Posted by: Randall Niles | November 7, 2008

ShangDi

“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 [ShangDi], 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.”  

(Chinese emperor recitation from the ancient “Border Sacrifice,” translated by James Legge, The Notions of the Chinese Concerning God and Spirits, Hong Kong Register Office, 1852, p. 28.)

 

During the 2008 Olympics, television viewers got occasional glimpses of the huge “Temple of Heaven” complex in Beijing, China. Now a phenomenal 8,858,000 square-foot tourist attraction, it was completed by the Ming Dynasty in 1420 AD as a place to offer an annual sacrifice to Heaven. This rite of worship lasted nearly 500 years, until the Manchu Dynasty was finally deposed in 1911 AD.

So, what happened once a year at the Temple of Heaven?
 
According to ancient records collected by the Ming Dynasty in 1366 AD, the annual ceremony was a continuation of the “Border Sacrifice,” which goes back to at least the Chinese “Legendary Period” (Emperor Shun; 2256 to 2205 BC). Shu Jing, the Book of Chinese History compiled by Confucius in the 5th century BC, describes the Border Sacrifice as an annual offering of an “unblemished bull” or “beautiful sheep” to ShangDi at Mount Tai in Shandong Province, at the eastern border of China. The Border Sacrifice was moved from Mount Tai to Beijing in the 15th century.
 
OK, so what?   
 
Remarkably, ShangDi is the High God of the ancient Chinese. Also known as Tien (“Heaven”), He was worshipped as Creator God for thousands of years. Throughout history, ShangDi was known as the “Heavenly Ruler” and the Chinese emperors were known as the “Sons of Heaven.” At the Temple of Heaven, it was the ruling emperor who reverently entered the “Imperial Vault” and sacrificed a bull or sheep on the huge, white, marble Altar of Heaven.
 
As part of the annual ceremony, the following words were recited:
“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!”  (The Notions of the Chinese Concerning God and Spirits, pp. 24-25.
Could it be that all people of the world, including the Chinese, are descendants of Babel, the first great civilization after the Flood? Could it be that the Chinese understood the nature of God consistent with Yahweh of the Hebrews?
 
Why do so many ancient records reveal that “pagan” leaders acknowledged the one, true God of Heaven? Abimelech of the Philistines (Genesis 21:22); Pharaoh of the Egyptians (Genesis 41:38-39); Balaam of the Mesopotamians (Numbers 22:38); Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians (Daniel 4:37); Artaxerxes of the Persians (Ezra 7:23)…
 
Could it be…?
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