I believe it is important that we affirm that the Jews, despite their current disobedience, are “the chosen people”. The age ends by a great international conflict called, “the controversy of Zion” (Isa 34:8; Zech 12:2-3; see the paper on my website recently found and posted, called, “The Significance of Jerusalem in Prophecy“. God sees, and expects us to see, Israel as a corporate entity for whom He is especially jealous, and with whom He will deal intensely until He has achieved His impossible task to bring them back and restore them to their place, “against all odds”.
He has determined to do this “in the Land”, not because the people are holy in themselves, but because both people and Land are holy in the sense of chosen and set apart. Israel is a holy vessel, ordained to be cleansed and filled, as a testimony in the sight of all nations to the God who keeps covenant, and to the God who chooses, not on the basis of works, but of Him that calls (Ro 9:11). This is the primary reason that Abraham’s seed was set apart in a national form and preserved to this day, as a distinct and visible people. It was to make an open and visible demonstration through them for the saving instruction of all.
For the present, there is always a “remnant according to the election of grace,” but the covenant looks to the end when “all Israel shall be saved”. It is very important that we understand what Paul means in his use of this controversial phrase. It refers to the end of the covenant. It constitutes that aspect of the covenant that has not yet been fulfilled. It is why the “natural branches” must be grafted in again in fulfillment of “My covenant with THEM” (Ro 11:27). The time is clearly the day of the Lord (compare Isa 59:16-21; 63:3-7). The salvation of “all” Israel speaks of the time (obviously the millennium) when every born again survivor of the Jacob’s trouble will “all know Him from that day and forward, from the least to the greatest” (Isa 60:21; Jer 31:34; Ezek 39:22, 29). Not one of their children born to them will ever again defect or fall away throughout the generations for a thousand years (Isa 54:13; 59:21; 66:22). This will be a burning bush of open and undeniable testimony in the sight of all nations. This is the goal of the “everlasting covenant”, i.e, “My covenant WITH THEM” (i.e., the ‘natural branches’ Jer 32:40; Ro 11:27), and it has all to do with the Land and the city of Jerusalem, as a source of greatest contention in heaven and on earth. Why all the fuss about an earthly city? What has that to do with the kingdom of the heart? Answer: Election, covenant, divine order, the Word and rule of God.
For this cause, His jealousy will burn till Jacob has come to an end of his power (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7). and the no less proud gentiles have come also to an end of theirs (Lk 21:24). He will not always permit Israel to go the way of other nations, nor will He permit the nations to go their way in indifference and defiance of His covenant. With the Jew, it is “the quarrel of My covenant” (Lev 26:25). With the nations, it is “the controversy of Zion”. With the church, it is whether we will “boast against the branches” through “ignorance of this mystery” (Ro 11:25), as though our place in the covenant tree was secured by some superior virtue found in ourselves (1Cor 4:7).
He has wrestled long with Jacob, but at the time of ‘Jacob’s trouble’, He enters into a relentless and ultimate divine contention that will not stop short of Jacob’s transformation into Israel, when “the Deliverer comes to turn ungodliness away from Jacob”.
The test for the church and the nations will be whether we can see a chosen Israel of God in the natural man, Jacob, before he is transformed. It will be whether we can say with God, “Jacob have I loved” on the basis of unbiased grace, even before Jacob is lovely. The offense of Israel is divinely calculated to test the church’s own heart concerning its view of its own grace. The issue of Israel’s election, and the issue of the Land, as belonging to a people BEFORE they are spiritually able to preserve themselves upon it, is given to destroy all boasting and expose the self righteous conceit of the heart that has historically despised this people that was blinded for our sake in flagrant disregard of the Word concerning this “beloved enemy”. It is woeful ignorance of the mystery concerning which, Paul so gravely warns (Ro 11:25).
The crisis of Israel is given to find us out, all of us, the Jew, the nations, and the church. Israel is brought back to the land for a purpose. That purpose is designed of God to affect everyone everywhere. That is why the age ends the way it does. The nations are foolhardy and presumptuous to imagine that they can treat this land and this people, as though there was no covenant, as though God had not spoken concerning this people who are gathered back to THIS place for the last crucible of divine dealing (Zeph 2:1-2). They cannot conceive that a land can be given by right of divine decree BEFORE Jacob becomes Israel, because the nations, like Satan, Cain and Esau, despise God’s right to make a difference that is not based on works. This is the deep contention that tracks to the deepest recesses of the natural heart. It is the presumption of ‘claim’ on God’s grace. It is the envy of Joseph’s coat and much more that we could say.
The Land, as with all that pertains to the holy covenant, is granted on the basis of divine right, necessarily BEFORE and completely apart from works or even the possibility of human merit (Ro 9:11). That is why His fury comes up in His face when the nations come down to divide and scatter My heritage, My people, My land (Ezek 38:18; Dan 11:39: Joel 3:2). That’s why the age ends the way it does over the controversy of Zion. This is how the end of the age is so designed to raise and evoke all the great questions and issues of the true nature of righteousness and of grace in the gospel.
To stay in the land requires compliance to the covenant, very true, as Israel will discover again. However, to receive the land on the basis of an everlasting covenant requires only the unbiased decision of God (Ro 9:11), since it is God who has pledged to make Israel holy at the appointed time (Ps 102:13; 110:3). That’s the mystery of the covenant; it’s the mystery of election. It depends on a righteousness that is promised to a people before they have been brought to that place of transformation by the drawing power of the Holy Spirit and by divinely appointed crisis. I labor this point, because I see an entire church that is about to turn on Israel because Israel will fail their expectations of righteousness conduct. On the other hand, many will also stumble when they see the lengths that God will go to touch Jacob in the thigh of his strength, and when they see that there MUST be a cross of suffering and death before the glory (Lk 24:26).
So I would suggest you might consider to bring out why Israel has been brought back to the Land (Ezek 38:8; Zeph 2:1-2), and how God intends to use this controversy to judge all things and bring in His kingdom. If Israel means anything, it means grace at the end of judgment.