Israel, the land, in the New Testament.
While the Old Testament has numerous references to the promise of the Land, the New Testament, in comparison, is somewhat sparse. Nevertheless, we do find passages that touch on this, even if indirectly.
For example, after the resurrection and just prior to His ascension to heaven, the disciples asked a loaded question:
Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b)
If there was ever a golden time for Jesus to address the question of the land promise, now that the Messiah had come, it would have been then. Like most Jews of the day, these early Jewish followers of Jesus were probably expecting Jesus to establish His Kingship, boot the Romans and other pagans out of the Holy Land, and setup shop in Jerusalem at any moment. But Jesus appears to sidestep the question, before he disappears from the disciples’ presence.
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)
He tells his disciples not to worry about the “when” question. Nevertheless, we are left with some questions that concerns us: What is meant by this restoration of the kingdom to Israel? Is the land promise, going back to the Old Testament, included, and is it still in effect? Will Jesus, someday physically rule over a restored national Israel?1
Interestingly, Jesus redirects their focus. He tells them to be witnesses for Jesus in Israel, but not only in Israel. They are to be witnesses through the whole world. This is not about establishing a worldwide Jewish theocracy. It is about a spiritual kingdom. But does this rule out a physical, literal Jewish kingdom in the Holy Land? Not necessarily. But is Jesus confirming their expectations for a physical literal Jewish kingdom? Not necessarily either. Perhaps we need to look at another passage to find a clearer answer.