By Larry Ray Hafley
Dr. Compton’s article is full of personal speculation and human imagination, but it is devoid of divine revelation. The Bible says nothing about the rapture as defined by Dr. Compton. It says even less about the day after. Note that Dr. Compton prescribed no passages of Scripture which tell us what will happen the day after his alleged rapture. We only have his word for it, but that is not good enough (1 Pet. 4:11). Dr. Compton, please cite just one verse that deals with the day after the rapture. Can you do it? Will you do it?
The Chief Text
Since most of Dr. Compton’s article hinges on his misunderstanding of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, that text must be examined. Contrary to the Doctor’s opinion, the text says nothing about some “remaining in the graves,” nor does it state that “The wicked dead will not be raised at that time.” Simply read the passage.
Paul shows that the dead in Christ are not to be sorrowed after like those who have no hope. Some believed that one who died before Christ came would miss the blessings and benefits of his coming. Paul lays that fear to rest. Indeed, the righteous dead will rise first, before the righteous living, to meet the Lord. Paul was not contrasting the righteous dead and the wicked dead.
Men divided the Bible into chapters and verses, so we often separate areas that are related to one another. Continue reading into 1 Thessalonians 5. Obviously, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:4 is contextually united. Compare the comforting conclusions of 4:18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” So, when the Lord comes and the righteous are “caught up,” at the same time the wicked will be overtaken and destroyed. This is also the teaching of 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. See that text.
God is going to repay tribulation to the troublers. He is going to repay rest (a noun, not a verb) to the troubled. But when? (1) “When the Lord shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them (the sinners)” and (2) “when he shall be glorified in his saints … in that day.” (3) “When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Col. 3:4). But what about the wicked? They are not in Colossians 3:4. Yes, but they are in 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10. (4) Both the righteous and the wicked are in Matthew 16:27. “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
So, when the Lord comes with the angels, then (not later) he shall reward every man (not part, not some), but “then,” “every man.” There is no sequential, sectional coming, hence, no rapture.
“No General Resurrection”
Dr. Compton says, “There is no such thing as a general resurrection.” Well, another Doctor, Dr. Luke (Col.4:14), quoted the apostle Paul who said, “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15). Note, “a resurrection,” singular, “of the dead” no “just the righteous,” but Dr. Luke’s word to that of Dr. Compton. If you are following Dr. Compton, you ought to change Doctors.
Dr. Compton, in his treatment of Matthew 25:31-46, says it “refers to the judgement of the nations, and has nothing to do with the rapture or a general resurrection, but refers to a judgment of the nations as to their treatment of the Jewish nation.”
Where did Dr. Compton learn this? His word is not our authority. Look at the text of Matthew 25:31-46. “All nations” will be there. When the Lord said, “Go teach all nations,” he referred to all nations of men, to “every creature” individually (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15; Acts 10:35,43). So, all nations will be there, i.e., “every creature” will be present.
Further, the division of the sheep and the goats is not national, but individual. Those being judged are persons, not nations. There are no “sheep nations” versus “goat nations” in the text. Judgment is rendered to individuals on the basis of their treatment of one another (vv. 40, 45). The Lord did not say to a nation, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my nations, ye have done it unto me.” Absolute ly nothing is said about the nations as to their treatment of the Jewish nation.
Are the “cursed” of verse 41 nations or individuals? Are the “righteous” of verse 46 nations or individuals? Individuals are judged by how they have treated their fellow man (vv. 34-35). Neither blessing or cursing is based on how the Jewish nation was treated. Read the text.
Finally, the judgment of Matthew 25:31 is that of Matthew 16:27. Both involve the “Son of man.” Both include his coming in “glory.” Both incorporate his coming “with his angels.” Both encompass the judgment of “every man (not nation) according to his works.”
Both the righteous and the wicked will be raised on the last day in the same hour (Jn. 5:28,29). Observe that -A “all that are in graves shall hear his voice and come forth.” The believer will be raised “up at the last day” (Jn. 6:39,44, 54; 11:24). Also, those who do not believe, those who reject Christ and his word, will be judged “in the last day” (Jn. 12:48; cf. 5:29; 2 Cor. 5:10).
“Not Just Any Time”
The second coming of Christ, Dr. Compton contemplates, “could not happen just anytime,” nor could it “happen just any moment.” See Matthew 24:36-39. The wicked will be taken and punished; the righteous will be taken and blessed. As with Noah, there is no “day after” for the wicked. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13). Sounds like to me, Dr. Compton, the second coming could happen “just anytime.”
Remember the title of Dr. Compton’s article. He cited not one single verse that deals with the day after his rapture, no, not one. His surmising and theorizing is all of his own devising. We want the Scriptures that tell us about “the day after the rapture.” Surely, he knows of one. We promise to pass it along if he surrenders it.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 12, pp. 369, 374
June 16, 1988