"...If the restoration has to be sacramental, how do we reconcile that with God promising to restore Israel's land?"
In other words, in the Old Testament the "return from exile" involved the promise of returning to a geographic location. Isn't a sacramental reading merely spiritualizing the Old Testament?
Well, I will eventually post a long series on that whole question. Actually that's on deck after the series on the Restoration of the Davidic Kingdom series. It is a key issue that I know I'm really going to need to address. Suffice it to say, I have thought long and hard about this question and I will address this much more fully in a dissertation and later on this blog. (So stay tuned in the future!)
Here I just want to point out something you see from canonical reading of the Old Testament. Let me start with Israel--hang in there with me.
Consider the fact that in the Old Testament Israel's original vocation was to be a "kingdom of priests" (Exod 19:6). That's what God was ultimately caling them to be. Of course, with the sin of the golden calf, Israel failed to realize that calling. With that sin came a new development. That which was originally intended for all the tribes of Israel--the priesthood--was now given only to the Levites. The Levites thus serve as a kind of model to Israel--they get what Israel was ultimately called to and lost.
Later on, when Moses portions out the land to Israel we note something rather interesting--even rather surprising: every tribe gets a portion of the land except the Levites. Do the Levites get cheated? Does God give them something less because of their righteousness? As Paul might say, "By no means!" Moses explains, "Therefore Levi has no portion or inheritance with his brothers; the Lord is his inheritance, as the Lord your God said to him" (Deut 10:9).
The ultimate gift is not the land--it is God Himself.
If the Levites serve as a kind of model to Israel of what was lost as a result of the golden calf, what does this reveal to us? Just something to think about...