We often say that our dead loved ones are “with Jesus now.” But Paul seems to say that Christians will meet Jesus at the second coming. Which is it?
Recently we’ve received a lot of important questions on 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17, the rapture text. Here’s one from Jonathan, who listens in from New Jersey. “Hello, Pastor John! It’s fairly typical to hear Christians say of someone who has died, ‘They’re with Jesus now.’ But in 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17, it sounds like Paul is saying that Christians who have died will meet Jesus at the second coming. Do Christians go to be with the Lord when we die, or will we meet him when he comes back to earth? I guess what I’m asking is this: When a Christian dies, what comes first: seeing Jesus or being raised from the dead?”