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I've read books on Premillennialism (including Left Behind) and heard many people preach on the topic but I've never heard an explanation of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

That is, I have heard of those who are alive suddenly being Raptured but no mention of the dead going first. That is, in this verse it appears to consist of two separate events: first those who are dead, and then the living.

For that matter, the Rapture is often depicted as a silent affair but here there is a "loud command" and a "trumpet call".

Has any prominent premillennialist discussed this issue?

(On Wikipedia's Rapture page this verse is mentioned but the explanation of the "dead rising first" is not discussed.)

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So, to clarify, since I clearly misunderstood the first time... Are you picturing like a zombie invasion where they rise and stay among us for a time? Maybe not shuffling around like zombies, but fully perfected and clearly noticeable to the rest of us... I guess I always understood the two events to be near-instantaneous, but apparently, there are some who teach that they'll walk among the living for a time. New thought to me, but... thedeadrisefirst.com/the-dead-in-christ-shall-rise-first –  David Stratton Oct 20 '12 at 11:13
@DavidStratton: well, I don't know if you misunderstood... I think it is more likely that I did not explain it well. No, no zombies! I've never heard any mention of "dead rising first". My guess is that the dead are also caught up in the clouds... I'd never considered that they could arise and be on Earth first. Incidentally, I wonder if there is a connection with Matthew 27:52-53. Interesting link, BTW. That's more in line with the answer I was expecting. –  Wikis Oct 20 '12 at 11:17
BTW, if these are two separate events, whether separated by minutes or days, that intervening time will be an amazing evangelism opportunity... –  Wikis Oct 20 '12 at 11:22
Understandable. I guess most of us never give it much thought, so we don't make it a point, like we don't tell peoplee tied our shoes today. It's something we just take for granted. The Bible says it, so we believe it will happen. We expect that all believers, past and present will have new, glorified bodies contendforthefaith2.com/glorifstudy.html but that the dead go first. (and I think it's almost universally held that it's near-instantaneous among those of us that believe it will happen. ) –  David Stratton Oct 20 '12 at 11:26
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I have always understood this Rapture event as being near instantaneous.

I also always envisioned this event to be something like flying with those that had died in the faith before the living, as they meet the Lord in the clouds.

This scripture reference seems fairly clear, but you were curious if there were any prominent speakers or scholars who have attempted to address this issue. There are quite a number. Here is a resource that I found helpful.

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