Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Chinese Jews


The Chiang-Min Jews of Sichuan


In the book Isaiah we find the Hebrew name Sinim. Sin is Hebrew name for China. And the inhabitants (The Chinese are called "Sinim". The verse reads:

"Behold, these are coming from afar. These from the north and the west and

these from the land of Sinim. Shout O Heavens and rejoice O earth, for

Adonai has comforted his people. And has taken back His afflicted ones in love."

In fortlike villages in the high mountain ranges on the Chinese-Tibetan border live the Chiang-Min of Szechuan. According to the Scottish missionary, Reverend Thomas Torrance, who visited Chengdu in 1918, the Chiang-Min are descendants of the ancient Israelites who arrived in China several hundred years before the common era.

Torrance issued several publications in the 1920s on the subject of the customs and religion of the Chiang, and in 1937 produced his work China’s First Missionaries: Ancient Israelites – a culmination of his ideas concerning the origins and life of the Chiang-Min. 

Torrance notes that the Chiang-Min "...retain unquestionable marks of being members of the Israelitish branch of the Semitic race..."

among them unmistakable Semitic features. He finds many customs common to ancient Israelite religion. The Chiang-Min believe in one God and serve the Abbah Molan, reminiscent of the Israelite Malach or messenger of God (angel). "In times of calamity or acute distress, the people have a moan or cry of a ‘Yawei’ sound - very suggestive...of the Biblical name of G'd." 

The Chiang conception of sacrifice, too, according to Torrance, came from the ancient Israelites. The plough used by the Chiang is similar to the ancient Israelite plough and is drawn by two oxen, this in accordance with the stipulation in Deut. 22:10: "You shall not plough with an ox and ass together." Chiang-Min priests, like the ancient Israelite priests wear girdles to bind their robes, and bear a sacred rod shaped like a serpent, reminiscent of the Biblical Nehushtan (the brass serpent made by Moses: Numbers 21:9; II Kings 18:4).

There are Jews who established communities in various parts of China, chiefly in Kaifeng, who probably arrived in the region in the 10th-11th centuries as traders via the "Silk Route." 

Many missionaries who came into contact with the Chinese Jews in the 17th through 19th centuries were convinced that they were descendants of the Lost Tribes who had either arrived through Khourasan and Turkestan or on the sea route through India and the Malayan archipelago; most authorities, however, claim they are of Persian Jewish origin.



The Scottish missionary Rev. Thomas Torrance in China, 1920s. Torrance claimed the Chiang-Min of West Szechuan were descendants of the ancient Israelites.




The Day Of Jezreel - Armageddon 

Hosea was one of the first prophets in the days of the divided kingdom of Israel, even before Isaiah. His "doomsday" prophecies concerning Jezreel allude to the dreadful battle of Armageddon, and the complete regathering and restoration of a united Israel afterward, under one King. 

Hosea 1:10-11 - "The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, ...Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel." 





"Behold, These are coming from afar. These from the north and the west and these from the land of Sinim."
Isa 49:12  There they come, some from far away, some from the north, some from the west, and some from the land of Sinim."
Isa 49:12  הנה־אלה מרחוק יבאו והנה־אלה מצפון ומים ואלה מארץ סינים׃
H5515
סינים
sı̂ynı̂ym
see-neem'
Plural of an otherwise unknown name; Sinim, a distant Oriental region: - Sinim.

This prophecy, spoken by Isaiah, promised the return of Lost Israelites from all corners of the Earth and from Sinim. Interestingly, Sinim is the Hebrew word for China. In fort-like villages in the high mountain ranges on the Chinese-Tibetan border live the Chiang-Min of West Szechuan. It has been claimed that the Chiang-Min are descendants of the ancient Israelites who arrived in China several hundred years before Messiah Yeshua.

The missionary Torrance, who visited Cheng-du in the early party of this century, insisted that the Chiang-Min strongly resemble the Israelite branch of the Semitic race. He observed that several of their customs were reminiscent of ancient Israelite tradition. Said Torrance: "The plough the Chiang use is similar to the ancient Israelite plough and is drawn by two oxen, never by an ox and an ass. This in accordance with the Biblical stipulation: 'You shall not plough with an ox and ass together.'" The Chaing-Min believe in one God. During "times of calamity or acute distress," writes Torrance, "they issue a moan or cry which sounds like 'Yawei', suggestive of the biblical name of God. The Scottish missionary also claims that the Chinese conception of Sacrifice came from the ancient Israelites. 

Finally, Chiang-Min priests, like the ancient Israelite priests, wear girdles to bind their robes, and bear a sacred rod shaped like a serpent, reminiscent of the brass serpent fashioned by Moses in the wilderness. 
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Daber: in Hebrew, to speak.
Daberu: Japanese for chatting.

Goi: a non-Hebrew or foreigner.
Gai'Jeen: prefix for a foreigner, a non-Japanese.

Kor: cold in Hebrew.
Koru: to freeze in Japanese.

Knesset: Parliament in Hebrew.
Kensei: Constitutional government in Japanese.

These are among the thousands of words and names of places with no real etymological meaning in Japanese. And they all correspond with Hebrew words. Even the Kings have similar names. The first known king of Japan, who was named Osee, ruled around 730 BC. This king has been identified with the last king of Israel, Hoshea, who died around the same time, at the time of the Assyrian exile of the ten tribes from Israel. The holy Japanese shinto temple strongly recalls the ancient holy Isrealite temple, which housed a holy of holies section and several gates. Several artifacts in Japan have been traced to Assyrian and Jewish sources, among them, a well in Koryugi with the words "well of Israel" inscribed on its side.

It has also been suggested that the carts of Otsu and Kyoto are of ancient biblical origin, as they are different from any others in Japan. Might the ancient Israelites and their wives and children have been conveyed to Japan in these carts? Among the Samurai sect, there is a tradition that their ancient ancestors came to Japan from western Asia around 660 BC.The name 'Samurai' recalls 'Samaria'. And to which tribe do the Japanese belong? There are those who claim that the Mikado, the Japanese emperor, is a descendant of the Hebrew tribe of Gad. 'Mikado' recalls the Hebrew word for 'his majesty the king,' 'Malchuto'. 

Ethiopian womenEthiopian women with qita, unleavened bread baked for passover.


Beta Israel-Ethiopia

In the latter part of the twelfth century, a legend appeared which persisted for several centuries and reached Egypt, Palestine and Europe. According to this legend, a Christian priest named Prester John ruled as monarch over a vast and wealthy Christian Empire. According to many traditions, Ethiopia was the land of the powerful Prester John's kingdom, as well as the home of the ten lost tribes. Persistent rumor had it that these African Israelite kingdoms were at constant war with Prester John, and that their armies were advancing on Rome. 

Who are these African-Jewish tribesmen so central to the Prester John legend? These are the Ethiopian Jews known both as Falashas, the Amharic word for landless, wandering Jews, and as Beta Israel, the house of Israel. In Ethiopia, they engaged primarily in agriculture, but were known also for their exquisite crafts and jewelry. Today, most of the Beta Israel live in the state of Israel. In the 1970's and 80's, the Israeli government airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, rescuing them from political and economic distress. 

According to one tradition, the Ethiopian Jews are the descendants of one of the ten tribes, as their religion is an ancient form of biblical Judaism. Their religious practices are prescribed by the Orit, the Torah translated into their Gez dialect. They possess none of the post-biblical laws. Over the centuries, the Beta Israel have been connected with the tribe of Dan. This association has eased the process of their return to the state of Israel in recent times. 
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Straddling the boundaries between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir lives the world's largest tribal grouping—the Pathans. All of the 15 million Pathans, who comprise some 60 tribes, claim descent from Kish, an ancestor of the Biblical King Saul. Many of them also claim to be them children of the Lost Israelites. The Pathans perform circumcision of the eighth day, wear a fringed garment similar to the Jewish tzizit, light candles on Friday nights and observe food taboos similar to the laws of Kashrut. In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, tens of thousands of blacks have, in recent years, declared themselves descendants of one of the Lost Tribes. The Lemba claim to have been cut off from mainstream Judaism hundreds of years ago. They are well-versed in the Old Testament and avoid marriage outside their community. From every imaginable corner of the world theories arise linking different peoples and tribes with the Ten Lost Tribes: the Crimea, the Caucasus, Kenya, Nigeria, Armenia, Persia, Central Asia, North Siberia, West Africa, Peru, South America, Australia, Ireland. While the evidence may at times seem flimsy, the Jewish elements in these tribal cultures continue to fascinate scholar and layman alike.

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