Average reading time is about 6 and a half minutesAn Amazing Fact: In 1982, a 33-year-old truck driver in Los Angeles made national news. Abject boredom prompted Larry Walters to go out and buy 42, six-foot weather balloons, a huge tank of helium, and some rope. He figured on tying the balloons to his lawn chair, filling them with helium, and gracefully floating up a few hundred feet for an aerial view of the neighborhood. As his neighbors watched, Larry secured his lawn chair to the bumper of his Jeep, and one by one he filled the balloons with helium. Then he tied them to his lawn chair. Before liftoff he provided himself with a two-way radio, a parachute, some jugs of water, a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and his BB gun to regulate his altitude by shooting out excess balloons.
When he was ready, he yelled, “Let’s go!” and his neighbors cut the ropes. But he didn’t slowly rise 100 feet. He shot straight up so fast that he lost his glasses, climbing over 1,000 feet per minute. At one point he climbed to over 15,000 feet! For several hours he drifted in the cold air over the Pacific, near the landing pattern of the LAX airport. Eventually,
a pilot of a DC-10 reported that he had passed a man in a lawn chair with a gun, and the control tower told him to report in immediately upon landing. They thought the pilot may have been drinking.
Eventually airport officials sent up helicopters to rescue him. On the ground, Larry found himself surrounded by TV crews, the police, and fire and rescue squads. It was a major event. One of the reporters asked, “What in the world made you do this?” Larry thought about it for a moment and said, “A man can’t just sit around.” Larry Walters is right, you can’t just sit around, but his casual calculations for his historic flight nearly got him killed.
The Bible teaches that when Jesus returns, the redeemed will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. But many sincere Christians are in danger of being deceived because they have miscalculated the nature of this event. Paul did not want Christians to be confused about Christ’s return and wrote that when Jesus returns, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). There will be no secret rapture ahead of time. The righteous will all rise together. And we won’t need the assistance of helium or lawn chairs!
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13