Synopsis: In this age that the Holy Spirit has been given to us is Geography such as towns, rivers and nations still relevant to God plan and purposes? I believe the answer is yes. This is article about a town and a harbor called Plymouth in England. Plymouth is where the Queen stationed the Royal Navy to lay in wait for the Spanish Armada who was approaching to conquer England. The Navy flowed from Plymouth and subdued the mighty Spanish Armada. This was the beginning of the English Empire and the beginning of the end of the Papal Throne. Plymouth was the place our Pilgrim Forefathers flowed from. They established the first self supporting colony in the New World. They came to establish a place where the primitive church could thrive with the communities protection without fear of persecution or deportation. The place that began as Plymouth Plantation became the United States of America. The establishment of Plymouth Plantation saw the beginning of the decline of the Monarchial (sole rule) system. In 1830 Plymouth is where a new movement sprang from. Another type of primitive church that sought to throw off the yoke of clerical control. They left the established church knowing that the church did not need a ruling or professional class. This movement was called the Plymouth Brethren. Members gathered and took communion and shared the word in freedom. The church recaptured the informality of the first New Testament Church. Meeting in homes and even barns. From this movement came the Chinese underground church that thrives in secrecy today in Communist China. Starting in 1940 Plymouth was destroyed by the Nazi Luftwaffe. Facing the full force of Hitler's rage with 59 Air Raids.With 72,000 homes were destroyed or damaged. 100,000 persons fled Plymouth for the countryside. The Plymouth Blitz damage was so extensive that the damage done to the city is visible until today. In 1943 the physical and spiritual descendants of the Pilgrims returned to Plymouth. The United States command stationed 60,000 Troops 500 Ships and sailors, vehicles and weapons in the thousands. The invasion of the Nazi regime's territory it was to start at Omaha Beach and be known as the D-Day invasion. This invasion was the beginning of the end of the Nazis. After the victory in World War 2 the United States financed the rebuilding of Europe and became the most powerful and richest nation on earth. PLYMOUTH: THE RIVER CONVEYS THE TREE John 4:21 Believe me dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. With those words at the time of Pentecost the yoke of the land was broken from the worship of God. If the Jews or anyone accepted Christ they would be free to worship Him any place on earth. As long as it was done as a true act of worship and was truly spiritual. Prior to this travelling to Jerusalem to worship was a requirement made of God’s people. This was a big burden to the Jews and restricted the frequency of worship by His people. We all know the Christian cliché “It’s not the building it’s the people that are the church”. Does that mean that the earth’s geography is now irrelevant to God and His people? Revelation 12:6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Clearly the answer is “no”. From this scripture, we know that God prepared a place for His people to be protected thousands of years prior. Those who did not flee to the prepared place have no guarantee of God’s care. To God the earth’s real estate still has relevance. He chose the ground He would be born on. He chose the place where he would eat His last supper, he chose the ground that he would be crucified on, he chose the ground that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon and he even chose the exact ground that his feet will touch when He returns. In Revelation He chose Armageddon as the place He would fight the forces of darkness. This study pertains to a place named Plymouth. I want to be clear that I am not stating that Plymouth is some type of “holy ground” or needs to be visited to be closer to God. I have never actually visited Plymouth and probably never will. It is probably a true statement that all of God’s unique purposes for Plymouth have been fulfilled. For the most part I believe that most so called “Holy Sites” in Christendom cause more harm than good. People who are unwilling to draw nearer to God in Spirit choose these pilgrimages in an attempt to find an earthly passage to God. 1 John 5:7-8 For there are three that testify: theSpirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. The plum is a popular fruit tree in England the fruit on it can be dried and consumed even in the winter months. It is a stone fruit with a large stone (pit) in the center. It is a productive tree bearing so much fruit that the branches are weighed down with them. In an area where the Plum Tree flourished was a river they named “River Plym”. A city was formed at the mouth of this river as it flows into the sea the town’s name was Plymouth. From Plymouth The Battle of Spirit, Water & Blood In 1588 the Spanish Armada was sailing towards England. 130 Spanish ships with thousands of soldiers on board. The goal was not to destroy the English Navy. The goal was to invade England. Spain conquered a portion of nearby Holland calling it the “Spanish Netherlands”. The Queen was supporting protestant rebels there. Protestant England saw it as their duty to assist the Dutch who were being forced by the Spanish to be Catholic. The King of Spain saw the meddling in Holland as an act of war. Queen Elizabeth was also making it legal for English Privateers to raid Spanish ships coming laden with gold from the “New World”. The Spanish king wished to use the Armada to combine with troops from the Spanish Netherlands and head for the English shores for an invasion. The Spanish King saw the English as Protestant devils, and he viewed England as the enemy in a spiritual battle between the Catholic Church and the Protestant rebellion. Queen Elizabeth ordered the entire English fleet to leave their home ports and gather in Plymouth Harbor to attack the Armada before it reached its rendezvous point. The navy was designated to flow out of Plymouth and attack the armada. But the tides of Plymouth Bay prevented the entire British Navy from sailing out of the bay. In the biggest blunder in Naval history the armada chose not to attack the British Navy while they were bottled up in Plymouth. When the tides changed the British Navy flowed out of Plymouth and battled the Armada. Each Armada ship was packed with troops and priests. As the British came alongside they would pepper the sides of the ships with cannon balls, although not effective at sinking they Armada, they bounced around inside creating a bloodbath within each ship. Huge shards of flying sharp wood like daggers added to the carnage. The British gave chase, eventually the carnage and the persistence of the British fleet took its toll the Spanish Armada was unable to accomplish the invasion of England. Unable to head directly home. They had to take the long way around the Scottish and British Shores. Many ships were lost in groundings and wrecks. Many of the Spanish did not know how to swim and drown. Those that made it to shore were slaughtered by British troops and locals. The defeat of the Spanish Armada was a turning point for England and the beginning of the British Empire. After the victory England became Protestant and never returned to Catholic rule. Spain was broken over the defeat. It began the slow decline of the Spanish Empire and all the thrones under the authority of the Papal throne. Within 200 years the authority of the Papal Throne itself was gone forever. For God in His providence it was important to Him for this victory to begin and flow forth from Plymouth. The Spirit A group of Christians in Scrooby, England in the early 17th century decided to separate themselves from the “Church of England. Through study of God’s word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit they began to understand that the Church of England was corrupt. The King of England was given authority over the church. They were not allowed to worship or pray in freedom, they had to offer prayers that were dictated by the government. Many other practices to numerous to list were against what the apostles taught. The members sought what was known as a primitive gathering of believers. What we might call today “back to basics”. They wanted a gathering like what was described in the New Testament. A gathering that was populated by laymen with simple worship and fellowship. They were brought together under the guidance of John Robinson. Meeting in William Brewster’s mansion they were gathering faithfully knit together in love. They saw more provision in the Bible for separation than for purification at the hands of men. It was Christ’s role by to purify the church. Since the King was the leader of the church separating from the “Church of England” was illegal, lack of attendance was treasonous. The Scrooby Separatists were persecuted often fined and imprisoned.Later made the difficult decision to leave and go to Holland. There they could worship the Lord in Freedom. There they suffered hardships having to do manual labor since they were not citizens and had a language barrier. In Holland, they had sweet fellowship and many powerful experiences with God and harmony with each other. However, after years in Holland they saw their children aging before there time. Bent over from helping the parents with manual labor. The children often sought to leave their families and many were becoming assimilated into Dutch culture. Also of great concern was that while they were in Holland a war broke out with Spain. If Spain prevailed they would have come under the authority of the pope. After the congregation sought God’s direction they were led to leave Holland and start an English community in the New World. The Water They departed Holland by sea for a quick stop in London and then on to the New World. But one of their 2 ships took on water. They were forced to eventually dock in Plymouth, England for attempts at repairs. The repairs were so extensive they had to leave the boat to go onshore. Which was a fearful thing since the reason they were in Holland was to escape imprisonment and persecution in England. For months, they were waylaid in Plymouth and God watched over them and protected them. It was God’s will that when they left England that they flow from Plymouth. The river conveys the tree. Losing one ship and having to take on passengers that were not separatists they travelled the waters of the North Atlantic for the “New World” Fresh water was considered unhealthy so they were given beer during the voyage. Upon arriving in the New World, they discovered they had landed in the wrong location. The Captain of the Mayflower attempted to travel to their designated Hudson River destination. But he was prevented by the oceans currents. After exploring the Massachusettsshore, they settled on a place where they found a stream with good fresh water. After water was discovered the captain of the Mayflower refused to give the passengers any more beer. Trying to conserve it for his men on the voyage home. The pilgrims discovered that the place that they landed had been previously explored by Henry Hudson and named “New Plymouth”. They were pleased to confirm this name and apply it to their plantation since they had flowed across the waters from Plymouth and now landed in Plymouth. The Blood Luke 12:32 "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Upon settling in Plymouth, they learned that the land had been cleared of most of the Indians by disease prior to their landing. When smallpox hit the Indian population, it was the most dreaded disease. Indians slept on woven mats. These mats proved detrimental when the boils developed. Bound to their mats in sickness they would roll over onto the boils. There rupture weakened the structure of the skin and they pulled off half of their diseased skin. Blood and gore pouring out while they lay there. Many other diseases inflicted them so much so that they were unable to bury all of their dead. Their bodies in the open rotting into skeletons. Years later when another Indian outbreak occurred the English settlers tended them. Bringing them water and supplying wood for their fires, also burying the dead. This was done despite fear of contracting the diseases they were inflicted with. As they tended them they were blessed with continued health. None of the settlers caught diseases while tending the sick Indians. Prior to this however the Pilgrims were not immune to disease (in the first winter). Of the 105 original passengers only 51 survived. At one point only 2 men were well enough to tend to the entire community to draw water,nurse, keep warm and bury the dead. After this outbreak with the passing of John Carver William Bradford was appointed governor. Wisely seen by the community as a source of leadership and strength. Bradford’s wife died about the time of their arrival. Not wanting to draw sympathy or attention he never mentions the details of her passing. This despite extensive writing on these types of subjects. But this was typical of Bradford’s style. The Rock Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least making some ways toward it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work.” William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation Daniel 2:35(part) But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. 1 Peter 2:4-5(part)And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house Secular historians for centuries have attempted to relegate the narrative of the Pilgrim Forefathers to the backwaters of history. No historical object has fallen under more assault than Plymouth Rock. The earliest record of Plymouth Rock was 1715 as an uncarved marker . (The number 1620 was carved at a much later date.) The earliest narrative we have is by an elderly descendant of the Pilgrims who heard in a second-hand story that it was the stone that was stepped on when they landed. Although a stone was not mentioned in his writing about the arrival. Bradford clearly described the Pilgrims themselves as stepping stones as others walked over them to further the Kingdom of Christ. The Bible describes believers as living stones used as spiritual building material in building up the house of the Lord. Also mentioned in the book of Samuel was an uncarved stone left as a monument when God had helped the Israelites. The rock was called Ebenezer meaning thus far the Lord has helped us. When Joshua crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land he placed uncarved stone markers. During a journey to Babylon Jacob was supernaturally shown the invisible Kingdom of God. He erected a stone to mark the encounter. This was done for remembrance so he could return to that location and make sacrifices to the Lord. In other places in the Bible uncarved stones were used to construct altars to worship the Lord. In still other places uncarved boulders were used as boundary markers. Mentioned in Daniel 2 the prophet had interpreted a prophetic dream for King Nebuchadnezzar. He described a future event. In this event he described hands that were not human taking a rock from a mountain and an idol being broken by that rock that smashed into its feet. This amazing rock grew into a mountain that filled the whole earth. The idol represented the Monarchial System (or the system of sole rule) that controlled the earth. This system would have to be crushed in order that the Kingdom of Christ could rule the earth. The mountain that the rock was carved from represented the invisible heavenly Kingdom of Christ (that all followers of Christ are members of). They rock that crushed the idol was a group of God’s people were conformed to Christ who God found worthy and able to face the hardship of being the living foundation stones of Christ’s earthly kingdom. All of these Biblical purposes converged on Plymouth Rock. It would have been very profitable to set up an uncarved stone to mark and remember when the Pilgrims first came to Plymouth. First in a nod to Bradford’s reference to the Pilgrims being stepping stones. Second has a reference to the Lord’s help of the Pilgrims in so many miraculous ways as in the Biblical Ebenezer Stone. Third as a boundary stone. Fourth as a memorial to how God sustained them by His supernatural power (that He demonstrated in that place). Fifth as an eschatological marker a gift to the future body of Christ to know and understand the times that we were in. Silent Testimony Mark 1:44 (part) "See that you don't tell this to anyone”. It seems silly though that Bradford did not directly mention any of these things in his writings. Especially If he was the one who commissioned the stone’s placement. But really it was classical Bradford, he was cautious unless critical not to glorify or bring attention to the congregation or himself, especially their spiritual deeds or accomplishments. In his writings, he always referred to himself in the third person. He was loath to even mention his own name, mentioning himself behind the veil of “the governor”. He was probably instructed this way by the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Add to this years of maintaining a low profile to prevent persecution and or deportation. In the land of Holland, the Pilgrims dwelled in Amsterdam and later Leiden. Nearly a century previous a group of Anabaptist radicals staged a rebellion. They proclaimed themselves as heralding the “earthly Kingdom of Christ. They loudly proclaimed their spiritual experiences & superiority and touted full immersion water baptism. Lead by a man from Leiden,“Jon of Leiden” he and his confederates laid siege to Muenster Germany causing death and destruction. Causing shame and dismay on all of Christendom. Their actions touched off a similar rebellion in Amsterdam in 1535 called the “Anabaptist Riots”. Only after the action of combined Catholic & Protestant troops was the lunacy of the Muenster Anabaptist rebellion dislodged. Their actions hindered the spiritually profitable practice of full immersion baptism from entering the church and was a setback for the reformation. The skeletal remains of the Anabaptists were still visible in cages hanging from Amsterdam’s main cathedral when the Pilgrims arrived. In Leiden, its most infamous resident’s story would have been taught in every school and told of in every church and tavern. These events would have added to William Bradford’s and all of the Scrooby Congregation’s tendency in keeping silent about matter’s pertaining to their spiritual experiences, fulfilling prophecy or their eternal purposes and service to God. Anything pertaining to the congregation’s being unique from other churches would have been shielded or have gone unmentioned. William Bradford passed away in 1657 his written chronicle of Plymouth Plantation ended in 1650. It can be assumed that During the later years of Bradford’s life, he must have been taken aback by what was going on in England. In 1649 Oliver Cromwell who was himself a type of Separatist had won the “English Civil War” and have the King executed. He promptly disposed of the remnants of the English Monarchy and established it as the “Commonwealth of England”. These and other events must have confirmed words and understandings that were given to them earlier. Bringing Bradford and others to action. Bradford and probably surviving separatists commissioned or accomplished by their one means an understated memorial. This type of memorial and its lack of announcement and its silent commission would have gone along with what was customary for the residents of Plymouth. 1830 Plymouth Primitive Church In 1830 a movement flowed out from Plymouth, England called the Plymouth Brethren. This name was provided by God as no member uses the name Plymouth but by Plymouth is how they were (and are) known by the whole world. As the earlier separatists did it had its origins elsewhere. The originals from Scrooby and the Brethren in Dublin. At first glance, the two movements were unrelated both by origination and doctrine. But they both sought to bring the church back to basics, called a primitive church.The original separatists were seeking to throw off the yoke of bondage created by the bishops who controlled the “Church of England” and allowed it to become an arm of the king’s government rather than the body of Christ. The bishops allowed a similar pattern that had existed with the Papacy with gilded gold trimmings and imagery and the clergy wearing flowing robes and manmade religious ceremonies and manmade prayers. These were called Popery. They wanted no part of these practices and wished to have a pattern as similar to the New Testament model as possible. The Plymouth Brethren sought a similar pattern. They were also separatists but not in name. Instead of reformation of the visible church they sought to worship God apart in a form that more closely matched the original New Testament Church. Popery in its visible form was gone but the Lords table, Fellowship and His word was bound by Clericalism. You could not partake in the Lords table without an ordained minister. The same principle applied to corporate ministry of the word and gathering together. Also, it was stated by the clerical class that you needed a special building dedicated and consecrated to Gods purposes. The principle of the Plymouth Brethren was informality. It was that as believers gather and partake the Lords table together. That the Holy Spirit will supply the ministry of the Bible through the members of the Body. That the true New Testament example was that for the most part members were laymen built up to supply all the spiritual needs of the church. No special class of spiritually educated men was needed. Any sort of building could be used even a home or a barn. A Clerical class with ordinations from seminaries created and designed by men were unbiblical. The teaching of the apostles which already was present in the New Testament and the Holy Spirit would give all the needed guidance. This primitive form of church flowed from Plymouth, England and even to the children of Plymouth in the New World. Its contributions to the Truth and good fruit are vast and varied. But the movement saw a withering over time as divisions and strife set in. The church became fractured and in some forms dictatorial and heavy handed. But flowing from the Plymouth Brethren came one Margaret E. Barber who went to China as a missionary. She trained Watchman Nee. He was told and supplied the works of J.N. Darby and Austin T. Sparks who were leader in the Plymouth Brethren movement. Watchman Nee became as close to a modern-day apostle as any will see. In true Plymouth Brethren tradition, he discouraged formality and felt that waiting for training and the ordinations of men hindered the Lord’s work. He believed that celebrating the Lords Table every Lords Day was crucial to the vitality of the Church. The Bible, corporate worship and prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit would supply all that the Body of Christ needed. His house church movement caused a stir in China amongst the missionaries from the Protestant denominations. They could not imagine that indigenous people could be transformed from being pagan to Christian leaders and minister the Truth to each other. The Western Church felt that their training and missions to the Chinese Church were crucial and indispensable. It was not understood that Communist Maoist Rebels would later take over China. Killing Christians and even Western Missionary’s. The visible church its buildings and employees and to some extent the congregations were destroyed. Those buildings that remained were used to create state run churches controlled by the Communist Government with all sermons reviewed and edited by the state. God saw fit that the Plymouth Brethren style House Churches were uniquely prepared to continue the Lords work underground in Communist China. Watchman Nee himself did not escape the persecution of the church he died a martyr in a Communist prison in 1972. The Chinese underground church thrives until this day in China with as many as 100 Million Members. Watchman Nee dispatched associates with his sermon notes, manuscripts and various writings to Taiwan and later they travelled to the United States. These writings were translated and assembled into several books and published. Published posthumously they have sold in the Millions edifying and transforming the American Church and many of its practices. His writings have benefited the Body of Christ tremendously in the United States and all over the world. His co-worker Witness Lee established a Church in the United States patterned after what Watchman Nee had established in China. Experiencing growth beyond the initial congregation, these gatherings are thriving and growing in the United States. Recently these same churches have spread to England. The fruit from the Plymouth Brethren movement has circumnavigated the globe. Plymouth Destruction Starting in 1940 Plymouth, England was the focus of the wrath of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). Recognized as the most bombed city in England it suffered a total of 59 Air Raids. Plymouth was the home of the largest Naval Docks and Naval Base in England. But the base was not the only place bombed. Plymouth was for the most part destroyed, 72,000 Homes were destroyed or badly damaged. The population of Plymouth shrank by nearly 100,000, many of its citizens fleeing with children to the countryside. The cruelty of the raids was that many of the bombs were incendiary in nature. Designed not to explode but to cause damage and death by fire. Although larger cities like London had more bombs dropped on them. But by far and away no city suffered as many bombs and as much destruction per square mile and per person as Plymouth. Until today the damage from the “Plymouth Blitz” is evident. Burned out ruins of churches and historical buildings still stand today in silent testimony of the destruction that was visited upon Plymouth. Pilgrim’s Sons Return For Conquest of Evil Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Beginning in 1943 Plymouth, England became filled with American Troops and ships. More than 60,000 American Troops were stationed along the River Plym. This besides the thousands that were onboard American ships. Plymouth was the headquarters for the planned US waterborne invasion with the code name D-Day. US Troops combined with the Allied powers were to begin an invasion in Normandy to conquer the Nazi military machine. Lead by Hitler the Germans sought to return the world to a type of resurgent Roman Empire called the Third Reich. They glorified the days of rule by Monarchy, yet touted socialism. The Nazi’s regime via the Axis powers was satan’s grandest attempt at sole rule of the earth. The Nazis had invaded nations without provocation. Seeking to impose its poisonous imperial system clothed in socialism upon the world. In racists rage they tortured and imprisoned and slaughtered Jews and other innocents without cause in concentration camps. American forces were stationed in Plymouth and were to ready to literally liberate the known world. It is not irony that the physical, spiritual and political descendants of the Pilgrims that flowed from Plymouth centuries prior had returned to the same place they left from. The little flock that left in meekness returned to inherit the earth. As the American’s sprang fourth from Plymouth they conquered all of the Axis powers and later rebuilt Europe. They were instrumental in forming a worldwide network of nations and headquartered it in New York. They became the richest and most powerful and influential nation on the earth and in history. They were a haven of God’s people who could enjoy peace and prosperity. They could build nations up and tear them down at will. A warning to people who would see these things as a mandate for the United States as some type of infallible kingdom. Remember God left his earthly kingdom in the care of His people. In a similar way the Garden of Eden was left in Adam’s care. Adam ended up producing thorns and thistles and sweat. Although from my understanding of the word of God It is possible and even probable of us becoming something God did not wish or intend. Jerusalem was birthed in peace Melchizedek its king was a prototype of Christ. Yet when the Israelites returned to Canaan from Egypt Adoni-Zedek the King of Jerusalem and its people became the greatest instrument of satan’s rage. He was thirsty for the blood of God’s people and gathered other kings together to defeat them. This despite sitting on the same throne that was once sat on by God’s great priest and mighty king. Germany was the birthplace of the Reformation the place that the word of God was unleashed from its place of containment. Yet Germany later became a power bent on conquest and a force of evil. Sin’s power and influence over people and nations even those called by Him should never be dismissed or taken lightly. Joshua 10:3-4 So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. "Come up and help me attack Gibeon," he said, "because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites."