So are you saying that everyone who has died in Christ will meet Jesus in the clouds as he leaves the heavenly throne?
If the LORD will come down from heaven first to meet the dead, where is the Church?
The Lord himself will come down from heaven,” “the dead in Christ will rise first....
For 1 Thess. 4 passage, I am saying they are ALL believers in Christ. He is coming then IN THE CLOUDS (not yet down to the earth to finish things). The dead in Christ 1st & those who are alive here on earth at that time will be joined with them in our new bodies with Christ.
I’m not sure if this is what you’re asking, but I think it helps to think through what happens when people die, both believers [in Christ] and unbelievers, before & after the Cross.
Before the Cross:
All those who believed in God’s promise of the Messiah [Christ] and His deliverance went to Abraham’s bosom—that is, THEIR SPIRITS went there. Their bodies were buried/ entombed.
All those who rejected God’s promise went to Hades—that is, THEIR SPIRITS went there. Their bodies were buried/entombed.
From Luke 16:19-31 which describes the places and those in them, you can see that even though they are not in a bodily form, they can still see and talk and feel; there is a consciousness of where they are.
After the Cross:
Jesus went down into the lower parts of the earth (Ephesians 4:8-9) and set the captives free; He took the spirits/souls of the believers out of Abraham’s bosom (all those who died before the Cross, who believed in God’s promises of His Deliverer) with Him when He ascended into heaven.
Since Christ ascended into heaven:
The spirits of all believers who have died go straight to heaven to be with the Lord. Their bodies are on the earth, i.e., buried.
Now, when He comes ON THE CLOUDS to gather His own to Himself in the air, their spirits will come with Him; I think this is why they are first. They will be united with their glorified bodies in an instant. All those believers who are still alive on earth when He comes will also be changed in an instant and united with them and with the Lord Jesus and be with Him forever.
If I had a grandma who trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior and who died a few years ago, and Jesus came on the clouds tonight for His church [the bride], her spirit would come with Jesus and receive her glorified body in the air. And my body would also be changed into a glorified body and we, and all the other believers, would be be united with Christ in the air and be with Him forever!