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The First Thanksgiving In America

The following insights in this study pertain to us in this moment of history in God's providential timing. There is another pilgrimage of a few Christ followers that has been happening for a few years now. They have been used to prepare a place for others who will soon be led out, as the Pilgrims were, from a religious system that has become corrupted by the ways of man.


  • This study was taken from the book “The Light And The Glory” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel; subtitled “Did God Have A Plan For America?”

  • “The right people, the right place, the right time.” (p.154) – The providential guidance of God on an imperfect people for a specific purpose and time is witnessed through the journey of a small band of “Separatists” we have come to know and cherish as the Pilgrims.

 

 

The Church of England

  • Presided over by the House of Bishops.

  • They were alarmed at the growth of two movements of “fanatics” (around 1600; p.108)

  • The “Puritans” – This was the larger of the two groups. They claimed to be dedicated to “purifying the Church from within.” Because of this they submitted to church authority and were more easily controlled.

  • The “Separatists” – The Bishops considered these people much more dangerous.

“These were radicals who held that the Church of England was already corrupted beyond any possibility of purification. Moreover, they believed that the Church could only be under the headship of Jesus Christ, and hence no person, not even the Queen, could take the title 'Head of the Church.' They chose to separate themselves from the Church, and conduct their own worship. And given their way, these 'Separatists' would reduce worship to primitive preaching, teaching, singing, and free praying, which would do away with 16 centuries of established liturgical tradition.” If left unchecked, the Bishops could lose control!

  • These two groups are VERY similar to what is happening in our day. Years ago a small group of "separatists," led by the Holy Spirit, began their pilgrimage out of the religious harlot that dominates Christianity in the West.

 


The Persecution To Force God's Plan 

  • James the I took the throne and let the Bishops have their way with these 2 groups. (p.108)

“Now the Separatists were hounded, bullied, forced to pay assessments to the Church of England, clapped into prison on trumped-up charges, and driven underground. They met in private homes, to which they came at staggered intervals and by different routes, because they were constantly being spied upon.”

  • Some Puritans, because of the persecution, joined other Separatists who had already sought religious asylum in Holland. In the city of Leyden, they were forged together by adversity” (p.109). (William Bradford was here also, the future Governor of Plymouth.)

  • The King's edict of 1618 – It decreed that all Puritans not willing to conform to ecclesiastical authority had to leave the country.

  • Due to the extreme hardships of living in Holland, the Separatists came to believe that America was the place to which God intended them to go.

  • John Robinson – Their elected pastor was praying for a deeper revelation of WHY they were going. (p.110) Did God have a special purpose for them? He began to perceive that God was calling them to “a new Jerusalem,” to build His temple anew, with themselves as its stones: “Now as the people of God in old time were called out of Babylon civil, the place of their bodily bondage, and were to come to Jerusalem, and there to build the Lord's temple, or tabernacle... so are the people of God now to go out of Babylon spiritual to Jerusalem... and to build themselves as lively stones into a spiritual house, or temple, for the Lord to dwell in.”

  • The Lord has some pilgrims today that He has, once again, sent out of a corrupt religious system (Revelation 18:4-5) to start a “new thing” that will be used to help prepare His sons and daughters for His return, and the persecution that is coming to America which has in fact already begun and will continue to increase. It will force many to join underground gatherings of God’s people. Pressure from God will be used to move us into the place of His choosing (Deut. 12:5, 11, 14, 18, 21, 26).

 

 

The Mayflower and the Speedwell

  • At the beginning of their journey, the Pilgrims actually possessed two ships; the Mayflower, with a hired crew, and the Speedwell (an old freighter) purchased like a used car with little money.

  • August 5, 1620 – Started their journey, but 3 days later were forced back due to problems with the Speedwell. One week later they tried again, but were forced back to Plymouth, England. They then decided to sell the Speedwell. It made some of them rethink their decision to go, sifting them even further, resulting in about 20 who dropped out.

  • William Stoughton – “God sifted a whole nation, that He might send choice grain into this wilderness.”

  • William Bradford – “Like Gideon's army, this small number was divided, as if the Lord, by this work of His providence, thought these few were still too many for the great work He had to do.”

  • Others came also, the ROUGH trip over bonded them together for the pressures that awaited them on the other side of the ocean! They (102 Pilgrims) spent 7 weeks together, below decks with no hatches open because of continuous storms (see Math. 8:23-27)! It was a rolling, pitching, stinking inferno. “No matter how ill they felt, or how grim the daily situation, they continued to seek God together, praying THROUGH despair and into peace and thanksgiving.”

  • November 9, 1620 – “Land ho!” (p.119) Finally, the words they had been waiting for! They had been blown off course, 100 miles to the north to an area the fishermen called Cape Cod. They recognized this as Divine providence and settled there instead, not being under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Company. They quickly drafted a compact, the Mayflower Compact, covenanting themselves together.

  • “While the Pilgrims had no idea how significant this document was to be (it embodied the same principles of equality and government by the consent of the governed which would become the cornerstones of American Democracy), it marked the first time in recorded history that free and equal men had voluntarily covenanted together to create their own new civil government.”

  • The Mayflower Compact which included "For the glory of God, and the advancement of the Gospel," began a covenant with God that defined the reason for the founding of America. It is my firm belief that this covenant must be reentered into by those who will be the "Finishing Fathers" of our nation. We know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

 

 

A Place Prepared; Further Discovery Of The Cape Cod Bay (p.124)

  • They came, by way of a storm, into a harbor that was deep enough for the Mayflower.

  • God has been preparing a place for us too. His perfect[ing] storm in our nation will once again be mercifully used to guide a remnant among His children into His safe-place in Himself.



The Pilgrims New Place God Led Them To:

  • The soil was rich and fertile.

  • A gentle open slope for an ideal place to settle, with excellent drainage.

  • A good spot for muskets and cannons in case they had to defend it.

  • There were not one, but FOUR spring-fed creeks close at hand.

  • On the hill, a good 20 acres of ground had already been cleared and were ready for planting. For some reason, no planting had been done for several years.

  • The Pilgrims named it Plymouth because Plymouth in Old England was the last town they left in the native country. They had received much kindness from some Christians there.

 

 

The Turning Point; Samoset & Squanto (p.129)

  • Samoset enters their colony one Spring, quite unexpectedly. He spoke excellent English (learned from various fishing captains over the years) and had an appetite for English food. He had been sent out to explore the coast for the Council for New England, the company to whom the Pilgrims would now be applying for a patent. He shared with them the history of their area.

  • The Patuxets had lived in their encampment. They were a large, hostile tribe who hated and murdered any white men who had landed on their shores. Four years prior to the Pilgrims arrival, a mysterious plague had broken out among them, killing every man, woman, and child. Neighboring tribes had shunned the area ever since, believing an evil spirit had done this!

  • The Wampanoags were there nearest neighbors. Massasoit was their chief. It was here that Samoset had spent most of the past 8 months. He returns to Massasoit with gifts and soon returns with an even greater gift sent by God Himself, an Indian named Squanto.

  • Squanto – He also spoke English and was of all things, A PATUXET! He had been taken captive to England and returned to his native land 6 months before the Pilgrims arrival to find none of his tribe alive! He knew the land and would be used by God to help preserve these helpless babes in a hostile and unknown world. He taught them how to plant corn, plant pumpkins amongst the corn, how to stalk deer, refine maple syrup, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries. He introduced them to the beaver pelt which would prove to be their economic deliverance, just as corn would be their physical deliverance.

  • “Something special had been born among them in the middle of all the dying [that first year] (only four of the couples who had arrived on the Mayflower still had each other, and a number had lost children), they had shared the love of Jesus Christ in a way that only happens when people are willing to suffer together in His causes. This was what they had come to the wilderness to find, and now none of them wished to leave it.” (p.134)

 

 

The Summer of 1621 was beautiful;

  • New buildings went up and there was a good harvest.

  • The new Governor, William Bradford (John Carver unexpectedly died with what was believed to be a cerebral hemorrhage), declared a day of public Thanksgiving to be held in October. Massasoit was invited and brought much food with him, along with 90 other Indians! It went so well that they extended the celebration for 3 more days. (p.135)

 

 

William Brewster's prayer was a memorable moment in their celebration.

  • “They had so much for which to thank God: For providing ALL their needs, even when their faith had not been up to believing that He would do so; for the lives of the departed and for taking them home to be with him; for their friendship with the Indians- so extraordinary when settlers to the south of them (Jamestown) had experienced the opposite; for all His remarkable providences in bringing them to this place and sustaining them.” (p.136)

 

 

In conclusion, He will sustain us also!

  • There is another group today of Christian Pilgrims who are on a journey to a place that we have never been before (Joshua 3:4). It’s the end of our journey in this age. The way of our crossing over is now being revealed (see 1 Peter 1:3-5), a new and “living way” never known before. It will test, and prove, the hearts of all Christians, revealing whether we are with or against Christ (i.e. anti-Christ). Unfortunately, the pride within many church leader’s hearts, and their followers, will keep them from passing over.

  • It is a place that has already been prepared for us, the place of His choosing, just like the Pilgrims.

  • We must decide by an act of our wills to stay the course the Lord leads us on, the Pilgrims being our Christian model of perseverance among those who are in covenant with Christ and one another.

  • This place will also be a safe haven for those coming behind us. Our perseverance in the work we have been called to will provide for those who will also be coming. We are not alone, but are part of a company who are being raised up “for such a time as this.” As with Noah, our obedience to God’s leading now will provide a “safe-room” in Christ alone for others who will come later.

 

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

(1 Peter 1:3-5/NASU)



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