It is interesting and profitable to note that in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, the coming of the Lord is mentioned in each chapter.  To answer your good question, let us begin by reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 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. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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.”

When a believer in the Lord Jesus passes away, he/she is immediately escorted into the presence of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  When the Lord comes to rapture His church, all those who ‘sleep in Jesus’ (are dead), come with the Lord to get those ‘which are alive and remain’ on the earth.  At the rapture, the Lord Jesus does not come to the earth.  No, He comes to the clouds, and we will meet Him there along with all the departed saints that are with Him. 

“AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.”  From this moment, we will never leave the Lord’s side.  From the rapture to the eternity, we will ALWAYS be with Him.  Being with the Lord, we shall also reign with Him over the earth as we read in Revelation 20:6, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and SHALL REIGN WITH HIM A THOUSAND YEARS.” We who know Christ as our savior are already His priests (1 Peter 2:5-9).  During the millennial reign, true shall continue as priests and reign alongside of Him in His kingdom. 

We read in 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  “When He shall appear” refers to Christ coming to receive His own to Himself in the rapture of His church.  Of this time, we read in Philippians 3:21, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”  It is not at death that we receive our glorified bodies, but at the rapture of the church.  From this moment, the entire church will “ever be with the Lord” in our glorified bodies.

Let’s also look at Revelation 20:11-13, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”  We will be present at the Great White Throne judgment because Christ will be there. 

“AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.”  What a blessed promise and expectation.  May this reality reach and touch all our hearts.  ALWAYS with the Lord, NEVER to leave His side.  We are given to grand and undeserved privilege to rule with the Lord in this most important and significant period in the world’s future.  (474.2)