Did Jesus predict the return of Israel to their own land? R.T. France replies that when our Lord alluded to Old Testament predictions of such a return, he applies them not to the Jewish nation, but rather to the people of God gathered from all nations.
Matthew 8:11-12 uses the language of Ps 107:3; Isa 43:5-6; 49:12 (which speak of the return of the exiled Jews to their land) and applies it to the gathering of Gentiles into God’s kingdom, even declaring that the (Jewish) sons of the kingdom will be excluded.
Mark 13:27 draws on Deut 30:4 and Zech 2:6, similarly applying what originally referred to the regathering of exiled Israel to the future gathering of God’s elect from the four corners of the globe. Mt 24:31, a version of the same saying, adds what appears to be an allusion to Isa 27:13, which had a similar original reference.
France concludes: ‘It seems, therefore, that, far from looking for some future regathering of the Jewish people to Palestine, Jesus actually took Old Testament passages which originally had that connotation, and applied them instead to the gathering of the Christian community from all nations, even, in one case, to the exclusion of some Jews!’
In the words of G.E. Ladd, Jesus ‘saw in the circle of those who received his message the sons of the Kingdom, the true Israel, the people of God . . . who, having received the messianic salvation, were to take the place of the rebellious nation as the true Israel.’
Tyndale Bulletin 26 (1975) 53- 78.