I am going to get more into the smaller questions of doctrine here. I have answered many of the major questions here, and even got to questions that people used in their word searches in the page above titled “Unanswered Questions….” This question as to the dead in Christ rising first has been cited by rapture believers for years, and there are some who dismiss their interpretation while giving their own point of view as to what 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17 means. The verses state as follows:
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
The “dead in Christ” are those who are no longer living, but are faithful to God and His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. How they will rise has nothing to do with altitude. The dead in Christ are already in heaven. They will rise by being alive once again. Right now, the dead in Christ are without bodily form and await to be put into incorruptible flesh. The term “incorruptible” means “undecaying”, not unable to break laws.
At the sound of the last trump, the dead in Christ are the first to put on their new undecaying flesh bodies. At the same time, the elect God has reserved for the last generation will be taken from this earth and are also put into new undecaying flesh bodies. It is written that God has shortened the days for the elect’s sake, not that the days are shortened for anyone else. It is also written that God will send His angels to gather together His elect from the four winds (Matt. 24:31). It is also written that the church of Philadelphia will be kept from the HOUR of temptation (Rev. 3:10). Now many will say that the church of Philadelphia will be here during that time, but not feel temptation. This is incorrect because Christ said the word “hour”, meaning time. “I will keep you from the time of temptation.” I have discussed this with a few, but they always ignore that Christ said “hour”. He could have simply said “I will keep you from temptation”, and that would be that, but He didn’t. As I said in teaching here at my site, I will not add or omit words to suit my point of view. I don’t ignore words clearly written, even if it goes against my own personal beliefs. In that same hour, the church of Smyrna will go through tribulation and imprisonment for ten days, and some will suffer death afterwards (Rev. 2:8-10). This is the only other church Christ didn’t speak negatively about, so their righteousness should be unquestioned. At the same time, they suffer the hour of temptation. Add everything together without a preconceived notion and you should accept that the seven thousand elect God has reserved for the final generation are the ones Paul speaks of in 1st Thessalonians 4:17.