In Isaiah 46 the author talks of two of the ancient Babylonian Gods, Bel and Nebo:
1 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;
their idols are borne by beasts of burden.
The images that are carried about are burdensome,
a burden for the weary.
2 They stoop and bow down together;
unable to rescue the burden,
they themselves go off into captivity.
I was curious about what all this meant and found an informative article written by Dr. Allen Ross on Bible.org. This line was of particular interest:
“Bel” is belu, which is the equivalent of ba’al in Western Semitic. Bel is the Semitic title for the ancient Sumerian god Enlil, Lord of the Air.
The Lord of the Air? Where had I heard that before?
According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
OK, close, but not quite. Anyway, this is one of the two or three scripture verses that those who are anxiously awaiting the End Times serve up as evidence for the impending Rapture. Personally, I’ve always felt that it’s a pretty long stretch of the imagination to take these verses literally. Even so, what if Paul wasn’t talking about Jesus being the Lord in the Air? In Ephesians 2 he specifically refers to Satan as the lord of the air:
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient
What if Jesus takes only those who are “dead in Christ” and then leaves the rest of us – those who are still alive – not to the Lord IN the Air but the Lord OF the Air?
Jeesh! That’s not too encouraging.