Main point summary
We must encourage one another with the certain gospel truth that the Lord will raise sleeping believers when he returns.
1 Thess 4:13-18
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,
Οὐ θέλομεν δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, περὶ τῶν ⸀ κοιμωμένων,
g that you may not grieve as others do h who have no hope.
ἵνα μὴ λυπῆσθε καθὼς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ οἱ μὴ ἔχοντες ἐλπίδα.
For i since we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
εἰ γὰρ πιστεύομεν ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἀπέθανεν καὶ ἀνέστη,
even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him j those who have fallen asleep.
οὕτως καὶ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς κοιμηθέντας διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἄξει σὺν αὐτῷ.
For this we declare to you k by a word from the Lord, 1
τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου,
that l we who are alive, who are left until m the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας·
For n the Lord himself will descend o from heaven
ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ... καταβήσεται ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ, ...
p with a cry of command,
with the voice of q an archangel,
ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου
and r with the sound of the trumpet of God.
καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ,
And s the dead in Christ will rise first.
... καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον, ...
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be t caught up together with them u in the clouds
ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις
to meet the Lord in the air,
εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα·
and so v we will always be with the Lord.
καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα.
Therefore encourage one another with these words.
ὥστε παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις.
We don't want you to grieve about those who are asleep, because Jesus will bring them with him.
We who are still awake will precede those who are asleep, because , when Jesus returns, those who are asleep will rise first, and then we will join them and the Lord forever.
Don't grieve because it is a certain gospel truth that the Lord will raise those who are asleep when he returns, followed by us.
The main emphasis of this passage is on why we shouldn't grieve. This point is presented positively in 18.
"Paul argues that belief in Jesus’ resurrection leads to a corollary, namely, the resurrection of the saints. This is translated “well, in the same way” ( οὕτως καί ), so that it doesn’t seem as if “we believe” in 4:14a is the cause of final resurrection . Rather, this is an example of evidence—inference, where “the speaker infers something (the apodosis) from some evidence .” Jesus rose (so we believe) from the dead; in the same way God will resurrect the saints " (Shogren, 1 & 2 Thessalonians , 182). So the Ground of our hope is Jesus' bodily resurrection.
Cf. Matt 24:31 and 2 Thess 2:1 on "bring" and "gather together." The latter passage is certainly talking about the same event as v. 14ff here.
According to Dan 12:2, the resurrection will happen after "a time of trouble" (12:1).