Genesis Revealed in Kanji (part 6): the greatest sacrifice

Animal sacrifice recorded in the bible was a means of obtaining God’s favor and this custom to can be found in kanji characters.

After Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden we know that they had many children, but the first two were Cain and Abel… Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of fruit of the ground, and able also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain his offering he had no regard for. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. (Genesis 4:2-5)

Why is it that the Lord favored Abel’s animal sacrifice but had no regard for Cain’s fruit offering? it’s not really clear, but we can still see it reflected in kanji characters. Ancient Chinese seemed to have an understanding that the sacrifice of a sheep for oneself brought righteousness.


The kanji for oneself has two radicals meaning hand and spear.


After the great flood Noah also gave an animal sacrifice to the Lord (Genesis 8:20) and the custom continued after the Tower of Babel migration of people groups to the ends of the earth. After this the bible records the history of the nation of Israel in which animal sacrifice became the law. They thought that by this alone they could be made righteous and favored in God’s sight as Abel and Noah were. This is reflected in the kanji for sacrifice.


The law required that the animals  sacrificed had to be beautiful without defect, it shall be a male without blemish, of the bulls of the sheep or the goats. You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be accepted for you… Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the Lord (Leviticus 22:19-22). Another version of the kanji sacrifice used Chinese though not Japanese illustrates this.

sacrifice 2

How is it that ancient Israel’s law of animal sacrifice is so similar to what is found in ancient kanji characters? It gives credit to the Tower of Babel event as historical fact, that these two nations really did shared the same history before they migrated away from each other.

In Israel however, the law of being made righteous through animal sacrifice was fundamentally challenged after Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose from death. Followers of Jesus began preaching that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24). For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12). For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Hebrews 10:14). People began looking to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as the ultimate sacrifice for all sin and even called him the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Amazingly, foreshadows of Jesus’ sacrifice can be found in kanji character created thousands of years before Jesus was born.

After Adam disobeyed God, bringing sin into the world, all of human history has been looking forward to a once for all sacrifice for sin. This was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Those who believe in him are blessed being made righteous and favored in God’s site.

blessed 2

The radical for sheep is present in the kanji perfect. Jesus was perfect and sinless.


People said that Jesus had the words of eternal life (John 6:68). Even as a child he was well-informed sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions… all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers (Luke 2:46-47).


Jesus using water as an analogy for eternal life said, “Whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring welling up to eternal life (John 4:14). ‘The Discovery of Genesis’ by Kang and Nelson elaborates that the character for eternal 永 obviously uses the water 水 radical! A point 丶 at the top of the figure 永 signifies an “anointing” or “dedication.” (page 118)


Jesus was put to death on a cross which is often referred to figuratively as a tree and became the example of how those who love God should live their lives. (Matthew 10:38)


Jesus Christ entire life was a sacrifice even to death so that his sinless life could be given to all who believe in him. What Adam ruined for humanity in the Garden of Eden Jesus restored, for it, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through the one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17). He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling places, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way towards him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26-27). For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life (John 3:16).

In Category: God & Japan


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