This paper is quite revealing about a view of Israel from the Bible.
THE FAITH OF ISRAELITES
In the Old Testament of the Bible we read of God's chosen people, the Israelites. They began as a people of God from the twelve children of Jacob, who God then called "Israel" (Gen.35:10). They were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. As a company they owned the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and were identified by circumcision. As individual believers, they needed also faith to have a personal relationship with God, and they must offer sacrifices to cover their sins (atonement or covering) and be right with God. As a nation they were greatly loved by God, but they did not often return that love (see Malachi). This is also true of the church today.
When the faithful Israelite saints died, they went to a place called "Abraham's bosom" (KJV -Luke 16:22) to wait for the promised blessing of the Messiah, who would wash away those sins that the sacrifices only covered. They did not know of Jesus, as the Christ and hope of Israel, but they believed the anointed One of God would come one day, deliver and restore Israel, and bring them all into eternal blessing.
The O.T. saints as friends of the bridegroom (KJV -John 3:28-29) saw Christ, we understand, after His death on the cross (see KJV - Luke 16; Eph.4:8-10; I Pet.3:19). We get a picture then of this faithful people of old redeemed and taken up to heaven, not as the bride, but as "the friend of the bridegroom" to dwell in blessing forever.
During the tribulation period to come on the earth, there will be a remnant of Israel saved and preserved to "inherit the earth"---the 144,000 of Revelation 7. They will worship God on the "new earth", and so God will have an earthly people and a heavenly people forever. Today they are under discipline and are scattered in the world, and most do not know their tribes (see also KJV -Matt.23:37-39).
It is important to understand that an Israelite who is quickened and convicted today by the Holy Spirit, must receive Christ as any Gentile does, for the religion of Israel has been done away. Salvation is to "whosoever" will come to Christ (KJV -Gal.2:15-16; Gal.3: 19-28). - RLD, '04; rev. 5/06