Years ago I purchased a book called ‘God’s promise to the Chinese’. This book confirms the idea that the ancient Chinese indeed incorporated an unusual knowledge of sacred history into their written language. Concentrating on the analysis of authenticated “oracle bone” characters, the authors believe this book confirms their proposed “hieroglyphic” interpretation of Chinese characters.
This book was probably the one that helped me to believe in shadows of truth in all ritual, myth and religions. The real truth and absolute truth however is found in the books of the bible; myth became fact, or conversely, fact became myth in some cases.
Anyway, because I have been thinking about this a bit lately I thought I would share a little bit about ShangDi. Here’s an article about the Chinese ShangDi god. This article is taken some quotes from the book called ‘God’s promise to the Chinese’…
[…]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’ [source]
Clearly to me (and I hope you) it appears that ancient ritual and myth are distortions or shadows of what the bible tells us about God, creation and the flood. After all, every other culture has their own version of the creation account and the flood account. Just a quick google will bring up heaps of information out there regarding this.
Recently on Facebook I have been having a debate with someone about myth from other religions and cultures and its correlation to the bible. This same person said that although the bible is 100% true it is not 100% fact! This person also said that the bible although 100% true and is in no way factual believes that his doesn’t do away with the message of what the bible is trying to say. My question to this person would be… what is the message of the bible?
What I see is that the bible cannot be understood or the message really grasped unless you have been illuminated by the Holy Spirit who always points Christ Jesus resurrected and the need for our salvation.
So pretty much people who read the bible without the Holy Spirit’s indwelling will read it as any other ancient text and see how they have similar stories within a different array of past and present cultures. But I highly doubt that they can tell us what the real message is, it certainly won’t be the same faith once and for all delivered to the saints.
Perhaps that is the question I should have led with conerning this person (what IS the message of the bible then?) instead of first trying to explain how the bible is true and factual regarding Jesus and how the Word became flesh died for our sins and was resurrected on the third day and how those of us who believe share in that same resurrection.
People are searching. They are trying to understand this complex world in which we live. They are becoming proactive in trying to create an utopian world. What does this tell us about humanity? Doesn’t it say that in our collective ancient memory that we once were part of a perfect Edenic (is there such a word?) style world that we still long for? And because of this environmentalism in all its forms wants to return to the garden of Eden. Yet, biblically speaking the gates to Eden are closed to us for a time. But that time will be reversed.
Gen 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Since sin entered into the garden man would toil against thorns and would have to work very hard against a fallen world. Yet we also learn that the tree of life was kept from us. The tree of life does appear again in paradise but it is only available to those who have been born of the Spirit and have entered into this paradise because of the blood of Jesus.
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.
If you fail to understand the real message of the bible because you are void of the Holy Spirit then you simply wont enter. In fact, what you actually do is take away and add to the Good Book by trying to understand it as a natural man. This natural man does not have spiritual eyes to see.
Rev 22:18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
Who is it that will be left outside?
Rev 22:15 Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.
Some may call me narrow minded. But that’s okay. I don’t want to stray from the narrow path. I don’t want to embrace and all inclusive mythical message which reduces the REAL message that was once and for all delivered to the saints.
Jud 1:3 Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.
Barnes elaborates further…
by the "faith" is meant the doctrine of faith, in which sense it is used whenever faith is said to be preached, obeyed, departed, or erred from, or denied, or made shipwreck of, or when exhortations are made to stand fast, and continue in it, or to strive and contend for it, as here; and which is sometimes called the word of faith, the faith of the Gospel, the mystery of faith, or most holy faith, the common faith, and, as here, faith only; and designs the whole scheme of evangelical truths to be believed; such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity and sonship of Christ, the divinity and personality of the Spirit; what regards the state and condition of man by nature, as the doctrines of the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity, the corruption of nature, and the impotence of men to that which is good; what concerns the acts of grace in the Father, Son, and Spirit, towards, and upon the sons of men; as the doctrines of everlasting love, eternal election, the covenant of grace, particular redemption, justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, pardon and reconciliation by his blood, regeneration and sanctification by the grace of the Spirit, final perseverance, the resurrection of the dead, and the future glory of the saints with Christ.
Correct and sound doctrine is spoken about throughout the New Testament. That doctrine is THE message. It is the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity and sonship of Christ. It is the doctrine of sin and the corruption of nature. It is the doctrine of Grace, Redemption and Justification only found in Messiah Jesus. If you don’t get THAT message, then you don’t get to live in Paradise or a perfect utopian Edenic world. You cannot partake of the ‘Tree of Life’. You will remain outside of the gates never being allowed to enter. If you don’t get THAT message then you have committed idolatry and you do worship other god’s you already have a master and that master is NOT Jesus. Your master is a master at lies and deceit. Your master has a master plan for you. Your master is thinking of ways to make you believe that you are the master of self and like little gods you can save and redeem the world socially, environmentally, economically and religiously.
No matter how you try to change this world it is under the influence of sin and it is also waiting for its redemption; the new heaven and new earth. This world cannot be restored to it’s Eden like paradise until Jesus comes again and restores all things unto Himself. This does not mean that we are not to be good stewards of this earth in the interim period (see this article for more on that) but it will never be the real Paradise of which the bible speaks. Nor should it be without the Second Coming. Christ hasn’t finished with this earth yet.