Basics of Salvation
What was Israel’s role in God’s promise of salvation?
Israel was the nation that God initially chose, from Abraham’s descendants, to carry out His promises. Abraham’s son Isaac had a son named Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and he had twelve sons. From them came the nation of Israel. We can read about this happening in the latter part of the book of Genesis.
God intended for Israel to be a special people with whom He made a covenant. Moses, who gave them God’s Law, instructed the people to be holy and careful to do all that God wanted. Sadly, as a whole, the nation did not do this. They rebelled against God, and they would finally be judged for it. We can read about this throughout the Old Testament. The prophets tried to get them to repent, but for the most part they did not. In fact, they were taken into captivity for their sins.
Even so, a promise was given that they would be restored one day. They did come back to the land, but God's real promise of restoration pointed even further to One who would be able to bring everyone, including Gentiles (non-Jews) out of their sins. This One, the Messiah or Christ, would come through that seed (Abraham’s seed, Israel’s seed), and would, by His sacrifice, make forgiveness available for all people. This Christ is the One we know as Jesus. Israel's primary role was to bring about the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Now, Israel’s role as a physical nation has been fulfilled, and all those who come to Christ by faith are counted as the seed of Abraham and are blessed by having their sins forgiven (Galatians 3:25-27).