THE EARTHLY INHERITANCE SERIES of BIBLE SUBJECTS
Various Bible study guides in subjects pertaining to
New Earth prophecy, as taught by Paul Phelps.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
ORIENTAL ORIGINS in the BIBLE
Bible quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version
except for my own translations or as otherwise indicated.
A Bible study guide, which reveals the origins
of the Oriental peoples according to the Bible.
A Bible study project by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2000.
The Bible speaks about origins and this study examines Biblical genealogy
to find the origin of the Oriental peoples, the world’s largest family of nations.
The orient has the largest population group of earth. The anthropological and
historical evidences show that all East Asian peoples had their origin in China.
From the Bible we can identify the first people group in China.
All men in fact belong to one family because Adam and Eve were parents
of all (Gen. 3:20,) but there are three genealogies after the Flood; Gen. 9:18-19,
The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem,
Ham, and Japheth... These three were the sons of Noah;
and from these the whole earth was peopled.
Bible scholars have traced Ham’s descendants to Africa, the Mediterranean,
the Indian Ocean, and into the South Pacific regions. The name Ham means hot
and indicates that Ham’s people went into hot climates. Japheth’s descendants
are traceable to the Aryan people of Europe, central Asia, Iran and north India.
The name Japheth means enlarged (expanded in size) which reveals the nature
of the Japhetic people, and is also prophetic of their world-wide expansion.
Bible scholarship tradition has the view that the descendants of Shem settled
only in western Asia, mostly Arabs and Jews. But this conclusion does not take
east Asia into account (half of humanity) and gives only a small portion to Shem.
But that cannot be correct because Shem was given the greatest honour of all.
He also said, “Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem...” (Gen. 9:26).
According to the Biblical record, Shem is the original forefather of both the
West Asian people and East Asian people. In the Genesis account, the ancestry
of all the East Asian people can be traced to Shem.
Shem means honourable name, which fits well with East Asian cultural values.
In the Hebrew Bible, God is referred to as ‘The Honourable Name’ (HA-SHÈM),
thus associating God with the people of Shem. In Genesis 10:21, Shem is called
“the father of all the children of Eber,” meaning the Hebrew people. The word
Hebrew means ‘of Eber,’ or ‘descended from Eber.’ Gen. 10:25,
To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg,
for in his days the earth was divided,
and his brother’s name was Joktan.
The Hebrew race has therefore descended from Eber in two branches: Peleg
and Joktan. The name Peleg means division, (indicating the division of mankind
in Babylon, Gen. 11:7-9), and the name Joktan means diminished, (indicating the
diminished lifespan of mankind at that time).
Joktan’s family of thirteen sons is the largest family of early Bible times. Only
Joktan’s first-generation lineage was recorded; Gen. 10:26-29; I Chron. 1:19-23.
(Even this much is unusual because Joktan’s descendants are not mentioned in
later Bible history.) All later Bible history is based on Peleg’s lineage (Gen. 11)
so readers have traditionally thought Peleg’s descendants are the only existing
Hebrews. Peleg’s lineage has more visibility in the Bible because it led up to
Abraham—and God took Abraham’s people to lead the Bible narrative. But the
descendants of Joktan made another even larger branch of Hebrews. The total
disappearance of Joktan’s people from the Bible narrative means that his family
left west Asia entirely and migrated to another land far away.
For over a century Noah and the Flood survivors were migrating in the east,
(eastwards of the Euphrates River plain, which is Shinar). Gen. 11:2,
And as they migrated from the east,
they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
The plain of Shinar was later renamed Babylon (see Gen. 11:9). The Hebrew
phrase ‘from the east’ is MI-KÈDEM. A literal translation of MI is ‘coming from’
or ‘from’ (and it cannot be translated otherwise). KÈDEM is ‘the front of the east’
or ‘the orient.’ The root meaning of KÈDEM is ‘front’ —in the geographic sense
referring to the east Asian coastlands facing sunrise. In the time sense it also
can be ‘ancient beginnings’ (the front of time) and at times may be translated as
‘ancient orient.’ In Gen. 11:2, the word KÈDEM means that the Flood survivors
had migrated from someplace farther east before entering the land of Babylon.
(Many Bible versions have poor translations of MI, and KÈDEM.)
The earliest sojourn of the Flood survivors was eastwards of Babylon, across
the Iranian plateau, requiring more than a century according to Gen. 11:10-16.
It could even have taken well beyond a century before Peleg entered Babylon.
We know that Peleg migrated to Babylon because his descendants dwelt there
(including Abraham, Gen. 11); but Joktan did not go with Peleg into Babylon.
This pre-Babylonian sojourn is an important factor for it helps us to know the
location of Joktan’s migration route. He must have separated from the caravan
before they came to Babylon because he chose to go east.
The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha
in the direction of Sephar, the hill country of the east.
The caravan migrating westward towards Babylon was already in the east, so
Joktan’s decision to go eastward means that he separated from the caravan and
turned towards the orient; (we have our own translation of Gen. 10:30 later on).
Some Bible scholars have offered an opinion that Joktan migrated into Arabia
because two of his sons, Sheba and Havilah, have the same names as two tribes
in Arabia. But those Arabian tribes are of Cushite descent in the lineage of Ham
and are not in the lineage of Shem at all (see Gen. 10:6-7). Arabia is part of the
migration route to Africa, the land of Cush; therefore the first peoples in Arabia
were Cushite, in the lineage of Ham.
(Many Biblical names may occur multiple times in the different genealogies but
that does not confirm a genealogical kinship; only the context can indicate that.)
The separation of Peleg’s clan and Joktan’s clan made two Hebrew peoples,
the Western Hebrews of western Asia and the Eastern Hebrews of eastern Asia.
Most nations of eastern Asia have Hebrew ancestry.
Noah’s Flood erased pre-Flood place names but new names were given after
the Flood. Biblical name meaning is important. In Genesis 10:30, Mesha means
‘departure,’ indicating Joktan’s place of departure from the caravan. His group
took their departure from someplace on the Iranian plateau or central Asia and
that place of departure (MÈSHA) was the starting point of Joktanite settlement.
Joktan’s clan must have been the first to scout the ancient Silk Road that later
became the main road of migration into east Asia. Mesha (the departure point)
was the start of the Silk Road. The Silk Road's ancient start was near the city of
Mashhad in north-eastern Iran. The Iranian name Mashhad has its origin from
the ancient Hebrew name Mesha.
The phrase “in the direction of Sephar” is from the Hebrew word SEPHARÀH,
and literally means ‘towards a numerous population.’ Instead of a name, if we
take word meaning, this word is prophetic of the numerous population in China
and throughout the orient.
The phrase “the hill country of the east” is from HAR HA-KÈDEM, and a literal
translation is ‘the mountain of the orient.’ This is our own literal translation of
And their dwelling place shall be from the departure point,
as you go towards a numerous population, the mountain of the orient.
“The mountain of the orient” could be just a symbolic term for the numerous
East Asian populations, or it may be a special mountain marking the far-eastern
extent of the Joktanite populace; but either way it certainly means that Orientals
are Joktan’s descendants. (Joktan is indicated from the context of Gen. 10:30.)
Chinese history says the first migrations came into China’s eastern plains from
the west, along the Silk Road, and the accepted dating of early settlements in the
Yellow River valley is in harmony with the Biblical record. Tribal diversity in this
area began with Joktan’s thirteen sons and their families, and related Patriarchal
families. East Asia was gradually populated by the descendants of these Semitic
settlers. From this we see that East Asian mainland peoples are entirely Semitic
and may be identified in Bible terms as Eastern Hebrews. Also other west Asian
tribes later came into China such as Assyrians, the ten northern Israeli tribes and
Persian Jews. These groups were Semitic and eventually assimilated into China.
East Asian languages are evidently unrelated to the languages of west Asia,
such as Aramaic and Canaanite Hebrew. This obvious non-relationship has led
many to conclude that the Orientals are not Semitic. But East Asian languages
are also unrelated to Japhetic Indo-European languages and Hamitic languages.
The Bible does not indicate that all Semitic people must have related languages,
or that they originated from Babylon. (These early opinions will need reviewing
in the light of continuing discovery.)
This means that Chinese and other East Asian ancestry is not identifiable solely
by language analysis. We have a different explanation for East Asian languages.
The language that Noah brought over from the pre-Flood world apparently
continued in this world for over two centuries and was a unifying influence until
the speech of the Babylonians became confused (Gen. 11:1). The Bible doesn't
say what happened to the original language. The only reason given us for the
speech confusion is that God wanted the Babylonian people to disperse abroad
(Gen. 11:8-9). Therefore God did not change the language of people that were
not in Babylon because they were not part of the problem! The people that had
earlier removed from the Babylon crowd and had chosen their migration routes
would have continued speaking the language brought over by Noah.
This means that Joktan’s clan remained unaffected by the Babylon chaos, and
kept the ancient original language brought over by Noah. Joktan went to China
which explains why Chinese is not related to languages that began in Babylon.
This also explains why China’s language does not identify ancestry in an easily
recognisable way. Chinese legends indicate a great antiquity for the language
and the findings of archaeology support this conclusion.
Various non-Chinese peoples of east Asia have national languages that seem
unrelated to Chinese—and unrelated to all other Babylon-originated languages.
God may have done a miracle in China, as in Babylon, to get people moving to
other lands. The miracle of languages may have happened again, which could
explain how the non-Chinese languages of east Asia came to be.
Bible readers may be interested to read Zephaniah 3:9. It says that God will
restore a pure language for people when he establishes his kingdom on earth.
The language from Eden probably continued until Noah, with no large changes.
It was brought to China by Joktan and has remained China’s spoken language.
It certainly has seen changes in the passing of time, but much honour surrounds
the Chinese language because of its ancient origin.
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