1 Thessalonians 4 & Rapture
A very common passage to rapture discussion is this one. This passage alone does not mention where the gathered ones finally end up but that those who are alive will be caught up to meet Christ in the air and always be with the Lord. Timing of this event puts it at “the coming of the Lord” which weighs heavily posttribulational barring that one event is being referred to. Rather this passage mentions the dead rising, Christ's coming, His angels, the trumpet of God, and the gathering of the elect. All of these participants are present in Matthew 24:30-31, which clearly refers to the parousia.
Linguistic support for a one-event parousia are seen in the words "meet" (v 17) and "coming" in verse 15. “Meet”( ἀπάντησιν ) occurs in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Matthew 25:1 (a parable concerning the parousia), and in Acts 28:15 (those going out to meet Paul as he headed toward them in Rome). This term’s technical usage refers to the custom of people going out to meet a dignitary as he was approaching their city before he got there, and accompanying him back to where they originally came from. Also, parousia has the idea of a grand dignitary making his arrival to a certain location. The rest of the passage perhaps supports this grand arrival by including the trumpet herald, angels, and a 'city' of gathered believers going out to meet Him.
Consider this quote by D. Michael Martin: “In some premillennial schemes, however, the rapture is separated from the day of the Lord by the great tribulation…we must note that our present passage [1 Thessalonians 4:17] does not seem to present the event depicted in vv. 16-17 as one preceding and separate from the parousia, the day of the Lord (cf. 5:4-9). First, in v. 15 Paul explicitly termed the event he was describing the “coming” (parousia) of the Lord and linked the same term with final judgment (2 Thess 2:8; cf. 1 Thess 2:19). Since Paul did not predict two parousias, then the one event must encompass both the gathering of the church and final judgment. Second, v. 17 does not require the removal of the church from the world. It is in fact open-ended, describing nothing beyond the gathering of the church other than the fact of continuing in the presence of the Lord. Finally, vv. 15-17 seem to be cast in language and images depicting the arrival of a grand dignitary. The heralds announce his coming. The crowds surge out of their city to meet him and celebrate his arrival. At this point such a dignitary would not take the crowd with him and leave. Rather, the crowd would escort him into the city [to earth]. In other words, the most likely way to complete the scenario Paul painted is by assuming that after assembling his people Christ would not leave [to heaven] but would proceed with his parousia [to earth].” This concurs, perhaps, with the usage of “descend” in the New Testament. This passage lends more weight to the posttribulational position.
Hubbard, David A. Editor: Everett F. Harrison. The New Testament and Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Moody Press, p 820, 1971.
Editors: G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France. I. Howard Marshall commenting. New Bible Commentary. 21st century Edition. Inter-Varsity Press, p1283, 2004.
The New American Commentary, 1, 2 Thessalonians. p.154,155. 2002. Brackets and Bold mine.