Some 60 or 70 years ago, most of the farmers in the U.S. used mules and/or horses to power their farming equipment. Some of those animals, especially among the horses, were easily frightened of other animals or any quick, unexpected movements they might catch out of the corner of their eyes. To eliminate, or partially so, those sudden periods of excitement, most farmers had “blinds” attached to either side of the animal’s bridle. These shields, about the size of a human hand, were affixed in the position to minimize the side view. The animals could only see what was straight in front of them. It worked quite well.
Satan utilizes sin to blind or partially reduce the sight of humans who would otherwise likely become a strong believer and follower of God and His Son, Jesus.
God made a long range promise to Abraham and Isaac, that through their seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. (Genesis 26:4)
And after that promise, God inspired a number of prophets to foretell the instances of the coming messiah, even of the miraculous birth of a virgin and other important factors which would prepare them for the coming savior. He told of the kingdom which would be created by that savior and many details of it. Yet, due to their pride in having been chosen to furnish the lineage to Christ, they failed to see that it would be a spiritual kingdom. They desired a literal kingdom which would overcome the rest of the world and they would live free and elevated above most others.
The eternal spiritual kingdom was not explained explicitly under the old law. Their law given through Moses was for the sole purpose of furnishing a lineage to the birth of Christ. They were given the law to set them apart from the world. In the mind of most of the Jews, after God had repeatedly given them champions in the form of judges, kings and prophets to assist them in coming out of disaster which they had brought on themselves by disobedience.
But never before had all of the tribes been taken into captivity and not been rescued from their captivity by God. So their mindset was that a messiah was to come and reclaim the throne of David and conquer all their enemies. A kingdom which would restore Israel back into the leadership of the world. Even Jesus’ apostles, before their receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, didn’t know that it was to be a universal spiritual kingdom with it’s king reigning from heaven.
Read here the episode of Jesus’ ascension, and note closely the question they asked Him and His lack of explanation. They were at this point, just plain uninspired men who could not perceive the type of kingdom to which He was referring. But, He did assure them they would receive power after his departure.
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (Acts 1:1-9 KJV)
Now, in the second chapter of Acts, is the complete story of the coming of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) upon the twelve apostles and they then were given understanding of what the church was. His spiritual kingdom, and they were given the promises Jesus had told them they would receive. This Holy Spirit…the Comforter, that He had promised them would lead them into all truth (John 14:26) and bring to their remembrance all that He had told them (John 16:13)
And, even after this coming of the Holy Spirit and including the many miracles the apostles were given power to perform, the majority of the Jewish population rejected Jesus as the messiah. This was the final offering God made to the Israelites, and their rejection of it not only cost those who never accepted Jesus, their souls, but it also brought their greatest destruction of all time, that of the temple and their cherished Jerusalem. Their records also were destroyed and those who were not slaughtered there, were scattered abroad.
The destruction and the dispersion was so great, that they no longer can account for their tribal heritage and therefore cannot become the nation they once were. They are unable to determine from which tribe each came and therefore, they could not establish those who would be qualified as priests.
The gospel of Christ was preached first to them. God gave them the chance to be first again in that respect. All of his apostles were Jews and they were instructed to carry the gospel first to the Jewish people. Paul, himself a Jew, has this to say about it:
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (Romans 2:1-4 KJV)