In scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, those who were “true Jews” in the eyes of God were those who stood for righteousness and true justice. They are the remnant who were truly Israel in the eyes of God. Those who were Israel because of national descend, or national citizenship, often rebelled against the commands and ways of God. This comes through loud and clear in the Law of Moses, the preaching of the prophets, and the preaching and teachings of Jesus.
Israel under the Law, did not consist of full blooded descendants of Jacob only. Throughout their history, there were Gentiles who were joined to them and became citizens of Israel along with the physical descendants of Abraham. So the very concept that Israel consists only of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a faulty premise to begin with. There were Gentiles in the Messianic linage such as Rehab and Ruth, and we have other references that show us that Gentiles were joined to Israel as the people of God.
That which defined Israel as the people of God, wasn’t that they were all “100%” the physical descendants of Jacob, but instead they were a nation that was defined by the Law of God given to them through Moses.
As we read the Bible the narrative of Israel (as the people of God) continues on into the New Testament. Yet, in the New, they have entered the true promised land which is life in Christ.
The church did not replace Israel per’say, instead, the church is the transformed Israel through the resurrection of Jesus, whose law is no longer engraved in stone tables but in fleshly tables of the heart, whose circumcision is not in the flesh but in the Spirit, whose place of worship is not in Jerusalem, but in the Spirit and in truth.
Jesus said to Nicodemus, a leader in Israel, You must be born again to see the Kingdom of God. Jesus explained to him; that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is spirit.
Physical Israel, like the rest of the nations is born of flesh, and are in Adam being dead in their sins. They are in need of redemption from sin and death like the rest of humanity. Flesh cannot see or inherit the Kingdom of God.
In John 3:10 Jesus makes an often overlooked statement in his conversation with Nicodemus, saying, “Art thou a MASTER OF ISRAEL, and knowest not these things?”
The Old Testament scriptures testified that God’s people, Israel, needed to be reborn to have life. It wasn’t circumcision in the flesh that God desired. It was circumcision of the heart.
The Kingdom of God is no longer found in the physical nation, Israel, who needed a Temple, but in the Spiritual nation who is the Temple of God.
In Matthew 21 Jesus said to the leaders of Israel. “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
In Luke 13:34-35, Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, YOUR HOUSE HAS LEFT YOU DESOLATE: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
In Acts 3, the apostle Peter says to his Jewish listeners “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
The physical has given way to the spiritual. the natural, to the Supernatural. and the earthly to the Heavenly.
The true Israel of God is now a spiritual nation, consisting of people from all nations. It’s not about “PHYSICAL” Israel anymore. It’s about those who obey Jesus.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).
Those who are looking for the restoration of physical Israel because it’s still about them miss the teachings of scripture. It’s not about a physical nation, its about Jesus. He is Lord! And all who follow Him, whether they be Jews or Gentiles are born again and are the people of God in Christ, the only people that God has.
The New Testament is not the end of Israel’s story, only the end of it in the flesh. New Testament believers in Christ Jesus is the continuation of Israel in the Spirit. So when God promises that Israel will never cease being a nation before Him,” the fulfillment of this is in Christ the Messiah.
In much the same way that Christ is the seed to whom the promises given to Abraham were made, even so the fulfillment of the promises given to Israel are in realized in Christ. Therefore if you belong to Christ, you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promises.
If you are Abraham’s seed, you are a covenant member in the Israel of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
Under Moses = Israel in the flesh.
In Christ = Israel in the Spirit.