Answer: The answer to both questions is yes! Israel is still God’s chosen people, and all Christians, or followers of the Jewish Messiah Jesus, are also His people. The important truth to remember is that Christians didn’t replace the Jews but were added into the family of God. There are many Bible references to confirm that God will never abandon Israel but will always hold them close to His heart and watch over them. These are some of the beautiful words God gave to His servant Isaiah:
But Zion (Israel) said, “The Lord has forsaken me. And my Lord has forgotten me.” The Lord said, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:14-15
This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise. Isaiah 43:21
Some Christians have mistakenly taught that the Church, or Christians (Gentiles), have replaced the Jews (Israel) as His people because not all Jews have accepted Jesus as their Savior. The scriptures don’t support that belief of “replacement theology”, but all people must accept Jesus as Savior to be a part of the family of God. Romans 11 addresses these same concerns that early believers had:
I say then, have they (Israel) stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But, through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is for riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness when the time comes?…For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?…Israel’s believers will be grafted into the olive tree…blindness to the truth in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so, all Israel will be saved…For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:11-29
Because Israel didn’t accept Jesus as its Messiah years ago has meant salvation for the rest of the world, the non-Jews or Gentiles. As you read the entire chapter of Romans 11, the olive tree represents the blessings and rewards of salvation. The Gentiles are the wild branches that were grafted in to the olive tree (v. 17). The original branches which broke off (Israel in unbelief) will be grafted back in as new Jewish believers accept Jesus as their Savior. And since they originally were part of the tree, how beautiful will be their fruit! How much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? (v. 24)
It’s important to realize that any person of any race or background will be accepted when he or she turns to Jesus! All believers become members of the family of God with full privileges for a glorious future in eternity. The first step is joining the family by accepting Jesus as your own Master, the One who saves you from the punishment due for your sins. Say now:
Jesus, I know that you came into the world long ago to be punished on the cross to pay for the sins I’ve committed. I believe that you were resurrected and are preparing a place for me to join you someday. I accept your gifts and thank you! Please forgive me for waiting so long to acknowledge this, and show me how you want me to live every single day. I trust you to save me and bring me to heaven to be with you when my physical body dies. I just can’t thank you enough for giving me this promise that I’ll be with you in paradise when I die, not in a place where souls will be punished. Thank you for saving me!