To my mind this passage provides a nice example of what Paul was on about in the previous reading, many people get hung up on the picture of Christ descending from heaven, and the possibility of people rising to greet him, and spend their time constructing imaginative and creative theologies and multi-million dollar businesses writing books about “the rapture” claiming that the notion is a “biblical doctrine”. Actually , there are only a few passages like this one that merely hint at such ideas. The whole “Christian” futurology industry is built on a misuse of Scripture!
Notice here how a few verses further on Paul says very clearly something that Jesus had already said, but such end times prophecy fanatics miss the obvious, perspicuous, message of Scripture to speculate on irrelevant details!
If rather we listen to Paul (or Jesus) quite without end-times calculations and non-biblical prophecies and the rest of the “Christian” futurology businesses we are well prepared for Christ’s coming.
9 For God has destined us not for wrath
but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us,
so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.
11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11