Question: I am confused about how God feels about the Jewish people. Are they going to hell?
Answer: As a people the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were chosen as the receivers of God’s revelation of His will (the Law, it is commonly called) and made recipients of the promise (God’s promise made to Adam and Eve that He would restore the kingdom through the seed of the woman, Genesis 3:15, and the selection of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through whom that seed would come-Jesus). Paul makes clear (Romans 9) that there was always a choice God made between Abraham’s offspring. He did not make the promise with Ishmael, Abraham’s first child through Hagar, but with Isaac, his son by Sarah. He did not make the promise with Isaac’s son Esau, but with Jacob, even though Esau was the firstborn and Jacob got the birthright through treachery. From the divine perspective it was always God’s selection that mattered. From the human perspective it manifested itself in who actually believed.
Paul wrestles with this issue in Romans 9-11 and points out that though Israel was God’s chosen people they had rebelled in large part against God by rejecting His Messiah, Jesus. He concludes that at this time the vast majority are in disobedience, but that in the future there will be a major return to the Lord as He fulfills His promise to bless them. They will return by believing in Jesus as the Messiah.
Anyone who does not believe in Christ has chosen instead to remain apart from God. Though they may have a religious perspective, in their hearts they are choosing to worship God the way they want to worship Him, instead of the way He commands them to worship Him. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). This means that unless a person submits themselves to Jesus’ lordship and salvation, there is no salvation available to them. Hell is the punishment they have chosen, the complete absence of God’s presence in their lives, which is tantamount to torture (likened to a constant burning flame).
Many, many Jews will eventually believe as the end of the ages comes to pass. But many will have perished, along with all others who refused to trust in God’s provision for their forgiveness. God loves all the nations, as He has proved by sending Christ to die for all of us. He has a special relationship with the nation of Israel, but individuals within that nation must believe in order to be saved.