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1492 A.D.:  Christopher Columbus Is Involved In A Strange Reenactment of Jesus' Birth?

   Christopher Columbus

  The year 1492 A.D. is one of the truly big years in recent history.  We most commonly hear of it as the year that Christopher Columbus discovered the shores of the New World, the Americas (though just Carribean islands that year.)  And that was indeed a history changing event.  Christianity was brought to North, South, and Central America and the related islands, beginning at that time.  The light of Jesus began to shine in the hearts of many peoples native to America.  Souls of Native Americans were reached with the gospel beginning at that point.   Later, Protestants (there was not even such a thing as Protestant yet) would have a land to relocate to where they could worship as they wished, and the ground work for that began to be laid just then also, in 1492 A.D.

  But, 1492 A.D. was a big year for Spain in general.  On January 3, 1492, the Muslims in Granada, Spain, surrendered to the Spanish Army, bringing all of Spain under Christian rule for the first time in about 800 years. 

  This was a big year for Jewish peoples as well.  They were expelled in large numbers from Spain that year by the Alhambra Decree.  (yes, by King Phillip and Queen Isabella, Columbus' underwriters.)  That expulsion edict happened to take affect on July 30th, a few days before August 3, 1492, the day that Columbus set sail.  Some claim that around 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain...others claim a far smaller number.  A great number of them chose to go to Portugal and the Netherlands, but surprisingly, also to Turkey, where they were happily received. 

  One of the great instigators of this expulsion was the Dominican monk named Tomas de Torquemada, the first Grand Inquisator of the Spanish Inquisition.  The short story is that Spanish Jews that had converted to Catholicism were accused of not only continuing to secretly practice the Jewish faith, but of trying to convince others to do the same.  The Inquisition was formed to investigate this.  Torquemada had around 2,000 people burned at the stake before all was done.  There were many other issues involved.    

  There were also a good number of Jews living on the island of Crete, in the Mediterranean Sea.  These also were expelled from Crete in 1492 A.D.  And so, considering how 1492 A.D. was such a prominent year for the expulsion of God's chosen people, it is particularly interesting to see how, as time went by, the Americas would become host to millions of Jews from around the world - a place of refuge.  (They say there are more Jews in America than Israel....I'll have to fact check that, though.)  In any case, such exiles needed and deserved a place to go where they could live unharassed lives, where they would not be constantly expelled.  In the Americas, as European colonization progressed there, they found it.

  Now, we know that God watches over His people.  And we know that Jesus watches over His people as He sits by the Father waiting to receive His kingdom.  For both the Christians, the Jews, and the Native Americans, 1492 A.D. was a big, big year.  

  It's as if God gave everybody a great big wonderful present that had been all wrapped up and kept secret in 1492 A.D.  For the Native Americans, the present was Christ, brought to them courtesy of the highly not so Christ like Europeans (in many cases).  For the Christians and Jews, the present was a new land to move into and live in, where they could also live for Christ and teach of Christ.  Of course, humans being humans, nothing like that happened in a very pure or worthy form, but...it did happen.

  So, when is the best time to give a present, a gift, that is associated with Jesus?  Maybe on Christmas, right?  Well, Columbus didn't discover America on December 25th of 1492 A.D.  They actuall set foot on land on Oct 12, 1492.  But, there was a pretty big event that happened to Columbus on December 25th, 1492.  He was travelling with a Carribean island chieftain that he had met on one of the islands, giving the chieftain a ride in their fancy European ship to other islands that the chief was willing to guide them to, when a terrible thing happened.  In the dark night an inexperienced boy somehow ended up being left at the tiller while everyone else ....oh, celebrated Christmas down below, I guess.  And the ship got permanently stuck on a reef. 

  After being unable to free it, it was finally abandoned out there.  I'm sure that the chieftain, since his people used canoes, probably wasn't even aware that a dangerously shallow reef existed there.  But the much larger European ships had considerable draft. 

  They took the supplies and wood off of the stuck and broken ship to the nearest island.  They built a fort...they used the ship's wood for their protection, building walls with it.  Columbus left 39 of his  men behind there at that fort once his other ships had come to their rescue.  Well, read it all from the source below, to get a better feel for what happened.  It's just a page or two:

  This following excerpted writing is from a Christopher Columbus biography as given on the site "columbus-day.123holiday.net  

"On October 12, 1492, Columbus and a handful of the excited but weary voyagers set foot on land after 36 days of sailing without stepping off onto land. Columbus raised the royal standard, claiming the island for Spain, and two of the captains carried banners decorated with green crosses and letters representing Ferdinand and Isabella. Soon the curious islanders, with some trepidation, came out of their hiding places and greeted the visitors.  Columbus described them as a handsome and well formed people, though naked.  

  The location of the actual landfall site is still in question. Called Guanahaní by the Taínos, the island was renamed San Salvador (“Holy Savior”) by Columbus, but no one today knows for sure which island it was. Most favor either Watling Island (renamed San Salvador in 1926 to honor Columbus’s discovery) or Samana Cay in the Bahamas. Ten or more islands in the Bahamas fit the physical description as recorded by Columbus in his journal, which described the island simply as large and flat, with bright green trees and a great deal of water.

The islanders were friendly and open to trade with the sailors. They traded anything for anything: balls of spun cotton, parrots, and spears for the sailors’ glass beads, red caps, and trinkets. Called Taínos by the Spaniards, the islanders belonged to a larger language family called the Arawak. The Taínos showed neither fear nor knowledge of Spanish swords and cut themselves while examining the weapons. Most interesting to the explorers, however, was the fact that the islanders had small pieces of gold pierced in their noses. In addition, they told Columbus that the inhabitants of other islands wore gold bands around their arms and legs. They also described countless islands, all like theirs. The Spaniards, believing that they had arrived in the Indies, soon called all islanders “Indians.”

On the third day, Columbus, accompanied by several Taíno guides, left San Salvador to explore other islands. By the end of October, Columbus reached the coast of Cuba. After sailing north and then south along its coast, he was convinced that it was one of the lands described by Marco Polo. Despite the fact that the local pilots told him it was an island, Columbus convinced himself that Cuba was a promontory of China. Shortly after this event, Martín Alonso Pinzón suddenly sailed off in the Pinta without leave. Although historians disagree on the reasons why, many suspect that Pinzón, disgruntled with the lack of riches that had been discovered to that point, went off in search of gold.

Crossing the Windward Passage to the east of Cuba, Columbus sailed to another large island, which he called La Isla Española (“The Spanish Island,” modern Hispaniola). For a month he cruised the coast, stopping occasionally to inspect the land and the people. On one of these excursions, Columbus met and befriended a young Taíno chief by the name of Guacanagarí. After a brief meeting aboard ship, arrangements were made for another meeting, this one on Christmas Day, December 25, at the chief’s residence in a nearby village. Before the meeting could take place, however, the Santa María struck a reef off the coast and grounded. Over the next few days, the crew of the two ships and Taínos in canoes sent by Guacanagarí removed everything that could be salvaged. They constructed a fort out of the lumber of the ship and stored enough supplies to last a year. Thirty-nine men stayed behind in the fort, the first European settlement in the Americas since the Vikings had landed in what is now Newfoundland and Labrador some 500 years earlier. But the settlement, named Villa de la Navidad (“Christmas Town”), would prove no more enduring than had those of the Vikings.

On January 6 the Pinta rejoined the expedition, and shortly thereafter the two remaining vessels headed home. Upon leaving the Caribbean, Columbus again had the good fortune of finding an ocean current, just as he had in the Canaries. Entering the Gulf Stream, his ships sailed far enough north to catch the prevailing westerly winds. But the return trip was not uneventful. As the ships approached Europe, they encountered a terrible storm. The Pinta became separated from the Niña and arrived at the port of Bayona on the northwest coast of Spain several days before the Niña made landfall. Columbus limped into Lisbon, where he was apprehended by agents of King John II. Although suspicious of Columbus’s story, the king accused him of violating Portuguese sovereignty in the Atlantic, which had been extended to all lands south and west of the Canary Islands by a series of papal decrees beginning in the 1450s. Afraid that the king might not release him, Columbus sent a secret messenger to the Spanish court relating his experiences and his detention. By mid-March he was free to return to Spain. On March 15, 1493, at noon, the Niña entered the harbor of Palos de la Frontera, 32 weeks after leaving from the same port. Although Pinzón had arrived in Spain earlier, he did not reach Palos until several hours after Columbus. Very sick, Pinzón died before he had a chance to report to the king."   End Quote

  The Bible has the Old Testament, and the New.  Both are important and both teach us much.  But it is the New Testament, with it's 27 books, which hold life for those who will choose Jesus as Lord and follow Him.  The Old Testament, with it's 39 books, was retained as sacred writing, but the Old Covenant of God given to Moses (which the 39 books of the Old Testament are much concerned with) was replaced by the New Covenant, which God sent to man via His Son Jesus, who was born of a virgin mother named Mary.  We say (through tradition) that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (the Christmas town, in a way) on December 25th.  The year it happened on is disputed also.  So the 'ship' that carried the Jews through so many centuries (maybe 1,492 years, for all we know...it might be very close to that!) began to be broken up, so to speak, when Mary gave birth to Jesus.  Jesus gave men a 'new' promised land to think about living in.  He provided them adoption as sons if they would follow Him and be saved.

  They must confess and repent, be baptized in water and the Holy Spirit (the Holy Spirit looked like a 'dove' when it came down upon Jesus, the Bile explains) and they must become 'Christ followers'.  We must follow Jesus' teachings to be saved.

  So, with all of that in mind, isn't it interesting that the discoverer of this new land (discoverer from a European viewpoint) has the name Christopher Columbus.  These two names mean "Christ follower" for Christopher, and "dove" is Columbidae in Latin.) He had his ship, which was from the Old World, get stuck on a reef and break up.  That ship was called the Santa Maria (Saint Mary - note that this is the name of Jesus' mother, who was a key character in the transition of the Old Covenant to the New Covenant.)  And due to this event 39 men were left behind, defended only by the wreckage of the ship, which they attempted to use as their protection by forming it into a fort.  Similarly, the Old Covenant, 39 books in our Bible, was left behind by Christians, as far as a Covenant.  After all, new wineskins are needed for new wine!  Again, the old ship, the Santa Maria, was wrecked on Christmas day on the cusp of entering a newly found land, and it also left behind 39 men in a fort made of the remains of the old ship.  Columbus promised to return for them as soon as he could.  There were just too many people for the remaining ships, for one reason.  But they also represented a colony, a presence, a national claim to the area.  Those who escaped the wreakage and were not left behind were led by 'Columbus', which means 'dove'.  The DOVE in one symbol of the Holy Spirit, right.  Well, when Jesus was crucified and 40 years had passed the ones that escaped Jerusalem were the Christians, and they too were led by the Holy Spirit, the 'DOVE', as they made their way to safety and then continued their lives.  There is a parallelism!

  The Jews of Jesus' time, the ones who rejected Jesus as Messiah, stuck with the Old Testament, the covenant of the Bible's first 39 books.  We know that they, and the city of Jerusalem, and the Holy Temple of Yahweh that was in Jerusalem and so central to the Old Testament religion, were all destroyed.  The Jewish people were beseiged and finally killed (though not all of them) and the city of Jerusalem was burned, as was the temple.  But the Christians had moved out just in time, during a strange interruption and lifting of the seige in its early days, and so it is said that no Christian was killed in 70 A.D., at the eventual destruction of Jerusalem by the angry Romans, who were so tired of the ways of the 'ungovernable' Jews. 

  How about Columbus' small colony called 'Christmas Town'? He returned for them on his 2nd voyage, but found that the 39 were all killed or missing, taken away captive to somewhere if still alive.  Their fort was burned down to the ground.  The local indians had gotten tired of the European's ways, it appeared, their greed and their treatment of the natives as a lesser people.  They had ambushed and probably killed the 39 crew members at the fort.  Those who had left with Christopher Columbus were safe, however, just like the Christians that had fled Jerusalem in 66 A.D. and who had fled to the city of Pella, in the north end of the region of Perea, which is North of Jerusalem and east of the Jordan river, and near the 10 Decapolis cities also.

  So, how about Pella, in the area of Perea in the middle east?  Remember, this was the sanctuary for the fleeing Christians.  Guess where Columbus is recorded to have first set foot on the actual continental American mainland?  It's a place on the shore of Venezuela, a certain peninsula called Paria.  The Christians fled to Perea...Columbus first steps on the mainland of this new world, which would become a sanctuary for so many, in a place called Paria???  Those two words are almost identical.

  I know it's speculative, but I can see a lot of parallisms between Columbus finding America, and Jesus bringing the New Covenant.  And Columbus, though chock full of flaws like too many of us, was a Christian man, a strong Italian Catholic believer in Christ.  Here from columbus-day.123holiday.net are his alleged last words:

 "In late 1505 Columbus became too ill to travel any more. He remained in the city of Valladolid until his death. On May 20, 1506, both of his sons, his brother Bartholomew, and his faithful friend Diego Méndez were at his side when the admiral murmured “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commit my spirit” and passed away."  End quote.

  So what does the word 'paria' mean, anyway?  When I looked it up, the sources I looked at said it means the same as the 'pariah' in English.  And one definition of pariah is:  one that is despised or rejected.  Which is just how Jesus was treated...which was also how the early Christians were treated by the Jews of Jesus' time, and which is how the Jews of 1492 were treated in Spain, Crete, and I'm sure elsewhere.  America is a good place for a 'pariah' to go!  Just as Perea was a good place for a fleeing Christian to go.  Just as....well, you get the point.  God seems to intertwine historical occurrences in the most amazing...no, truly astounding!....way. 

  God the Father and Creator rules!!  Jesus is our righteous and worthy King and Savior!!  The Holy Spirit is awesome!! 

    

    

 

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