Inside View Sep/Oct 2020
The Bible teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7). It also warns us not to be wise in our own eyes but to fear God (3:7). In fact, the preacher of Ecclesiastes concluded his message by admonishing his son to fear God and keep His commandments, “for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13, KJV). The fear of the Lord is the path to comprehending God and all He is doing on Earth.
Conversely, people who lack the fear of God act foolishly and contrary to His wishes. Such is the case concerning the shocking and troubling elimination of the word Israel in The Danish Contemporary Bible 2020 translation published by the Danish Bible Society. All but two of the more than 60 references to Israel in the New Testament, along with more than 200 in the Old Testament, have been eliminated.
The Danish Bible Society took great liberty to change God’s divinely inspired text. The Bible Society believes it is wise to contemporize Scripture and make it more readable for the average person who doesn’t understand the biblical concept of Israel. But it is prideful for human beings to fundamentally change God’s Word.
Replacing the word Israel was not simply a translator’s choice to use equivalent words or concepts. It was an intentional effort to disassociate Israel from Christianity and alter the meaning of Scripture.
Although the Danish Bible Society claims its motivation was not political, one has to wonder. Bible 2020 certainly plays nicely into the hands of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that works tirelessly to undermine the modern State of Israel. BDS supporters claim they are not anti-Semitic or against the Jewish people; they merely oppose the existence of the Jewish state.
However, it is not possible to separate the land of Israel from the people of Israel. When God made a covenant with Abraham, He promised him land, seed, and blessing. The three are inseparable. God forever intertwined the Jewish people with the land, even though all Jewish people today do not live in Israel.
The Bible Society stepped into a foxhole with the BDS movement by separating the people from the land. Eliminating Israel from the New Testament disconnects Christianity from its Jewish roots and breaks the Old Testament’s continuity with the New Testament. It disregards God’s promises to gather the Jewish people back from the lands where He scattered them and to restore the nation of Israel. It also ignores God’s covenant promises that make Israel the one nation through which He will accomplish His plan to redeem the world from sin.
Jesus taught that salvation comes through the Jewish people (Jn. 4:22). And the apostle Paul warned Gentiles never to forget that we are grafted into the grace of God rooted in His covenant promises to Israel. We don’t support the root; the root supports us.
Any translation that alters the meaning of Scripture offends everyone who loves God’s Word. In eliminating Israel, these translators implied they know better than God what His Holy Scriptures should say. But it is human folly to try to hinder God from speaking His truth through His divinely chosen words.
Is this the work of Replacement Theology, the belief that the church has taken Israel’s place in God’s plan? Replacement Theology doesn’t seek to eliminate Israel from Scripture, only to redefine the term so that Israel no longer pertains to the Jewish people but, rather, to the church. However, it’s not difficult to see how Replacement Theology has influenced the Danish Bible Society and emboldened translators to remove Israel where they see fit.
One can only pray that the Danish Bible Society will heed the words of Ecclesiastes and wake up to the tragedy of its actions.