Scripture speaks of three classes of people throughout prophecy and history. We find all three in 1 Corinthians 10:32: “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (kjv). Up until the time of Abraham, all people were Gentiles, including Adam, Enoch, and Noah. There were saved Gentiles, such as Adam, Seth, Noah, and Shem, and there were unsaved Gentiles, such as Cain, Lamech, and Nimrod. Thus, the first man was a Gentile, and Gentiles have continued to exist throughout the entire span of human history
When God called Abraham to begin a new nation, Abraham became the first Hebrew, Jew, or Israelite. His grandson was Jacob, who had his name changed to Israel (Genesis 32:24-28). Jacob had 12 sons, who became the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel. They began the Jewish nation, and since then the human race has been divided into Jews and Gentiles. There are saved Jews and unsaved Jews, even though Israel is God’s elect nation through whom He brought salvation to all mankind. Israel began with “Father Abraham” and will continue as a distinct entity throughout the rest of history.
The church is the body of Christ, which began on the Day of Pentecost and will go to heaven in the Rapture. Its makeup is different from Gentiles and Jews in that it is the only spiritually pure entity—it is composed of only saved Jews and Gentiles. While it’s true that the human institution we know as the church contains an element of unbelievers, the true church is made up of only genuine believers in Christ, their Savior. The church is also a temporary entity; it did not exist before its birth at Pentecost, and it will come to an abrupt end at the Rapture. Thus, those saved during the Tribulation and Millennium are not a part of the church, even though these people will become saved by believing the same gospel that has brought church-age individuals to Christ.
End-times Bible prophecy includes mention of all three groups of people—Gentiles, Jews, and the church. God has a clear prophetic plan for all three. These three peoples are separate in many ways, but their paths have been interwoven together throughout history.