Shen Zhou – The Land Of God by Joshua Ong
Introduction For five thousand years, the Chinese people had called their native land "Shen Zhou" - the Land of God. Strong traditional and archeological evidence suggested the early Chinese were once devoted to one heavenly God. The history of Israel began with Abraham, while China's history commenced with Emperors Yan and Huang. Could the two ancient cultures of Israel and China be linked? Could the wondrous tales of God and man told along Jordan River and Yellow River be flowing from the same source? If not, how could the Chinese ancient language and history be explained?
Biblical History 4000 BC 3000 BC 2000 BC 1000 BC Chinese History The Beginnings of Recorded History • According to The World Almanac and Book of Facts (1998, pp 551), recorded history began approximately 4004 BC.
4000 BC Creation Of Universe The Fall Of Man
Noah 3000 BC Recorded History begins Tower Of Babel Global Flood 4000 BC Chinese History begins
7 years famine in Middle East 1766 BC 2000 BC 7 years famine in China Israel in Egypt Jacob (Israel) Abraham 2400 BC King Yu禹 Xia/Hsia夏Dynasty King Yao尧 Shang商Dynasty King Shun舜
1800 BC 1400 BC King Wu Yi武乙 Moses Shang商Dynasty First record of idol worship in China
1000 BC 600 BC Plato Buddha Aristotle Laozi老子 Confucius孔子 Mencius孟子 Zhou周Dynasty Chin秦Dynasty
200 BC 0 AD 200 AD Jesus Christ MohammedBegan Islam Buddhism entered China 西游记 Three Kingdom三国 Sui 随 Six Dynasties六期 Han汉
600 AD 1000 1400 1800 2005 AD Song宋 Ming明 China Today Tang唐 Yuan元 Qing清
Chinese History Begins 2348 BC The Flood 1766 BC 7 years’ famine Japheth (European) Shem (Chinese) Ham (African) The Origin Of The Chinese Adam (4004-3074 BC) Seth (3874-2962 BC) Enosh (3769-2864 BC) Kenan (3679-2769 BC) Mahalalel (3609-2714 BC) Jared (3544-2582 BC) Enoch (3382-3017 BC) Methuselah (3317-2348 BC) Lamech (3130-2353 BC) Noah (2948-1998 BC) Shem (2446-1846 BC) Arphaxad (2346-1943 BC) Shelah (2311-1908 BC) Eber (2281-1851 BC) Peleg (2247-2038 BC) Reu (2217-2010 BC) Serug (2185-1985 BC) Nahor(2155-2036 BC) Teruh (2126-1921 BC) Source: http://www.earth-history.com/Pseudepigrapha/Jas/jasher-intro.htm Abram(2056-1881 BC)
Flood 2348 BC This gives approximately 40 years for a migration of the Chinese family from the Tower of Babel in Mesopotamia to resettlement in China. Dispersion 2247 BC Noah2948 BC First Chinese Dynasty 2205 BC Noah (2948-1998 BC) 1. Shem (2446-1846 BC) Before the first Chinese dynasty in 2205 BC, the Chinese recorded a mysterious “Legendary Period of Five Rulers.” Could these five men be the legendary 5 rulers? 2. Arphaxad (2346-1943 BC) 3. Shelah (2311-1908 BC) 4. Eber(2281-1851 BC) 5. Peleg (2247-2038 BC)
Noah Are the Chinese also Hebrews? Shem Arphaxad GENESIS 11 ACCOUNT Salah Peleg Reu Serug Nahor Terah Abram Eber GENESIS 10 ACCOUNT Joktan Possibly the people of East Asia including the Chinese Origin of Hebrews
五经 The Chinese Classics (四书五经) • Consisted of 9 books by a few authors. • The sole purpose of these classics was to convey Truth, or the Dao 道(Tao, The Way and the Word.) • Many of the authors pointed to Heaven天. The Confucian Analects 论语 The Book Of Changes 易经 The Great Learning 大学 The Book Of Documents书经 The Doctrine Of The Mean 中庸 The Book Of Songs诗经 The Works of Mencius 孟子 The Book Of Rites礼记 Autumn And Spring春秋 四书
Confucius’ Definition of Dao 道 • “Yin 阴 (the visible) and Yang 阳 (the invisible) are called the Dao道. The loving one discovered it and calls it love; the wise man discovers it and calls it wisdom.” • “That which cannot be fathoned in terms of Yin 阴 (the visible) and Yang 阳 (the invisible) is called God 神.” • “Let the will be set on the Dao道. Let every action be based on morality and be firmly grasped. Let every work be motivated by love.”
From King Wen to Confucius were 500 years and more The King would arise in the course of 500 years From Tang to King Wen were 500 years and more From Yao & Shun down to Tang were 500 years and more Begin To Expect The Arrival Of The King Confucius’ Birth King Wen’s Birth Yao & Shun’s Rule King Tang’s Death King Wen’s Death Confucius’ Death 2253 1753 1229 1132 551 479 22 AD 2000 BC 1500 BC 1000 BC 500 BC 0 BC/AD 孟子Mencius’ 2000 Year ProphecyOf A Coming King Birth Of Jesus Christ
Jiaguwen甲骨文 • These oracle bones revealed the creation account through the inscriptions and character formations.
How Shun 舜got the throne by the gift of Heaven. • Wan Chang said, 'Was it the case that Yao gave the throne to Shun?' Mencius said, 'No. The sovereign cannot give the throne to another.' • 'Yes;-- but Shun had the throne. Who gave it to him?' 'Heaven gave it to him,' was the answer. • '" Heaven gave it to him:"-- did Heaven confer its appointment on him with specific injunctions?' • Mencius replied, 'No. Heaven does not speak. It simply showed its will by his personal conduct and his conduct of affairs.‘ • '"It showed its will by his personal conduct and his conduct of affairs:"-- how was this?' Mencius's answer was, 'The sovereign can present a man to Heaven, but he cannot make Heaven give that man the throne. A prince can present a man to the sovereign, but he cannot cause the sovereign to make that man a prince. A great officer can present a man to his prince, but he cannot cause the prince to make that man a great officer. Yao presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him. He presented him to the people, and the people accepted him. Therefore I say, "Heaven does not speak. It simply indicated its will by his personal conduct and his conduct of affairs."'
How Shun 舜got the throne by the gift of Heaven. • Chang said, 'I presume to ask how it was that Yao presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him; and that he exhibited him to the people, and the people accepted him.' Mencius replied, 'He caused him to preside over the sacrifices, and all the spirits were well pleased with them;-- thus Heaven accepted him. He caused him to preside over the conduct of affairs, and affairs were well administered, so that the people reposed under him;-- thus the people accepted him. Heaven gave the throne to him. The people gave it to him. Therefore I said, "The sovereign cannot give the throne to another.“ • 'Shun assisted Yao in the government for twenty and eight years;-- this was more than man could have done, and was from Heaven. After the death of Yao, when the three years' mourning was completed, Shun withdrew from the son of Yao to the south of South river. The princes of the kingdom, however, repairing to court, went not to the son of Yao, but they went to Shun. Litigants went not to the son of Yao, but they went to Shun. Singers sang not the son of Yao, but they sang Shun. Therefore I said, "Heaven gave him the throne." It was after these things that he went to the Middle Kingdom, and occupied the seat of the Son of Heaven. If he had, before these things, taken up his residence in the palace of Yao, and had applied pressure to the son of Yao, it would have been an act of usurpation, and not the gift of Heaven. • 'This sentiment is expressed in the words of The Great Declaration,-- "Heaven sees according as my people see; Heaven hears according as my people hear."'
Heaven’s Decree 天命 • The ancient Chinese were familiar with the nature of Heaven’s Decree. • “There is no mistake about the decree of Heaven. The purpose of the divine commandments are all to the same good effect.” • God’s commandments are based on His love. The ancient Chinese believed that ShangDi was a God of love. • “Heaven loves the people, and the sovereign should reverence this mind of Heaven.” • “There is the great God. Does He hate any one? God does not hate any man.”
Who is Confucius孔子? • Confucius(born Kong Qiu, styled Zhong Ni) lived in 551 B.C. - 479 B.C., China. The Chinese people called him Kong Fuzi or Kong Zi or Master Kong. • To learn Chinese culture, it is good to learn some Confucianism since it has been well integrated in Chinese culture, and was the official state philosophy for over 2000 years. • Confucianism was part of the Chinese people's daily life as it was the foundation of Chinese family structure, and the guidance for personal attitudes and behaviors. • Confucius' contribution was in his ideas about the government, school, family and ethics, and in his teachings.
Confucius’ Heart Desire孔子心愿 • "At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. At thirty, I stood firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right."
Tian Tan天壇 Mystery concerning the 450-year-old Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing, China.
Why did the emperors sacrifice a bull on the great white marble Altar of Heaven at an annual ceremony, the year's most important and colourful celebration, the so-called 'Border Sacrifice 郊祀' ?
Why 郊祀is so Important? • The great philosopher Confucius 孔子esteemed this Border Sacrifice highly that he said a comprehension of this ritual would lead to the efficient ruling of the Chinese empire: • “He who understands the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth…would find the government of a kingdom as easy as to look into his palm!”
Shu Jing 书经(Book of History) • One of the earliest accounts of the Border Sacrifice was found in the Shu Jing书经, compiled by Confucius 孔子 himself. • Throughout the Chinese Classics (四书五经) and especially in the oldest two, the Book of Odes (诗经) and the Book of Historical Documents (书经), Confucius lifted up Heaven (天) as the Supreme God.
Confucius’ Belief In 上帝 • The following texts revealed the original Confucian belief in God as the Creator: • “How vast is ShangDi, the ruler of men below. How arrayed in terrors is ShangDi: His ordinances are full of irregularities. Heaven gave birth to the multitudes of people.” • Recorded also in Shu Jing 书经 was the account of Emperor Shun舜 (c. 2230 BC) that he sacrificed to ShangDi 上帝.
Moral Law • Confucius believed in Heaven as the source of all power, the authority of moral law, and a personal God who protected not only as a Ruler, but also as a Parent: • “Oh vast and distant Heaven, [You] who are called Father and Mother…”
One God • For Confucius, there was no other God other than ShangDi: • “He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.” • In fact, between 2400 BC and 1116 BC, there was no record of the Chinese ever worshipping any idol images. • King Wu Yi 武乙 was attributed with the making of the first idol image in Chinese history.
Confucius’ Humility • The Master 孔子 said: • "The sage and the man of perfect virtue;—how dare I rank myself with them? It may simply be said of me, that I strive to become such without satiety, and teach others without weariness." • "When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, their bad qualities and avoid them.“ • "Heaven produced the virtue that is in me.”
How Did Confucius Know About ShangDi? • In Confucius’ day, about 500 BC, at least 1700 years had passed since the history of China began. • These early rulers understood the religious principles that had been handed down by word of mouth from the time of creation. • The ancient sage who had invented the written language also had the true concepts of the history of the world. • He recorded this knowledge for all time in his pictographic characters.
Who is ShangDi 上帝? • This name literally means ‘the Heavenly Ruler皇天’. By reviewing recitations used at the Border Sacrifice, recorded in the Statutes of the Ming Dynasty 大明会典(AD 1368), one may begin to understand the ancient Chinese reverence for ShangDi.
A Chinese Prayer • Participating in this rite, the emperor first meditated at the Temple of Heaven (the Imperial Vault), while costumed singers, accompanied by musicians, intoned: • 'To Thee, O mysteriously-working Maker, I look up in thought. ...With the great ceremonies I reverently honor Thee. Thy servant, I am but a reed or willow; my heart is but that of an ant; yet have I received Thy favouring decree, appointing me to the government of the empire. I deeply cherish a sense of my ignorance and blindness, and am afraid, lest I prove unworthy of Thy great favours. Therefore will I observe all the rules and statutes, striving, insignificant as I am, to discharge my loyal duty. Far distant here, I look up to Thy heavenly palace. Come in Thy precious chariot to the altar. Thy servant, I bow my head to the earth reverently, expecting Thine abundant grace. ...O that Thou wouldest vouchsafe to accept our offerings, and regard us, while thus we worship Thee, whose goodness is inexhaustible!'
Annual Dedication • Thus we find the emperor worshipping ShangDi. Can we possible trace the original intention of this magnificent ceremony of antiquity? As the emperor took part in this annual service dedicated to ShangDi, the following words were recited, clearly showing that he considered ShangDi the Creator of the world: • 'Of old in the beginning, there was the great chaos, without form and dark. The five elements [planets] had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and moon to shine. You, O Spiritual Sovereign, first divided the grosser parts from the purer. You made heaven. You made earth. You made man. All things with their reproducing power got their being.'
Similar To Genesis • For the Jews and Christians, the above recitation sounds strangely familiar. How closely it reads to the opening chapter of the Biblical Genesis! Note the similarity with excerpts from the more detailed story as recorded in the Hebrew writings: • 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. ... • And God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas. ... • And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. ... • So God created man in His own image; ...' (Genesis 1:1-2, 9-10, 16, 27-28)
El-Shaddai & ShangDi • ShangDi, the Creator-God of the Chinese, surely appears to be one and the same as the Creator-God of the Hebrews. In fact, one of the Hebraic names for God was El Shaddai, which is phonetically similar to ShangDi. Even more similar is the Early Shou pronunciation of ShangDi which is 'djanh-tigh' [Zhan-dai]. • Another name for their God which the ancient Chinese used interchangeable with ShangDi was Heaven (Tian). Zheng Xuan, a scholar of the early Han dynasty said, "ShangDi is another name for Heaven (Tian天)". The great philosopher Motze (408-382 BC) also thought of Heaven (Tian) as the Creator-God: • 'I know Heaven loves men dearly not without reason. Heaven ordered the sun, the moon, and the stars to enlighten and guide them. Heaven ordained the four seasons, Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Summer, to regulate them. Heaven sent down snow, frost, rain, and dew to grow the five grains and flax and silk so that the people could use and enjoy them. Heaven established the hills and river, ravines and valleys, and arranged many things to minister to man's good or bring him evil.'
How did ShangDi create all things? Here is one further recitation from the ancient Border Sacrifice rite: • 'When Te [ShangDi], the Lord, had so decreed, He called into existence [originated] heaven, earth, and man. Between heaven and earth He separately placed in order men and things, all overspread by the heavens.' • Note that ShangDi 'called into existence', or commanded heaven and earth to appear. • Compare this with the way the Hebrew text described the method of creation by El Shaddai, who, we suspect, was identical with ShangDi, and the similarity in name and role would suggest: • '...by the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. ... For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast' (Psalm 33:6, 9).
We have not yet explained the reason for the emperors' bull sacrifice to ShangDi. Let us compare this Chinese sacrifice with the instruction given by God to the Hebrews: • 'Take thee a young calf for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, without blemish, and offer them before the LORD' (Leviticus 9:2) - a practice which began in earliest times (Genesis 4:3,4; 8:20). • The most ancient forms of the pictographic Chinese writing were found the foundational truths of the Judeo-Christian faith. • In these ideograms, which dated from before the time of Moses - we have the entire story of creation, the temptation and fall of man into sin, and God's remedy for sin in the animal sacrifices, which pointed to the coming Savior, Jesus Christ. All the elements of the Genesis narrative were found recorded, and still in use, in the Chinese character-writing.
These findings show some startling realities about the written Chinese language. All people in the world, not just the Chinese, are descended from the inhabitants of Babel, the first civilization after the Flood. • God first gave His promise of a coming Saviour, the 'Seed of the Woman', in Genesis 3:15. The foreshadowed sacrifice of the coming Lamb of God, Creator and Saviour, is as old as mankind.
Conclusion: In the twenty-first century, as Israel is returning back to their Promised Land, China is returning back to their ShangDi. Shen Zhou is destined to once again be called the Land of God! Fifty years ago, there were just over a million Christians in China. Today their numbers grew beyond hundreds of millions. Their faith grew not in favorable conditions but under tremendous persecutions. Not in laughter but in tears. Not by strength but by meekness. Not in beautiful cathedrals but in smelly dungeons. Many Chinese people, who are overseas, fill churches, fellowships, Bible study groups and evangelical meetings. After thousands of years, modern China is now thirsting for truth, and tasting truth again!