Did the Jews Discover America?

Did the Jews Discover America?

As the darkness of the Medieval Inquisition swept through Spain in 1492, a momentous, history-changing event took place. Recorded in personal diaries, some of the details of this event became part of a relatively unknown book titled The Book of Prophecies. Published around 1501 the book is a collection of the author’s writing, favorite passages, deep spiritual insights, prophetic statements, and a passion for Israel. I was astounded when I discovered The Book of Prophecies. I’ve heard of the author all my life but never—I mean never—knew that he published such a book.

The author is Christopher Columbus. He wrote this book in the late fifteenth century during the terrible events of the Inquisition. This scourge spread through Spain and other parts of Europe. People were tormented, burned at the stake, and expelled from the country. No one was targeted more heavily than the Jewish population, which had multiplied considerably over the centuries in these European countries. Jewish conversos (converts) were arrested and accused of not being true Christians. They often didn’t know who their accusers were; evidence could be presented in secret. They were tortured until they confessed to being heretics, and then they were executed.1

Jewish immigrations into Europe had escalated after the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.  But even before Christ, Jews began settling in the Iberian Peninsula. They were referred to as Sephardim, from the Hebrew term for Spain, Sepharad, as mentioned in the Bible (Obadiah 20).  The Jewish community had become so strong, that the Apostle Paul encouraged a need to minister there (Romans 15:24-28).

In the 1400s this community of Sephardim included Christopher Columbus, a man dedicated to his Christian faith. His ancestry also gives us evidence that he was Jewish.  He had earned the favor of the Spanish king and queen with his vision and scientific knowledge.  He raised the needed funds from Jewish conversos and embarked on one of the most significant voyages in the history of the world.

But it was a dangerous time for all Jews, even favored ones. Historians note that the voyage was originally scheduled for later in 1492.  The Inquisition overshadowed all plans. An edict had been signed demanding the expulsion of all Jews by August 2, 1492, Tish B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning.

Columbus gathered his crew, boarded his ships that night, and set sail for the new world on August 3, 1492.  With his action, Christopher Columbus obeyed the edict along with almost 300,000 fellow Jews.

The faith of Christopher Columbus has long been established, confirmed by much of his own writing. His Jewish ancestry has long been examined and hotly debated. Was Columbus truly Jewish?  The evidence is compelling stirring passions among Moslems, Jews, and Christians alike for its implications. “The story of Jews in America begins with Christopher Columbus,” declares one anti-Semitic source.2

Several Jewish resources, including the Jewish American Hall of Fame, claim him as one of their own: “It was Spanish Jewry, not Spanish jewelry, that paid for Columbus’ voyage of discovery,” they insist. “There is no question that it was his Spanish-Jewish friends who were instrumental in arranging for his meeting with the Spanish monarchs in 1486 and who turned his dream into reality.”3

Here are more intriguing facts that have been noted in connection with Columbus’ Jewish heritage:

 

  • There is evidence that Columbus spoke Spanish while still living in Italy, an unusual situation unless his family had originated in Spain. Spanish-speaking Jewish refugees from the Inquisition were numerous in the Italian area of Genoa.
  • The form Colón, which Columbus adopted as the Spanish equivalent of his last name, was not the expected form (which would have been Colom or Colombo). It was, however, a common Jewish variation on the name.
  • Columbus was known to frequent the company of Jews and former Jews, among whom were some noted astronomers and navigators, as well as his official translator. Marranos (another term for Jews forced to convert) figured prominently among Columbus’ backers and crew. Throughout his life he demonstrated a keen knowledge of the Bible and the geography of the Holy Land.
  • Columbus began the official report of his first voyage to America, addressed to Ferdinand and Isabella, with: “And thus, having expelled all the Jews from all your kingdoms and dominions, in the month of January, Your Highnesses commanded me that…I should go to the said parts of India.”  This is a strange fact to mention in this context, and it is not even correct: The order of expulsion was not signed until March 31. It appears that Columbus was privy to information about the expulsion of the Jews, and made his plans accordingly.
  • The fact that the expulsion of Spanish Jewry and Columbus’ voyage coincided is telling. Even when Columbus was scheduled to set sail on August 3, he insisted that his entire crew be ready on board a full day earlier.  August 2, 1492 was the day that had been ordained for the last Jews of Spain to depart the country. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were deported from Spain on that dark day.
  • When this coincidence of dates was first noted by the Spanish biographer S. de Madariaga, the English Jewish historian Cecil Roth also commented on the “coincidence” of August 2, 1492, coinciding with Tish B’Av, the Jewish fast of mourning.  It was as if Columbus had arranged to remain on board ship for that ill-omened day, and to depart only afterwards.4
  • Columbus discussed particular dates and phrases unique to Hebrew people. When writing about the fall of Jerusalem, he said “the destruction of the second house,” referring to the temple.

 

Chosen for a Mission

Suddenly, for me, a whole new light was shed on the discovery of America and on some of our current politics.

When I read The Book of Prophecies by Columbus, I realized that he truly believed he was on a mission from God.  Over and over in his written logs he dedicated his voyage to the Lord Jesus Christ.  He brilliantly combined and used the practical knowledge gathered by scientists of his time, but in the letter he drafted to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to make his appeal, he said, “I base what I say only on holy and sacred scripture.”5

Columbus possessed a sense of destiny, that he was chosen for a mission, confirmed by his name, Christ-Topher (“Christ-bearer”).  He was motivated by prophecy as much as a longing for discovery. In his Book of Prophecies he collected passages from the Bible that inspired him to plan his voyage:  Proverbs 8:27, which speaks of the earth’s surface as being curved; Isaiah 40:22, the spherical earth; and the ocean currents in Isaiah 43:16.  He later described his discovery of the New World as “the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied,” in describing “isles beyond the sea,” in Isaiah 24:15 and 60:9. 6

He also at the very least suspected the existence of the American continent. He appears to have owned the 1472 edition of Bibliothecae Historicae, written by Diodorus Siculus, a first-century BC Greek historian who spoke of “a very great island many days sailing from Africa.”

Even beyond the geographical evidence Columbus collected, The Book of Prophecies shows an uncanny knowledge of prophetic events, vision for the future, foresight, a deep faith—and a mission.  Columbus wanted nothing less than the universal conversion to Christ of all people. 7

The book was compiled with the help of an anonymous Italian scribe to whom Columbus indicated which passages he wanted copied, including several passages from the works of Augustine.

Apparently Columbus owned an anthology of the works of Augustine, published in Venice in 1491. Columbus also loved the book of Isaiah from which he quoted at length; he included lengthy commentary by a fourteenth-century Franciscan monk on the prophetic eighth chapter of Daniel. Columbus specifically picked passages from various sources that seemed to lend support to his personal role in fulfilling the prophecy.

Here are a few passages from The Book of Prophecies I find spiritually and historically amazing.

  • “In the final year you will come to the land that has been returned by means of the sword and has been created by many peoples upon the mountains of Israel” (from Ezekiel 38; p.229).
  • “The sons of Ishmael…will be the leaders of the persecution of Christians in the final days of the world…” (p.24).
  • In the introduction to The Book of Prophecies editor Roberto Rusconi writes:  “Columbus began to view the goal of the liberation of Jerusalem from Moslem domination in a more apocalyptic sense…the discovery of the West Indies became identified in his mind with one of the events which would precede the end of the world…and the universal conversion of the peoples to the gospel of Christ” (p. 33).7
  • Think about this quote from Augustine:  “With these and similar prophecies it is shown that what we know to have been fulfilled by Christ has been predicted: the God of Israel, who we know to be the one true God, will be worshipped not only by the one nation that is called Israel, but by all people, and that He will throw out the false gods of the Gentiles from their temples and from the hearts of their worshippers” (p. 163). When this passage was written and later quoted there was no physical nation of Israel—and there hadn’t been since AD 70.

The book is full of numerous prophetic references to Muslim domination and the conflict between Muslims, Christians, and Jews. These statements are extremely politically sensitive in today’s climate.  Columbus held the same passion and regard for Jerusalem and God’s people as many Christians do today.

Columbus remains a mysterious and controversial figure.  I’ve read enough to know that he has been variously described as one of the greatest mariners in history, a visionary genius, a mystic, a man of faith, a hero, a failed administrator, and a naive entrepreneur. He has also been described as a ruthless and greedy imperialist.

But was he Jewish?  I think the evidence points heavily in that direction. We know he had a unique call on his life, and he fulfilled that call. He holds a permanent place among the great cloud of witnesses in the timeline of God’s prophetic plan. Christopher Columbus’ mission, begun in the crucible of persecution, was fueled by his passion to evangelize the world in anticipation of the second coming of Jesus.

The implications of his Jewish origins are anathema to those who hate Christians and Jews:  America was founded by a Jew, influenced by Jewish thought, and is perpetuated by Judeo-Christian ethics.

America has a prophetic role to play today, a destiny to fulfill. The prophecies Christopher Columbus envisioned are coming to pass in our time. Jews around the world are “coming home” to Israel, drawn by circumstances and national longing.

We are seeing the moving of the Holy Spirit for this last great “exodus,” called in Hebrew Aliyah. The Christian church a part in this last great adventure. He has a plan.

  1. www.aish.com/literacy/jewishhistory/Crash_Course_in_Jewish_History_Part_48_-_The_Inquisition.asp
  2. Henry Ford, The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem (1920, reprint, Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2003), 33. See alsohttp://archive.org/details/TheInternationalJewTheWorldsForemostProblemhenryFord1920
  3. See “Christopher Columbus (1451–1506),” Jewish-American Hall of Fame, www.amuseum.org/jahf/virtour/index.html#columbus.
  4. See Eliezer Segal, “Columbus’s Medinah?” From the Sources, Jewish Free Press, October 14, 1991, http://people.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/911014_Columbus.html .
  5. Christopher Columbus, ed., The Book of Prophecies, 3, Repertorium Columbianum, ed. Roberto Rusconi, trans. Blair Sullivan (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2004), 18–19.
  6. See Chuck Missler, “Mysteries Behind Our History: Was Columbus Jewish?” (1996), Koinonia House, www.khouse.org/articles/1996/109.
  7. Columbus, Book of Prophecies, 3:20.

 

 

 

Solar Eclipse Coincides with a Significant Date on the Jewish Calendar

We are about to enter a very significant month, which begins on a very important day: August 21, 2017, the day of the solar eclipse.

Last year we decided that from now on, besides the Feast of Trumpets, as a church, we will observe all the fall feasts on the Jewish calendar: the Feast of Trumpets, then ten days later, Feast of Atonement, followed by the joyous Feast of Tabernacles.

The ancient Hebrews, however, began their preparations for the fall holidays with a thirty-day period of meditation and personal repentance during the month of Elul —which starts Monday, August 21. Count thirty days until the Feast of Trumpets, then add ten days between Trumpets (September 21-22) and Atonement, and there is a forty day preparation for the national the day of Atonement

Elul is actually an acronym in Hebrew for, “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.” Elul is a time for God’s people to return to their first love and to prepare for the call of the Trumpet and the Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles. The significance of all this is causing me to rejoice in God’s meticulous plans for His people. Moses spent forty days on the mountain receiving God’s Words. Jesus spent forty days fasting in the wilderness, confronted by Satan.

Forty days is no coincidence.

And neither is the appearance of a solar eclipse on the first day of Elul.

According to Hebrew scholar Mark Biltz, “It was on Elul 1 that Jonah left for 40 days to tell Nineveh to repent. It was on Elul 1 that Moses went up to Mt. Sinai after the sin of the Golden Calf, trying to make atonement while Israel was repenting for that. It was on Elul 1 Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 days, coming out on Yom Kippur. Elul 1 starts the month of repentance and to have the solar eclipse happening at this time, is of huge significance!”

The heart of Elul is expressed in Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
 The Lord is the strength of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?… One thing I have desired of the Lord,
that will I seek:
 that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
 all the days of my life.”

Let’s rejoice together!

 

Prophecy Update: The Hook

The much discussed “blood moon” phenomena appear to have come and gone. People shrugged and thought, well, nothing happened. But maybe what went on behind the scenes of the world stage is just not commonly known. Let’s look at some history and current events in light of the following Scriptures:

Ezekiel 38: 3-4: Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.  I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.

Ezekiel 38: 14-16: “Prophesy and say to Gog: In that day, when My people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army.  You will advance against My people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.”

In 1720 a prodigy and genius was born. He would become Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, known as the most renowned Torah authority in over a thousand years, and considered the most influential Jewish leader in modern history.

By the age of seven, he was considered a prodigy after giving an insightful and intellectually brilliant public discourse on the Torah. By ten he had outgrown all his teachers with his command of the Torah. He became known as “the Gaon,” meaning genius. Besides his renown as a scholar, he was recognized as a kind and righteous man who gave twenty percent of his income to the poor and was known for his charity and wisdom.

Today, the great grandson of this renowned rabbi has revealed a prophecy that was passed down to him through the generations. His great grandfather wrote shortly before his death,

“When you hear that the Russians have captured the city of Crimea, you should know that the times of the Messiah have started, that his steps are being heard. And when you hear that the Russians have reached the city of Constantinople (today’s Istanbul), you should put on your Shabbat clothes and don’t take them off, because it means that the Messiah is about to come any minute.” 1,2

 

Ezekiel prophesied, “O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out…”

Bible scholars have traced these people back to what is now Russia. Gog refers to a title, like czar or pharaoh. In Joel Rosenberg’s book, Epicenter, he provides a detailed discussion of how a “study of ancient Hebrew, ancient history, and modern day geography points us to Russia…Based on textual, linguistic, and historical evidence, we can conclude with a high degree of confidences that Ezekiel is speaking of Russia and the former Soviet Union.” 3

Consider this:

• Moscow, Russia is 1,663 miles from Jerusalem.

• In April of 2014 —during the first blood moon of the recent tetrad— Ukraine officially announced that Russia controls Crimea. Sevastopol, Crimea is 892 miles from Jerusalem – about half way there from Moscow.

• Russia entered the war in Syria in full force on September 28, 2015, just two days after the last blood moon over Jerusalem, during the seven-day Feats of Tabernacles. Letakia, Syria is 261 miles from Jerusalem. Just recently Russian missiles and jets have been deployed in a major operation targeting Aleppo, Syria.

The hook is pulling Russia down, increment by increment.

Isaiah 17:1 predicts that one day Damascus, one of the oldest continually habited cities in the world, will be attacked and destroyed. That ancient city is only 135 miles from Jerusalem.

What would bring Russia into Israel? What draws them down? First, the Russian – Israeli relationship has a “special character,” says the website of the Russian embassy in Tel Aviv,   “because Israel is home to over a million of our compatriots. The Russian-speaking community is a powerful catalyst for the development of bilateral political, economic, cultural, business and cultural ties.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also recently discussed the importance of a strong relationship and of making “sure that militant Islam doesn’t penetrate and destabilize Russia. There are many, many millions of Muslims in Russia, including in greater Moscow, I think it’s up to two million. And the concern that Russia has, which many other countries have, is that these populations would be radicalized.” 4

 Ancient prophecies, recorded in the Bible and other prophetic writing, have predicted the unique relationship of Russia and Israel. Here’s a picture of the path Russia has taken so far from a bird’s eye view. You can see that it resembles a hook from that heavenly view.

The hook

A Turkish flag flies from an Istanbul ferry as a Russian warship sails through the Bosphorus en route to the Mediterranean AFP/Getty.

Sitting in a Starbucks four friends shot this picture, now being studied by military strategists and analysts around the world. You can say, sitting here in your local Starbucks, well, the blood moons came and went and nothing happened. That depends in which Starbucks you are sitting! This was shot on the Bosporous strait near Istanbul, Turkey.5

In his commentary on the book of Ezekiel, Rabbi Moshe Eisemann wrote, “An oral tradition passed down from Vilna Gaon says that when the Russian navy passes through the Bosporous …it will be time to put on Sabbath clothes in anticipation of the coming of Mashiach (Messiah).”6

You can read the news article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russian-warships-and-naval-assets-sailing-through-bosphorus-strait-has-turkey-frightened-a6914796.html

Watch and pray!

  1. http://destination-yisrael.biblesearchers.com/destination-yisrael/2014/05/the-prophecy-of-the-vilna-gaon-when-you-hear-that-the-russians-have-captured-the-city-of-crimea-the-.html

 

  1. http://www.jewishhistory.org/the-gaon-of-vilna/
  2. Joel Rosenberg, Epicenter (Illinois: Tyndale House, 2006), pages 81-87.
  3. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Putin-reaffirms-mutual-ties-470690
  4. Russian warships in Bosphorous strait near Istanbul, as mentioned in the Gaon’s prophecy: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russian-warships-and-naval-assets-sailing-through-bosphorus-strait-has-turkey-frightened-a6914796.html
  5. Rabbi Moshe Eisemann, Yechezkel / Ezekiel: A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic sources (Artscroll Tanach Series (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publishers, 2000), p. 581