A Century of Flight

By Zena McNabb

When ­Leonardo da Vinc­i, standing at the edge of the precipice on Mount Albano, saw the flying machine of his designing crash in the valley below, he cried to the winds, so one of his biographers states: “There shall be wings. If the accomplishment be not for me, ‘tis for some othe­r. It shall be done. The spirit cannot lie; and man who shall know all and who shall have wings, shall indeed be as a god.”

Three years before Columbus’ discovery of America, Leonardo da Vinci wrote in his notebook: “If the eagle can sustain himself in the rarest atmosphere, if great ships can float across the waves, why cannot likewise man, by means of powerful wings, make himself lord of the winds and rise conqueror of space?”

December 17, 1903 was the time God chose to let this pro­phecy (Joel 2:28,29), and that of Isaiah 60:8, begin to be fulfilled, “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first airplane flight in Kitty Hawk, NC. Though the flight last­ed for less than a min­ute, it was the first step in the develop­ing of the wondrous world of flight that we have to­day. An in­ter­esting quote of Or­ville Wright in 1903, “Isn’t it aston­ishing that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so we could discover them.”

That the first heavier-than-air flight occurred at Kill Devil Hills is significant, because that even coincided with the rise of the Church of God under the leadership of Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson. Six months earlier, on June 13, 1903, in the eastern part of North Carolina, God had revealed The Church of God to A. J. Tomlinson, whereby the Lord began His work to prepare a people for His name from among the Gentiles in fulfillment of Isaiah 60:1-8.

We are surely in the day when God will have His Church among the Gentiles and He will glorify the house of His glory. It is interesting to note that the Arise of both the Church and the Airplane happened in the same year and the same state. Airplanes have played a part in the work of the Church and spreading the Gospel and the fulfillment of prophecy, “For a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter” (Eccl. 10:20). Surely it is all in God’s timing!

General Overseer A. J. Tomlinson harkened back to Leonardo da Vinci in his Annual Address to the General Assembly of The Church of God in 1941: “It is evident that in Leonardo was the genius, and full ability, to invent and fly the airplane back in the days of Columbus, just as well as to guide the course of the ships to America was in Columbus, but there was some hitch in the way. The proper time had not come as directed by the providences of God. There was something behind at that time. And since prophecies always link together there was a certain link of prophecy that must catch up and be on hands.

“The statement made by ... and the note written in the note book of Leonardo were suffi­cient proof that the airplane was hid away in the mind of that mighty man in a similar manner to the way the great oak is couched within the shell of the tiny acorn. But it did not develop, yea, it could not develop because conditions were not right. The time had not come. Those were not born that God had foreordained before the foundation of the world to take part in the drama or mighty program. But for four hundred years that statement lay dormant awaiting the time for all of the plans to be developed and the place to be reached where they could be developed and the prophecy be fulfilled. Nobody knew, and very few know yet, what held back so all the other crashes came as well as the one mentioned in our sketch. But all this while the words had been spoken, the die had been cast - ‘There shall be wings.’ Along with these wonderful words came even more startling words than the first: ‘The spirit cannot lie.’ Is it not true that invention and prophecy go hand in hand? I have found no explanation given for his making that mysterious statement. But I conclude it may have been a spirit of prophecy to correspond with the Scripture prophecy.”

After carefully weighing the evidence, one can only agree with Bro. Tomlinson that God had airplanes waiting in the wings until the very year He brought the Church out of the dark ages. The first flight that December in 1903, along with other notable events, clearly marked the beginning of the great work of God to prepare the Bride of Christ unto the coming of the Lord. And she shall be clothed in fine linen, clean and white, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and we shall see Him coming in a cloud with power and great glory, and shall reign with Him for a thousand years. Amen.