The Israelites were the chosen people of God and the central nation of God's providence in the Old Testament Age. According to the Divine Principle, this status was conveyed to the Israelites because of the accomplishment of specific conditions by the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as well as the matriarchs Sarah and Rebekah. Specifically, Abraham and Isaac (assisted by Sarah) established the foundation of faith, while Jacob (assisted by Rebekah), together with his brother Esau, established the foundation of substance. This constituted the foundation for the Messiah, and thus the Israelites were chosen as the people to whom the Messiah would be sent.
After emigrating from Egypt into Canaan, the Israelites were supposed to form a unified nation centered on the Ten Commandments and the Temple of Jerusalem and establish a national level foundation for the Messiah. During the period of the divided kingdoms, this providence ended in failure. Thus the ten northern tribes were "lost" and the providence of the "Israelites" shifted to Judah. After the Babylonian exile, the Jews finally accomplished the foundation for the Messiah on the national level by their faith in the Law of Moses and their devotion to the rebuilt Temple.
When the Messiah finally was born, however, he was not accepted. Consequently, the status of the "Israelites" passed to the followers of Jesus. Initially these were Jews, as was Jesus himself. However, Judaism and Christianity soon went their separate ways. While God continued to care for the Jews as his "first love," Christianity became the central instrument of God's providence in the New Testament Age.
According to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the members of the Unification Church occupied the position of "third Israel." In recent years, however, Reverend Moon has announced the end of the Unification Church and the opening of a new era in which all people, regardless of religious tradition, may join the "fourth Israel," known in Korean as Chun Il Guk, or Nation of Cosmic Peace.
- Now a new world is opening up for humankind... While you were unaware, humanity has already entered the third year of Cheon II Guk. Not only has the lost realm of the first Israel been restored, but I have also completed the declaration before God and the cosmos of the start of the "Fourth Israel Nation." (The New Elimination of Boundaries and World Peace," New York City, October 3, 2003)