Judd Thompson, Jr.
|Born||16 years before Rapture|
|Occupation||Former high school student|
|Relatives||Judd Thompson Sr. (father, raptured), mother (raptured), Marc Thompson (brother, raptured), Marcie Thompson (sister, raptured), Vicki Byrne Thompson (wife), Anne (adoptive daughter)|
|Spiritual State||Saved during the Tribulation|
|First Appearance||The Vanishings (Left Behind: The Kids)|
Judd Thompson Jr. is one of the founding members and leader of The Young Tribulation Force and the main protagonist in the Left Behind: The Kids series. On the night of the disappearances, Judd stole his dad's credit card and ran away, telling his parents that he was going to the library to study. He instead went to O'Hare airport and boarded a one-way flight to England. When some of the people on board the plane disappear, leaving only their clothes, Judd realizes that Jesus has come back and he has been left behind. When he returns home and discovers that his entire family had disappeared in the Rapture, he becomes a believer in Christ. He returns to his old church, where he meets Bruce Barnes, Vicki Byrne, Lionel Washington and Ryan Daley. He allows them all to stay at his house. He falls in love with Vicki early on but does not show his love for her until later. In Book 38 they are married in the desert fortress of Petra.
In The Vanishings, it is said that Judd went to vacation Bible school and a Christian camp. In those settings, many of his peers were moved enough to pray to receive Christ, but Judd's secret was that never really believed in Christianity. He was embarrassed by this as he never had the courage to tell his parents or pastor. However, he had been named "camper of the week" for memorizing many Bible verses, including 1 John 1:9, and being the fastest to look up others, so he was unwilling to come forward to admit that he really was not a Christian. When Judd was twelve, many of his Sunday school classmates signed up to be baptized as Pastor Vernon Billings said that one does that in order to obey Christ. When Pastor Billings asked the students to tell the story of when they had received Christ, Judd quoted scripture and fabricated a story that he became a Christian "once by himself at camp".
In The Underground, he was distraught over a photograph of his Christian youth group that had all the kids sitting around a table, smiling, and eating popcorn. Judd was the only one in that picture who was not raptured.
In The Underground, Judd exploded when Pastor Bruce Barnes expressed some disapproval for the Young Tribulation Force's composition and dissemination of The Underground to the students of Nicolae Carpathia High School because Bruce thought it would put them in danger and Judd did it without seeking Pastor Bruce's counsel. Judd did not like to be criticized for taking the risk of evangelizing to students at Nicolae Carpathia High School. Bruce, Vicki, Lionel, and Ryan were stunned at Judd's outburst. Judd apologized for his conduct to Pastor Bruce. Pastor Bruce charitably summarized Judd's disposition: “The same passion you have for God also gives you a short fuse. On one side it’s a strength. On the other, it’s a weakness. Something to work on.”
Judd is headstrong, but he was able to get work done due to his determination. However, this made it difficult to live and work with him since he insists that his way is the right way. Judd did pray to God, acknowledging that he cannot make the newspaper on his own and that he needed others. During that prayer, he asked for forgiveness in his treatment towards Vicki, Lionel, and Ryan. Ever since working on the newspaper, he learned to include others in his endeavors, such as giving Lionel and Ryan significant roles in the development of The Underground. In The Rise of False Messiahs, Judd criticized Luke and Tom Gowin, the leaders of the Young Tribulation Force in South Carolina, because everyone in their group just followed them. Tom and Luke did not provide many opportunities for others to offer suggestions and utilizing the talents of other members, and they failed to utilize the talents of the other members. Judd worried that this would leave members of the group feeling left out.
Upon embracing the Gospel, Judd is not content in being passively watching events unfold as predicted by premillennial dispensationalist interpretations of Biblical eschatology during the Tribulation. He is willing to take risks to convey the Gospel since it can mean the difference between an individual's salvation or damnation.
It is suggested that Judd was more reticent before the Rapture, but afterwards, he had few qualms of being an activist for his newfound faith. For instance, Judd spoke up at an assembly at Nicolae Carpathia High School on the new school year after the Rapture to protest Principal Laverne Jenness' policy that the religious explanation for the disappearances should not be discussed on school property during school hours. Judd wondered why freedom of speech would only be afforded to people who hold certain, approved views about the nature of the disappearances. Principal Jenness replied that it was not a freedom-of-speech issue, but a separation-of-church-and-state issue. As the students were leaving the assembly, Judd's classmates mistakenly praised him for being raucous, but Judd was sincere and serious. He told Vicki, jokingly, that his "evil twin" spoke up at the assembly because Judd never did anything like that in his life.
Later on, Judd had to courage to declare publicly in his salutatorian speech at his high school graduation that he was responsible for The Underground. Also, he proclaimed the gospel to the audience, which included Leon Fortunato, saying that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. For the speech, he was brutally removed from the stage, expelled from high school, and given no credit for his coursework.
- In the dramatic audio presentations, he is played by Jason Pardo.
- Judd, Vicki, and Lionel are the only characters to appear in all 40 books of the Left Behind: The Kids series.
- Judd is the only Young Tribulation Force member to have the same name as his father.
- Judd was the only original YTF member not to be spotted by LeRoy Banks.
- Judd was on the same plane as Rayford Steele and Buck Williams on the night of the disappearances.
- Judd is only one of two passengers from the plane in Left Behind and book 1 confirmed to have survived to the Glorious Appearing, the other being Rayford Steele.
- Judd has been kissed by four females, two of whom he dated.
- After Bruce's death, Judd was considered the leader of the Young Tribulation Force.
- Judd has the first line in the entire Left Behind: The Kids series. ("Why can't you get it?")
- Judd and Vicki are the only characters to have POVs in every book in the Left Behind: The Kids series.
- Judd personally spoke to and confronted the man that murdered Tsion Ben-Judah's family.
- Judd is one of two Young Tribulation Force members to have seen the face of the man that murdered Tsion Ben-Judah's family, the other was Sam Goldberg.
- Judd has been involved in the most romantical relationships of all the members of the Young Tribulation Force.
- Judd was the only Young Trib Force member to have met a Global Community official in Carpathia's inner circle, namely, Leon Fortunato.
- Judd was one of 12 YTF members to survive to the Glorious Appearing.
- Judd is the first YTF member to have an arrest record. He was arrested for the first time in book 7.