Some maintain that the pre-tribulation position is the more literal. That is,
- The more literally one reads the scriptures the more likely one is to take a pre-tribulationist position
- The more one spiritualises the scriptures the more likely one is to hold a post-tribulationist position
This position is difficult for a pre-tribulationist to sustain. The pretribulationist maintains the following about critically central eschatological doctrines :
- The ‘last trumpet’ does not mean the last trumpet (1 Cor 15.52 and Rev 11.15)
- The second return of Jesus is not the ‘second return’ but the third return – first as a child, second to rapture the church and third to judge the world.
- The first resurrection is actually multiple resurrections – they happen continuously though the tribulation period. (Rev 20.6)
- Jesus coming as a thief does not happen when Jesus says it does.
- Rev 16.15 states that Jesus has not yet come as a thief.
- This passage by all reckonings is at the very end of the tribulation period
- Pretribulationists however maintain that Jesus comes as a thief years prior to this – before chapter 5 in fact.