Hi Bruce....I really appreciate your taking the time and effort to clarify your meaning of those two verses (I Thess 4:16-18 and Matt.24:29-31). You sound really sincere in your interpretation. However, I try to go on principle of reading into the scripture only what I see there. I offer no opinions of my own, if at all possible.
You inferred that our Lord needs the "help of His angels". I don't see anything in "the Lord Himself shall descend with a shout" that includes help of a group of angels. It's just not there....
One other principle I have learned through my many years is "things that are different are not the same". If two verses say different things, that means those verses are different. I try not to read into them what isn't there because that causes confusion. And for this reason, "the trump of God" is not the same as "a great sound of a trumpet". I could be wr! ong, but someone will have to show me where.
Please forgive me if I seem critical, but please explain what you mean by this (I copied a piece of your answer to me):
The tribulation is "shortened" and ends early for the Church when it is "cut short" for the Church by the rapture of the Church. It is NOT shortened and cut short for the left-behind unbelievers. After the shortened tribulation is cut short for the Church by the rapture, the Church is in heaven at the wedding of the Lamb while the wrath of God is upon the earth. Then at the Second Coming of the Lord the army of the called, chosen and faithful in fine linen - His bride- returns with Him. There is NO severe U-turn at the Second Coming because the Church was previously raptured soon after the tribulation began because it was shortened and cut short for the Church.
I must be getting old because that makes no sense to me....