Bob, thanks for putting forth some qualification to Matthew's argument.
It's true that, though Scripture is clear that, as the "chosen people" thing goes, the Church, Jew and Gentile, is now the "royal priesthood," the "holy nation" of the most high God. That much has been established.
I've said before that they deserve their own land--much as Nacho said (wow; I'm agreeing with Matthew, now Nacho! What a week!!
)--but not because of divine decree. But just as there are Scriptures that say that the unbelieving Jews have fallen away from their status as the Israel of God, there's also St. Paul's affirmation that God hasn't abandoned "his people" (referring to Jews as a whole). He's taken them through so much and hasn't forgotten them; in fact, the prophecy is (according to Romans 11) that all of Israel--the term still used, at that time, for the physical Jews--shall be saved. So he hasn't abandoned his people to never again be in the Kingdom, though many of His time that rejected him shall not enter the Kingdom of God except behind
sinnners and Gentiles and only on the condition
of confessing the Son of Man (Matt. 8:11-12; 21:31-32).
In other words, Israel shall not see the Lord again until
it says, "Blessed be the Name of the Lord" (Luke 13:35). That word "until" in Greek is eos
, and can either mean "not during all that time and not after," or it can mean, "not during all that time but immediately after." So we know that Israel will not see the face of God in relationship as long as it does not confess Christ. We have reason to believe from St. Paul that He will reveal Himself to the Jews in a special way at the end of it all. Until then, however, the house of the Jews is left desolate during this, the time of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24).