Chinese New Year is the largest holiday of the year and within it are 10 secrets which point directly to the God of the Bible. These 10 BIBLICAL SECRETS OF CHINESE NEW YEAR have never been shared in one place before until now. This article will share for the first time these 10 Biblical Secrets of Chinese New Year that will forever change how you see China and the largest Chinese holiday of the year!
Most of the background for the information in this article can be found in China and End Time Prophecy. Find out how the events unfolding today in China point to the signs of the end times.
At first glance, it seems absurd that Chinese New Year points to the God of the Bible, but with only basic exposure to Chinese culture, language, and history, one can easily see how many elements of the Old Testament permeate Chinese history. Chinese all over the world celebrate Chinese New Year, but do not know the meaning of many of their own practices.
Most Chinese assume the New Year traditions originate from animistic traditions of ancestral worship with elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The thing to know is that China has roughly five thousand years of unbroken cultural history, but Taoism and Confucianism did not start until around 500BC, and Buddhism came to China much later, around the first century AD. So, this begs the question, what religion did the ancient Chinese practice for more than two thousand years before these religions that gave way to these practices and beliefs were even founded?
Secret #1: Look to Shangdi!
To know what religion the ancient Chinese followed, we can look to the assumed first emperor of China, Huang Di, known as “the Yellow Emperor,” to whom so much of China’s culture and language is attributed. According to China’s most famous historian, Sima Qian, Huang Di is the ancestor of all the Chinese people. Huang Di would have reigned around 2,700 BC. This date is not completely agreed on, but the dates of his life would have been roughly around the same time as Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The Yellow Emperor taught the Chinese people to worship the God who created all things—the God known as Shangdi (上帝). Shangdi is the same word the Chinese Christians use today to refer to God. Shangdi is the highest deity. He is also referred to as Tian (天), or “sky,” meaning that Shangdi is high above all things and ruler of men below. The Chinese worshipped other gods, but Shangdi was the ruler of them all. Compare the word Shangdi to the word El Shaddai or just Shaddai, one of the names of the God of Israel. It’s interesting that the two words seem so close phonetically.
Secret #2: The First Chinese Prayer
The early Chinese emperors followed the teachings and practices of the Yellow Emperor by sacrificing animals to Shangdi. When they offered the border sacrifice, they did so with this prayer, which is the earliest Chinese prayer ever recorded:
Of old in the beginning, there was the great chaos, without form and dark.
The five elements had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and the moon to shine.
In the midst thereof there existed neither form nor sound.
Thou, O spiritual Sovereign, camest forth in Thy presidency, and first didst divide the grosser parts from the purer.
Thou madest heaven; Thou madest earth; Thou madest man.
All things with their reproducing power, got their being….
Compare this ancient Chinese prayer to the following passage from Genesis:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness…. Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:1–4, 11–12)
In the BTJ Bible Study series, CHASING REVIVAL, Pastor Zhang Rongliang discusses the worship of Shangdi while speaking at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. This temple is the world’s largest existing sacrificial altar. When thinking of Chinese religions, many people often picture the many evil demon faces and representative icons they see on temples common throughout China. However, in this temple, there is not one picture or statue of Shangdi. This is odd for Chinese cultural religions. The reason may be that the building of the temple was influenced by the worship of the true God, Shangdi. Consider the lack of images of Shangdi in light of Exodus 20:4: “You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
Secret #3: Old Testament in the Chinese Language
When looking at Chinese New Year pointing to the God of the Bible, one needs to look no further than the Chinese language. Chinese is made up of thousands of different characters, and each character tells a story. These Chinese characters reflect the beginnings of Chinese history (the time when the children and grandchildren of Noah’s sons were still alive), so it would make sense for Chinese characters to tell the story of humanity’s beginnings, mirroring what is written in Genesis.
During Chinese New Year, every home likes to put the word for blessing (福) on their door. This Chinese character is comprised of 4 characters – God together with man (symbolized by the measure word of one mouth) in a garden. In the Bible, Christians learn that the original blessing for man in the creation story was to be together with God in the Garden of Eden.
In China and End Time Prophecy, several Chinese characters are broken down to reveal the original creation story found also in the book of Genesis.
Secret #4: The Equinox
Chinese New Year falls on a different day every year, because it is based on the lunar calendar, not the solar calendar. The traditional Chinese Lunar Calendar, which originated about 4,000 years ago, was aimed at dividing the seasons and festivals for agriculture and is integrated with the equinox (the division of night and day).
Likewise, the largest holiday of the Jewish Calendar is Passover, which is Easter Weekend for Christians. This holiday also falls on a different day every year for the same reasons. The Passover is based on the lunar calendar, originating about 4,000 years ago, and was aimed at dividing the seasons and festivals for agriculture and is integrated with the equinox.
Secret #5: Twelve
The Chinese New Year is made up of 12 Zodiac signs. This year, 2023, is the Year of the Rabbit. In the Bible, twelve is considered a perfect number and symbolizes God’s power and authority, as well as serving as a perfect governmental foundation. It can also symbolize completeness, as in a complete year. The Jewish Calendar consists of 12 months. Israel is made up of 12 tribes, coming from the 12 sons of Jacob. Ishmael, who was born to Abraham through Hagar, had twelve princes. Jesus had 12 disciples. The New Jerusalem will have 12 gates. God commanded that 12 unleavened cakes of bread be placed every week in the temple.
Chinese are very keen to look for auspiciousness during Chinese New Year and the fact that there are 12 Zodiac signs seems to be more than a simple coincidence with the number 12 in the Bible.
Secret #6: 15 Days
Chinese New Year is a 15-day-long celebration taking place at the first segment, or month, of the new year. Each of the 15 days has a specific custom and practice in relation to 春节 (Spring Festival).
Likewise, the Jewish Passover occurs on the 15th day of the first month of the Hebrew year during the spring festival and also has very specific customs and practices.
Secret #7: The God of Creation and Redemption
One of the primary dishes served during Chinese New Year is Dumplings. The Chinese eat them because dumplings look like ears, given to man by the goddess Nuwa. Nuwa is considered to be the creator of man, by taking clay from the ground to form man.
Compare this idea of man being created from the clay of the earth to the story of God forming man from the dirt of the ground in Genesis 2:7.
According to Chinese mythology, there was a great battle that broke out in heaven which caused massive division and devastation. Following the battle in heaven there was a world-wide flood. Nuwa, the creator of man, was the only one who could patch the holes in heaven and bring restoration and redemption.
Nuwa is to be remembered every time dumplings are served during Chinese New Year.
Secret #8: The Rooster Crows
Chicken is always served during Chinese New Year, because its name in Chinese (吉) is a homophone, which also means ‘good luck’ or ‘prosperity’. The chicken also represents the crowing that takes place at midnight, starting off the New Year as the fireworks are set off. Chinese New Year signs can often be seen with a rooster in the background crowing loudly, ringing in the beginning of the new year festivities.
Christians cannot help but see this iconic symbolism as the rooster that crowed three times prior to Passover, on the evening that Jesus was betrayed.
Secret #9: The Blood of Protection
Every Chinese home around the world will have ‘Duilian’ which are blood-red banners on each of their doorposts. These blood colored banners on the doorposts protect the home from an evil spirit that roams around seeking to eat children.
This practice has been in China for thousands of years and is irrefutably similar to the biblical story of the Hebrews, who were commanded by God to put blood on their doorposts to protect their families, so that the destroyer would know which homes to pass over.
In addition to blood-red banners on their doorposts, the Chinese also wear blood-red clothing to keep the evil demon of Nian away. This Chinese New Year concept makes the idea of being protected by the blood of Jesus so much easier to understand.
Secret #10: The Third Day
On the first day of Chinese New Year, the doorposts have blood-red banners, a Chinese character representing the blessing of God and man together in the Garden hangs on the door, a rooster crows to start it off, and dumplings are consumed in memory of the goddess that created man from dirt and brought redemption to heaven, but on the third day everything comes to a screeching halt.
On the third day of Chinese New Year, something very strange happens. On the third day, Chinese stay home and do not go out to visit anyone. They do not invite their family to their home and they do not go out to visit friends, because the Chinese god of anger is roaming around. Something has set him off and sent him into a rage. He is represented by a scarlet dog and it seems that he has suffered a great loss and is frantically roaming the earth seeking whom he may destroy. His time is limited though. His time of roaming the earth and seeking who he may destroy comes to an end because, after the third day, the great Jade Emperor, God of all creation, also known as the Heavenly Father, or Shangdi, is welcomed back into the home where a feast awaits Him.
Chinese New Year is so foreign to Christians and it should not be. Chinese culture, language, and even festivals are so rich and deep in history that they inadvertently carry covered secrets that reveal the origins of man. If we only take the time to closely listen to the ancient voices of China, the Creator will reveal that He is not a foreign God introduced by the foreign missionary, but He is the original God in China who has been there long before the first missionary ever arrived and simply never left.