What does Scripture teach us about the future role of Israel?

Some Christians believe that the New Testament church replaces Old Testament Israel as the subject matter of Old Testament prophecies about Israel. That is to say that the church today is regarded as the new Israel. If this is so, then any prophecies in the Bible having to do with Israel now refer to the Christian church and have no specific reference to the nation of Israel.

Other Christians are convinced that the Scriptures have much to say about ethnic, national Israel and that God still has another chapter to write for the Jewish people as such. I am persuaded that God will write a new chapter for ethnic Israel, for the Jewish people who are alive in the world today. I’m persuaded of that principally because of Paul’s teaching in his epistle to the church at Rome; in this letter he makes a clear distinction between the Jewish people and the Christian church (Rom. 11). In that distinction he speaks about the fact that God still has work to do with the Jewish people.

One of the most important sections of all of Scripture that teaches about future things is what we call the Olivet discourse, called such because it takes place on the Mount of Olives (Matt. 24). Here, Jesus and his disciples discuss future events. Jesus speaks about the last times and the signs of the times and those things that will transpire at the end of the age before he returns to this planet. For example, in Luke 21:5-28, Jesus predicts the imminent destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple. This took place in A.D. 70, when the Romans perpetrated a holocaust against the Jewish people by destroying Jerusalem, slaughtering about one million Jewish people, and tearing the temple down. The Jews, of course, then went into exile. But when Jesus made this prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem, he said that Jerusalem would be trodden underfoot until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. So even our Lord talked in his prophetic utterances about a period in which that exile of the Jewish nation would end and they would return to Jerusalem, which has taken place in our own very day. Beyond that, I do not know and can’t speak specifically to Israel’s situation

© 1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.