According to Rom 15:8-12, which are quotations from four Old Testament references, God’s promise of salvation to Israel, ultimately, includes Gentiles. However, when you look up the references you will notice that each of these is in the context of the Second Coming of Jesus, when Israel is the ruling nation of the world and the Gentile nations have been subdued by them. Look at Ps 18:46-49 [Rom 15:9]; Deut 32:39-43 [Rom 15:10]; Ps 117:1 (Ps 118:10-14) [Rom 15:11]; Is 11:10-16 [Rom 15:12].
A Jew, then, would naturally resent a Gentile claiming the salvation that God promised to Israel. After all, Jesus told the woman at the well that “salvation is of the Jews,” [Jn 4:22]. Likewise, all the authors of the books of the Bible are Jewish. This is part of the problem between Israel and Gentiles when it comes to the application of scripture. It’s like we have “stolen” something that belongs to Israel. The truth is that we didn’t steal anything. All along, God intended for Gentiles to “get in on” salvation and receive what we now have.
At first glance, when you read Matthew, you might be inclined to disagree. Jesus forbad his disciples to preach to the Gentiles in Matt 10:5-6 and commanded them to “go rather to the lost sheep of house of Israel.” When Jesus was approached by the Canaanite woman in Matt 15:22, he refused to deal with her at first because he said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
However, if you look carefully in Matthew’s gospel, you see that God always intended to include Gentiles in his salvation. Notice all these clues that alert you to Gentile salvation.
Only Gentile women are listed in Jesus’ genealogy – Matt 1:3-6. Thamar was a Canaanite, Rachab was an Amorite, Ruth was a Moabite, and Bathsheba was a Hittite. Ruth’s marriage to Boaz (a Gentile bride for a Jewish husband) pictures the marriage of the church to Jesus.
The wise men were from the east – Matt 2:1-2. They knew that Jesus was the king of the Jews, yet these Gentile men had come to worship him. Gentiles coming to worship the Jewish king is clearly prophesied in Is 60:1- 6.
Jesus moved to Capernaum in Galilee of the Gentiles – Matt 4:12-16. Isaiah’s prophecy about this move is found in Is 9:1-2. Jesus’ ministry reached “Galilee of the Gentiles.”
Jesus healed the centurion’s servant – Matt 8:5-13. The centurion, obviously, was not a Jew. Yet Jesus responded to his faith and healed his servant. He foretold that many Gentiles would be in the kingdom of heaven. He said, “many shall come from the east and west,” [Matt 8:11].
Jesus fulfilled Is 42:1-6, which included Gentiles, in his earthy ministry – Matt 12:14-21. This prophecy mentions the bruised reed [1 Ki 14:15] and smoking flax [Is 42:24-25; Mal 3:6], which picture Israel. But it also says that Jesus will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Jesus preferred the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south to “this generation,” – Matt 12:41-42. The men of Nineveh and the queen of Sheba were Gentiles, whom Jesus preferred in judgment to the men of Israel who rejected his preaching.
Jesus healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter – Matt 15:22-28. This woman was a Gentile. Though Jesus had refused to help her initially because she was not “of the house of Israel,” he, nevertheless, made her daughter whole because of her faith.
When Jesus cleansed the temple, he quoted Is 56:7, which includes Gentiles – Matt 21:13. He said, “”My house shall be called the house of prayer…”. In Is 56:7 it is the “house of prayer for all people.” As you can see in the context, “all people” includes the “sons of the stranger,” (Gentiles) [Is 56:6].
Jesus said “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” – Matt 21:43. That nation is the holy nation of 1 Pet 2:9 which includes saved Jews and Gentiles [Eph 2:12-22] in “the household of God.”
Jesus told his disciples to “teach all nations, baptizing them” – Matt 28:19-20. He certainly intended for the gospel to include more than Israel. Consider that the judgment of the nations includes “all nations,” some of which go “into life eternal,” [Matt 25:31-34, 46].
Conclusion: We don’t replace Israel in the promises of God. However, we have certainly been given access to their salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We simply believed God when it came to the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. Israel, as a nation, on the other hand, rejected Jesus Christ, their Messiah. And they won’t accept him until the second coming of Jesus, when “all Israel shall be saved,” [Rom 11:25-27].