This is a very, very simplified explanation of the “Children of Israel” and the “Children of Abraham“.
The Jews, descendants of Israel, is what is meant by “Children of Israel”.
Acts 9:15-16 (KJV)
15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
Notice the Lord says the “Children of Israel” as opposed to the Gentiles.
But in Galatians believers are called “Children of Abraham“.
Galatians 3:7 (KJV) Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
The “children of Israel” specifically refers to the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob, believers or not.
The “children of Abraham” refers to Abraham and his believing descendants both by his linage (Jews) and by adoption (Gentiles).
The difference between being a “child of Israel” and being a “child of Abraham” is clear in Jesus’ words.
John 8:39 (KJV) They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
The “children of Israel” are claiming to also be the “children of Abraham“. But if you read the whole context the Lord says that they are the seed (descendants of Abraham, Jews) but they are not Abraham’s children. Even worse the Lord says that they are the children “of your father the devil”. This is a very serious rebuke!
John 8:33-45 (KJV)
33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
This is going to be very important when reading the NT.
Which are you?