Conclusion of my forthcoming book on the church and Israel:
Let’s tie all this up. God creates all things good but his image-bearers think they know better and utter ruin follows. He calls an old barren couple to sort it all out. Through the offspring of Abraham, God will undo what Adam did, defeating evil and blessing the nations. Abraham’s family is taken out of Egypt but God must do a new work to take Egypt out of Abraham’s family. They were supposed to be the solution to the problem but they merely add to the problem. They were called to bless the nations by being a light, but their lives are full of darkness. Rather than seeing themselves as elect to bless, they see themselves as elite to spurn. They want a king like the nations but God gives them a man after his own heart and promises his son an eternal kingdom. Their idolatry only increases. So God sends the prophets to warn of impending judgment. But judgment won’t be the last word. God will use judgment to purify his people. According to the prophets, the Lord will return, inspect the temple, judge his enemies, rescue his people, gather the exiles, forgive them of their sin, transform them from the inside out, and dwell among them as King. Then Israel will be and do what she was meant to be and do. God would send a messenger to warn his people before he comes. Elijah comes in John. God follows in the prophet from Nazareth. He reconstitutes Israel around himself and sends them out to proclaim good news and be witnesses. God is restoring Israel through the expansion of the international church. The kingdom has come and the King sends heralds out to announce it. This is the chief task of the community of the new covenant.