Follow us on Twitter
Much can be learned from a study of the Chinese ideographic characters. Consider this article at http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/rr2502/res0208a.htm : ?Not many individuals would consider China a monotheistic civilization that believes in the Creation account as recorded in Genesis. Religious influences such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism have muddied the religious waters to the point that myths and magic often play a key role in public or private worship. But it has not always been this way. In fact, if we journey back in time beyond the first century B.C. (when Buddhism was introduced), beyond the fifth century B.C. (when Taoism and Confucianism simultaneously arose), and even 1,500 or more years beyond, we find a different religious atmosphere?one in which the ancient people served only one God, had no myths or idols, and kept a strict moral code (Ross, 1909, pp. 19-20).
Prior to 1911, the emperors of China observed a yearly ritual that went back almost 4,000 years. Known as the ?Border Sacrifice,? this ceremony was the year?s most important and most colorful celebration. One of the earliest accounts of the Border Sacrifice is found in Shu Jing (Book of History) compiled by Confucius, where it is recorded that Emperor Shun (who ruled from about 2265 B.C. to 2205 B.C.) sacrificed to ShangTi (sometimes written Shang Ti?literally ?Heavenly Ruler?).
As the emperors took part in this annual ceremony of paying reverence to ShangTi, the following words were recited, which clearly indicate that ShangTi was considered 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 (Legge, 1852, p. 28).
For Christians those statements should sound strangely familiar, since much of the same sentiment can be found in the opening chapter of the book of Genesis. While the Chinese may not have referred to their ?world-Creator? as God or Yahweh, ShangTi, the Creator- God of the Chinese, surely appears to be the same God of the Hebrews.
Briefly stated, most of the Han people are Hamitic in origin (the word ?Han? derived from ?Ham?), but many of the Han people are Semitic in origin ( descendants of Jobab, son of Joktan, son of Shem), having been absorbed into the more numerous Han nation. Those of Hamitic origin are descended from Pul, son of Ham. There are even some of Japhethite origin, mostly found in the Chiang clan in China. All of this suggests that Chinese are a composite of Semitic, Hamitic and Japhethite peoples. While the very earliest dynasties were led by Hamites, the Shang and Chou dynasties were led by Semitic descendants.
The Mandate of Heaven was a political-social philosophy that served as the basic Chinese explanation for the success and failure of monarchs and states down to the end of the empire in 1912 CE. Whenever a dynasty fell, the reason invariably offered by China's sages was that it had lost the moral right to rule which is given by Heaven alone. In this context heaven did not mean a personal god but a cosmic all-pervading power. Most historians today agree that the theory the Mandate of Heaven was an invention of the Zhou to justify their overthrow of the Shang.
The king, after all, was the father of his people, and paternal authority was the basic cement of Chinese society from earliest times.
Rebellion against a father, therefore, needed extraordinary justification.
In the twelfth month of the first year... Yi Yin sacrificed to the former king, and presented the heir-king reverently before the shrine of his grandfather. All the princes from the domain of the nobles and the royal domain were present; all the officers also, each continuing to discharge his particular duties, were there to receive the orders of the chief minister. Yi Yin then clearly described the complete virtue of the Meritorious Ancestor for the instruction of the young king.
He said, "Oh! of old the former kings of Xia cultivated earnestly their virtue, and then there were no calamities from Heaven.
The spirits of the hills and rivers alike were all in tranquility; and the birds and beasts, the fishes and tortoises, all enjoyed their existence according to their nature. But their descendant did not follow their example, and great Heaven sent down calamities, employing the agency of our ruler- who was in possession of its favoring appointment.
The attack on Xia may be traced to the orgies in Ming Tiao... Our king of Shang brilliantly displayed his sagely prowess; for oppression he substituted his generous gentleness; and the millions of the people gave him their hearts. Now your Majesty is entering on the inheritance of his virtue; -- all depends on how you commence your reign. To set up love, it is For you to love your relations; to set up respect, it is for you to respect your elders. The commencement is in the family and the state....
"Oh! the former king began with careful attention to the bonds that hold men together. He listened to expostulation, and did not seek to resist it; he conformed to the wisdom of the ancients; occupying the highest position, he displayed intelligence; occupying an inferior position, he displayed his loyalty; he allowed the good qualities of the men whom he employed and did not seek that they should have every talent....
"He extensively sought out wise men, who should be helpful to you, his descendant and heir. He laid down the punishments for officers, and warned those who were in authority, saying, 'If you dare to have constant dancing in your palaces, and drunken singing in your chambers, -- that is called the fashion of sorcerers; if you dare to see your hearts on wealth and women, and abandon yourselves to wandering about or to the chase, -- thar is called the fashion of extravagance; if you dare to despise sage words, to resist the loyal and upright, to put far from you the aged and virtuous, and to seek the company of...youths, -- that is called the fashion of disorder. Now if a high noble or officer be addicted to one of these three fashions with their ten evil ways, his family will surely come to ruin; if the prince of a country be so addicted, his state will surely come to ruin. The minister who does not try to correct such vices in the sovereign shall be punished with branding.'...
"Oh! do you, who now succeed to the throne, revere these warnings in your person. Think of them! -- sacred counsels of vast importance, admirable words forcibly set forth! The ways of Heaven are not invariable: -- on the good-doer it sends down all blessings, and on the evil-doer it sends down all miseries. Do you but be virtuous, be it in small things or in large, and the myriad regions will have cause for rejoicing. If you not be virtuous, be it in large things or in small, it will bring the ruin of your ancestral temple."