1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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 with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Paul tells us twice that the dead in Christ will rise first during the “rapture” but, when will they rise? There are many verses that tell us when the dead in Christ will rise:
John 6:38-40 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 12:47-48 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
John 11:23-24 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
The dead in Christ shall rise at the last day. Last day of what? The last day is the day of the Lord. The last day of this world as we know it. The day of the “rapture”. The day of Christ’s return.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
The thief in the night passages refer to the coming of our Lord and savior.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
The day of the Lord, or the last day, will be the day of judgement. The day all of which you see will be destroyed. The day the dead in Christ rise and then we who are alive on this earth will join them with our Lord in the air (sky, not heaven). That day will leave no room for a second chance at redemption during a tribulation. The earth will be burned up. It is the end, the final, the last day.
We know for a fact that people of God will be around during the tribulation. It doesn’t matter if you are pre, mid, or post. Revelation states:
20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
These people died during the tribulation. If the dead in Christ have already risen, where would it leave these souls? Those who die for Christ during the tribulation will rise with the other dead in Christ at the same time. Then we who are still alive will rise and met them. At the last day.
In the book of Daniel we know that Christ had not yet come in human form. Therefore, there was no Christian distinction. However, Gabriel tells Daniel that his people will be resurrected and judged.
Daniel 12:1-3 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Many believe that the tribulation is only focused for Israel and that the “rapture” will happen before the tribulation starts. Gabriel says Daniel’s people will go through trouble and at that time they will be delivered. Gabriel gives Daniel the same promise that was given to the gentiles. To be delivered and resurrected. Why would God raise the dead gentile Christians first, then the living Christians, only to turn around and raise Daniel’s people after the tribulation? God doesn’t play favorites when it comes to His own. ALL the dead in Christ will rise first. That means there will be no more dead to rise later. Then we which are alive and remain will rise and meet them in the air.
At the last day.