Although there are two censuses mentioned in Numbers, the numbering of the people is not what this book is mainly about. Its title in the Hebrew is much more accurate: "In the Desert." Numbers covers the years in the desert -- who was there, and what happened of note. This makes this book a lot more interesting than many folk think, looking at the title! The author is primarily Moses, although there are editorial notes scattered throughout, probably inserted by later scribes or editors in history -- or even by Joshua after Moses' death. It is difficult, perhaps, for us to understand how a people so miraculously saved and sustained by God Himself could then rebel time and time again, but this is exactly what Numbers chronicles. What is interesting is we can see this same tendency all through history -- in personal lives, in churches, in families. Despite God's clear working in one or another areas, the tendency of the human race is to rebel -- completely in line with God's judgment of our natural hearts in Genesis 8:21. So although the Israelites are being held up as an example in Numbers, what they are an example of is us! And the warning from God is clear -- continue in rebellion and you will not get what God wants for you in this life. The story we find of the Israelites is also an accepted example of what MUST happen if we are to be able to enter heaven -- our own "Promised Land": we must die to ourselves in the desert of our life and enter heaven as new people. It is here in Numbers where the idea of rescue from sin and entering heaven may be seen as separate things as pictured by the rescue from Egypt (a 'type' of state of sin) and permission and miraculous help in entering the Promised Land (a 'type' of heaven or a ‘type’ of a life lived in the fullness of the Spirit – both pictures are used by different people). So it is important to pay attention to the lessons and examples we find in the book of Numbers.