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With regard to the Virgin Army of 144,000, I would like to make some comments about the concept of literal physical virgins as opposed to spiritual virgins. At the same time that we need to take more seriously the call to be physical virgins, we must be careful to keep it in proper perspective to the spiritual nature of this army.

Remember that what God is most looking for is a "holy" church. Holiness includes far more than sexual chastity. There are some psychologically screwed up guys who hate women because of their own sinfulness. I think Jack the Ripper or some other famous serial killer was supposed to have been like that, always killing prostitutes or women he thought were prostitutes, because he wanted to put the blame on them for his own lust.

As Tolstoy pointed out, when the Bible says, "Who are you that judges another for committing adultery when you yourselves are guilty of murder," it was probably talking about the spirit of the Pharisees who brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus and wanted to stone her to death. Obviously not many people are guilty of what we traditionally think of as murder; but because Jesus taught that hate was as bad as murder, he was showing that just hating an adulterous person, and feeling self-righteous about it is as bad as murder, and it is worse than the adultery itself. By all means, hate the Jezebel spirit, but don't hate women.

Jesus gave murder a spiritual meaning that is quite different to the traditional understanding we have of it. And he did the same with adultery, which is something that we must take into consideration when trying to understand the principles of the Virgin Army. Read Luke 16:12-19 and you will see that sandwiched in between all this talk about greed is a sudden reference to adultery and divorce. I won't go into other supports for this theory just now, but I believe that what Jesus is talking about here is spiritual adultery, which comes when someone turns from Christ to the Beast, or stops being the Bride and becomes the Harlot, chasing after money instead of trusting God.

Obviously there is a connection between the literal and the spiritual; and so I believe there is a connection between being literal physical virgins and being spiritual virgins. But the spiritual meaning is the most important one to get. Sex is not the root of all evil; whereas the love of money is. It is just that the devil will use sex to sidetrack us when he cannot get through to us through greed. The husband does not have to be greedy if he is being controlled sexually by a wife who is greedy.

Ephesians 5:25-27 says that Christ loved the Church and died for it, and he also gave it the truth in his teachings, so "that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish."

Obviously none of us is "holy and without blemish" in our own strength. To become such, we must be "washed". Revelation 14:4-5 says of the 144,000, "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God." The word I want you to most notice here is that they were redeemed. In other words, they were "bought back" from some fallen state.

Our traditional understanding of virginity is that once you have lost it, you have lost it and you can never get it back. This is not necessarily the case with spiritual things. Let's face it, none of us (not even those of us who are sexual virgins) is "worthy" to be part of the 144,000 because none of us is perfect. But the Lamb can make us worthy in his strength. He can make us "virgins" too, even if we were not virgins before undergoing his regeneration.

Also notice that the verse says that these people were "not defiled by women". Yet the Bible says that "the marriage bed is undefiled". (Hebrews 13:4) Someone who has only had sex with his wife is not defiled according to that passage, yet he is "defiled" by no longer being a virgin if we are to take the usual approach to the word virgin in Revelation 14:4. This is a strong argument for the theory that the virgin army may include married people. I also think that it includes women, as the word "men" is usually used in the Bible in the sense of all people. But that is another topic, which we will not go into at this time.

Jesus told a parable about his second coming, which talked of wise virgins and foolish virgins who were waiting for him to come and for the wedding to begin. This is the feminine equivalent of the Virgin Army. In The Revelation, these virgins are spoken of as one body. They are called the Bride of Christ, or the Church. Revelation 19:7-9 says, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to God, for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife has made herself ready. To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb." In Revelation 21:2, John says, "I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." In verse 9, he says that an angel says to him, "Come hither and I will show you the Bride, the Lamb's wife." Strangely, what follows is a description of a city. Most of us have come to think of the city as a physical city where we will live and walk. But actually the city only symbolises the bride, the church, the virgin army... call it what you like. The Revelation talks of twelve tribes and of a city, and in both cases, it gives measurements that are all based on twelves, 144, and thousands.

Before I end this study, I should confess that I am not 100% confident that technical non-virgins (e.g. married people) can be part of the Virgin Army. It is just a theory. However, in Revelation 7:9 there is mention of a second group "which no man could number" whose robes have also been made white in the blood of the Lamb. It could be that this second group includes those who are won over to Jesus by the testimony of the Virgin Army during the Great Tribulation; or it could be all those through the ages who have been faithful to Christ. Or there may, in fact, be two separate groups, one of which does not qualify for the Virgin Army (possibly because they have engaged in sex), but which has also been made holy by the blood of the Lamb.

I just feel that it is important that we understand that no one is exempt from needing the blood of the Lamb. Just being sexually "virgin" does not mean a person does not need the grace of God for areas of sin in their lives.

We all need to repent, be forgiven, and be recreated into new people who are spotless and holy before God. Certainly a message of "holiness" needs to be preached today more than ever, as people are abusing the concept of God's grace more than ever. And sexual immorality is one of the most obvious visible results of the false teaching in the church about God's grace.

So the hard line of the virgin army (and injunctions against divorce and remarriage) will be an important part of returning to the standards that God demands. These teachings are extremely unpopular. But in taking this hard line, let us also be careful that we do not make sexual virginity the only standard by which we delineate between the good guys and the not so good guys. There is a great deal in the teachings of Jesus to suggest that the real delineation has more to do with our attitudes toward love and money.

God bless you all, and stay faithful to the Lamb... whithersoever he goeth!

(See also Self-Righteousness, and The Jezebel Spirit.)

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