The Most High God. The Bible says he has not left himself without evidence. This is Beijing China and this is the Temple of Heaven. This amazing structure behind me has stood on this exact location for more than 600 years. But its purpose goes back thousands of years. A structure like this has existed for more than 4,000 years. Its purpose was to celebrate the annual border sacrifice, the annual border sacrifice offered each year by the Emperor of China in dedication to the God Shang Di.
Shang Di in Chinese means “the Most High God, Lord of heaven”. Shang Di is revealed throughout Chinese history as a benevolent creator God. Clean animal sacrifices were offered to him. This structure was for that purpose of those sacrifices made every year by the Emperor serving as high priest for the people, acknowledging the blessings and the benefits of Shang Di and asking for atonement for all the sins of the people. When the Emperor would come out, he would spend time in the temple of the prayer of good harvest behind me. He would meditate and he would pray. Inside there is no image of Shang Di. There is simply a placard with the characters that spell out Supreme Ruler Shang Di. In fact, in all of China’s history there has never been an image ever found credited to Shang Di. He was an unseen God, like the God of the Bible.
When the Emperor would make the presentation of the sacrifice, he would recite certain declarations. Those are recorded in the history of the Ming Dynasty and we know exactly what they are. Shang Di is attributed with remarkable characteristics that sound like they come straight out of Genesis chapter 1. You were before the beginning. And in the beginning you created the earth out of chaos. You created the planets and you set them revolving along with the Sun and the moon. You created all of the animals. You created mankind, all with their reproductive capabilities in place. You alone are God and of your kingdom there is no end. Sounds like Scripture? Well, how was it that the Chinese knew these things about Shang Di?
The origins of the Chinese language go all the way back more than 4,500 years. That’s pretty much undisputed. That puts it within relatively close timeframe of the biblical event of the Tower of Babel when the languages were divided and the cultures spread out all over the face of the planet. Oral traditions handed down, the people of China would have known the very same stories that are recorded for us in the first eleven chapters of the book of Genesis. They knew about Shang Di. They honored and worshiped him. Over time, the knowledge of Zhang Di became smaller and smaller and smaller until the worship of Zhang Di was viewed as simply the emperor’s worship or he was known as the God of the emperor only. But it doesn’t change the reality of the history that brought all this into being and the very purpose of it. Zhang Di needs to be known by the people of China today. How will he be made known? He’s found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, there reveals to us the Most High God. He has not left himself without evidence.