Countable or Uncountable?


Numbers 1:46 NIV

The total number was 603,550.

1 Chronicles 21:1-14 NKJV

Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.”

And Joab answered, “May the Lord make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?”

Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came to Jerusalem.  Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword. But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s word was abominable to Joab.

And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. So David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”

Then the Lord spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and tell David, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ’

” So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Choose for yourself, either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else for three days the sword of the Lord—the plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.” 

And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell.

Luke 2:1-3 NIV

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

Revelation 7:4 NIV

Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.

Revelation 7:9  NIV

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

There are numerous events where counting occurs in the Bible.  The resulting numbers recorded are not necessarily literal, though.  Many of the results are figurative.  Some of the counting events were performed at God's command while other counts were due to the pride of men. 

For example, we read that there are roughly 600 thousand Israelite men at the time of the exodus from Egypt.  Later the number of "fighting men" in Israel was counted to be 1.1 million by David the King in a moment of doubt, and then 70 thousand of these men were killed in a plague of judgment.  After the exile, 10% of the remnant were chosen to live in Jerusalem.  These men numbered 3,044 "brave men." So, the remnant of Israel number in all approximately 30 thousand men.  Rome took a census at the time of Jesus birth--though the results are not recorded in scripture.  In the vision of John recorded in Revelations, 144 thousand people from the tribes of Israel were given a seal on their foreheads but an uncountable number in white robes from "every nation, tribe, people and language" before the throne of the Lamb!