The book of Revelation tells us of a hundred forty and four thousand that "sung as it were a new song" (14:3). Someone reading this prophecy might get the idea that God is saving only this relatively small group of people. What is this song and who are the hundred forty and four thousand?

The first thing to consider concerning this prophecy is that it has something to teach us. It is an admonition for all Christians and not just to some elect group that arises at some future time. The admonition concerns learning the new song. And although not everyone can learn the song, we must keep in mind many verses telling us "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev 3:22).

There are many clues that taken together show us the meaning of this prophecy. One clue concerns the number itself. Notice that it is a multiple of twelve. The number twelve in the bible pertains to organizational beginnings. For example the nation of Israel began with the twelve sons of Israel. The twelve sons then grew into twelve tribes. The church also began with about an hundred and twenty total members of which twelve were apostles (Acts 3:15). Therefore a multiple of twelve also shows the idea of an organizational beginning.

However this raises another question. Why does God use the number twelve to represent organized beginnings? First consider that God desires his people to bear spiritual fruit. To show this Jesus taught his disciples the parable of the sower. This parable teaches us the importance of understanding his word and going on to yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Galatians 5:22-23 names nine of these fruits. However Revelation 22:2 tells us of the tree of life "which bare twelve manner of fruits."

The cooperative nature of God's government is made possible by these fruits. They foster unity through communication and are essential for the success of any organization. This is in contrast to the unity imposed by political power that governs by the fear of penalties enforced on law breakers. This idea explains why the tribe of Dan is not mentioned in Revelation seven. The idea of forcing anyone into obedience will never work as a long term method of bringing peace.

Each tribe represents a different fruit of the spirit. For example Judah which means praise represents the fruit of love. The name Manasseh means forgetful and therefore represents forgiveness. However the name Dan means judge. Judging is not one of the fruits of the spirit. Therefore judgment as many verses confirm is something the church is commanded not to do.

The world is organized by political power. Therefore the authority of the government comes from support of fellow imperfect human beings. This is true for all governments of the world.

However the church must come out of the world. The church must be organized as the kingdom of God also known as the kingdom of heaven. The church OF GOD by taking HIS name and representing Him, must receive its power from heaven, from God, from above, supernaturally. The church must not execute its own justice nor seek the world's authoritative power to do it for them. Therefore when the apostle Paul says in in 1 Cor 6:1 "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?", he is talking about using the world for any type of legal action for the purpose of justice.

The idea of keeping pure from the world's justice system also explains another aspect of this group. Revelation 14:4 tells us that they are virgins. The bible's use of the word virgin here is in the symbolic sense. In other words the virgins that follow the lamb have not formed a union with the world in order to exercise authority. Notice the contrast between this group and another organization the bible calls the great whore. The great whore is not a virgin because the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her in order to exercise her wrath (Rev 17:2, 18:3).
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