Human societies are natural and essential, since we are social beings who live in relationship with each other. However, the establishment of successful and harmonious societies has historically eluded us. Thus, an understanding of the form and structure of society is of vital importance. The concept of a "tribe" as a form of human society has become a problematic term in the social sciences. Regarding the tribe as a "stepping stone" from primitive culture on their way toward more advanced civilizations, nation-states, is derogatory to those in contemporary tribal societies. Equally, the concept of unilinear cultural evolution itself is ethnocentric and problematic on the world level.
The Divine Principle says a true human society is rooted in individuals who form families, communities, nations, and a world centered on true love. Since the Fall of Man, however, no true families have formed, and subsequent societies, whether simply extended families, clans, chiefdoms, or larger nations and blocs of nations have all existed in states of disharmony and internal as well as external conflict. The Divine Principle explains that the three aspects of society—politics, religion, and economics—should form a harmonious relationship based on co-prosperity and common cause. The Divine Principle uses the example of how the organs of the human body cooperate to describe the ideal relationship among these aspects (Chapter V, section III).
Throughout restoration history, God has worked to reestablish human societies, working through his prophets and chosen leaders:
Just as Moses instituted twelve tribes and seventy elders, Jesus, who came to organize the chosen people of Israel, also established the twelve and seventy disciples. Although he tried to establish the national ideology of Israel as the worldwide ideology in this way, this aim was not achieved. That is why Christians worldwide are in the realm of the second Israel today. Even though they are in the realm of the second Israel, they do not know it. They have become people who do not know to which tribe they belong and have lost the order of the tribes. Jesus departed without being able to organize the chosen people and the order of the twelve tribes through the twelve disciples. Therefore, he will come back to worldwide Christianity with the mission of organizing the form of twelve tribes, seventy disciples, and 120 disciples on earth in accordance with the heavenly providence.
Reverend Sun Myung Moon has often talked about the tribe in relation to the Kingdom of Heaven, likening the twelve tribes to the twelve gates of heaven:
In order to belong to one of the twelve tribes of heaven … people will draw straws to decide which tribe to belong to. Without belonging to this organization on earth, you have no gate to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
He has also likened the twelve gates of heaven to twelve human personality types. Just as the family is the basic unit in society, so the tribe functions as the way to extend relationships in an orderly fashion so as to include all types of people: "the structure of the heavenly kingdom is also patterned after this basic system; i.e., twelve tribes and twelve character types."  However, he has also noted that the tribe is not the ultimate human society, but rather that "A tribe's ultimate goal is to establish a nation. That is the tribe's whole purpose." .