“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord“
The “them” here are those physically raised from the dead in verse 16. We will reunite with our loved ones who died as Christians.
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
The New Testament used the word “meet” for the arrival of a magistrate. This word carries the idea of an official welcome of a newly arrived dignitary. Our meeting of the Sovereign Lord of the universe will be the most auspicious and awe-inspiring occasion of the ages. This is when He takes us, His bride, the church, to Heaven.
The church will meet the Lord in the “air.” This is the earth’s atmosphere, the space immediately above the surface of the earth.
And thus we shall always be with the Lord
The principal purpose of the Rapture is to “be with the Lord.” We will live in fellowship with Him eternally. We will never be separate from Him. As well, nothing will separate us from fellow believers, either. We will never say “goodbye” again.
Jesus will bring the church into endless, blissful fellowship at the Rapture of the church into Heaven.
At the Rapture, bodies of Christians who died and went to Heaven will rise first (4:16). These are those who died before the Rapture. Immediately after Jesus comes, they will rise from their burial place.
Immediately following that, God will rapture both those whom He resurrected bodily and those then living into the air. From this point, all Christians will be with the Lord forever. What a blessed reunion! First and foremost, we will reunite with the Lord, and then secondly, we will reunite with those we love. The Rapture completes the church. From this point on, there will be no more division or separation.