New Defender's Study Bible Notes
4:17 caught up. “Caught up” means “raptured” (Greek harpazo; the same word is used in II Corinthians 12:2,4; Acts 8:39 and Revelation 12:5). The English word “rapture” comes from the Latin raptus, meaning “seized” or “carried away.” This verse, of course, is the classic defining passage on the great doctrine of the “rapture of the saints,” caught out of this world to be forever with the Lord.
4:17 together with them. The dead in Christ will first be resurrected, their bodies once again serving as the temples of their souls and spirits, but made immortal (see I Corinthians 15:51-54). Then those saints living at the time (quite possibly many in this present generation) will likewise receive immortal, glorified bodies like that of the Lord Jesus Himself (I John 3:2; Philippians 3:20,21), and be caught up “together with them.” Then both living and dead believers, all reunited in the rapture, will together meet the Lord in the air.