When God deals with mankind creatorially He sees but one group. He created humanity “of one blood” (Acts 17:26). There is but one human race, despite differences of colour, culture and creed. However, when God deals with men redemptively He sees two groups, the saved and the lost (John 3:36, Rev 22:11). Yet, when God deals with mankind providentially, exercising His moral government in the affairs of His world, He sees three groups: Israel, the Church and the nations (the Gentiles) (1 Cor 10:32).
God has specific purposes for each entity. He began with the nations first, then Israel, and lastly the Church. However, when He wraps up the history of the world, He will work in reverse order. He will complete the church first, then unite and restore the nation of Israel, before finally blessing all the nations of the world through Abraham’s seed (Gen 22:18).
Michael J. Penfold