What does 1 Thessalonians teach about our meeting with Christ when he comes?
Thanks for your question.
The "Rapture theory" as it is usually portrayed is false. The actual word "rapture" is not mentioned in the Bible. The concept is taken from a mis-reading of one verse, 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The Greek word for "caught up" in 1 Thess. 4:17 should be translated "caught away" as the top-drawer lexicons inform us (Nestle, Vines, Kittel-Friedrich) and is so rendered in Acts 8:39.
The logic of translating the word as "caught up" is poor. If we are caught "up" to meet the Lord "in the air" there are limitations in terms of altitude which makes the idea not sound. Are we to believe that Jesus and the saints will be in that narrow band of atmosphere - at most 20,000 feet or so (and that's being generous) when he comes?
However, having the saints caught away to be with the Lord on the earth (i.e. not "over the earth") when he comes, makes sense. If you are being taught that the saints are being caught away to a place of judgement before being revealed to the rest of the world, that's a pretty accurate picture. The point is that we are not caught away to be floating in the sky forever or caught away to heaven. We are told that when he returns, the Lord's feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. To be with him, we will have to be taken there "caught away" as Philip was in Acts 8. Jesus is coming all the way back to the earth, not just part of the way.
"In the air" is significant because for those raised from the dead. They will be taken from the depths of the earth to once again be "in the air." The air just means the atmosphere; a place where respiration is possible. The term "clouds" is used in Hebrews 12:1 to describe the great number of the faithful. Thessalonians is not talking about the saints going up to meet the Lord in low orbit as he returns (but not quite all the way) to the earth. It is a picture of the faithful being taken away as that "great cloud of witnesses" to be with their Lord when he returns to the earth - all the way to the earth - and establishes his Father's glorious kingdom.
Here is some information on the thisisyourbible.com website on this topic:
Christ is Coming (Click on the title)
I hope you have found this helpful.