Among historians there is no argument. Columbus DID NOT DISCOVER the Americas! Ample evidence exists of Viking visits centuries before. Indeed, even the Viking quests pale in light of the fact that one can not discover an inhabited land. Columbus encountered native American inhabitants who farmed, and hunted, waged war and peace. All this ensued centuries before Leif Ericsson set foot on North America's shores. With that settled, one wonders, "Why, then, is Columbus's discovery so revered?" The answer to this question, I believe, can be titled, WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO COLUMBUS.
Chroniclers of medieval history fully agree that Columbus's 1492 ocean trek (known as THE FIRST VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY) changed the course of Earth's civilization as dramatically as any event in the planet's history. Indeed, a majority of Earth's fifteenth century peoples believed the Genoese Navigator HAD discovered a NEW WORLD. The discovery became a "watershed" of history. But what if neither the Vikings, nor Columbus were responsible? What if another had funded the journey, charted its course, attended to the daily sea-going challenges, and finally, brought the good news back to the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella? And, furthermore, what if that benefactor's contribution had not only been ignored but denied? Would not the twentieth century media broadcast a swell of outrage to right the injustice?
Livid historical prose bewails the wrongful naming of the Americas after the "pretender" Amerigo Vespucci. Essays rightfully assert that the United States should be named COLUMBIA. After all, Vespucci "adjusted" his journal's dates to upstage Columbus's discoveries. Yet, few "flaming pens" champion the one who knows "what really happened to Columbus." Indeed, Columbus should receive no more credit for the NEW WORLD's discovery than Adam with the discovery of EDEN. Consider the following evidence that Columbus simply served as a vehicle of the true guide's purpose.
Anchored within Columbus's mind and spirit rested two gifts. Each served the Guide's ends. The first was a deep respect and love for the Guide. The second was an attraction to the sea which transcended natural knowledge. The supernatural nature of each gift uniquely equipped Columbus to serve his mentor's purposes. However, as a man subject to the "same sins working within...that worked in the world," opposing evil forces found inroads into Columbus's nature. These iniquities had the potential of uprooting all that the Guide intended. Columbus, like the biblical Paul, experienced the agony of "doing that thing which I know I ought not to do, yet I do it."(Romans 7)
For Columbus these things included a recurring exaltation of self. Additionally, the Navigator participated in an adulterous, Bathsheba-like relationship on the eve of his first journey. Worst of all, he granted tacit approval to the wanton killing and merciless imprisonment of the New World's innocent peoples. In spite of the battles raging within Columbus's spirit, the Guide prevailed.
Because Columbus became the Guide's chosen vessel, opposing forces sought to thwart the mariner's destiny. Early evidence bespoke of such opposition when the lad Columbus faced imminent drowning. A pirate attack destroyed the ship on which the young Columbus crewed casting him adrift miles from land. When death seemed assured, a mysterious plank appeared within reach serving as a life-raft. Columbus was saved! Providence reigned!
Most regard Palos, Spain as the launch site of Columbus's voyage. More precisely, the Canary Islands served as the route's port from which "no man had sailed west before." On the eve of the setting forth from Palos, Columbus called on the Guide's favor in a worship service of prayer. Alternatively, on the eve of departure from the Canaries, Columbus entertained the Guide's adversary in a tryst with the ruler of Gomera, a young widow named Dona Beatriz. One is reminded of Peter's denials on the eve of the crucifixion following the preceding Palm Sunday's joyous embarkation into Jerusalem.
Biographers cite the selection of the Canary Islands' latitude for the journey west as fortuitous. Latitude 28 degrees north is the gateway to the prevailing easterlies (winds blowing from the east). These tradewinds propel sailing vessels on a westward course. They assure an almost direct route to the continent of North America. The Guide uniquely arranged circumstances so that Columbus would set forth from the Canary Islands. Prior to courting Isabella's favor, Columbus unsuccessfully sought sponsorship from Portugal's King John II. Had John II granted support, Columbus's journey might have set forth from the more northerly Portuguese Azore Islands. The Azores lie in the path of prevailing westerlies (winds blowing from the west), a handicap to a journey west. Can Columbus be credited for this choice of embarkation? Certainly not. It is the Guide who is responsible.
With the Guide's aid, man's ignorance is superior to the world's highest intelligence. He, the Guide, "has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise." (I Cor. 1:27). Hoping to ultimately reach India, Columbus estimated the distance to Asia (Japan) as a mere 2800 statute miles from the Canary Islands. Remarkably, this ignorant estimate placed the journey's completion much nearer the shores of North America than Japan, China or India. In fact, North America was less than a week's sail from Columbus's 2800 mile estimate.
The Guide had caused Columbus to err in a fashion which would assure discovery of North America rather than a route to India. Because dead-reckoning and celestial navigation were amply advanced to gauge the journey west, the crew remained generally patient until the estimate had been eclipsed.
Nevertheless, discontentment arose akin to that experienced in Captain Bligh's memorable episode in Mutiny on the Bounty. Becalmed after more than three weeks at sea, the three ship fleet prepared to abort the journey. Unexpectedly, a wind arose on the day of turning back canceling the abort. Can Columbus be credited with the emergence of the wind or the estimate of the distance to North America? Of course not, it is the Guide who is responsible.
The crew, full of wrath and fear, once more seemed posed to mutiny. Miraculously, a type of seaweed appeared, a sign to sailors that landfall is imminent. Each time rebellion appeared assured, unique manifestations defused the threat. Such was the case when the steadiness of the easterly wind worried the crew that no corresponding westerly (a wind blowing from the west) might be found for the return to Spain. Shortly, a momentary breeze blew from the west convincing all that a voyage home was possible. With the fear removed, the breeze from the east returned. Give credit to the Guide for the momentary breeze which erased the crew's fears, not to Columbus.
The Guide often chose supernatural phenomena to direct and encourage his people. Thousands of years before, He had employed a fire by night and a cloud by day to lead a band of Hebrews across a barren wilderness. (Exodus 13: 21,22) The Sinai trek was not unlike the isolated course of Columbus's ocean fleet. The Guide had given his Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. (Exodus 20: 1-17) It was a sign of providence that Mount Sinai was located at the same latitude of Columbus's embarkation route to the New World, 28 degrees North.
Alas, though the ocean voyage had traversed more than 4000 miles in almost 37 days, defeat seemed certain. Such was the disgruntled nature of the crew that there would be no 38th day westward. It had been agreed that October 12th, 1492 would be the date of abort, the day of giving up. The Santa Maria would return to Spain. As it is written in the Journal of Columbus, the Guide appeared once more during the evening of October 11th, 1492. As Columbus peered westward into the tenth hour's evening darkness, he saw what appeared as "A LITTLE WAX CANDLE WHOSE FLAME WENT UP AND DOWN." An inner voice must have whispered the thought, "This is that which you have sought. The light in the darkness is the land which you seek."
Another, saw the Guide's light nearly fifteen centuries before. Saul of Tarsus journeyed to the ancient city of Damascus when a blinding light appeared. On that occasion, the Guide identified himself saying, "I am Jesus..." Others in Saul's company saw the light and heard the Guide's voice. (Acts 9: 3-5, Acts 26: 13-15) Without question, Saul's eyes beheld the glorious light of Christ. Stunned and blinded, falling from his steed to the ground, Saul was transformed into Paul. Paul became the instrument for proclaiming the Guide's word to first century mankind.
Now, in the last decade of the fifteenth century, Columbus witnessed the LIGHT OF ALL MANKIND, not as a blinding flash "brighter than the sun", but as a flickering candle. Another on board Santa Maria confirmed the light, while others saw nothing. Commentators have remarked about Columbus's "mysterious light." They consider it altogether impossible for Columbus to have seen a flaming torch from an island almost forty miles distant. Yet, there is no doubt that Columbus had seen THE LIGHT OF THE "NEW" WORLD. ("I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12) In a few hours, the Guide's supernatural manifestation was confirmed with the unmistakable appearance of land.
In the Twentieth Century, the American President John F. Kennedy proposed sending space explorers into the ocean of space. His intent was "landing a man on the moon and RETURNING HIM SAFELY TO EARTH." (JFK, 1961) The latter goal of a "safe return" was as essential to Columbus's voyage as to Neil Armstrong and his crew. Success was not assured until Columbus appeared before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. The report of the discovery was every bit as significant to the Guide as the New World's discovery.
Likewise, the intelligent entity responsible for the outgoing trials planned a series of obstacles intended for deception, destruction, and death. Columbus was not ignorant of the Guide's warning that the adversary was "a liar, from the beginning, who came to destroy and kill...whom he may devour." (John 10:10 and I Peter 5:7)
Appropriately, a significant attack came on the eve of the celebration of the Guide's birth, when "the guard might be down." While Columbus slept, near midnight, December 24th, 1492, Santa Maria ran aground and sank. Though no lives were lost, despair and discouragement flooded Columbus's spirit and soul. The return battle had begun.
Among the Guide's promises is the working of all things for good for those who love him, "that are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) Despite what evil destined for harm, providence worked for good. Beyond the Santa Maria's rubble came triumph. Columbus could not have known that his flagship would not have survived the return journey. What is known of the return to Spain clearly shows that Columbus and those on board Santa Maria would likely have perished. Consider the evidence:
The obvious return path to Spain would be a retrace of the outbound journey. Through an apparent error in setting the course home, Columbus navigated North of the outbound path to the New World. Rather than an East-North-East return, he chose a North-East by East heading. This brought his remaining two ships into the path of the prevailing east blowing westerlies.
The Guide's written instructions might have caused Columbus to choose this path. In the Book of Ecclesiastes , the Guide describes the mechanisms of the Earth's weather systems. Columbus must have wondered, "Should not corresponding east blowing winds exist northward to fulfill the loop of the outgoing west blowing easterlies?" No weather satellites, aircraft, or weather stations had mapped the cyclonic nature of the Earth's wind systems. Because Columbus was an avid student of the Guide's instruction, he had read the words of Ecclesiastes 1:6 describing the looping of the winds: "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the North, it whirleth (loops) continually, and THE WIND RETURNETH AGAIN ACCORDING TO ITS CIRCUITS."
Whether by design or error, the return heading must be credited to the Guide, not Columbus. Had the Santa Maria remained in the fleet, the course North could not have succeeded. The Santa Maria's deep draft and inability to tack against the winds blowing from the west ("beat to windward") would have aborted the path northward. The agility of the remaining ships, Nina and Pinta, made the return possible. Other routes taken to accommodate the handicap of the Santa Maria might have proved fatal to all three vessels. The Guide had allowed Santa Maria's destruction at the optimum moment: the conclusion of the outgoing voyage before the onset of the return.
Furthermore, Columbus noted his compass headings did not agree with those determined by sighting the North Star (Polaris). Mariners assumed that both reckonings gave identical guidance. Not so! We now know that the position of the Earth's North Pole is east of magnetic north. Columbus noted this discrepancy. For the return journey, the slight error, would have had grave consequences.. Columbus faced a dilemma: to trust the magnetic compass or the star sighting for guidance.
We can not be sure why he rightly chose to ignore the compass and accept Polaris as true north. Had he chosen otherwise, the fleet might have journeyed far north into the Atlantic's colder waters. At such latitudes, the Atlantic's much greater expanse, less favorable winds, and more numerous winter storms certainly would have jeopardized the return. Once more, the Guide had acted in Columbus's behalf.
On the outbound journey, perhaps, Columbus had not noticed the compass deviation from the North Star's direction. Compass guidance caused the fleet to veer south. A direct westward course from the Canary Islands would have remained at 28 degrees north latitude. The fleet encountered landfall in the New World at 24 degrees north latitude nearly four hundred miles to the south. Columbus might have noted the error on the outbound journey and chosen to ignore the compass. In such a case, the Atlantic's wider expanse at 28 degrees would have added a thousand miles to the journey. The added time and distance most certainly would have incited the crew to mutiny. Additionally, many of the encouraging signs (seaweed and birds) seen at the lower latitudes would not have existed farther north. The Guide had blinded Columbus's eyes to the navigational discrepancy on the outbound journey. On the return, the scales fell from Columbus's navigational "eyes." Choosing the North Star instead of the compass as true north was essential to a safe voyage home. The timing and purpose of this discovery can only be credited to the Great Navigator, the Guide.
Foiled by the Guide's beneficial use of the Santa Maria's sinking, the Destroyer chose another tact. Fifteen centuries before, on a shallow inland sea called Galilee, the evil one had darkened the heavens and the earth. There was nothing subtle about the intent of the devastating storm. Its target was the Guide and his immediate followers. Had his followers not awakened the Guide to the danger, the Guide's mission might not have succeeded.(Luke 8:22-25)
In like fashion, as Columbus approached Spain, the Roaring Lion commanded the seas and winds to devour these followers of the Guide. A storm arose of magnitude "10" on the Beaufort Scale of seaborne weather. No ships were known to have survived such an extent of the sea's winds and waves. Well aware of the Guide's power over such conditions, Columbus, like those on Galilee, called upon the Guide's rebuke of the elements. For three days, a battle in the spiritual realm raged, as assuredly as the Nina and Pinta battled the winds and the waves.
When Columbus faced a life-threatening waterspout on a later voyage, he responded as a soldier of the Guide. Lifting the Guide's word heavenward with one hand, he scribed a circle of protection about his feet with a saber held in his other hand. No doubt, Columbus recalled the Guide's promise, "The Word of God is quick (alive) and powerful sharper than any two-edged sword." (Hebrews 4:12) Immediately, the seaborne tornado changed course passing by the fleet harmlessly. Though no such incident is recorded in the log of his first voyage, likely, Columbus battled the level ten storm in similar fashion during the protracted period of three days.
When the Destroyer's storm failed to sink the Guide's fleet, other executioners prepared for Columbus's passage. Disoriented by the storm's winds, Columbus's Nina was "lost at sea." Once more the Guide's "still small voice" spoke to the Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Columbus rightly marked the fleet's position as almost due west of Cape Verde near the Portuguese Azores. While others argued that the fleet was much farther North, Columbus simply looked on the North Star and experienced a "knowing" of the latitude. Despite the rough seas that made astrolabe and quadrant sightings useless, Columbus was correct. Only the Guide's influence can be credited for such navigational precision.
Forced to battle a final storm baremasted, the Nina struggled toward the mainland solely propelled by a small foresail. The Guide had caused Columbus to stow this small square sail in a locker. Were it not for the lone sail and the light of a full Moon, the vessel could not have avoided utter destruction. The threatening shoals and rocks of the Portuguese coast would have been the evil one's final triumph.
Consider, for a moment, an alternate strategy that the Opposer of the Brethren might have intended as Columbus's fate. Two national powers dominated the world of the fifteenth century. Just as America and the Soviet Union were regarded as the twentieth century's most powerful nations, Portugal and Spain ruled the fifteenth century. In the Age of Exploration, the political posture of these adjacent countries was adversarial.
Earlier, Columbus unsuccessfully sought backing from Portugal's King John II. Later Columbus obtained Ferdinand and Isabella's funding and favor. Shortly afterward, King John recanted his earlier decision and offered to fund Columbus. Columbus spurned King John II's offer. Historians describe John II's reputation as similar to the biblical King Herod. Contemporaries of Herod said, "It is better to be Herod's pig than his son." Herod executed several of his sons but refused to eat pork. Likewise, King John II was swift to execute those who opposed him. The One who plotted Columbus's death must have relished the remaining options for defeating the Guide's purposes. The choices were shipwreck or King John II's executioner. The court of King John was chosen as Columbus's demise. Obviously, there would be an inquisition before "His Majesty" and, of course, the ensuing death to Columbus.
Strangely, the evil one who sought Christopher Columbus's destruction ignored the Guide's promise to his servant: "And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony... But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."(Matt. 10:18-20) Predictably, Columbus, with all the pride and pomp of his flawed flesh, recklessly BOASTED of his discoveries to King John II. In light of the politics of the day and the earlier snubbing of the King, prudent behavior would have been a denial of New World exploits. Miraculously, the Guide subdued King John's anger and greed. The King of Portugal not only granted Columbus safe passage BUT ALSO REPAIRED AND SUPPLIED COLUMBUS'S SHIP.
John II might have commandeered all Columbus possessed casting him into prison. With Columbus executed or in chains, a Portuguese fleet could sail westward to claim all that Columbus had discovered. Perhaps, the thought that Columbus's sister ship, the Pinta, might have reached Spain stayed King John's hand. Again, the Guide must be credited with preserving Columbus's life.
Though victory seemed assured, another obstacle appeared. Having preceded Columbus's return to Spain, the captain of the Pinta planned to credit himself with the New World's discovery. The transfer of credit from Columbus, the Guide's "chosen vessel" (I Cor. 1:12), to a pretender would delight the Father of Lies. This would provide a measure of consolation despite the Guide's success.
Columbus adamantly stated that he was the Guide's ambassador. ("Now then ye are ambassadors for Christ..." II Cor. 5:20) For even his name, CHRISTOPHER, ( meaning "Christ-bearer") had been ordained by the GUIDE for the purpose of the New World's discovery. He, Christopher Columbus, would make the Guide's name known to all dwelling there. Such was not the desire of the Captain of the Pinta. Nevertheless, justice prevailed. Word passed to the Court of Seville that Christopher Columbus, the true discoverer, had returned.
Only a token victory remained for the Father of Lies. Through a subtle http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/naming.htm">naming of Columbus's discoveries. The "Land of the Free and the Home of The Brave" was not named The United States of Christopher Columbus. Such a name would have honored the One responsible for the nation's founding. The name "Christopher Columbus" means the CHRIST BEARING DOVE. It was the Guide's Dove, the precious Holy Spirit, who bore Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to thecontinent of the United States of America. His earthen vessel was Christopher Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of this power may be of God and not of us... We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; Persecuted but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." (I Cor. 4:7-11.)