Was Israel Set Aside?

Q. You’ve said that the New Covenant did not succeed the Old , but rather interrupted it while the Lord focuses on the church. Then when Romans 11:25 has been fulfilled and the church is removed from the earth, God will turn His attention once again to Israel. In other words, He set Israel aside after 69 weeks and when the last gentile has been saved and the rapture has occurred, He will then put Daniel’s 70th week into play. OK, but when I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry, I see Him primarily focused on Israel. He called only Jews to follow Him and be His closest associates (disciples). He preached the Kingdom of God being at hand in the synagogues where there were no gentiles. The great commission He gave mentioned Jerusalem and Judea first, then Samaria and the utter most parts of the earth. I know God offers salvation to all, but I’m not seeing clearly where He has temporarily set Israel aside.

A. Prophecies like Isaiah 49:6 tell us that the Lord’s mission was to bring salvation to gentiles as well as Jews, but the order was for the Jews to receive the first offer. And although He warned Israel that the Kingdom would be taken from them and given to others (Matt. 21:43), His focus was on them. It was God’s will to present Israel with a bona fide offer of the Kingdom before turning to the gentiles.

This is why the first real effort to bring the gospel to the Gentiles didn’t begin until almost 20 years after the cross. It was then that James told the apostles Israel was being set aside until the Lord took from the gentiles a people for himself, and after that He would turn His attention to the Jews again (Acts 15:13-18). Later Israel disappeared from the world stage and for 1900 years only the Church remained.

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