Where are the 144,000?

Their is a group that the book of Revelation tells us about, it is of the 144,000 at the end time. They have a special relationship with the Lamb, and they also sing a special song. But who exactly are the 144,000 which the scripture tells us about, is it literal or symbolic, and who will fill its ranks before the end? To really understand the identity of the 144,000, we must look in Scripture that describe the 144,000, so lets start in Revelation:

Revelation 7:1-4 King James Version (KJV)

7 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

Revelation 14:1-5 King James Version (KJV)

14 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

4 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 firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Now we get a key clue in verse 12:

Revelation 14:12 King James Version (KJV)

12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

And we also find this characteristic in Revelation 12:

Revelation 12:17 King James Version (KJV)

17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Now lets see if we can find a clue to what tribes came back to Israel after they were taken away. As we need to determine whether or not this 144,000 are actually 12,000 literal Israelites from their 12 respective tribes. If you take a closer look it becomes obvious that this is simply impossible, as the Old Testament reveals another important clue. Because the 10 northern tribes gave themselves to idolatry and other evils, the Assyrians were allowed to carry them away in 722 BC.

2 Kings 17:6 King James Version (KJV)

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

So this leaves us the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who were themselves taken off to Babylon, but after 70 years in captivity, were allowed to return. But with the other 10 tribes, they are latterly called the 'lost ten tribes of Israel'. So this gives us to understand that we must be looking at figurative or symbolic language, so we must take a close look at the characteristics of who compose this end time group to understand them. So we must start there: