Lutherans Publish New Bible Version That Omits The Word 'Israel'
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/Breaking Israel NewsApril 21, 2020
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A recently published translation of the New Testament has one glaring omission: it has purged all references to the place and the people of the Bible. Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who recently published a Hebrew-English version of the Torah, noted that omitting 'Israel' from the Bible is equivalent to failing to mention God.
24NYT, a Danish news service, reported on Sunday that the Danish Bible Society just published a revised translation of the New Testament. The new edition has many surprises, including a new name: the New Agreement. But even more shocking is that the "New Agreement has all but removed any references to Israel, whether it describes the land or the people.
The new edition was reviewed by Jan Frost on YouTube who reported that the word 'Israel' is only used once in the "Bible 2020", which is the name of the new edition.
In all other passages, the word 'Israel' is either replaced with 'Jews', 'the land of the Jews, or not replaced with any alternative term.
Frost reported that the publishers justified the change by claiming that the 'Israel' referred to in the Bible is not the same as Israel today. Frost noted that this explanation does not apply to the term 'Egypt' which remains in the Bible 2020 despite ancient Egypt having significantly different borders and ethnic composition than modern Egypt.
Posts on social media suggested that the change may have been politically motivated as an anti-Israel statement. In a recent interview about the Bible 2020, Elaine Duncan, Global Council Chairperson of the Bible Society, noted that the new edition has already been downloaded to more than 90 countries, which she considered to be a great success at moving towards what she described as a "global church."
Rabbi Tuly Weisz, the founder of Israel365, an organization that promotes the significance of the Land of Israel to the nations, disagreed strongly with the approach of the Danish Bible society.
"This translation of the New Testament is an important reminder that replacement theology is not a problem of the past," Rabbi Weisz told Breaking Israel News. "Some segments of Christianity still have a replacement theology problem. The notion that Israel can be scrubbed from the Bible is as ridiculous as removing 'God' from the Bible."
Christian replacement theology, also called supersessionism, holds that the Christian Church has succeeded the Israelites as the definitive people of God. Supersessionism requires reading the term Israel, referring to either the people or the land, as an allegory for the Christian Church.
It should be noted that the Danish Bible Society is run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church, a strong proponent of supersessionism.
In 2018, Robert O. Smith, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and a stalwart in the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation, addressed a conference at St. Olaf Institute for Freedom and Community.
Smith was seated before a Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) banner and made these declarations: "The ancient Israelites are not linked in any substantive or material way to the contemporary, modern state of Israel. . . . The biblical narrative of Israel has almost nothing to do with contemporary Israel other than the intentional manipulation of sacred texts to justify a political project."
At the same conference, Palestinian Lutheran pastor, administrator, and theologian Mitri Raheb stated, that "it wasn't the Lord God who promised Israel the land; it was the Lord Balfour." Raheb also claimed that "Jesus was a Middle Eastern Palestinian Jew."
Rabbi Weisz believes that Israel is one of the basic tenets of the Bible and towards this end, published The Israel Bible, a Hebrew version of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings with a linear English translation. As its name implies, The Israel Bible focuses on the land in which the Biblical events took place, the people of Israel, and the relationship between them, and the modern state that is the manifestation of God's eternal covenant.
"Each of the 992 chapters of The Israel Bible features a different aspect of the land of Israel, the people of Israel, and the God of Israel," Rabbi Weisz said. "The term Israel encompasses all three and they are inseparable. If you remove Israel from the Bible, you have removed God from the Bible."
It should be noted that the term "Israel" is used a total of 73 times in the New Testament. The term is first used in the Torah as a name given to Jacob after battling the angel of Esau, meaning "You have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed." (Genesis 32:29). Israel became synonymous with his descendants, the Children of Israel, and the land God promised to them. The word ' Israel' appears over 2,200 times in the Torah, Writings, and Prophets.