Why were God’s OT promises not fulfilled to Israel?

Author: BibleAsk Team

God’s Conditional Covenant With Israel

The Bible shows that God’s promises to Israel in the Old Testament were conditional on their obedience to Him. If they obey , they will be greatly blessed (Deuteronomy 28: 1-14). But if they don’t they will be cursed (verses 15-68).

Repeatedly God warned Israel in this manner: “And if thou wilt … do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments: Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever … But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments … Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people” (1 Kings 9:4-7).

Israel’s Rebellion Against God

Because of the Israelites continued rebellion, God permitted them to be overcome and taken into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. And God raised His prophets to predict their return from that captivity. But some modem Bible commentators have erred by applying those prophecies of restoration to the future gathering of Israel. They don’t see that the restoration predicted by the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah has already happened.

Daniel the prophet prophesied that God allotted a probationary period of 490 years for the Jewish people to see if they would accept the Messiah (Daniel 9:24). That prophetic time period of 70 weeks (a day for a year, Ezekiel 4:6) started with the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem (Artaxerxes’ decree in 457 B.C., Ezra 7:11) came to end in A.D. 34. In that same year the gospel began to be preached to the Gentiles, Stephen was stoned, and Paul started his ministry to Gentiles. These events marked the official and final separation of Israel from its covenant relationship. https://bibleask.org/what-was-the-purpose-of-the-prophecy-of-the-seventy-weeks-in-daniel-9/

God’s Covenant Transferred to the NT Church (Jews and gentiles)

Jesus said to the Jewish leaders 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).

Thus, God’s covenant promises were transferred from the literal nation of Israel to spiritual Israel (Jews or gentiles). Anyone that accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior is part of the church. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26, 29).

Every one regardless of race can be saved through faith in Christ. “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4 also John 1:12, 13; 3:3). God’s grace makes the believers “sons of God” (1 John 3:1), and so “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), and receivers of grace and of all the family privileges (Galatians 4:6, 7). 

The Old Testament promises were never fulfilled to Israel simply because the Israelites as a nation failed to meet the conditions of obedience. Otherwise, they would have possessed their land, been delivered from their oppressors. And Jerusalem would have become the worship center for the world. While God’s love to man is unconditional, man’s acceptance to Him is conditional on his obedience.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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