A 73-year old Christian man trying to emulate Jesus by going without food for 40 days and 40 nights has reportedly died a month into his abstention from all nourishment.
Khulu Reinfirst Manyuka reportedly left his Zimbabwe home on June 15 and headed into the wilderness to pray, redirecting his attention away from worldly things and instead toward God, according to Nehanda Radio.
The report says Manyuka was known by his family and local community as “a very spiritual person whose faith could move mountains.”
“He was a very spiritual man. It’s unfortunate he had to die this way,” said a close relative, requesting anonymity.
Although he was trying to copy or even break Jesus’ epic fast of 40 days, he fell short by 10 days.
“After a month we got the sad news of his death,” the relative noted.
According to family members, Manyuka had no history of illness.
“He was a healthy and religious old man who did not even look his age,” said one family member.
Nehanda Radio says the precise day of Manyuka’s death remains a mystery to his family and friends as he was alone in the wilderness, and his corpse was found by a stranger who subsequently notified police.
Local police said Manyuka isn’t the first to die from fasting, with “numerous” other cases reported.
“We have received such reports before, but we cannot stop the public from fasting,” a police spokesperson said.
The story of Jesus’ 40-day fast is recounted in the 4th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament, and is associated with his famous temptation by Satan the devil who personally spoke with Jesus.
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred,” the Scripture states in Matthew 4:1-2.
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:2-3)
The prophet Elijah is also said to have gone 40 days without eating, as the Old Testament states: “And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.” (1 Kings 19:7-8)
But the Bible hero who could hold the record for going without food and water is Moses, who is said to have fasted for 40 days twice, consecutively, each time he ascended Mount Sinai to wait for God to inscribe the Ten Commandments.
Moses explained: “When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water.” (Deuteronomy 9:9)
After receiving the first set of the commandments, Moses smashed the stone tablets on the ground when he learned his fellow Israelites were engaged in a massive sin-fest.
Moses then said he immediately repeated his 40-day fast before ascending Mount Sinai the second time to receive the replacement set of the Ten Commandments.
“And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” (Deuteronomy 9:18)
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