"The Dead Will Rise First"
Sane and Sensible Perspectives on the Last Days
They say that “dead men tell no tales.” This is certainly true of the dead in this passage. Paul couldn’t have made it clearer. The rising of the righteous dead is an unmistakable element of what will happen when Jesus returns to reign upon the earth. That’s why what Paul put into this passage speaks so profoundly to us about the timing of the Rapture and the Tribulation. Like the last trumpet this is a marker that defines the order of events just as banners mark the companies in a parade. That makes it immeasurably easier to match other scriptures up to this one. The overlay gives us an undeniable answer to when the Rapture takes place.
51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV
15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 ESV