The Bible explains that God chose the ancient nation of Israel to be His people (Deut. 7:6). However, He chose all twelve tribes—not just the tribe of Judah (the ancestors of the Jewish people). Chapters 9-24 of the book of Exodus record how God freed the Israelites from their bondage—slavery—to the Egyptians. Although God has no favorites or shows favoritism when it comes to people (Acts 10:34), He selected Israel as His model nation. They were to show the world the physical blessings that are reaped when God’s Law is obeyed.
But the Israelites did not follow God. They failed and refused to obey Him. They rebelled and sinned. Instead of following the one true God, they followed the many pagan gods that the surrounding nations worshipped. The nation of Israel eventually split into two nations—the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
Because of their sins, God allowed the house of Israel to be taken into captivity by the Assyrians (720-718 B.C.). While in slavery, the house of Israel became “lost” to history. Then during 604 to 585 B.C., the Babylonians took Judah into captivity, destroying the Temple of Jerusalem.
After seventy years, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and the surrounding region. Later, the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple began. But the Jews continued to disobey God. They forsook many of His laws and replaced them with manmade rules and codes, which resulted in Judaism (Matt. 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13).
Their rebellion led to Jesus Christ declaring, “Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matt. 21:43). Instead of physical Israel receiving the promise of the kingdom of God, it was to be given to spiritual Israel—God’s Church. This Church now consists of a few “called out” ones (I Pet. 2:9; Rev. 18:4).
In Galatians 3, the apostle Paul explains, “And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (vs. 29). Those in God’s Church are Abraham’s seed—his children. This makes them heirs to the original promise that was given to him. At Christ’s Return from heaven, the Church will marry Christ and be His chosen bride (Rev. 19:7-9).
However, Hosea 2, Ezekiel 36 and Zechariah chapters 12-14 show that God has not completely removed the promise from physical Israel. These chapters explain that if they repent from their rebellion against God, they can once again be His people. At the establishment of the kingdom, physical Israel (the house of Israel and Judah) will obey God, and be the model nation to the world—as He had originally planned (Zech. 8). Spiritual Israel—the Church—will at that time be immortal—composed of spirit—and will be ruling with Christ over the nations (Rev. 2:26; 3:21; 5:10; 20:4-6).
In this wonderful world to come, the nation of Israel will once again be God’s chosen nation. They will fulfill the job—and receive the blessings—God had set aside for them 3,500 years ago!