Now when we meet him, the truth is there will need to be a U-turn. Either Christ, who has “descended” makes a U-turn and ascends back up to heaven with us for a time until he would descend yet again, (thus having 2 separate returns of Christ?) or we make a U-turn and usher him to the earth for his final coming to bring the final judgment and usher in eternity where we will “always be with the Lord.” Which is it? I believe we make the U-turn. Here’s why: the phrase in vs 15 “coming of the Lord” comes from the Greek word parousia. Every time Paul used that word (1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 5:23, 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8) it refers to a visible return of Christ and our final hope in that day. Also, in 4:17, when it says we will “meet” the Lord in the air, that word “meet” in Greek is “apantesis” which was used to describe how when a dignitary was making an official visit to a city, citizens of that city would go out to “meet” him and escort him into the city in a procession. They would go out, do a U-turn, and usher him back in. That seems to be what Paul is using to describe how we will meet Christ and usher Him in.