When the religious leaders of Israel rejected Jesus Christ, the Lord told the Israelites that their rejection of Him would seal their own rejection as the sons of the covenant. “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matthew 21:43). This meant that they lost the privilege of being God’s special people. In the future, God’s plan for the salvation of the world would no longer rely on the Jewish nation.
The OT covenant is given to the church
Later on, the gospel was taken to the world and true Israelites consisted of all those who accept the Savior, whether Jews or Gentiles. The New Testament viewed believers not in a literal way but as spiritual Israelites “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit” (Romans 2:28,29).
Thus, God’s promises to literal Israel in the OT were transferred to the spiritual Israel, which is the church, made up of all true believers in Christ. And the physical temple has now become the spiritual temple of the church, made up of all true believers (1 Corinthians 3:16), who are the “lively stones” of that “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).
And the New Testament Church receives the same promises that were given to Abraham’s descendants: “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).
The true Israelites
True Israelites will be characterized by circumcision of the heart and not of the flesh. “Ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Colossians 2:11).
Paul affirms this truth in Romans 9:8. “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” And he elaborates, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart” (Romans 2:28, 29). Thus, all who accept Christ regardless of their nationality will inherit the promises made to Abraham.
In His service,