Christopher Columbus: Great Commission and Great Crusade
Matt. 24:14
10-11-21


Today is Columbus Day. Not many people know much about Columbus anymore. Jesse Waters of Fox News did some on-the-street interviews a few years ago and people were absolutely clueless. We all know the basic facts encapsulated in the little rhyme: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” But what a lot of people don’t know about Columbus is that he was a man of faith who believed he was fulfilling Scripture. And one of the big ones for Columbus was Matthew 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” More on that later, but just the mention of the name Christopher Columbus evokes a strong response.

We used to celebrate Columbus and his amazing accomplishments. But these days, a lot of people don’t celebrate Columbus. As a matter of fact, they hate Columbus. They protest Columbus Day. In fact, some cities are ignoring Columbus Day and instead celebrating “Indigenous People’s Day.” And increasingly, we are seeing monuments of Columbus defaced and destroyed. Consequently, some call Columbus a “visionary explorer” while others call him a “colossal exploiter.” Columbus certainly deserves a lot of credit and some criticism, but I want you to know “the rest of the story.” To understand Columbus, you have to understand the background.

I. THE WORLD IN WHICH COLUMBUS MADE HIS EPIC VOYAGE

A. World Background: It’s important to understand the threat of radical Islam in his day. Columbus was born in the fall of 1451 into a world at war. It was an epic struggle of Christendom against the forces of Islam, still trying to establish their world-wide caliphate. All those blaming Columbus for sailing west and “invading” the New World need to turn one chapter back in the history books to find that it was actually Islamic jihad disrupting the land routes from Europe to India and China that resulted in Columbus looking for a sea route.
           
When Columbus was an infant in 1453, Muslim Ottoman Turks laid siege to the Christian city of Constantinople. They were led by Muslim Sultan Mehmet II, considered one of the greatest rulers of Islam. The fate of Christians living in Constantinople at the time was grim. Historian George Grant writes:

The great city had gone down fighting, with Emperor Constantine bravely at the head of his troops. But the fierce Moslem tide was too much. All Christian resistance was quickly thwarted. The conquest was complete by mid­-morning. The massacre that followed was utterly horrifying—Byzantine citizens were cut down like grass in a meadow, holy relics were tossed profligately into the sea, diplomatic consuls from the West were tortured and executed, women were raped, children were enslaved, and the once magnificent city was reduced to ruin.[1]

The Muslim invaders destroyed the Byzantine Empire, which had lasted for more than 1,000 years. Truly, the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 set the stage for Columbus’ voyage in 1492. However, the Muslims were not content with taking over Byzantium. They wanted to control all of Europe as well, looking at those lands as a prize to be secured in the name of Allah.[2]

Muslim Turkish crusaders proceeded to invade Eastern Europe and dominate the Mediterranean. These aggressive military acts effectively curtailed trade from Western Europe to India and China. As the sphere of Islamic states grew, some raided caravans crossing the China Silk Road, making these routes notoriously more dangerous. Once land trade routes were ended due to the dangers of the Islamic expansion, Europeans began looking for a sea route.

B. Personal Background: Columbus grew up in Genoa, Italy. He worked in his father’s wool shop but went to sea every chance he could. Growing up in that city where Marco Polo was imprisoned nearly two centuries earlier, he undoubtedly heard Polo’s stories of the Grand Khan who lived in a very strange land on the other side of the world. In fact, Columbus owned a copy of Marco Polo’s book, and wrote numerous personal notes in the margins. In 1484, he and his brother Bartolomeo established their homes in Lisbon, Portugal—the sea-going capitol of the world at the time—and worked as map makers. This made Columbus privy to both the geographic knowledge of the ancients as well as the latest information in the age of discovery.

Columbus knew the earth was round, as proposed by Pythagoras and confirmed by Aristotle. He also knew of the calculations of Eratosthenes who in the third century BC had correctly predicted the circumference of the earth to within 75 kilometers. In the 1480s, the most recent world map had been produced by Paolo Toscanelli of Florence, Italy. That map put Japan only 4,700 miles west of Lisbon. Another respected authority of the day was named Pierre d’Ailly who also believed that Asia was closer to Europe than it actually was. Columbus then had a chance to do some exploring of his own. He perfected his navigational skills in expeditions as far north as Iceland and as far south as middle Africa.

There were also some recent discoveries that inspired him. A Danish expedition had just rediscovered Labrador. Pieces of carved driftwood were found west of the Azores, and the bodies of two Chinese-looking men had washed up in the Azores. Columbus made his own calculations that the distance from the Canary Islands to Japan was only 2,760 miles! Columbus was fired up! That was do-able. (Actually, he added a couple of his own errors to the inherent errors of the technology of his day. However, the Americas lay just 20 percent beyond his estimate.)

A self-taught man, his library consisted of 20,000 volumes at his death. He was a brilliant navigator, using only an astrolabe to shoot the position of the sun and a compass. As already mentioned, there was only one problem—his calculations proved to be wrong by about half, so he hit America, not India. But there are two things about Columbus that you probably didn’t learn from your history books.

1) Missionary Heritage and Motivation: One was his missionary heritage and missionary motives. A Franciscan missionary in the late 1200’s and early 1300’s named Ramon Llull had a profound impact on Columbus’ life. The people group Llull was trying to reach were the Muslims of North Africa, and he was well known and highly respected in Europe at the time for his efforts to bring them to Christ.

In 1314, at the age of 80, Llull traveled again to North Africa. Unfortunately, it would be for the last time, as he was stoned by an angry crowd of Muslims in Tunis. While there, two merchants from Genoa found Llull near death. The merchants recognized Llull and took him back to their ship. Llull was in terrible shape and was fighting for his life. The merchants tried to sail back to Genoa, but a storm blew them off the coast of Majorca, a large island in the western Mediterranean, and Ramon Llull’s home.

Ramon Llull raised his hand to the west and essentially told the two merchants that “beyond this sea, which washes this continent we know, there lies another continent which we have never seen, whose natives are ignorant of the Gospel of Christ. Send men there.”[3] One of the merchants who heard Llull’s request was Columbus. Not Christopher Columbus, but Stefano Columbo. Stefano was an ancestor of Christopher. Christopher Columbus grew up hearing from his father and grandfather the call of Ramon Llull: “Send men there.” In addition to the great commission passages, Columbus was motivated by Isaiah 49:1, 6 and Psalm 19:4. He quoted these over and over again in his book Prophecies. But there was a second motivation.

2) Prophetic and Eschatological Motives: Columbus not only believed his mission was to carry out the missionary vision of Ramon Llull but also the prophecies of Scripture, especially those that involve the return of Christ. Like many Christians throughout the ages, Columbus believed he was living in the last days. He wrote in his Book of Prophecies:

The Holy Scriptures testify in the Old Testament, by the mouth of the prophets, and in the New [Testament], by our Savior Jesus Christ, that this world will come to an end: Matthew, Mark, and Luke have recorded the signs of the end of the age .... And I say that the sign which convinces me that our Lord is hastening the end of the world is the preaching of the Gospel recently in so many lands.[4]

There is a glancing reference to Matt. 24:14. Even his Christian name, Christopher, means “Christ‑bearer.” It refers to a legend in which the original St. Christopher carried the Christ Child across a stream. He wrote in his journal that he believed that God had called him to bear the Christ “to the heathen of undiscovered lands.”

But connected with this missionary motive is the second motivation Columbus had for sailing westward to find the east, and that was gold to finance one last crusade to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. There, he said, he would “rebuild the Jews’ Holy Temple and bring on a new Age of the Holy Spirit.”[5] That’s the reason Columbus is sometimes called “The Last Crusader.” And his quest for gold admittedly led him to do some unChristian things later in his career. In his mind, the end justified the means—get gold at all costs to free Jerusalem from the Muslims. He believed if he could do that, Christ would return.

Consequently, the context of Columbus’ historic voyage to America was two-fold. He wanted to find a trade route to the east in order to 1) spread the Gospel to the lost, and 2) find enough gold to fund one last great Crusade to free Jerusalem.

Columbus was one of the most determined men who ever lived. Estimates for how much the plan would cost range between $500,000 to a million in today’s dollars.[6] So he went to John II, King of Portugal. The king turned it over to a royal commission. The commission decided that the plan was utterly foolish and that Columbus was arrogant and over-bearing. He was laughed out of Portugal. Columbus sent his brother Bartolomeo to Henry VII of England, and they laughed him out of the country. Now you need to understand that they didn’t dismiss Columbus because they thought the world was flat. Nobody with an education thought the world was flat. The Greeks had provided solid proof that the earth was round before Christ was born. The reason they threw him out of court was because they thought his venture was impossible, it would cost too much money, it was too risky, etc.

Columbus then turned to Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain were supposedly noted for their devotion to God. Columbus thought that God must have reserved for them the right to support his expedition to take the light of Christ to the undiscovered lands! Of course! That’s why he had been turned down and even embarrassed in Portugal and England! Perhaps God was calling the Catholic Monarchs of Spain to be His instruments.

Yet it was months before Columbus was allowed to see Ferdinand and Isabella. They also turned the idea over to a royal commission. Yet Spain was embroiled with a war against the Muslim Moors in their land, and the royal commission took years to report back to the king and queen. For years, Columbus came into the court of Spain and the courtiers would mock him and his plan as folly.

On March 15, 1493, Columbus wrote in his journal: “Of this voyage, I observe...that it has miraculously been shown, as may be understood by this writing, by the many signal miracles that He has shown on the voyage, and for me, who for so great a time was in the court of Your Highnesses with the opposition and against the opinion of so many high personages of your household, who were all against me, alleging this undertaking to be folly, which I hope in Our Lord will be to the greater glory of Christianity, which to some slight extent already has happened.” Again, Columbus endured abuse day after day after day at the Spanish Court—for seven years![7]

During these frustrating, agonizing years, Columbus failed morally, and fathered a child out of wedlock. He named his son Ferdinand after the King of Spain. When the commission came back with their report, it was devastating. They wrote that the scheme rested on weak foundations and that its success was uncertain and impossible to any educated person. That wasn’t exactly the report Columbus had waited for years to hear! Although the king and queen told him to submit his rebuttal to them after they finished the war with the Moors, Columbus had begun to lose hope. He thought that it was over. Yes, he could go to the king of France, but he had been so convinced that God wanted Ferdinand and Isabella to be part of the plan.

As he traveled back to La Rabida, the Franciscan monastery where his older son by marriage, Diego, was being schooled, all his pride and self-esteem was gone. He was the laughingstock of three countries. Yet somehow, God gave him the strength to persevere. Columbus was a third order lay-Franciscan, who in his later years wore the brown Franciscan habit, and he began to share his vision and his calculations with the monks at La Rabida.

Interestingly, Washington Irving wrote a biography on Christopher Columbus in 1836 which ended up being the primary source for history books. However, some of Irving’s stories were fabrications. For example, the scene where the church leaders persecuted Columbus because his teaching went against church doctrine is mythical: “He’s teaching that the world is round but everybody knows that the church teaches that the world is flat.” The truth is that the Franciscan monks at La Rabida supported Columbus. In fact, that monastery was a tremendous center of learning where they believed that all truth is God’s truth—including geographical and scientific. They ran his figures and checked out his math and bought into his vision.

Father Juan Perez, the monk in charge of La Rabida, believed in Columbus, and used his position as the Queen’s trusted confessor to intercede for him. Perez wrote the Queen urging her to reconsider. The Queen sent back a message that Columbus was to come immediately to Santa Fe which the Spanish had erected outside Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain. And then the Providence of God tilted the scales in Columbus’ favor. Spanish forces were on the verge of a climactic victory over the Muslim Moors.

In fact, Columbus arrived just as the Moors were about to surrender! Then the day came on January 2, 1492. Over the walls of Alhambra, the citadel in the heart of Granada, the Moorish banner came down. The huge gates swung slowly open and out came the Moorish King at the head of a column of his noblemen. They proceeded quietly along the silent road lined with Spanish crusaders in full armor. Finally, they came to the pavilion were Ferdinand and Isabella waited. The Moorish King dismounted, approached them, knelt, and kissed their hands. The war was over! Pandemonium broke out. Everyone in Spain was overcome with joy at the end of the war.

Columbus was grateful for the end of the war because now his moment had come. At the age of 41, Christopher Columbus wrote to the King and Queen of Spain in 1492:

Concerning the lands of India, and a Prince called Gran Khan...How many times he sent to Rome to seek doctors in our Holy Faith to instruct him and that never had the Holy Father provided them, and thus so many people were lost through lapsing into idolatries... And Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians and Princes devoted to the Holy Christian Faith and the propagators thereof, and enemies of the sect of Mahomet and of all idolatries and heresies, resolved to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the said regions of India, to see the said princes and peoples and lands and the dispositions of them and of all, and the manner in which may be undertaken their conversion to our Holy Faith ... And ordained that I should not go by land (the usual way) to the Orient, but by the route of the Occident, by which no one to this day knows for sure that anyone has gone.

Although exhausted, Ferdinand and Isabella listened attentively to Columbus’ passionate plea. God had granted them a tremendous victory, and they had not yet thought of how to show their gratitude. The standard ways were to build a cathedral, make a pilgrimage, or erect shelters for the poor. Here was this visionary with his proposal for a new crusade to discover new lands for the glory of God and to spread the Gospel of the Savior to the ends of the earth. Besides, Father Perez vouched for him. Maybe this was God’s way for them to show their gratitude. They asked for a moment to confer. It didn’t take long. They recalled Columbus and told him they agreed to his plan!

II. THE EPIC VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS TO THE NEW WORLD


There were details to work out and money to be raised, but in the providence of God, the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria sailed from Spain eight months later. Instead of going due west to the Azores, Columbus would sail southwest to the Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco. Columbus had heard that John II of Portugal had sent a man west from the Azores, but the explorer gave up after several days of fighting headwinds.

From his previous travels, Columbus had noted that the winds in the North Atlantic were mostly from the west, but the winds in the South Atlantic were mostly from the northeast. He was hoping for a following wind going and coming, and he got it! It was a simple plan, but no one had thought of it before. Columbus regarded it as a revelation of God.

Before they departed, Columbus “received the very holy sacrament of the Eucharist on the very day that he entered upon the sea; and in the name of Jesus ordered the sails to be set…”[8] Columbus and his men left the Canary Islands on August 12, 1492, and it would be two long months before they finally spotted land in what is now known as the Bahamas.

They sailed westward for a month, becoming more and more nervous. None of the men had been farther than three hundred miles from shore, and now they were 3,000 and getting further every day! By October 9, 1492, the men had been grumbling for a week. Columbus even overheard one of the crewmen half-joke that they should throw him overboard and go home with the story that he had slipped when taking a sighting on the polestar.

That same day, Martin and Vicente Pinzon, the captains of the Nina and the Pinta, came aboard the Santa Maria for a solemn conference. They told Columbus the crews had taken enough. They must turn back or face a mutiny. Columbus knew they were right. He consented to turn back. However, he exacted one promise from them: they would continue three more days. If no land was sighted by the end of the 12th, they would turn back.

Columbus must have prayed that night! The next day, Columbus’ journal said they had made an incredible 59 leagues, about 200 miles. It was their second-best day of the voyage. The fact that they were moving away from their homes so quickly scared the crew. They might be coming to the end of the world! October 10 was the first time the crew openly challenged Columbus. The situation was incredibly tense.

Yet on the morning of the 11th, the crew of the Pinta saw a reed and a small piece of wood that had definitely been carved by a man. The Nina also saw a small twig with roses on it! This evidence of land transformed the situation! The mood on the ships was the happiest it had been in weeks. There was a prize of $10,000 for the first man to sight land. The crews were now clamoring for their turns aloft. The ships seemed to be racing each other. As night fell on October 11, they elected to keep the sails up at night and forge ahead into the blackness. At 10:00 p.m. that night, the first sighting of a light came in the distance. At 2:00 a.m., just four hours before the last day was to begin, the electrifying cry went out from Juan Rodriquez Bermejo of the Pinta: “Tierra! Tierra!” There in the distance was a low white cliff, shining in the moonlight. They took down their sails and waited for the morning light.

A new day and a new era dawned: October 12, 1492. The fears of the last month were soon forgotten. It was noon before they could find a break in the reefs that was wide enough for them to pass. Columbus donned a scarlet shirt he had saved for the occasion and the officers put on their finest attire for the short rowboat trip to the beach. As they waded the last way to the shore, Columbus was the first to set foot on dry land. The two Pinzon brothers were right behind him.

They did three things. They erected a banner with a green cross and symbols for Ferdinand and Isabella on the landing site, symbolizing the claim of Christendom on a land that had not previously been exposed to the Gospel.

Columbus prayed, “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 praised be Thy Majesty, which Thou hast deigned to use us, Thy humble servants, that Thy Holy Name may be proclaimed in this second part of the earth.”[9]

He named the first island on which they landed “San Salvador,” which translated means “Holy Savior.” Other lands he later named included “Trinidad” (meaning “Trinity”), “Vera Cruz” (meaning “True Cross”), and “Navidad” (similar to our word “Nativity,” meaning Christmas). These Christian names remain to this day. Again, consider the missionary motives in his diary:

October 12, 1492: “So that they might be well-disposed towards us, for I knew that they were a people to be delivered and converted to our Holy Faith rather by love than by force, I gave to some red caps and to others glass beads, which they hung around their necks, and many other things of slight value. At this they were greatly pleased and became so entirely our friends that it was a wonder to see....I believe that they would easily be made Christians, for it seemed to me that they had no religion of their own. Our Lord willing, when I depart, I shall bring back six of them to your Highnesses, that they may learn to talk our language.”

October 16, 1492: “I don’t recognize in them any religion, and I believe that they very promptly would turn Christians, for they are of very good understanding.”

November 6, 1492: “I maintain, Most Serene Princes, that if they had access to devout religious persons knowing the language, they would all turn Christian, and so I hope in Our Lord that Your Highnesses will do something about it with much care, in order to turn to the Church so numerous a folk, and to convert them as you have destroyed those who would not seek to confess the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And after your days (for we are all mortal) you will leave your realms in a very tranquil state, and free from heresy and wickedness, and will be well received before the eternal Creator, to whom I pray to grant you long life and great increase of many realms and lordships, and both will and disposition to increase the holy Christian religion, as hitherto you have done.”

November 27, 1492: “But now, please our Lord, I shall see the most that I may, and little by little I shall come, to understand and know, and I will have this language taught to people of my household, because I see that all so far have one language. And afterwards the benefits will be known, and it will be endeavored to have these folk Christians, for that will easily be done, since they have no religion; nor are they idolaters....And I say that Your Highness ought not to consent that any foreigner does business or sets foot here, except Christian Catholics, since this was the end and the beginning of the enterprise, that it should be for the enhancement and glory of the Christian religion, nor should anyone who is not a good Christian come to these parts.

December 16, 1492: “Because they [tribe of the Arawak], are the best people in the world and above all the gentlest, I have much hope in Our Lord that Your Highnesses will make them all Christians, and they will be all yours, as for yours I hold them.”

December 22, 1492: “The Admiral ordered the lord to be given some things, and he and all his folk rested in great contentment, believing truly that they had come from the sky, and to see the Christians they held themselves very fortunate.”

December 24, 1492: “Your Highnesses may believe that in all the world there can be no better or gentler people. Your Highnesses should feel great joy, because presently they will be Christians, and instructed in the good manners of your realms; for a better people there cannot be on earth, and both people and land are in such quantity that I don’t know how to write it.”[10]

On his second voyage, Columbus followed through on his missionary motives by bringing 17 friars to evangelize the native population. In fact, Queen Isabella informed Pope Alexander VI of Columbus’ attempt “To bear the light of Christ west to the heathen undiscovered lands.”[11] That was his mission from the beginning, so he was kind to the “Indians” and was concerned about their salvation. Yet this is not the picture of him presented today. Listen to Columbus’ own words in a letter to the King and Queen of Spain, during his return voyage:

February 15, 1493: “I forbade that they [the Indians] should be given things so worthless as pieces of broken crockery and broken glass, and lace points.... I gave them a thousand good, pleasing things which I had bought, in order that they might be fond of us, and furthermore might become Christians and be inclined to the love and service of Their Highnesses and of the whole Castilian nation [Spain], and try to help us and to give us of the things which they have in abundance and which are necessary to us.”[12]

In all Columbus made four voyages to the New World:
  
  • 1st voyage – 1492-1493: He discovered land.
  • 2nd voyage – 1493-1496: He encountered a hurricane, malaria, and cannibals.
  • 3rd voyage – 1498-1500: He faced doldrums, rebellion, and was arrested.
  • 4th voyage – 1502-1504: He survived another hurricane, explored Panama, and was shipwrecked on Jamaica for a year.

Columbus tried to implement Christ’s golden rule in his initial dealings with Native Americans. Yet we would never know that today. 
Now the historical revisionists tell us that Columbus was an intolerant, imperialistic white European male who invaded a pristine paradise peopled by noble Native Americans. These environmentally conscious recyclers had their lives totally destroyed by this rapacious explorer.

That’s the myth. Here’s the truth. The Caribe Indians, from which we get “Caribbean,” were indeed recyclers. They were systematically “recycling” the Arawak tribe. The Caribes emasculated, sodomized, and cannibalized the peaceful Taino Arawak tribe, who were the first natives who greeted Columbus. So the Arawaks viewed him and his men as saviors because they literally kept that tribe from being wiped out at the hands of the Caribes. By the way, the reason Columbus called them “Indians” was that he “steadfastly believed” that he had dis­covered “the outposts of India.”[13] But he also later enslaved some of them in his quest for gold.

The life of Christopher Columbus is almost like a Greek tragedy, and yet it holds some valuable lessons for us today. Columbus has much to teach us about depending on God and persevering in our God-given mission. He wrote in his diary: “I have already said that for the execution of the enterprise of the Indies, neither reason, nor mathematics, nor world maps were profitable to me; rather the prophecy of Isaiah was completely fulfilled.”[14] These words from Isaiah 49:1, 6, recorded in the Book of Prophecies, are exemplary of the Scriptures that inspired this missionary‑minded discoverer: “Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name ... I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Perhaps his favorite Scripture was Psalm 19:4: “Their voice goes out into all the earth; their words to the ends of the world…” This verse appears five times in his Book of Prophecies, and Columbus saw that verse as part of his two-fold motivation for discovering the New World.

Columbus’ translator Kay Brigham describes him as a man of prayer and a devoted Christian. She points out that it was his “unquenchable faith in divine Providence which enabled him to achieve in the face of adversities and hardships.”[15] Columbus tells of the Christian motivation for his voyage in his Book of Prophecies, a volume he wrote in 1505, so named because he quotes many biblical prophecies:

It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) to sail to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures.[16]

Columbus believed that the Lord gave him the vision to do what he did. Yes, there were failures and greed along the way. Again, Columbus eventually enslaved some of the natives in his relentless quest to bring enough gold back to the King and Queen of Spain for the last Crusade. To a desperate man like Columbus, the ends justified the means, but he was wrong. Consequently, his work and witness suffered, he was imprisoned for a time, and he died in shame in 1506. He was only 55 years old.

Yes, many Conquistadors followed Columbus, most of whom did not share in his missionary purpose, and who left destruction in their wake. Yet in spite of Columbus’ many mistakes, we should remember his missionary motives and never forget his dependence on God.

On his final voyage, he made it to Panama, hoping to cross over to the Pacific, but the natives were pressing them. Temporarily trapped on a river in Panama at low tide, Columbus wrote his Lettera Rarissima to the Spanish monarchs on July 7, 1503, hoping someone may read it even if he didn’t make it back alive:

The Indians were many and united and attacked ... I was outside very much alone, on this rude coast, with a high fever and very fatigued. There was no hope of escape. In this state, I climbed painfully to the highest part of the ship and cried out for help with a fearful voice... At length, groaning with exhaustion, I fell asleep, and heard a compassionate voice saying, ‘O fool, and slow to believe and serve thy God, the God of every man! ... From thy birth He hath ever held thee in special charge ... Of those barriers of the Ocean Sea, which were closed with such mighty chains, He hath given thee the keys ...Turn thou to Him and acknowledge thy faults; His mercy is infinite; thine old age shall not hinder thee from performing mighty deeds ... Whatever He promises He fulfills with interest; that is His way.[17]

Indeed, God gave Columbus, the “Christ-Bearer,” the keys and he unlocked the chains and opened the door of the gospel to a whole New World.
 
[1] Quoted in George Grant, The Last Crusader: The Untold Story of Christopher Columbus (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1992), 117.
[2] John Eidsmoe, Columbus & Cortez: Conquerors for Christ (Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press, 1992), 15.
[3] Anthony Bonner, ed. and trans., Ramon Llull: A Contemporary Life (Barcelona: Barchino-Tamesis, 2010), 63-75.
[4] Christopher Columbus, Book of Prophecies, trans. Kay Brigham (Fort Lauderdale, FL: TSELF, Inc., 1991), 182‑183.
[5] Marvin Lunenfeld, “Columbus, Christopher,” World Book Encyclopedia (Chicago: World Book, Inc., 1997), 4:858.
[6] On the low end: https://economics.stackexchange.com/questions/37467/in-todays-money-what-was-the-value-of-a-1492-spanish-maraved%C3%AD. On the high end: https://www.humanprogress.org/a-reminder-of-how-far-transatlantic-travel-has-come/#:~:text=The%20voyage%20cost%20approximately%202,a%20million%20current%20U.S.%20dollars Accessed on October 7, 2021.
[7] Columbus in his Journal of the First Voyage (El Libro de la Primera Navegacion), as recounted in Bartolome’ de Las Casas’ abstract, translated into English by Samuel Eliot Morison, Journals & Other Documents on the Life & Voyages of Christopher Columbus (New York: Heritage Press, 1963), 65.
[8] Eidsmoe, Columbus and Cortez, 106.
[9] Christopher Columbus’ Journal, 1492, United States Folder, Library of Classics, as cited in Eidsmoe, Columbus and Cortez, 69.
[10] See Morison, Journals of Christopher Columbus, 65-72.
[11] Cecil Jane, trans. & ed., The Voyages of Christopher Columbus (London: Argonaut Press, 1930), 146.
[12] Ibid., 86-87.
[13] George Bancroft, History of the United States of America, From the Discovery of the Continent, 6 vols. (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1882), 1:11.
[14] Eidsmoe, Columbus and Cortez, 91.
[15] Kay Brigham, Christopher Columbus: His Life and Discovery in the Light of His Prophecies (Barcelona, Spain: CLIE, 1990), 19.
[16] Eidsmoe, Columbus and Cortez, 90.
[17] R.H. Major, trans. “Letter of Columbus on the Fourth Voyage,” in American Journey’s Collection: Wisconsin Historical Society Digital Library and Archives, 387-418. See https://americanjourneys.org/AJ_PDF/AJ-068.pdf.