This date is the supposed date when Christopher Columbus “discovered” America in 1492 when he “sailed the ocean blue.” His story is one of great hardship, Christian faith, and courage. He has been crowned with worldwide acclaim and we in America have many memorials named after him. Think of the many cities named Columbus or Columbia, as well as the great Columbia River and the prestigious Columbia University. Even America itself has been called Colombia in a number of songs and poems. But, the phrase “the new world” as applied to the two American continents is believed to have been coined by the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who claimed to have been the first to sight the actual mainland. This is believed to be the chief reason why “America” was named after him rather than Christopher Columbus, who had “discovered” some of the islands of the West Indies just a few years before.
But it is now generally recognized that neither Columbus or Vespucci were the first to discover America. Leif Ericson and the Norsemen not only found it before they did but explored large sections of the land. Even Leif, however, was not the first. Evidence indicates that the ancient Phoenicians reached America well before the time of Christ. There is even some evidence that the Egyptians and Chinese may also have come before Leif Ericson. Even if so, however, they still were not the first. Various tribes of immigrants now known as the American Indians were the real discoverers of America, long before anyone else, probably not long after the dispersion at the Tower of Babel shortly after the Noahic Flood.
Nimrod, Noah’s great grandson through Ham, united the people in opposition to God and built a city and a tower “whose top reached into the heaven,” saying, “Let us make a name for ourselves; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4). God’s command to Noah and his sons after the Flood was “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen. 9:1). Nimrod was leading people in rebellion against God’s clear command. Since the people all spoke the same language and could thus work effectively together, God said, “Let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city (and the tower)” (vv. 7,8). “The whole earth” would seem to include America. Some probably traveled by land up through Asia, crossing the Bering Strait land bridge during the Ice Age (which followed the Flood); some came by sea from Europe or Asia or Africa. They came from many different tribes and languages and established their “nations” throughout the American continents. And they were here ready to greet Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus when these “late comers” finally arrived!
The Americas may have been a “new world” to Amerigo Vespucci, and to the others who have arrived here since the time of the Flood, but it was not a “new world” to God! It has been here all along, and we are thankful to be part of it today. What an amazing history we have had as God established here a stronghold of Christianity that would greatly impact the entire world with the Gospel of Christ and the compassion and care that results from lives that are “delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13).
There is a real “new world” coming, however! The Old Testament prophet Isaiah received this promise from God long ago: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isa. 65:17). The Apostle John actually describes it for us as seen in a wonderful vision: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” he said, and then described some of its beauties (cf Rev. 21:1). But the Apostle Peter transmitted the most wonderful news of all about this “new world” when he wrote that “…according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (II Pet. 3:13). Our present world is in such a mess, in such turmoil today as we see the consequences of sin and evil running rampant—even in our own beloved America. It is had to maintain a godly perspective, so it is good for us to be reminded that there is a new world coming “in which righteousness dwells.” PTL!! And all of us who have been made righteous in Christ, shall live there forever! Now that’s good news for us on this Columbus Day and on every day. Why not share that “Good News” with someone today to provide them with hope for tomorrow as well as a new life today. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (Jn. 5:24). That’s a message multitudes in this world today need to hear—probably someone you know needs to hear that. Will you tell them? Many are searching for a “new world” where they can have peace and security and purpose and freedom. They will never find it in this world. It is only available in Jesus Christ, who is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). Politicians may offer us a “new world order,” but only Christ can offer and provide us with life and abundant life (Jn. 10:10) and make us part of His Kingdom forever.