Since our modern seminaries do not teach Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, the majority of preachers and teachers do not know the Biblical answer to this simple question. Yet when the Biblical name of Israel is making headlines almost every month, it becomes a very poor time to be ignorant about what has happened to the nation God created.
In an attempt to make an excuse for God for the past two millennia, some would like to propose that God has given up on Israel and replaced Israel with the church today. Yet this proposition is anything but Biblical, and makes God’s promise of none effect (see “Did God Give up on Israel?”).
Another suggestion is that Israel was actually a metaphor for the church today. They proclaim that Israel is not given up because we ARE Israel. However, this requires an extremely loose and allegorical reading of much of the Bible. If we cannot accept the words of God in plain speech, then the gospel is hid from all of us for who can interpret such a riddle? (See “Does the Bible Teach a Spiritualized Israel?”).
If we are not the Israel of the Bible, and God is able to keep his promises; then, indeed, the question is ‘what has happened to the nation Israel’?
The Fall of Israel
In the writings of the prophets, it was prophesied that Christ would come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and that they would subsequently reject him.
In fulfillment of prophecy, Christ came to preach the coming and the offering of the kingdom to Israel, and Israel rejected his message of faith and repentance to the point of crucifying him on a cross. So as it was written it was fulfilled:
“Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” – Romans 9:33
The crucifying of the Messiah, and the stumbling of Israel at the cross was not a secret. Peter preached the message of the stumbling stone in his first letter:
“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” – 1 Peter 2:8
Yet Peter continued to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to the nation Israel (Acts 2:38). According to prophecy a remnant of this nation would suffer through the coming tribulation of those latter days under the protection of the Holy Spirit. The result would be a refined Israel where only the righteous remained (Isaiah 4:3-5). These righteous would enter the kingdom and fulfill the promise of the rise of Israel among the Gentiles (Isaiah 62:1-2).
Yet, the tribulation did not occur and Israel is not the preeminent among all nations. If we are not the Israel of the Bible, and God is able to keep his promises, then what has happened to the nation Israel?
The Mystery to Israel’s Fall
The answer to what has happened to Israel lies in the knowledge of the revelation of the mystery given to the apostle Paul (Romans 16:25, Eph 3:1). This secret information is not to be found among the prophetic writings for it was hid in God (Eph 3:9). The subject of this information involved at least six distinct changes in God’s dealings with man. One of which is the temporary fall of Israel.
Paul writes speaking of Israel,
“I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. “ – Romans 11:11
Prophetic writings given to Israel continually prophesied Israel’s rise to superiority over the Gentile nations. It was the Gentile nations that would eventually come to Israel and seek the God who created the universe (Zech 8:22-23).
Yet, it was kept secret that also through the fall of Israel salvation would come to all men. This information was not known in the prior scriptures as we learn in verse 25 of Romans 11:
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in”
In this age God has counted Israel in unbelief among the Gentiles so that he could have mercy upon all men freely (Romans 11:32, 3:24). Now there is neither Jew nor Greek, and we ‘know no man after the flesh’ (Gal 3:28, 2 Cor 5:16). We all are able to obtain the peace of God through Jesus Christ.
Yet, Israel will not always be blinded and their prophecies will not go unanswered.
The Prophetic Rise of Israel
The scripture is very specific to address the issue of Israel’s return. For in the same statement that we are told of Israel’s fall, we are told of their future return.
“Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” – Romans 11:12
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” – Romans 11:26
It is clear that at some future time, God will restore Israel and fulfill the prophecies concerning their rise and earthly dominion under God. But it will not occur until this age of grace, wherein there is no national distinction before God, is complete.
However, in this age, where the whole world has become guilty before God, Israel is counted among the Gentiles in unbelief. As a result we can all freely receive God’s mercy through Jesus Christ by faith apart from any special national standing before God. The lack of recognition of this dispensational change regarding Israel has led to a variety of false notions concerning politics and foreign affairs with Israel.
What we can learn from the revelation of the mystery is that during this age God has counted Israel in unbelief and in need of the grace of God just as the other nations.
“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” – Romans 11:32