When we die does our spirit go straight to heaven? Or will we rise before the living at the time of the Rapture?
First, it’s important to understand that the term resurrection (or "rising from the dead") doesn’t refer to the spirit but to the body. Resurrection means a spirit receiving a living body again. Therefore, Christians who die will enter immediately into Heaven in spirit form only. In a future day, the Lord has promised to return for His Church and resurrect us (i.e., give us new bodies). In 1 Thess 4 Paul teaches the exact order of events for the resurrection of the church:
1Th. 4:13 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.
1Th. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
1Th. 4:15 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.
1Th. 4:16 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.
1Th. 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
1Th. 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
At the moment of the resurrection, Paul says in v.14 that the Lord will return from Heaven bringing with him those saints who have already died. These saints will return in spirit only (i.e., no bodies). When the moment arrives for all the Church to receive new bodies, Paul says those saints who remain alive on earth will not precede those who have died already, meaning those Christians who are alive on earth at the moment Jesus returns to resurrect the church will not receive new bodies before those who have already died.
Those saints who have already died and are returning with Christ will receive new physical bodies first with Christ in the clouds (v.16). Then immediately afterward, all saints still alive on the earth will be moved directly from the earth to the clouds into new bodies. They will not experience death but will move directly from earth to the clouds and into new eternal bodies.