Today is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Compact

It was signed on November 21, 1620 by 41 Pilgrims (Puritan Separatists) that had landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts just days before. It showed their intent to start a new colony in the NEW WORLD “for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith.” 150 years before the United States became a nation and declared its independence from Britain, a group of Christian Puritans, seeking religious freedom, created this special document that declared their spiritual intent for the glory of God. Little did they know then, how that simple document would later influence and set the direction of the founding of this nation, the UNITED STATES of AMERICA. I believe they were sincerely guided by God beyond what they realized.

Here is the actual document:

I highly recommend watching this video!

It’s interesting to note that this document references King James as Defender of the Faith. Remember that a few years earlier the King James Bible was first authorized by King James and translated into English in 1611.

The Mayflower Compact was important because it was the first document to establish self-government in the New World. It remained active until 1691 when Plymouth Colony became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Mayflower Compact was an early, successful attempt at democracy and undoubtedly played a role in future colonists seeking permanent independence from British rule and shaping the nation that eventually became the United States of America.

It is unfortunate that today, 400 years after its signing, we are in the throes of political change that threatens to erode the principles of religious freedoms that were the very motivation for coming to this land. It is also unfortunate that the Christian church in America has failed,… we have failed, at carrying on this biblical mandate. Time will soon tell the fate of this nation. May the prayers of the righteous rise to heaven, and may God have mercy upon this nation.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday next week here in the U.S., I think it’s appropriate to share some of the history and origin of this event. Although the U.S. holiday was not made official until 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, some believe that the Pilgrims celebrated and gave thanks to God in November 1620 after their landing on Plymouth rock. This may certainly be true.

If ever we needed to thank God for His mercy, grace and provisions that we’ve enjoyed, it’s now. Let us join together and pray this week, and especially on Thanksgiving Day, for divine intervention for this nation.

Here is a little more interesting history from

The First Thanksgiving in America

The Protestant Reformation of the 1500s had given rise to a devout group of Christians in England in the 1600s who called for reform of the Church of England.  Though the church implemented some reforms during this time, some Christians did not believe its reforms went far enough.  The “Puritans,” as they were called, wanted to purify the church from within, to expel what they saw as heresy and corruption in doctrine and worship.  One remnant of this group believed the church was too corrupt to be restored, and they separated from it altogether.  Because these “Separatists” did not want to conform to the official state church, their movement was outlawed.  To escape persecution, they set sail for America.  They became known as the Pilgrims.  The Pilgrims’ migration across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620 proved to be an historic move.

The Pilgrims’ primary reason for coming to America was religious freedom.  They wanted freedom to believe and worship peacefully without harassment or persecution.  They sought freedom in America to set up their own church and community to live as they chose.  The Pilgrims also hoped, in the process, to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When the Pilgrims arrived in America, landing at Plymouth in 1620, they faced overwhelming difficulties and challenges.  They lacked food, clothing, supplies, and shelter.  They also experienced a harsh winter climate and poor soil, which made hunting and farming very difficult.  As such, the Pilgrim`s suffered from starvation, sickness, and death.  Half of them died during that first year.

During this difficult time, however, the Pilgrims became friends with some friendly Native Americans who showed them how to plant corn.  In the spring, the Pilgrims farmed their land and planted many crops.  The following autumn, they reaped a plentiful harvest.

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims held three days of Thanksgiving to God for His provision and blessings.  They celebrated with a feast and invited their Native American friends to join them in the celebration.  Pilgrim Edward Winslow described this event in his Journal of the Pilgrims:  “God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn and good barley….  Our harvest being brought in, our governor sent four men on fowling, so that we might in special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors….  And although it is not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”  The Pilgrims thus overcame famine, and Plymouth Colony survived.

Throughout their severe trials, the Pilgrims’ faith comforted, encouraged, and strengthened them to press on and to trust in God’s deliverance and provision.  Through their faith and trust in God, the Pilgrims persevered through adversity, gave thanks for God’s mercy and provision, and became key figures who laid the groundwork for a new life and nation for generations to come.

A Fragment of a Poem about New England
by William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony
(in The Mayflower Descendant)

Famine once we had–
But other things God gave us in full store,
As fish and ground nuts, to supply our strait,
That we might learn on providence to wait;
And know, by bread man lives not in his need,
But by each word that doth from God proceed.
But a while after plenty did come in,
From his hand only who doth pardon sin.
And all did flourish like the pleasant green,
Which in the joyful spring is to be seen.

Thanksgiving in the New Nation, the United States of America

During the American Revolution, after the Americans declared independence from Great Britain, the United States’ Continental Congress issued a Thanksgiving proclamation every year from 1777 to 1784 to beseech and thank God for His continued assistance and mercy for the new nation.  When the revolution ended, Congress asked first President George Washington to recommend to the people of the United States “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

In November of 1789, Washington issued the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation in the nation so the people might devote themselves to and thank God, and ask for forgiveness of sins: …

A National Holiday established to thank God

During the Civil War, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national annual holiday.  His proclamation invited citizens to thank and praise God and to pray for the nation: … 

Thanksgiving is now celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in November.

Historically, Thanksgiving Day is an invitation and opportunity for we the people of the United States to celebrate and pray, to consider and ponder in our hearts several things (which we might take for granted).  It is an opportunity for Americans to thank God for our self-governing nation and just, constitutional government; our civil and religious freedoms; peace; and His provision in our lives.  It is also a day on which Americans are exhorted to ask God for mercy and forgiveness of ours sins both personal and national.  Further, it is a day on which Americans are called to pray for our nation and community, with consideration for the challenges and issues of our time, and to seek God’s will, honor, and glory in the nation and in the world.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.  The History of Thanksgiving Day in America

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Chron. 7:14


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