The big question is this: Will God's promises fail just because the literal descendants of Abraham did not meet the terms of the covenant? Were the promises transferred to that other "nation" to whom Jesus said the kingdom would be given? Or must we still put out faith in some future turnaround that will restore national Israel to the divine favor? All those points will be completely clarified the moment we establish one basic rule of biblical interpretation. Without this principle in mind no one can properly understand the books of Daniel and Revelation, nor can we identify the true Israel of today. here is the rule: There is a primary, local, literal application of prophecy which symbolizes a future, worldwide, spirtual application. By applying this principle to the Old Testament Scriptures there is absolutely no confusion as to the place of Israel in prophecy and history. All the glorious promises were PRIMARILY aimed toward immediate blessings that God wanted to bestow on the nation. But in a SECONDARY sense they pointed forward to a larger spiritual fulfillment on a worldwide level. Even though the local fulfillment failed when israel failed to be faithful, the promises were never nullified or withdrawn. They will be honored but only to that "nation" which jesus said must replace the Jews as receivers of the kingdom. Who is that nation and people? The New testament is saturated with the most explicit statements as to who the new Israel is. Peter describes those "which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God" in these words: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him that hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." [ 1 PET 2:9,10 ] Here is the new nation which replaces the nation of Israel. The gentiles who will receive the true Messiah now enter into the New Covenant, ratified by the blood of the cross, and become the true spiritual Israel of god. They who were not God's people become His "holy nation." Will they receive the very same promises that were given to Adraham's descendants? Indeed, the Bible says that they are counted as the actual seed of Abraham. "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." [ GAL 3:29 ] Paul makes it even clearer: "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." [ ROM 9:8 ] Again, Paul wrote, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart." [ ROM 2:28,29 ] Notice that true Israel will be characterized by circumcision of the heart and not of the flesh. What is heard circumcision? "We are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." [ COL 2:11 ] Don't miss the significance of that text. Just as the Old Covenant was represented by the cutting off of the physical flesh, so the New Covenant would be exemplied by the cutting off of the fleshly nature of sin. In other words, all who accept Christ and are born again are the truly circumcisied and the only true Jews. And according to Paul they also will inherit the promises made to Abraham. After the crucifixion of Christ, there is not one indication that the literal Jews were accorded any recognition as the children of God. Is it true that the door was left open through the preaching of the apostles until 34 A.D., the end of Daniel's seventy-week prophecy. But from that time on no recognition is given to Israel as a naion. Israel henceforth is God's people, made up of all those who accept the Saviour, whether Jew or gentile. The Old Testament imagery and terminology is still used, especially in the book of Revelation, but Israel is now the church. So we can see that there was no failure of the promises at all. They simply were transferred to the true spiritual Israel, which is the churh, made up of all true believers in Christ. And the things that will happen to the church spiritually were foreshadowed by what happened to ancient Israel in a literal sense. Let's look at a simple example of this principle in operation. In the midst of Ezekiel's portrayal of Israel's victory over her enemies and influence over the antions, he began to describe a magnificent temple that would be built. Several chapters (EZE 40-48) are devoted to the precise measurements and physical appointments of that temple. Yet the temple has never been built. Other prophets referred to the program of building or restoring such a temple. Amos prophesied, "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will built it as in the days of old." [ AMOS 9:11 ] Many modern interpreters apply this promise to some future construction of a physical. In fact, people who have read that have purchased the materials for the supposed temple and are now waiting for someone to pop out of the sky and come build it. But the Bible principle is that there is a secondary, worldwide fulfillment which is not physical, but spiritual. The New Testament confirms this by explaining how the prophecy of Amos has been fulfilled. "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up." [ ACTS 15:14-16 ] Please notice how james applies the Old testament temple prophecies to the living church. The physical temple has now become the spiritual temple of the church, made up of Gentiles and all true believers. No one should now be looking for any restored, literal temple to be built. The body of Christ's church is now the temple [1 COR 3:16 ], and we are the "lively stones" of that "spiritual house." [ 1 PET 2:5 ] Some have felt confused because much of the Old Testament terminology is carried over inot the New Testament description of the church -- words like kingdom, nation, Israel, temple, Jerusalem, Zion, tribes of Israel, etc. Even Christ said to the Pharisees, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, (literal Israel) and given to a nation (spiritual Israel) bringing forth the fruits thereof." [ MAT 21:43 ] This is one reason the futurists and dispensationalists believe the book of Revelation pertains to the literal Jew in modern Israel. But there is no cause for such confusion. The explaination had been so clearly made in so many places that the New testament writer assumed all were aware that the church now replaced national Israel.