1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
“For the Lord Himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. “
This verse describes one of the central tenants of the Christian faith: The faithful dead will be raised once again. The verse is often associated with the Rapture, the event where God gathers the faithful to Himself before the final battle. The exact nature of the Rapture is debated even today, but 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is used to uphold the idea that the faithful will be literally taken up into the clouds to join the Lord.
Regardless of how exactly you feel the Rapture will take place, this verse makes it clear that the dead will rise first. Before the Rapture occurs, all those on earth will see the Lord come and the dead rise.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 also makes it clear that the Second Coming of the Lord will be very different from the first. When Jesus was born, it was in humble surroundings under poor circumstances. When He returns, He comes “with a cry of command.” Rather than a babe in swaddling clothes, Christ comes as a king.