepist view, at least until God explains it more fully or says something that makes me feel like my view is in error.

Fact: When you go without food for an extended time your brain begins to misfire and often halucinations occur. Other alterations to the brain's chemistry have similar effects.
My Belief: Having your mind altered slightly through fasting allows the Spirit easier access. This in no way makes visions or experiences during fasting less true and factual. It does however explain many "spiritual" experiences during periods of altered brain activity. I think that this exists in this manner so that we may have an explanation aside from the spiritual and thus lead us to a matter of faith and not knowledge as well as because it is just how life works, visions are more easily accessed in a state when you are not in full control of your faculties.

I personally believe that the temptations literally occurred. However, if we are told, by the Lord, that they were more vision than physical, I am open to that possibility.
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