The topography also seems to be changed in some way (Ezekiel 47:1-12, 48:8-20; Zechariah 14:4, 8, 10). Isaiah also records that “in the last days” the mountain of God’s house will be established as the highest mountain and so great that “all nations” shall flow or stream into it (Isaiah 2:2). Swords will be turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Nation does not lift up sword against another and man ceases learning war. The magnitude of these expressions should not be lost. This same hope was also revealed to the prophet Micah (Micah 4:1-3) to describe the nature of this time. In Hebrew thinking “mountain” can be symbolic for kingdom as in Daniel 2:35 where “mountain” represents the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar (See also Revelation 13:1, 17:9-11).
Spiritual or Religious Characteristics:
Notice the words of 17th Century theologians John Owen and Nehemiah Cox, "The New Covenant of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant and is the clearest and final fulfillment of the historical Covenant of Grace." Some would understand the Church and Israel in this way. This suggests, in some way, that the Church and Israel are not distinguishable entities but the same in their prophetic unfolding of Scripture. While there are overlaps and similarities the distinction between the church and Israel is apparent and should be acknowledged. In this discussion it is important to understand that they are not identical nor are the terms interchangeable. 1 Corinthians 10:32 reflects just such a division when it says, "Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God," (ESV). In Galatians 6:16 and 1 Corinthians 10:18 Paul contrasts believing Jews with unbelieving Jews.
This view is also referred to as Replacement theology, and/or is a component of post or a-millennial views. This view also understands the Gentile believers described as "seed of Abraham" (Galatians 3:29) to mean that they are indeed Israel. This is a non-sequitur. Paul's description of Gentile believers in Galatians 3:29 means that they participate in the spiritual blessings that come through Israel (See Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:11, 14). It does not mean they are Israel.
In the books of Acts both the Church and Israel co-exist but they are also shown as continuing to be distinct in some way. Robert L. Saucy has noted, "Both the church and Israel are therefore Abraham's seed and heirs of the promise. But this does not therefore equate the church and Israel." To equate Israel with the Church hermeneutically is a failure to adequately acknowledge the ethnicity principle of Scripture.
This view seems to confuse God's promise of individual salvation with God's promises to national Israel. The Church has not replaced, is in lieu of or instead of Israel. Israel has never left the program of God. Romans chapter 11 is a very important chapter concerning Israel and there we can see that Israel, the olive tree, never ceases to be the olive tree. The sovereignty of God helps us understand this better. In fact, the Gentiles or the engrafted wild olive tree can be taken out for its arrogance if God, in His sovereignty, chooses it to be so (Romans 11:21). Paul also records that it is the Jewish root itself which is supporting the Gentile believers (Romans 11:18).
Messianic Jewish scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum has rightly noted, “Israel will indeed be saved in the same way the Church is, by grace through faith…but if the Old Testament is allowed to mean what it says, there is also much more in store for Israel.” Fruchtenbaum’s comprehensive work goes on to conclude, “the term Israel is used a total of 73 times in the New Testament... the vast majority of the times it refers to national ethnic Israel.”
Political Characteristics or Events:
2 Donald G. Bloesch, The Last Things: Resurrection, Judgment, Glory (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004). 89.
3 Owen, John and Coxe, Nehemiah. Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ (Palmsdale: Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2005), 181.
4 Saucy, L. Robert. The Church in God's Program. Copyright (c) 1972 by The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Pg. 75
5 Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. (1989) Israeology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. (846) Ariel Ministries.
6 Gregg, S. (1997). Revelation, Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Re 20:4-6). Nashville, Tenn.: T. Nelson Publishers.