dpr and Hobie - Thank you both for not politely ignoring my challenge, and for being willing to hit the ball over the net one more time.
Certainly, I would be a fool indeed if I had not tried to deal honestly with the I Cor. 15:51-54 passage as it connects with the I Thess. 4 rapture text. Thank you also, dpr, for acknowledging that there is no language in the I Thess. 4 text concerning a translation of the bodies of the righteous during that event. It's the classic idea that I Cor. 15, as you understand it, supplies the details of a translation that I Thess. 4 does not include.
But does it really do that? The I Cor. 15:52 verse that was put up as a reminder speaks ONLY of the DEAD being raised and changed into an incorruptible physical form in a moment's time at the last trumpet - there is no change for the living spoken of there. And, as verse 54 claims, when that change of the corruptible to incorruptible FOR THE DEAD occurs, then at that time the saying of DEATH being swallowed up in victory would have been fulfilled.
The tricky phrase in verse 51 (that has thrown the interpretation out of whack for so long for so many) is this: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." Most people would say this is a slam-dunk to understand. It's not.
Let me offer a common-place comparison that might help you figure out just where I'm coming from on this. Suppose a bunch of employees are trying to find out what the boss's plans are for a pay raise one year. They decide to go ask the assistant manager together in a group, " Are we all going to get a raise this year?" The assistant manager tells them, "We shall not all get a raise, but we shall all get a bonus." Now, one hopeful employee hears THIS behind the assistant manager's statement: "Well, not everybody is getting a raise, but I'm probably one of those who is going to get one, and a bonus too, because I've worked so much overtime." Another will hear THIS behind the very same comment: "Not a single one of us is going to get a raise, but at least we will all get a bonus."
What's the difference between the way each of these employees hears this same comment? The first one hears an emphasis on the word "ALL" - "We shall not ALL get a raise (but some of us will)." The other hears an emphasis on the word "NOT" - "We shall NOT all get a raise - not one of us." It is the same difference that happens when you read I Cor. 15:52 with an emphasis on these words NOT and ALL. A totally different interpretation comes up depending on which word receives the emphasis.
That was my simplistic attempt at an explanation using only the words of scripture in the text itself. It's enough proof for me. But for those who also like to look at the Greek and the Aramaic rendering for this verse, I have included it below. Now, mind you, I am no Greek scholar. I am just familiar enough with it to be a danger to myself, I suppose. But I do have an immediate family member who has taught Greek for years. Apparently, negatives are notoriously difficult to translate properly. See the below:
Greek - Be perceiving secret to you I am saying all indeed not we shall be being put to repose all yet we shall be being changed.
Aramaic - Behold, say I to mystery [no, not] [all,every, whole, entirely] sleep [all, every, whole, entirely] [but, yet] [change, transmute, alter].
Do you see what I mean when I say it isn't a slam-dunk to understand this phrase? According to the Aramaic, I have heard that it could actually be translated to say "None of us shall sleep, but all of us shall be transformed." That would seem to imply that no one will ever die, and we know that's not true. But try comparing that to what Christ told Martha in John 11:26, "...and everyone who lives and believes in me SHALL NEVER DIE." This "shall never die" reads in the Interlinear "shall not die FOREVER". Now we're getting somewhere. We know that it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that the judgment. But, for the believer, THEY WILL NOT STAY DEAD FOREVER, but they will be changed to an incorruptible body form in the resurrection before that body enters heaven. This, then, is how I believe I Cor 15:52 is meant to be interpreted and understood - "We shall NOT all sleep (NONE of us shall sleep FOREVER), but we shall all be changed (to an incorruptible, individual, physical body to meet the Lord)."
With this promised reward of a changed, incorruptible body that the Corinthians would inherit in the resurrection (not a translation), Paul says that their "labor would not be in vain in the Lord".