DENMARK - Not Israel, but ‘Land of the Jews’

Arno Froese

The Danish Bible Society (Copenhagen) has received criticism concerning their new Bible translation “Bible 2020.” Reason: In this text, the concepts “Israel” and “People of Israel” have been changed to other terms like “Jews” or “Land of the Jews.” Jan Frost, previous chairman of the Israel-friendly organization “Ordet og Israel” (“Word and Israel”), pointed this out in a YouTube video. Thereafter, in the United States, the pro-Israel Christian group “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations,” joined others in accusing the Bible Society of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel attitudes. 

The Bible Society rejected these accusations and responded on their website that nothing was further from their thinking than anti-Semitism. Within the criticized new text, the words “Israel” and “Israelites” occur more than 2,000 times, the term “Jew” or “Jewish” only a little over 500 times. The “Bible 2020” was meant to speak particularly to secular people who have no or very little acquaintance with the Bible. It was with this in mind that various concepts were called by different terms which would render the text easier to comprehend, among such also being “mercy,” “sin” and “grace.” The majority of Danish readers wouldn’t know that in the New Testament “Israel” designates the nation with whom God has made a covenant.

The Danish Bible Society was founded in 1814 and exists under the auspices of the Danish Queen Margrethe II. The Secretary-General of the Bible Society is Birgitte Stoklund Larsen.

-ideaSpektrum, 20.2020

Arno's commentary

While the intention to modernize the Bible language may be justifiable, the message of the Bible is primarily for those who believe. Others, who are in darkness, do not necessarily need intellectual understanding, but recognition of self, sin, and corruptness. The Holy Spirit will do the enlightening, regardless of what language or translation is being used.

While Bible translations do differ to a degree, interpretations do as well. Several well-meaning Christian ministries insist that the book of Revelation is primarily addressed to the Jews. In the first chapter, we read: “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia” (verse 11a). And in the last chapter, it states: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches” (Revelation 22:16a).

While there is significant information addressed to the people on earth after the Church has left, the fundamental message does not change: the book of Revelation, just like the entire Bible, is directed at saints—those who believe.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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