Look again at the verses in Chapter 4 13-18 these are often used to speak of a "Rapture" or a taking out of the church from the world. Many have been taught that soon at any day God's going to wisk His Church out of the earth to be with Him as the rest of the world goes through some Great Tribulation Period. The truth is that is not going to happen. Please don't get offended but continue reading and you will discover what is being said here in Thessalonians. You will also find a greater truth that will increase your faith and find that Our Father has a greater more inclusive plan.
Looking at these verses you notice that verse 13 starts out with the words
"But I would not have you ignorant ..."
This is important and looking at how and why this is written is very important. In Chapter 3 you see the believers were suffering persecution and Paul had already sent Timothy to them to establish them and comfort them in their faith. He was there to let them know they were not alone in their sufferings and persecutions.
Then Paul says "For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord". What Paul is saying here is simply that the words that Paul had preached to them, being his words, cause him (his words) to live in and through them as they stand fast in the faith.
When persecution arises often times it can take a big toll on a believer. They might still believe and know Jesus is alive and still expect to go to Heaven when they die but often the dreams, visions, and prophetic words spoken over them seem like they won't come to pass. That can make the situation in their life seem hopeless as they find their hopes and dreams crushed by circumstances.
Paul is really encouraging the believers to hold on and not be sorrowful concerning those dreams, visions, and even prophetic words spoken over them that look like there is no way they can ever come to pass. He's telling them " sorrow not even as others which have no hope". You see God given dreams, visions,words of prophecy are hopes set before us. These encourage us in our walk of faith to keep pressing on but the others, the unconverted that don't have these God given blessings and words of encouragement, have reason to sorrow because they have no such assurance their dreams, visions, plans and or goals will ever come to pass.
In Chapter 4 verse 14 Paul is encouraging the believers in Thessalonica that those which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. Then Paul says in verse 15 For this we say unto you "By The Word Of The Lord" that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. Verse 16 For the Lord himself shall decend from heaven with a shout (A Wake Up Call), with the voice of archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead In Christ shall rise first. Verse 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Verse 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Paul isn't talking about a Rapture like we have been taught by tradition. He is telling the Thessalonians to keep believing in the hope set before them. That God will be coming with a shout A Wake Up Call.
The voice of the Archangel = Arch an arch is a curvature above a Doorway or Gateway
An Angel = Simply is a messenger
An Archangel would be like a chief messenger with a with a message to open a "Doorway" or "Gateway" of understanding in the believers mind.
A Trump = Is like having "Ace Up Your Sleeve" and/or a Greater Message or Understanding. The "Dead In Christ" that God brings with him are the renewed hopes and dreams that are once again caught up within the believer as the message or trump it visited upon that believers soul and/or mind.
We Which Are Alive And Remain = These are the words Paul preached to them that had not died because of persecutions. Those words being that Jesus loved them and that of salvation and eternal life. Those still remained kind of like bedrock but the hopes and dreams and prophetic words spoken in their lives had died.
Paul is comforting them letting them know that God isn't slack concerning his promises to their hearts. That is what we are to do to encourage one another letting others know of God's faithfulness. He will have his way in their life. If he has spoken a word he will bring it to pass regardless how bad things look because he is not a man that he should lie. We are His Workmanship and He is the Master Potter.
Then in Ch.5 It tells you that the Day of The Lord so comes as a thief in the night. That's like saying you don't know when but it's going to come for sure and it is going to come suddenly without warning. It then says "For when they say Peace and Safety" then shall sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.
Who or what is saying Peace and Safety? It's those dark thoughts and imaginations on the believers soul or mind that think they have destroyed all the believers hopes and dreams. Since words and thoughts are spirit some people call those negative ones devils or demons. Whatever you call them they battle in the mental realm to steal, kill and destroy your hopes,dreams, and health etc. Then to their surprise SUDDENLY and WITHOUT WARNING - God sends a message of life into that believer and a revival or resurrection within takes place as their hopes, dreams,etc. come back to life. It's God's Grace bringing to pass those promises they thought were dead. They were merely asleep in God's eyes just as when Jesus told his diciples that Lazarus was asleep until they told Jesus well then he'll be ok. It was at that point he told them Lazarus was dead.
That's just God's way of proving His Love and Faithfulness to the believer. So if you think the dreams planted by him in your heart in the beginning are impossible just do like Abraham all hope being gone he hoped on by faith. If all you have left is a little hope be honest with God and tell him. He already knows that so it won't come as a big surprise. Go ahead and ask for Mercy. You can even cry and shed tears because he understands your hurt. You know it takes faith to talk to someone you can't see and faith to ask for mercy from someone you can't see. God is a God of Compassion and Mercy and in his time your suddenly will arrive on time.
Now one more thing about the "Rapture" there is a rapture but not like what is preached about. It is available right here and right now. It is in the spirit of your mind. If you refuse all the negative thoughts and only believe Christ's words and believe that you really are who he says you are your soul or mind will come to a state of Joy-Bliss and fellowship with your Heavenly Father. Jesus prayed for his diciples to His Father not that they should be taken out of the world but that they be kept from the evil in it. So a physical rapture is unscriptural it's just a fairy tale and believing that teaching causes a person to be complacent. They fail to plan properly for the future and often neglect their personal spiritual growth and diligence because of that erroneous teaching.
People teaching about a "Rapture" have often been sincere in their beliefs but that teaching is deceiving believers and stunting the growth of the church as well as looking just plain foolish to the world at large. In my lifetime I have seen even large ministries teach this and a couple times the teaching was so popular dates of this occurance were published in book form at least twice. I personally saw three scheduled "Raptures" fail to arrive. The funny thing is we have had large mega ministries teaching these things and build bigger and bigger buildings at the same time. Yep! Building bigger buildings just to leave them behind! One day the Lord gave me a poem about this and the link to it is below.