A surprising order is part of God's future. When we look at the world of the Bible, the future is something which appears to be carefully plotted out. It has an order to it.
The order begins with Christ coming to the Earth to bring his own home to heaven. In immediate succession, he raises Christians from the dead and changes the bodies of the Christians to be like his glorious body. We are taken to heaven where we will always be with him. After that he proceeds to judge the earth and establishes his kingdom on the earth.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16).
Those who have died are with God in Heaven and when Christ returns they return with him.