The Real Gospel in the Stars (China)
The Real Gospel in the Stars (China)
The story told by many cultures in the stars shares many similarities with each other, similar to the mythological stories told in many religions, but what is the source of these stories and ways of looking at the sky, and where do they originate. I will argue the knowledge passed down through so many generations originates from the Israelite people and that from that point onward multiple other groups adopted and changed these stories. I will also try to identify the original constellations and their meanings if the origin is revealed to me in YHW's might.
Asia holds the oldest unbroken record of astronomical data that we have to this date. The oldest document comes from China in the form of Oracle bone inscriptions, which explained astronomical events and their interpretation for the ancient Chinese. This record provides rudimentary practices of astronomy which do not provide much insight into the deeper understanding of the heavens from the Chinese. Despite the former, the inscriptions prove the usage of a lunar calendar for most activities, some pagan activities surrounding religion and divination, and the identification of some asterisms such as the "Three Stars" or "The Five Star". The bone scripts date around 14-16 centuries before Yeshua and although ancient, provide no real prove of a chinese mazzaroth.
The 28 Mansions
It wouldn't be until 206 BC when any real records for the constellations would appear, through "The Book of Han" which talks about the Han Dynasty. This text among many other similar ones, would explain what we know as the 28 mansions. The 28 mansions is a system for dividing the sky based on the path of the moon on the sky. I have yet to understand this system completely but I've found multiple great resources on this system if you are interested. My brief conclusions on the system have been that based on historical timelines and visualization of the different constellations, it is quite likely that the Babylonians influenced the chinese's development of the system without sharing the same constellations. Having said that, I've discovered that the 28 divisions of the sky are a less common system for ancient cultures to approach the mazzaroth and this system deserves further exploration.
If we assume that the 28 mansions were a direct influence from other cultures upon the Chinese, it is quite easy to assertain that it came from the same place as most other astronomical knowledge in the ancient world, Babylon. Nedham & Bezold support my notion with more academic merit. Now, the initial division of the sky into 28th could be attributed to the Babylonians and their influence, however the further symbologies in the system towards animals and body parts appear to be a latter addition to the system entirely attributable to the Chinese. For example the first representation of the mansions with personalities began 207 years after Yeshua. Another example is mythological and pagan interpretations which would come afterwards at around the 4th to 7th century, this would include mystifying men into the system and idolizing animals in the same. Finally, body parts would be incorporated into the system through Daoist influence. Kim Soyeon provides an excellent overview of the history of the 28 mansions sytem which elaborates on the aforementioned.
From this brief exploration it is fascinating to see how some of the most ancient civilizations who possess the oldest records of astronomical events can acquire arguably pure knowledge, from a source such as the Babylonians which I believe Daniel taught during the Babylonian exile, and then be tremendously influenced and shaped by magic interpretations of the heavens. I will not cover the aforementioned Chinese system and its corruptions such as animal idolatry and other weird magic practices as it's initial origin and its connection to Babylon has proven satisfactory. Nonetheless, I will explore the origin of the 28 division of the heavens through further exploration of subsequent cultures such as the Tibetan, Indian, Persian and arabic cultures. Keep an eye for those posts.
Yeshua in China
Now that we've explored the origin of China's astronomical fundamentals I'll briefly cover the spread of the gospel in Asia, as this topic is crucial to a proper understanding of astronomical heritage and its distribution. Historical discussion will ensue with very little astronomy, you've been warned.
AD 635 a missionary arrived to China in Chang' An with the scriptures. The scriptures were translated in the imperial library and the emperor read them himself and was impressed, founding a Siryan church saying:
"Right principles have no invariable name, holy men have no invariable station, instruction is the object of benefiting the people at large. The greatly virtuous Alopen of the kingdom of Syria has brought his sacred books and images from that distant path and has presented them at our chief capital, having examined the principles of this religion we find them to be purely excellent and natural and investigating its originating source we find that it has taken its rise from the establishement of important truths. It's ritual is free from perplexing expressions, its principles will survive when the framework is forgotten, it is beneficial to all creatures, it is advantageous to mankind, let it be published throughout the empire and let the proper authority build a Syrian Church in the capital which shall be governed by 21 priests".
It is important to note that the description of these men that carried the scriptures from the Asian scholars denotes rituals classical of the early Christian church, yet other rituals more characteristic of Messianics were also present such as a seventh day rest and sacrifices, although these latter ones being corrupted when contrasted with Torah. Despite the former, the Chinese represented the Messiah and the scriptural accounts in images and texts with remarkable objectivity. Some accounts claimed the Messiah to be born in Syria which represented the west at the time. They claimed the Messiah was born "with a bright star announcing the event", this in turn "made Persians observing the splendor come to pay tribute". Interestingly enough, this account shows how people void of influence from Western culture, described the arrival of the Messiah with their understanding. Also, this accounts tell of the fulfillment of the dispensation of Yeshua's testimony by 24 holy men who were pivotal for these early believers. This religion was referred to as the "illustrious religion" from which the world became enlightened.
Example of depiction of Yeshua
Gaozong of Tang (628-683), the emperor, continued supporting the truth for which I believe Thomas the Apostle can be credited, he did not start the Nestorian Church (First church in China) but it seems he started its spread unto Asia (further research needed). Unfortunately, from 699-713 the Buddhists gained enough power to persecute people of this "Illustrious religion", forcing burial of early Christian documents only to emerge in 1625.
China's ancient history paves the way in our exploration of ancient astronomy to figure out what is the real gospel in the stars and where did it come from? Thank you for joining me, Shalom.
First Chrisitans arriving in China https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOc7XtqH5OE
Primitve chinese language https://factsanddetails.com/china/cat4/sub16/entry-4314.html
Nestorian Church Origin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1L4KLUr9v8
28 Mansions in Chinese Astronomy: https://read.dukeupress.edu/sungkyun-journal-of-east-asian-studies/article/22/1/1/299045/Zoomorphizing-the-Asterisms-Indigenous
Babylonian influence in Chinese astronomy: https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=4sTb1KsvupgC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&ots=gO8o8GWgJV&sig=L0u0_mx8iuvFizTb0xOwRY6Vu8w&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false. https://ixtheo.de/Record/1136782192
Great analysis on the 28 mansions origin: https://read.dukeupress.edu/sungkyun-journal-of-east-asian-studies/article/22/1/1/299045/Zoomorphizing-the-Asterisms-Indigenous