About five years ago I decided to do a deeper study into the fast of Isaiah 58. 

I’ve heard many sermons and Bible studies on the subject and they were all great and I was blessed by them.  However, they all generally had the same point.  I have found that many times we dwell on Israel’s shortcomings from a literal perspective. I wanted to look a bit deeper and see if there was a spiritual aspect to the fast of Isaiah 58 and see what lessons can we learn from it. 

Isaiah 58 begins with God reproving his people on their fasting. They were fasting for strife and for debate (Isaiah 58:4). He had a similar attitude to the fast of the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-14. A spirit of self-exaltation and self-righteousness was the reason for their fast. Self-denial was not in their thoughts. God explains what is the fast that he has chosen. 

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6). 

What does this verse mean?  This is one of the self-denial practices that God wants us to do in our fast. Jesus is our example to follow. Verse 6 reminds me of Jesus in Luke 4:18 when he preached in the synagogue and was quoting Isaiah 61:1. Notice how the verses are similar when Jesus quotes this,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).

Notice how Isaiah 58:6 and Luke 4:18 are similar. Jesus was showing us how to fulfill it! Jesus adds the GOSPEL to it! The gospel is what takes people out of bondage, sets the oppressed free, it loosens the bands of wickedness. 

What is the Gospel? 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…(Romans 1:16). 

Believeth in the Greek means “to entrust our spiritual wellbeing to God.” It’s the same word found in John 3:16. The power of God can break sin and give us salvation. 

But the Jews in Isaiah 58 were not doing this, they weren’t preaching the gospel/sanctuary message. 

Isaiah continues in verse 7 

“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” 

Here we see Israel did not help the poor physically who were in need of literal food and clothing. They refused to feed the hungry. But let’s look at this spiritually. What is bread a symbol of? In the sanctuary bread was the symbol of the word of God. Jesus is also known as the Word. Jesus says: 

“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). 

The Jews refused to preach the gospel and they did not feed the hungry (literally) and they didn’t feed those who were hungry spiritually for spiritual food = God’s word. 

Verse 7 of Isaiah 58 also says they did not clothe the naked. They refused to literally clothe those in need. They also by not preaching the gospel and not giving them the word of God refused to clothe the naked spiritually.  When we sin, we become spiritually naked. Adam and Eve sinned and were naked, but the grace of God clothed them. When the sinner repents, seeks and accepts Christ (1 John 1:9) he clothes us with his righteousness and garments of salvation. 

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10). 

God’s church, his remnant in revelation 12 is clothed with the righteousness of Christ.  She is clothed with the Sun = righteousness (Malachi 4:2). 

When we practice this fast not just meeting the needs of the people literally but when we practice this fast of self-denial spiritually as well, when we preach the truth of God = the gospel, when we preach His Word, when we clothe the people with God’s righteousness and loose the bands of wickedness and let the oppressed go free, then God says in verse 8: 

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.”

We will be clothed with the righteousness of God, his character will be seen in us in his people. This reminds me of a quote from EGW: 

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own – {COL 69.1}. 

God gave us the steps in Isaiah 58. We must humble ourselves and in prayer ask God to strengthen us in present truth, to convict and convert our hearts so we could teach the gospel to others and fulfill Revelation 18:1. 

In the future the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God. A holy influence is to go forth to the world from those who are sanctified through the truth. The earth is to be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. The Holy Spirit is to work on human hearts, taking the things of God and showing them to men – {9T 40.2}


My name is Nathanael Morel. I am 25 years old and was born and raised Adventist. My family is from the Dominican Republic and we’re very close. I love to study the Bible and preach when an opportunity comes. I attended Amazing Facts Center Of Evangelism (AFCOE) and hope to be an evangelist and continue to share the truths found in God’s word. I enjoy the outdoors and like to bike ride and be athletic.