why do the dead in christ rise first

The idea that the saved go to heaven when they die is somewhat anachronistic. Equally anachronistic is the idea that people will be "raptured" into heaven when Jesus returns. Paul had another meaning in mind when he wrote this verse. N. T. Wright explains in
Surprised By Hope The word parousia occurs in two of the key passages [concerning rapture theology] in Paul (I Thessalonians 4:15 and I Corinthians 15:23), and is found frequently elsewhere in Paul and the New Testament.

It seems clear that the early Christians knew the work well, and knew what was meant by it. People often assume that the early chruch used parousia simply to mean "the second coming of Jesus" and that by this event they all envisioned, in a quite literal fashion, the scenario of I Thessalonians 4:16-17 (Jesus coming down on a cloud and people flying upward to meet him). Neither of these assumptions is in fact correct. p. 128 Wright then explains the two meanings of parousia "The mysterious presence of a god or divinity, particularly when the power of this god was revealed in healing. " (p. 129) "When a person of high rank makes a visit to a subject state, particularly when a king or emperor visits a colony or province. " (p. 129) As Wright explains it, Paul envisioned Jesus returning to earth to establish His everlasting Kingdom here, not in heaven.

Therefore, the spirits of the already dead will return to inhabit their resurrected bodies and the bodies of the living will be transformed so that we can meet our King.

The first thing that will happen at the rapture is the dead will rise first and many Christian don't even have a clue of why that is. Did you know that there is something Paul does not want us as Christian to be uninformed about those asleep in Jesus? Why is it that then after they are rise first, we that are alive will remain?

The mystery in I Cor. 15:51 is we all with not be asleep. Paul states we all that are alive will be the ones that are changed in the twinkling of an eye. Verse 52 says the dead are raised to imperishable and we the living will be changed. Notice God raises the dead but changes the living. These are two different words with different meaning. The word raised here does not means to disappear and vanish, but it means the opposite. It means to rise up, cause to appear and bring before the public.

This same word is used in Matt. 27:52-53 and the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept rose and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many. (KJV) This book depicts that very thing. What would it really be like to see our deceased love ones raised to imperishable and walk among us today? Get your copy of The Dead Rise First: Rapture Countdown and find out!