Thursday, June 14, 2012

Taking a census

Taking a census

The book of Numbers is perhaps even more puzzling than Leviticus. It's been awhile since I read it, but I remember that a decent amount of it is spent giving a count of how many Israelites there are. There are other stories of happenings in the desert, but the census is what gives the book its name.

Why is this done?

Even more mysterious is the sinfulness of David in taking a census toward the end of his reign. At the end of Samuel, it says that the Lord led David to do it on account of anger against the Israelites. But that it requires a punishment is not obvious.

There are also the mystical numberings of those who live in heaven found in Daniel and Revelation. These certainly seem figurative (not in the sense of a ballpark figure), yet it would not be given without reason. This should point us back to the earthly censes which otherwise may not seem significant, but merely accidental.

Finally there is the fact that Christ was born while his family was reporting for a census. Perhaps one might say it is stated just so that we know why the holy family was searching for an inn in the first place. Yet it seems providential in a greater way. This should be considered.

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