“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
“And there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”
To understand American history one must approach the subject from realization that first immigrants to America were Caucasian, predominately European, and descendents of Noah’s son, Japheth.
At the time of the Great Flood, God chose to save only Noah, his wife, three sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their wives—a total eight people of the earth’s total inhabitants.
The Bible records that after the floodwaters had subsided, Noah lived three hundred and fifty years, and then died. All the while, Noah’s sons, being fruitful with their wives, multiplied the population, “and the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” (Genesis 11:1). The world’s population had then increased from a total of eight people to seventy primeval nations, compiled by Shem in the “Table of Nations” in Genesis 10, and “was of one language.” Besides the occurrence of population growth, Noah’s descendents attempted to build a tower at Babel.
Japheth sired the least of nations, total fourteen, Ham thirty, and Shem twenty-six, and all were descendents of Adam through Noah.
The Bible declares, because the people attempted building a tower at Babel that reached into the heavens, “So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth,” (Genesis11:8). From the Bible, also, God not only drove them from Babel, He also confused their language. Genesis 11:7 reports God’s saying, “let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
With the people scattered, their speech confused, each family was constrained into a tribal unit, to develop a culture as best it could. The peoples’ existence likely depended on hunting skills, gathering nuts and berries, while residing in caves or temporary shelters. Unable to communicate outside the immediate family, stronger tribes, aggressive individuals inevitably chased away the weak.
Scientists and geologists admit, though all of these people at one time were intelligent and resourceful humans, clearly familiar with construction, navigation, agriculture, animal husbandry, ceramics and ability to work with metal, it would take centuries, and in some cases two or three thousand years, for these tribal families to once again acquire similar technical ingenuity.
Once having knowledge of writing, but after God had removed the ability to communicate in a former tongue, they had to adopt a new speech and relearn how to write the new language. All across the world, men and women geologists in the past and still today are uncovering evidencing information that some tribes were far ahead of others in attributes of civilization. In each discovered primeval history, tribes often had recorded remembrances of a great Flood, along with most worshipping someone or something, faint remembrances of the true God of Adam and Noah.
Japheth’s sons, Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras, were transformed by God into nomads, individual tribes that made their way north and east, and became the progenitors of the Indo-European peoples. These people and their descendents is where the journey begins, not particularly with Riphath, son of Gomer, and where the name “Europe” originated, but with Riphath’s descendents, the English.
Over a period of nearly six thousand years God had preserved America. Before attempts were made to colonize America—Europe, Asia and Africa were already ancient cultures, their histories permeated with reigning monarchs, feudal lords and power-hungry churches, all seeds of the Roman Catholic Empire. Countless millions of common people were enslaved to kings, queens and land barons, serving from birth until death, owned and subject to the pleasures of king, queen or feudal lord. Life was both bleak and short, and the dark ages dragged on.
The dark ages, a period that lasted from about 476 A.D. to about 1000 A.D, is a termed expression of time that denotes a transitional period between the fall of Rome and the rise of medieval civilization, a period of time when hordes of Norsemen and Germans on horseback, pagans and infidels, swooped down from the north and attacked indefensible European villages. During this time there was little law, practically no central organized governments; little trade, little building of cities and practically no education and art—yet Roman Catholicism grew to its highest level.
Because of political correctness in the twentieth century, the term dark ages was changed to “Middle Ages.” Though its advocates argued it was not a period of stagnation, a period of more than five hundred years, history indicates its inhabitants saw an increase in feudalism. To be fair, the dark ages produced the plow, advances in agriculture, and substitution of horses for oxen to do heavy-duty farm work, all applicable contributions to mankind but at the expense of social justice. During the dark ages, liberty, both ecclesiastical and civil, was unknown to common people. Cultural darkness and bondage continued to stagnate and cripple European civilization until an event took place in 1215. This incident eventually helped lead to removing the millstone of slavery from the neck of the common English man.
Though the “Magna Carta” in its original framework offered no liberty to great masses of ordinary Englishmen, it was used to create one of the most amazing pieces of law ever recorded in history.
If asked about the Magna Carta, an Englishman would probably say: “It is the great charter freeing the English people.” Correct to a point, however, the great charter with its creation was never intended to free common English people. The document, granted by King John of England in the year 1215, gave not, nor was ever intended to give the “common man” of England liberty, trial by jury, and taxation with representation.
The Magna Carta was an article drafted by feudal lords to hold English kings and queens in check, subject to law, after obtaining it from King John during a time when he could hardly resist the request.
The French, after defeating King John’s army at Bouvines, had stripped John of power and wealth. Made weak, defenseless, and forsaken, John came back to England lacking any ally or army to oppose the feudal Lords’ military strength. Archbishop Langton of the Roman Catholic Church even held his support for the barons.
The Magna Carta gave privileges to landowners, in regard to taxation, law, law-courts, feudal obligations, the royal forests, the rights to property, and many other matters, but the charter in its beginning offered no liberty to the great masses of ordinary English people. It was a charter of “liberties,” not of liberty and the beginning of privileges, but in the course of time, the law of the land replaced the feudal law and the people as a whole took the place of the feudal barons.
During the sixteenth century and into the beginning seventeenth century, the contents of the Magna Carta were rediscovered; in other words, its meanings sometimes unconsciously, and oftentimes were deliberately misinterpreted by parliamentary lawyers of the time. It became the cornerstone of English liberty because people believed it guaranteed rights its authors never even considered. Moreover, the Magna Carta became a potent weapon against abuse of government power. Thus its misinterpretation eventually offered freedom, and enabled prospective Americans to leave England, pursue liberty and freely worship God, as the Bible had taught them. A familiar term heard echoing about the halls of Parliament, the King’s palace, and throughout the domain was the cry for “religious liberty.”
Providentially, and after Englishmen and Europeans began to gain certain freedoms, things were set in motion for vast exodus to America. Without these events occurring beforehand, there is possibility that the immigrants would never have survived the new lands.
Invention of the printing press in 1456 gave to people the ability to communicate over great distances, print Bibles, books, magazines and newspapers, and better educate and inform people in preparation for changes of life in an unknown wilderness. Then, in 1517, the first act of the Reformation had begun after Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, protesting Papal indulgences; an act aiding to unlock the door of religious freedom, and later encourage both Pilgrim and Puritan sects leaving Europe.
Of vital importance to history was that James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603. Breaking all ties with Rome and resuming a relaxed persecution against the Roman hierarchy as his predecessor Queen Elizabeth had started, James I provided another step toward religious freedom. Unknowingly, King James I had encouraged further religious liberty after he engaged fifty-four translators to translate the Bible into English for all English-speaking people. This was the first such act by a king or one of authority to authorize a translation of the Bible from the three ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek and Latin, and into a language that eventually became universal. Known as “The King James Bible,” the new book became available to the public in 1611. Because King James had desired an English Bible, the act providentially had placed the “True Written Word of God” into the hands of the “common man” and into the hands of priests, monks and educators of the world.
Before introduction of the 1611 King James Bible, the desire to colonize America had been awakened in the hearts of wealthy and influential Englishmen, another act of Providence. Sir Walter Raleigh and Governor John White led two expeditions to America, respectively to Roanoke Island, just off the coast of North Carolina in 1585 and 1587. On the first expedition Raleigh returned to England and left behind one hundred men under the command of Ralph Lane. Sir Francis Drake, after raiding the West Indies, looked in on the men before sailing home, and found them disgruntled, unhappy and hungry. So, he carried them home. Three years after his first failure, Raleigh still believed the land Virginia, named after Queen Elizabeth, could be colonized and developed, and bring him riches. He decided the colonization simply needed the right people, and so he shipped John White and a group of people back to the same location as his earlier expedition, and appointed White as governor.
Upon landing, the colony’s residents of 117 men, women and children began building shelters, and for reasons never explained, White decided to take the ship back to England, and request supplies for his people. Initially, the expedition managed well. Born to White’s daughter Ellinor, married to Ananias Dare, was an infant baby girl they named “Virginia Dare,” firstborn of English parents in America. Unknown to White, though, a Spanish Armada was making ready to invade England.
Governor White arrived in England, found the British busily preparing for war, and the English officials deaf to his plea for supplies; the blockade restrained his ship, preventing White from returning to America.
The Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588. But not until 1591 had Raleigh’s relief team reached Roanoke Island, though he had quickly hired a group of men to carry the supplies to America. The privateers in no rush caused their merry-making cruise through the Caribbean to not reach Roanoke until mid-August. They found nothing but “rummaged and rifled chests, rotten maps, rusty armor, grass-grown palisades, and the word CROATOAN carved on a tree.” Raleigh’s unfound people then became known as the “Lost Colony.”
In 1606, the London Company sponsored a colonizing expedition to Virginia. Landing within the lower reaches of the Chesapeake Bay, the men began going ashore on 14 May 1607. Known as the Jamestown colony, named after King James I, the men and their sponsors were more interested in obtaining wealth, gold and silver in Virginia than of making organized effort settling in America, and many of these fool-hearty men unacquainted with physical labor were also ill suited for the rigors of frontier survival. Refusing to remove themselves from the marshy tributaries, choosing instead to remain close to their ship caused suffering and death from disease and sickness. Within months of arrival, only thirty-two men were alive of one hundred and five that came ashore.
Because of the printing press with its capabilities of compacting great bundles of information into small transportable documents and books, the experiences of Roanoke and Jamestown were studied, analyzed by both Pilgrim and Puritan sects, people who came to America later. Somewhat better prepared than were their predecessors, even many of these people had not survived the long ocean voyage, the harsh winters of North America, hunger, and the attacks by hostile Indians, listed as wild “savages.”
Providence had begun paving the way for the Pilgrims’ safety long before they thought of leaving Europe, beginning with Captain George Weymouth capturing an Indian named Tisquantum of the Patuxet tribe, Indians who occupied an area referred present day as Plymouth. Taken captive, shipped back to England, Tisquantum was sold to Sir Ferdinando Gorges in 1605. Gorges taught Tisquantum English, changed his name to Squanto. This Indian Squanto later helped plant crops. He also assisted the Pilgrims in negotiating peace with other Indians. Providentially, Gorges just happened to own the Plymouth Company.
Whether Providence or happenstance, another part of the mystery played out in 1616, after smallpox wiped out the entire Patuxet tribe of the Wampanoag Indian nation, every man, woman and child. A tragedy no less, but had not such occurred, there would have been no Pilgrims at Plymouth, no survivors. As, in 1620, scarcely four years after the epidemic, the Pilgrims landed near the epicenter of the once, mighty Indian nation’s home. Numbering more than twelve thousand with forty villages surrounding the area now known as Massachusetts, fierce warriors with certainty would have killed all whites that came ashore.
Absence of such providential events, the Pilgrims would have found America inhospitable to settlers, their voyage wasteful and survival suspect. But early American pioneers believed America a special nation, preserved thousands of years for such enlightened men as themselves, and predestined by God a spiritual lighthouse for all mankind.
In a way America has played a special role perpetuating the message of God’s redemptive plan through His Son, Jesus Christ. Her schools and universities were built to equip men called to preach with an education sufficient to inform and teach the truth of the Bible and events that affect the community and nation. For centuries, America’s flame burned bright. She was the envy of every nation. Historians and politicians traveled mighty and dangerous seas to learn the secret of America’s genius, her power.
Great historians, such as Alexis de Tocqueville from France sought an answer to America’s greatness. Failing to find the key to America’s greatness in “her harbors,” her “fertile fields,” even in her “boundless forests,” nor finding America’s greatness in her “rich mines and vast world commerce,” he inquired “in her public schools and higher places of learning” for the secret of her greatness.
Finding greatness in none of these places, he considered “her democratic Congress.” He studied her “matchless Constitution.” Alas, in none of these places either, not until Tocqueville “went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness, did he understand the secret of America’s genius and power.”
At last, Tocqueville began to pen several of the most prophetic words ever recorded: “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Proverbs 29:18 warns: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Have the American people lost the vision once endowed by the American affinity toward Christianity?
King James Bible—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835—S.G. Goodrich, History of the United States, 1843—Frederic Harrison, The Meaning of History and other Historical Pieces.