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…”
(Is. 40:22a).

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.”
(Job 26:7)

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”
(Gen. 49:13)

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.”
(Judges 5:17)

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.
(Ezek. 27:12).

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.
(2Chron. 20:35-36).

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.
(Jonah 1:3)

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.
(1Kn. 10:22).

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)

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)

and:

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.

The Keystone

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.

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