Was the church always God’s Plan A? Was it always God’s intention to have Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female (Gal 3:28)? To have a hodgepodge of people from different backgrounds and experiences, many of whom were weak and unimportant to the outside world (1 Cor 1:26)?
There are Christians who believe the answer to those questions is ‘no.’ That God sent Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah, and when he was rejected by his people God then turned to the Gentiles to start his church. This church is viewed as the great parenthesis, the brackets in the sentence detailing God’s grand plan for Israel. They believe that one day soon God will close those brackets and begin again with the Jewish nation.
But this is not a natural reading of the Old Testament promises, or the New Testament reality. Consider Gen 12:1-3. God promised Abraham that all the nations would be blessed through him. When he was given the sign of circumcision in Gen 17 there were people outside Abraham’s family who received the sign. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, some Egyptians came with them (Ex 12:38). We have the stories of Rahab, Ruth and others who joined Israel. Israel was never ‘pure’ racially. There were always Gentiles included.
Think also of the New Testament church. The first Christians were Jewish. The Apostles called the Jews to join the church. James even declares Amos 9:11-12 (where David’s tent would be rebuilt) is fulfilled as the Gentiles enter the church.
Just as Israel can be called the congregation/church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38), so the church can be called the ‘Israel of God’ (Gal 6:16).
It was always God’s plan to have one people of God united together in Christ. We are God’s Plan A.