googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Happy Columbus Day

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Columbus Day

In spite of the popular misconception, very few people in Columbus’s day still believed the world was flat. Columbus did not make his famous voyage to prove the world was round. Rather, it was Columbus who first realized that, because the world was round, one could reach Asia by sailing west from Europe.

The motives of Columbus are much maligned. Admittedly, Columbus understood the commercial benefit of a more direct route to India but in his heart Columbus was more of an evangelist than an explorer. In his book, The Book of Prophecy (as quoted here), Columbus wrote the following:

It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me.

There was no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures, a strong and clear testimony from the 44 books of the Old Testament, from the four Gospels, and from the 23 Epistles of the blessed Apostles, encouraging me continually to press forward, and without ceasing for a moment they now encourage me to make haste.

Our Lord Jesus desired to perform a very obvious miracle in the voyage to the Indies, to comfort me and the whole people of God. I spent seven years in the royal court, discussing the matter with many persons of great reputation and wisdom in all the arts; and in the end they concluded that it was all foolishness, so they gave up.

But since things generally came to pass that were predicted by our Savior Jesus Christ, we should also believe that this particular prophecy will come to pass. In support of this, I offer the gospel text, Matt. 24:25 [actually it was in Matthew 24:35], in which Jesus said that all things would pass away, but not his marvelous Word. He affirmed that it was necessary that all things be fulfilled that were prophesied by himself and by the prophets.

I said that I would state my reasons: I hold alone to the sacred and Holy Scriptures, and to the interpretations of prophecy given by certain devout persons.

It is possible that those who see this book will accuse me of being unlearned in literature, of being a layman and a sailor. I reply with the words of Matt. 11:25: "Lord, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hath revealed them unto babes."

The Holy Scriptures testifies in the Old Testament by our Redeemer Jesus Christ, that the world must come to an end. The signs of when this must happen are given by Matthew, Mark and Luke. The prophets also predicted many things about it.

Our Redeemer Jesus Christ said that before the end of the world, all things must come to pass that had been written by the prophets.

The prophets wrote in various ways. Isaiah is one of the most praised by Jerome, Augustine, and by the other theologians. They all say that Isaiah was not only a prophet, but an evangelist as well. Isaiah goes into great detail in describing future events and in calling all people to our holy catholic faith. Most of the prophecies of Holy Scripture have been fulfilled already ...

I am a most unworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolations since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous presence.

For the execution of the journey to the Indies I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah had prophesied. All this is what I desired to write down for you in this book.

No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Savior, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service. The working out of all things has been assigned to each person by our Lord, but it all happens according to His sovereign will even though He gives advice.

He lacks nothing that it is in the power of men to give him. Oh what a gracious Lord, who desires that people should perform for Him those things for which He holds Himself responsible! Day and night moment by moment, everyone should express to Him their most devoted gratitude.

I said that some of the prophecies remained yet to be fulfilled. These are great and wonderful things for the earth, and the signs are that the Lord is hastening the end. The fact that the gospel must still be preached to so many lands in such a short time, this is what convinces me.

Columbus believed the return of Christ was imminent and it was his desire to fulfill the Great Commission and take the gospel into all the world. What an admirable goal that is and one worthy of emulation. Though Jesus has tarried another five centuries since Columbus, the Bible warns us we must always be vigilant lest His return should catch us unaware (Matthew 25:1-13).

I think Columbus Day should not be celebrated as the day Columbus discovered the New World. Rather, I think it should be a reminder that we need to continue in the work he started. With today’s technology of television, radio, and the internet, we can reach far more people than Columbus could ever hope to. Let’s look for new ways to take the gospel to the lost.

When Columbus landed on the first island of the New World, he christened it, “San Salvador” which means “Holy Savior.” He knelt on the island and offered a prayer. On this Columbus day, I’ve modified that prayer slightly and offer it now:

O Lord, Almighty and everlasting God, by Thy holy Word Thou hast created the heaven, and the earth, and the sea; blessed and glorified be Thy Name, and praise be Thy Majesty, which hath deigned to use us, Thy humble servants, that Thy holy Name may be proclaimed in [all] of the earth.

Amen!! Happy Columbus Day!!

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