Did a Jew Teach the Japanese Their Ancient Religion ?

Small Shinto Shrine within the grounds of the Naritasan Buddhist Temple complex.

Small Shinto Shrine within the grounds of the Naritasan Buddhist Temple complex.

In Joshua chapter 17 a certain Levite was hired by a man named Michah to be his personal priest over the graven image he had made. Later, in  chapter 18, the priest got recruited by the tribe of Dan to be their priest and father – and he took the graven image along with him.

Another instance is found in 2 Kings 17:26 where the Samaritans where transplanted into northern Israel and the LORD sent mountain lions to attack them. The Assyrians sent a Jewish priest to teach them the manner of the God of the land to stop the attacks. The priest taught them that they should fear the LORD, but they then had an ad-hoc religious jumble, serving both their old gods and the LORD:

Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. … So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. … So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” 2 Kings 17:29~41.

Someone has compiled research (Rev. Arimasa Kubo, author of “Lost Tribes of Japan) showing interesting similarities between “Shinto” – the native folk religion of Japan – and the worship of the true God as found in the Bible. This lead the researcher to conjuncture that the Japanese may be a “lost tribe” of Jews.

That is sort of like watching somebody eat a Polish sausage and then assuming the person must really be Polish. We can see from the scripture that apostate Levites went out as professional priests for hire to teach other peoples how to follow the observances found in the scriptures. That is undoubtedly how many of these ‘lost tribes’ myths began.

For example, several decades back Israel foolishly imported into their country thousands of non-Jewish blacks from Africa merely because their tribes happened to observe certain Jewish customs. They rushed to presume these blacks were really “lost Jews” and then flew them en-mass to Israel to undergo official ‘conversions’ to modern Judaism. These blacks cause Israel nothing but trouble and they are all about as Jewish as a ham sandwich. What black wouldn’t ‘convert’ to escape grinding poverty in Africa so he could live on welfare in a first-world country? There is no genetic basis for thinking those Africans are really Jews, but they undoubtedly adopted Jewish customs long ago when some wondering Jewish Levite dwelt among them.

Perhaps something similiar happened in Japan – that a Jewish priest taught them their ancient religious rituals?

General speculation based on rituals that are not unique to the Jews can’t be particularly convincing, but apparently the emphasis on cleanliness, lack of man-made idols, priest clothing with long fringes, phylacteries, and certain holiday traditions do cause some to wonder if there was an ancient connection. A very interesting tradition takes place at the Japanese mountain called Moriya – which sound just like Mt Moriah in scripture. And as coincidence would have it, the ancient Japanese would hold a festival where a boy was going to be sacrificed on the mountain, but set free at the last moment. That is just like Abraham and Isaac at Mt Moriah in Genesis 22:2 –

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

That same mountain became Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified.

Another interesting similarities comes from the Holy Mirror of Japan (the Yatakagami). It is located at Japan’s supreme shinto shrine at Ise, the shrine of the Imperial family. Like the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, their relic is situated first in a holy chamber, and then behind white curtain within and inner Holy of Holies.  The item was allegedly given to Japan’s first emperor Jimmu (c. 660 BC) by the Sun-goddess, Amaterasu.

My child, look on this Mirror as My Spirit . . . worship it as if you were worshipping My actual Presence . . . should you ever desire to see Me—gaze into it; let it be with thee on thy couch and in thy hall, and let it be to thee a holy Mirror.

It seems the original mirror was destroyed in a fire in the 11th Century, but a replica was made, and copies of the ‘holy mirror’ have been placed within the inner chamber of all Shinto shrines. (Cite)

According to some who have seen replica, the mirror contains letters which appear to be in Hebrew script:

Does the centre of the mirror contain God’s name, Jehovah? It certainly looks similar. What all the letters means apparently remains a mystery. But there is a lot of speculation involved here. We have to rely on the report of a witness who saw the mirror without direct confirmation. And he saw a replica of a replica which made in the 11tth century, and the letters may have been added at that time that weren’t on the original. So who knows what to think?

Other than their holy mirror, holy sword, and pendant, the Shinto don’t have the typical ‘idols’ found in Buddhism and other religions. This is because Shinto worships nature directly – natural items are themselves idols.

I think the research of pastor Kubo is interesting since it might explain why God has allowed the cultural Shinto traditions of Japan to last as long as they have. I don’t think it makes a very convincing case that the Japanese are themselves of Jewish extraction – rather, that their ancient fore-bearers simply learned these insights from ancient diaspora Levites who sojourned among them as priests.

Of course, it is high-time for the Japanese to now repent of worshipping rocks and trees – and Buddhas and bank accounts – and turn to worship the one true God and find salvation in the name of his Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pray for Japan.

= = =

Update: Fascinating and well done seven-part series here – http://www.youtube.com/user/nocturnalkawanua/videos

A very interesting series of coincidences. It is good that programs like this are being seen in Japan as it will familiarize the Japanese with the Bible.



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