The God of the Ancient Chinese vs. the God of the Hebrewsby Rit Nosotro
Compare the God of the Ancient Chinese with the God of the Bible.
The Chinese Border Sacrifice is related an earlier Mesopotamian tradition.
The Chinese Border Sacrifice contains ample evidence that it was borrowed in part from a Mesopotamia.
Why are there such simularities with the literature of the Chinese Border Sacrifice and that Hebrew Bible? Similarity between the language, songs and ceremonies used in the Chinese Border Sacrifice and that of Biblical scripture reveal that many attributes of God were known by the ancient Chinese.
Here are some quotations used during the border sacrifice ceremony which have Biblical parallels.
Chinese Border Sacrifice
|“Of old in the beginning, there was great chaos, without form and dark. The five elements had not begun to revolve, nor the sun or moon to shine. In the midst (of the chaos) there existed neither form nor sound. You, O spiritual Sovereign, came out in your presidency, and first did divide the grosser parts from the purer. ”1||“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” –Genesis 1:1-2, NLT.|
|“You made heaven. You made the earth. You made man. All things with their reproducing power got their being (from you).” – Chinese prayer2||“It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.” Isaiah 45:12|
|“Like a potter, you have made all things.” – Chinese prayer3||“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8|
|“You regard us as a Father does (his child).” – Chinese prayer4||“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” II Corinthians 6:18|
How did these remarkable simularities come to pass? Lamech, the father of Noah, was living during the time of Adam.5 Therefore, Noah would have heard the stories of creation and sin from Lamech who actually heard Adam tell it. The stories of creation and first sin would not be altered after just traveling through Lamech. Writing may have been widely used before Noah's Flood. Even if writing was not the method of transmission, oral tradition was within the tradition of the middle east, demanded memorization of facts. The Israelites still value oral tradition and love to tell stories of all God has done for them.6 Noah and eight other people were the only ones to survive the flood.7 The first thing Noah did when he got off of the ark was to build an altar, and give God a sacrifice.8 Less than one hundred years later, the descendants of Noah were beginning to go back to the sinful ways that first stopped communication with God.9 They were developing the sinful attitude that they could do everything without the help of God. They began to build a tower that they thought would reach to heaven. God stopped construction on the tower, and scattered the people, confusing them by assigning new languages to some of them. It is thought that the Tower of Babel incident happened around 2250 B.C.9 The first inhabitants of China set up their first dynasty less than fifty years later.9
In one of the ceremonies of the religion they first practiced, they did many things that are very similar to the religious practices in the Bible. In China, between 2250 B.C. and 2200 B.C., from the first dynasty up until 1911, when the last dynasty fell, a practice of twice annual sacrifice was carried out.10 Cain and Abel were the first recorded people to sacrifice anything to God. Paradise was sealed and they could not re-enter it. They would have tried to get as close to God as they could while communicating with him. Perhaps they went to the very edge of the garden, where they had the last direct communication with God, to give Him the sacrifices. The Emperor of China would go to the northern and southern border of his land and give a sacrifice of a spotless bull.11 Before the ceremony began, the emperor would fast and go through a purification period. This was the emperor whose people believed he was the Mandate of Heaven. This meant that he was part god, that he was holy, and that he had the blessing of heaven. Yet, he subjected himself to no food, and no concubines, and granted pleasures of life. In one of the prayers he said that “The great and lofty One promises His favor and regard; we are totally unworthy to receive it.”12 The emperor must have greatly valued the God for whom he gave all that up. The Chinese people worshipped Shang Di using terminology you might hear in any western church.
Similarity between the attributes of God expressed in the songs and the Bible also provide evidence for the concept that the god of the ancient Chinese was the same god of the Israelites of the Bible. These attributes are found in the border sacrifice songs. The god worshipped in the border sacrifice prayers of China and the God of the Bible have these attributes in common: God is viewed as creator, father, eternal, loving, merciful, and good. He was also believed to be able to hear prayers.13 Not one thing that was ever recorded about Shang Di contradicts any part of the El Shaddai in the Bible!
Similarity between the stories told in the written characters, provide evidence
for the concept that the god of the ancient Chinese was the same god of the
Israelites of the Bible. The Chinese people created a system of writing that
was based on pictures. The characters that the Chinese people used many years
ago told many stories that can be found in the Bible. For example, the character
for righteousness is the symbol for “lamb” over the symbol for “me”.
Here it is below:
There are many characters like this in the Chinese language. The word for temptation involves a tree and a mouth. Is that not similar to Eve eating the fruit in the garden? The word for boat involves eight people. There were eight people on the ark. There are many examples in Chinese characters of stories like this. The Chinese had a concept of god that was not just a primitive people making up something. They learned these stories from someone. Clearly, both early Jewish concepts of God and old Chinese thoughts on Shang Di came from the same place: Noah. Even the phonetics of the word El Shaddai and how the Chinese used to pronounce the name of their God, Zhang Dai are similar!
The tradition of going to northern and southern borders to carry out the sacrifices ended in 1428 A.D., when the Temple of Heaven was completed. From that time on, they held the ceremony in this temple located in the capital, Beijing. No one, not even the emperor, was allowed to use the architecture on their homes or buildings. The architecture used on this building was extremely unique. The carpenters manufactured all of the pieces off-site. When the brought the pieces in, they fit together perfectly so that no hammering was done on the structure. This was the place that they worshipped Shang Di.9
When Mao Zedong came to power, he erased much of the old documents and characters that pointed to God. He wanted China to be one religion under his form of communism rather than what he saw as western Christianity. However, this essay has shown that the Chinese people were worshipping God Almighty beginning about four thousand years ago and lasting up until the last dynasty fell in 1911. Chinese were worshipping God when the Israelites were being easily swayed to worshiping idols.
Similarity between the language, songs, stories and ceremonies used in the Chinese Border Sacrifice songs and in the Bible, provide evidence that Shang Di in Chinese history is the same as El Shaddai as revealed to those who were scattered from Mesopotamia's Plains of Shinar. Thus, in less than 300 years (Gen. 11:10-26) from the Noah's Flood to Abraham, early migrations arrived from Babel into China bringing with them an understanding of God. Understanding this aspect of history will help erase the notion that the roots of Christianity are only part of a western tradition.
Appendix A – Songs of the Border Sacrifice
Song #1 - Long ago, in the beginning, there was great chaos, without form and dark. The five elements had not yet begun to revolve, nor the sun or moon to shine. In the midst (of the chaos) there existed neither form nor sound. You, O Spiritual Sovereign, came out in Your presidency, and first did divide the grosser parts from the purer. You made the heavens; You made the earth; You made man. All things with their reproducing power exist because of You.
(Emperor burns incense offering.)
Song #2 – O Di, after You separated the Yin and the Yang (i.e. the heavens and the earth), Your creative work proceeded. You did produce, O Spirit, the sun and the moon and the five planets. Pure and beautiful was their light. The vault of heaven was spread out like a curtain, and the square of earth supported all on it, and all things were happy. I, Your servant, reverently thank You, and, while I worship, present the notice to You, O Di, calling you Sovereign.
(Silks are dedicated.)
Song #3 – You have promised, O Di, to hear us, for You regard us as a Father. I, Your child, dull and unenlightened, am unable to show forth my dutiful feelings. I thank You for accepting my fervent prayer. Honorable is Your great name. With reverence we spread out these gems and silks, and, as swallows rejoicing in the spring, praise your abundant love.
(Silk dedication continues.)
Song #4 – The great feast has been set forth, and the sound of our joy is like thunder. The Sovereign Spirit promises to enjoy our offering, and my heart within me feels like a particle of dust. The meat has been boiled in the large caldrons, and the fragrant delicacies have been prepared. Enjoy the offering, O Di, then all the people will be joyful.
(Calf is burned. one year-old, first born, no blemish (one color), basted in broth with no seasoning)
Song #5 – The great and lofty One promises His favor and regard; we are totally unworthy to receive it. I, His simple servant, while I worship, hold this precious cup, and praise Him, whose years have no end.
(Toasts of wine offered.)
Song #6 – When Di, the Lord, voiced the command, He called into existence heaven, earth, and man. Between (heaven and earth) He placed man and things, and the heavens were spread out over them. I, His unworthy servant, beg His (favoring) decree, to enlighten me, His minister; so that I may forever appear before Him in the highest heaven.
(Offerings of wine continue. Dances begin.)
Song #7 – All the many kinds of moving creatures are indebted to your favor for the existence. People and things all enjoy your love, O Di. All living things are indebted to your goodness, but who can understand where His blessing come from. You alone, O Lord, are the true parent of all things.
(Offerings of wine & dances continue.)
Song #8 – The delicious feast is laid out (before You); The precious gems are arranged; the pearly wine is presented with music and dancing. The spirit of harmony is captured; men and creatures are happy. His servant is troubled because he is unable to express his respect.
(Offerings of wine & dances continue.)
Song #9 - We have expressed our sincerity poorly. Your sovereign goodness is infinite. Like a potter, you have made all living things. Great and small are sheltered (by Your love). The sense of Your goodness is engraved on the heart of Your poor servant; so that my feelings cannot be fully expressed. With great kindness You bear with us, and, despite our faults, You grant us life and prosperity.
Song #10 – With reverent ceremonies the record has been presented, and You, O Sovereign Spirit, have condescended to accept our service. The dances have all been performed, and nine times the music has played. Grant, O Di, Your great blessing to increase the happiness of my house. The instruments of metal and precious stones have given out their melodies. The jeweled girdles of the officers have sounded their tinkling. Spirits and men rejoice together, praising Di, the Lord. What limit or what measure can there be while we celebrate His great name. Forever he establishes the high heaven and the solid earth. His government is everlasting. His unworthy servant, I bow my head. I lay it in the dust, bathed in his grace and glory.
(Offering removal continues. Silks are burned. Emperor prays.)
Song #11 – We have worshipped and written the Great Name on this gem-like sheet. Now we display it before Di, and place it in the fire. These valuable offerings of silks and fine meat we burn also with these sincere prayers, that they may ascend in volumes of flames up to the distant azure. All the ends of the earth look up to Him. All human beings, all things on the earth, rejoice together in the Great Name.
(Emperor observes offerings and prays.)
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