Did Columbus Really Discover America?
James Scott Trimm
Hebrews in Ancient America (Excerpts from my Book of the same name,)
Contrary to popular opinion, ancient Jewish sailors circled the globe long before the landmark voyages of Columbus and Magellan.
Many civilizations had weird myths about the nature of the earth. Some thought it was carried on the back of an animal such as an elephant or turtle, and most thought the earth to be flat. Yet the ancient Hebrews knew better. Our prophet Isaiah wrote:
“It is He that sits above the circle of the earth...”
The Hebrew word for “circle” here is KHUG (Strong’s 2329) which refers to a “circle or sphere” and is also used to describe the arched domelike shape of the sky (Prov. 8:27; Job. 22:14).
The ancient Hebrews were well aware of this spherical shape of the earth. Additionally the book of Job told them that the earth is not sitting on the back of some animal, but is suspended in the void of space by nothing:
“He stretches out the north over the empty space,
and hangs the earth over nothing.”
When we compare Luke (17:34-36) with Matthew (24:40-41) we see that at the instant of the return of Messiah two will be lying in one bed (Luke 17:34-36) while two will be at work in one field and two will be grinding in the mill (Luke 17:34-36 and Matt. 24:40-41). In other words the ancient Hebrews were well aware that is night and day on different sides of the planet at the same instant!
The ancient Hebrews were sea faring peoples from very early times. For example when Ya’akov blessed Zebulon he said:
“Z’vulun shall dwell in the shore of the sea,
and he shall be a shore for ships,
and his flank shall be kept by Tzidon”
And when the Hebrews celebrated their victory over the Cananites with a song, they sang of the victories of the Danite navy:
“Gil’ad abode beyond the Yarden;
and Dan, why does he sojourn by the ships?
Asher dwelt at the shore of the sea,
and abides by its bays.”
There is evidence that the tribe of Dan, as one of the Ten Lost Tribes, migrated to Europe and became the Danes. Is it a coincidence that the Danes are known as the world’s top seafarers?
Not only were the ancient Hebrews sailing the Mediterranean Sea, but it may also be demonstrated that King Solomon’s ships sailed the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as well. King Solomon had a navy of ships capable of making the voyage to Tarshish:
For the king had at sea, a navy of Tarshish, with the navy of Hiram; once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
(1 Kings 10:22)
Tarshish was a land rich in silver, iron, tin and lead :
Tarshish was your merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches: with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded for your wares.
Where was Tarshish? The Scripture tells us that Yahushafat king of Y’hudah and Achazyah king of Yisra’el worked together to build a fleet of ships also capable of sailing to Tarshish. They built these ships at the Red Sea port of Ezion-Geber:
35 And after this, did Yahushafat king of Y’hudah, join himself with Achazyah king of Yisra’el; the same did very wickedly,
36 And he joined him with himself to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion-geber.
Tarshish could also be reached from the Medituranian port of Jaffa:
But Yonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of YHWH, and he went down to Yafo, and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of YHWH.
This would place Tarshish somewhere in the Atlantic or Indian Oceans.
Years earlier Solomon’s navy was sailing to Tarshish as well. Solomon’s navy went on regular voyages that had them away for three years:
For the king had at sea, a navy of Tarshish, with the navy of Hiram; once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
Magellan’s voyage around the world (1519-1522) lasted almost three years. Thus Solomon’s navy were gone long enough to circle the globe.
Yeshua made the statement that certain Pharisees would “compass the sea and land in order to make one proselyte” (Mt. 23:15). The Hebrew word for “compass” in the Hebrew here is SABIBOT (Strong’s 5437) meaning to circle completely around. It is the same word used in the Hebrew of Joshua (Josh. 6:3, 13, 14) to describe the children of Israel circling Jericho seven times before the walls fell. The Aramaic of Matthew has K’RAK which has the same meaning and which is the same Aramaic word the Aramaic Peshitta text of Joshua uses in these verses. Yeshua was saying that Pharisaic “missionaries” were circling the globe seeking converts all over the world.
Further evidence may be found in the apocryphal book of 2nd Esdras. Columbus quoted this book to Queen Isabella of Spain in order to obtain financial support for his voyage. The passage in question reads:
Upon the third day you did command that the waters should be gathered to one of the seven parts of the earth: six parts have you dried up, and kept them, to the intent that of these some being planted of Eloah and tilled might serve you.
(2nd Esdras 6:42)
The first believers in Yeshua were a Jewish sect known as "Nazarenes" or in Hebrew "Netzarim" (Acts 24:5). The "church father" Jerome (4th Cent.) described these Nazarenes as those "...who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law." (Jerome; On. Is. 8:14).
Elsewhere he writes:
Today there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans , and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers] are ordinarily called 'Nazarenes'; they believe that Messiah, the son of God, was born of the Virgin Miriam, and they hold him to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended to heaven, and in whom we also believe."
(Jerome; Letter 75 Jerome to Augustine)
The fourth century "church father" Epiphanius gives a more detailed description:
But these sectarians... did not call themselves Christians--but "Nazarenes," ... However they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do... They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion-- except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that G-d is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the... Writings... are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law--circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest-- they are not in accord with Christians.... they are nothing but Jews.... They have the Goodnews according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written. (Epiphanius; Panarion 29)
Yeshua had said certain Pharisees would “compass the sea and land in order to make one proselyte” (Mt. 23:15). But Yeshua complained that these Pharisaic missionaries fell short, saying “when he is made, you make him twice more the son of hell than you are” (Matt. 23:15). Certainly when Yeshua sent his own followers out saying:
19 Go you therefore, and teach all the Goyim, And immerse them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, And the Ruach HaKodesh:
20 And teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. And here am I with you, all the days, to the end of the world.
(Matt. 28:20-19 HRV)
15 And He said to them: Go into the entire world, and proclaim My Good News in all of creation.
16 Whoever believes and is immersed, will live: and whoever does not believe, is condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 HRV)
They took the phrases “all the Goyim ” and “the entire world” and “all of creation” to mean that they should “compass the sea and land” just as the Pharisees had in seeking their converts.
...Could Nazarene missionaries have brought their message of Torah and Messiah to the New World? ... it seems certain that Hebrews did reach Ancient America and teach them many customs, perhaps even making many converts to Judaism from among them.
Ancient Hebrew merchants, explorers and missionaries (Pharisee and Nazarene) left several artifacts behind which have been found and which testify to the fact that ancient Hebrews came to America long before Columbus.
The Pitsfield Phylatery
In 1815 buried in a field which had once been a Mohican settlement the Pitsfield Phylactery was discovered in Pitsfield Massachusetts. The discovery was made by Joseph Merrick, Esq. who was described by the local minister as “a highly respectable character.” The strap contained parchments with Hebrew writing on it. It was taken to Professor Abiel Holmes, a scholar at Cambridge University, authenticated the scrolls as Hebrew.
in June of 1860 an armature archaeologist by the name of David Wyrick found a wedge shaped stone buried in twelve to fourteen inches of dirt in a pit adjacent to some Hopewell earthworks in what is now known as Newark Ohio. The most fascinating thing about this stone wedge is the fact that it had Hebrew inscriptions on each of its four sides.
The Ohio Decalogue
Several months later that same year Wyrick found another stone. This stone was found some ten miles south, underneath a Hopewell structure called “The Great Stone Stack”. This structure of stone had a base of 500 square feet and a height of 55 feet. Early settlers drew pictures of it and wrote detailed accounts of it. The stones were removed in 1831 or 1832 and used to reinforce a dam. A number of small mounds and been buried beneath the Great Stone Stack. Wyrick and five of his associates excavated one of the mounds. They found what they called a “coffin” buried in the mound, it was more like a funeral pier. They dug beneath this and found several artifacts, two of which have survived. The first of these was a stone box which contained the Decalogue Stone”. They also found a stone bowl and “two beautiful plumb bobs, but instead of being round (or oval) they are eight square”.
The Los Lunas Decalogue
In the rugged terrain of the Southwest United States, near New Mexico’s Rio Puerco River, New Los Lunas, there is a mountain known commonly is “Hidden Mountain”. Perched atop this mountain are the ruins of an ancient Anasazi city. The Anasazi were a cultural group in ancient America centered on the present-day Four Corners area of the United States, comprising southern Utah, northern Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and a lesser section of Colorado. They flourished for over 2,000 year between 1,200 BCE and to have eventually left their cliff top cities abandoned around 1,300 CE.
However this Anasazi settlement has one major difference from all other Anasazi settlements. This Anasazi settlement has a large bolder with the Ten Commandments inscribed on it in a form of the ancient Paleo-Hebrew script at the base of the mountain.
The Bat Creek Stone
Flowing through the Tennessee valley Bat Creek flows into the Little Tennessee River which flows down from the Appalachian mountains. In the 1880’s a Smithsonian Institution burial mound survey team led by John W. Emmert and overseen by Cyrus Thomas, conducted several excavations in the valley. These were actually bonafide excavations by any meaningful definition of the term, with the full credibility of the Smithsonian Institute.
When Emmert excavated one of the mounds he found nine skeletons. Immediately under the head of one skeleton were found a number of artifacts: an inscribed tablet (the Bat Creek Stone), two “copper” bracelets (which have since been determined to be brass), a small drilled fossil, a copper bead, a bone tool and two pieces of polished wood (ear spools?).
John Emmert and Cyrus Thomas both represented the stone upside down and later determined that the characters were a Cherokee inscription. It was not until 1971 1971 Dr. Gordon having turned the photograph of the artifact right side up, verified that the characters were indeed Paleo-Hebrew and not Cherokee. At this point the Bat Creek Stone gained worldwide attention.
In recent years the stone itself and the other artifacts that were found with it have been tested. These tests have verified the validity of the stone itself and dated the artifacts to as old as the first century.
I have just finished a new book on these very interesting ancient artifacts (which I have been researching since 1993) which will be published very soon. I will let you all know when the book is out.
* I stated at the top, this is not a Book of Mormon thing. By this I mean that the scripts used on all but one of these artifacts is written in a Script that dates to post-exile times. The alleged account of the Book of Mormon is supposed to involve Hebrews that supposedly came to the New World at the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity. Therefore these inscriptions could not relate to the claims of the Book of Mormon.
(The following is excerpted from an online History Class I have written. In addition to the Hebrews, there were many others who "Discovered America" before Columbus.
Hui Shen – A Chinese Buddhist Monk Comes to America - In the year 499 CE the Chinese Buddhist missionary Hui Shen took a ship on a voyage 20,000 li (about 10,000 Kilometers or 6,214 miles) east of China to a land he called "Fusang" and reported his discovery to the Emporer upon his return. An account of his voyage is found in the book of Liang (7th Century). It is widely believed that Hui Shen's land of "Fusang" was in fact the New World.
Brendan the Bold - Sometime between 512-530 C.E. an Irish monk known as Brendan the Bold is said to have crossed the Atlantic with a number of fellow pilgrims and discovered an "Island" which he called "Isle of the Blessed". Many scholars have concluded that "the Isle of the Blessed" was in fact North America. The St Brendan Society maintains the claim that Brendan was the first European to reach North America.
Norsemen discover America about l000 C.E. The Norsemen from the Scandinavian Peninsula were the next Europeans to set foot upon the American continent. In the latter part of the tenth century (985), these hardy sea rovers, under the leadership of Eric the Red, made settlements in Greenland, and about the year 1000, Leif Ericson, the son of Eric, is said to have come from Norway by way of Greenland and Iceland and to have landed upon the shore of North America somewhere to the south of Labrador. He and his Companions, about thirty-five in number, named the place “Vinland” because of the abundance of wild grapes which they found. Here they spent the winter. Other settlers came, and a colony was founded, only to be abandoned later.
Prince Madoc of Whales - In the year 1171 C.E. Prince Madoc of Wales set sail from Llandrillo (Rhos-on-Sea) in the cantref of Rhos to explore the Atlantic Ocean with a small fleet of ships. Their expedition crossed the Atlantic and discovered a distant and abundant land on the other side. There about one hundred men disembarked and established a colony, while Madoc and some others returned to Wales in an attempt to recruit more settlers. After gathering ten more ships of men and women they sailed back to this New World, never to return. It is unknown what became of Madoc’s settlement.
Paul Knutson and the Kensington Stone In November 1354 Paul Knutsson was commissioned by King Magnus of Sweden and Norway to travel to Greenland and to investigate the state of affairs there, as a report had come that the people of Greenland were falling from the Christian Faith. Knutson's expedition may have journeyed deep into North America and left behind the Kensington Runestone in what is now Minnesota. The Kensington stone has been regarded by some as a hoax, while others are convinced of its authenticity. The inscription on the stone reads:
Eight Swedes and 22 Northmen on (this?) acquisition journey from Vinland far to the west. We had a camp by two (shelters?) one day's journey north from this stone. We were fishing one day. After we came home, found 10 men red from blood and dead. Ave Maria save from evil. (side of stone) There are 10 men by the inland sea to look after our ships fourteen days journey from this peninsula (or island). Year 1362
There is great debate as to whether Knutson's expedition could have made it to Minnesota and left this inscription there. The authenticity of this stone has remained a matter of much controversy among scholars.
Prince Henry Sinclair and the Brothers Zeno - In 1784 Johann Reinhold Forster identified Prince Henry Sinclair (known as “Henry the Navigator”) with a certain "Prince Zichmni" described in letters written around the year 1400 by the Zeno brothers of Venice. In these letters they describe a voyage throughout the North Atlantic under the command of Zichmni, in which "Zichmni" discovered the land we now know of as North America in 1395 C.E., almost a century before Columbus' voyage. Detractors from this theory question the authenticity of the letters, and the identification of Sinclair with "Zichmni".
João Vaz Corte-Real - In his book Saudades de terra (1570-80), Gaspar Frutuoso gives the account of the discovery of a land across the Atlantic. Corte-Real was a Portuguese sailor and according to the account, he discovered a land called Terra Nova do Bacalhau ("New Land of the Codfish") speculated by some to have been a part of North America in 1472, twenty years before the voyage of Columbus.
The Rediscovery of America by Columbus grew out of the Renaissance. Columbus may well have known that the "New World" was waiting to be "discovered" though he may also have believed that India, China and Japan were somewhere beyond this New World. Several maps and nautical charts predating 1492 have emerged which appear to show parts of North America on the far side of the Atlantic. The "Vineland Map" of 1440 shows a "new" and "fertile" land to west of Vinland. While once discredited, a July 22, 2009 article in the Scientific American gave evidence that this map could be authentic after all. A nautical chart not discovered until 1955, gives evidence that Portuguese captains were already in the New World by 1424. Columbus' brother Bartolomeo was a professional map maker and in fact worked in a cartography workshop in Lisbon. Some have speculated that Columbus actually used a map to get to the New World.
The rediscovery of America grew out of that remarkable revival in learning, industry, and commerce which took place in Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It will be necessary for us at this time to note more definitely the way in which this came about. We have seen that the intellectual and material life of Europe was greatly quickened near the close of the Middle Ages.
There was greater interest in learning. Commerce and manufacturing developed, and gunpowder was introduced. Printing was invented, and there was a renewed interest in geography and travel. The spirit of enterprise was in the air. One result of all this was to stimulate trade with the East.
The East was looked upon as a Country of Great Riches. For centuries the people of Europe had carried on an extensive and valuable trade with the East. India and China, or Cathay, as it was then called, were the sources from which the nations of Europe obtained gold, precious stones, silks, perfumes, spices, and other highly desirable commodities. The fact that little was known about the East made the locality still more attractive. There was fascination in its mystery. Travelers returning from India and China brought marvelous tales concerning the wealth and magnificence of those countries.
Marco Polo, an Italian who had traveled extensively in the East, wrote of the country in glowing terms in 1299, and soon after there appeared the entertaining "Voyage and Travels of Sir John Mandeville," made up from earlier narratives of travel. These books fired the imagination of the West. They told of "silver walls and golden towers," of precious stones and fountains of youth, and of palaces paved with plates of gold "like slabs of stone, a good two fingers thick." "For centuries," says Justin Winsor, "the Orient had been the dream of the philosopher and the goal of the merchant. Everything in the East was thought to be on a larger scale than in Europe, metals were more abundant, pearls were rarer, spices were richer, plants were nobler, animals were statelier."
Access to this wonderful country was naturally a matter of great importance, and routes of trade between Europe and the East were studied with great care. In the Middle Ages there were three important routes: one leading to Genoa by way of Caspian and Black seas and Constantinople; another to Antioch by way of the Persian Gulf and the Euphrates valley ; and the third to Venice by way of the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, and Mediterranean.
These routes, dangerous and expensive at best, were being gradually cut off by the Turks as they extended their sway over Asia. Finally, in 1453, Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turks, and the route leading to Genoa, the birthplace of Columbus, was closed. It now seemed that the time was approaching when all overland communication between Europe and the East would be cut off. The great commercial and geographical problem of the fifteenth century was therefore the finding of a new trade route to the East. Some improvements had recently been made in art of navigation, and for this and other reasons an all-water route was especially desirable.
Spain and Portugal, the leading maritime nations of Europe at the time, attempted to solve this great problem by different methods. Portuguese sailors tried to reach India by sailing around Africa and thence into the Indian Ocean; while the Spaniards, guided by Columbus and acting upon the theory that the earth was a globe, attempted to reach the same place by sailing directly west. Both of these attempts should receive attention at this time.
Prince Henry, the Navigator. - The most notable efforts of the Portuguese were made under the wise and unselfish guidance of Prince Henry, the Navigator mentioned earlier. It is claimed by some that he discovered the New World in 1395, nearly a century before Columbus. A half a century before Columbus sailed on his first voyage of discovery, navigators sent by Prince Henry were cautiously creeping down the western coast of Africa in an attempt to round the continent and thus reach India. They finally succeeded after many years of patient endeavor. In 1497 Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon, and returned two years later laden with the jewels, silks, and fine fabrics of the East. The Portuguese had solved the problem, but not in the lifetime of their noble prince, and not until Columbus was about to sail for the third time in search of a western route to India.
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