Who are the “dead in Christ”?

Many believers are convinced that the moment we die, we will rise to be with the Lord.
If we rise to be with Jesus at the instant we die, who are the “dead in Christ”?

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

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