Israel Disappears from a New Bible Translation

Something is rotten in the State of Denmark


In the NewsApr 24, 2020

In the NewsApr 24, 2020


Illustrative image of removing the word "Israel" from the Bible.

By

This Holocaust Memorial Day, like others, air raid sirens prompted Jews throughout Israel to observe two minutes of solemn reflection.

The descendants of Danish Jews surely remembered the resistance movement that smuggled families to Sweden in the hulls of fishing boats. However, this year, the news of an unsettling publication was a distraction for some. Rolling across the Jewish blogosphere was news of a Christian Bible printed out of Denmark missing almost any mention of the people or nation of Israel. A quick search revealed that the church more specifically involved was Denmark’s Folkekirken, the national church of the monarchy.

Denmark is a Christian kingdom that has held a heroic image in the Jewish imagination. Its kings have been called upon to intercede for the Jewish people on occasion, but most notably for the salvation of its Jews from Hitler by King Christian X. Those were more serious times. Today its monarchy, led by Queen Margrethe, is still known for a renegade style. The Queen breaks decorum with her famous love for tobacco. Her father, King Fredereck IX, a man of the people, was photographed shirtless, exposing the tattoos of a sailor. These quirks of the Danish monarchy are a reminder of the down-to-earth nature of its leadership and also the fearlessness of a monarchy that refuses to kowtow to custom or command.

As Queen of Denmark, Margrethe is the supreme authority of the Church of Denmark. According to an article by Andreas Lindbjerg Nielsen posted on the official website of the Folkekirken, the Bible authorized by Her Majesty for use in Sunday service remains a version published in 1992. [1] The article describes the intention of the new translation, as explained by the head of the Bible Society, Birgitte Stoklund Larsen. The seeker-sensitive Bible is user-friendly and meant for home devotions and casual reading. References and notes are not included so as not to confuse new readers. Difficult language has been simplified to convey a clear message to a new generation. While Larsen explains that the word “crucified” has been updated to “executed on the cross,” she fails to mention the removal of Israel from the New Testament.

The Bible 2020 appears to be part of a larger “Year of The Bible” campaign that is being supported by some of the best and brightest minds of the Evangelical Christian world. [2] In an article published by Breaking News Israel Rabbi Tuly Weisz is said to have explained,

Omitting “Israel” from the Bible is equivalent to failing to mention God. [3]

A post by i24NEWS quotes a recent tweet by reformed Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, who said,

Danish Bible Society has published a new Bible that does not include the word “Israel,” whether it refers to the Holy Land or to the Israelites. “Israel” has been replaced with “Jews” or erased altogether. The agenda is to present Jews as stateless. It’s false and against God. [4]

The agenda is against the will of God not because God favors one political party over another but because the regathering of Israel to the land of Israel is fundamental to the goal and promise of Israel’s Torah. In a previously mentioned article on the Folkekirken website, Denmark Bible Society head, Birgitte Stoklund Larsen claims that she “welcomes all criticism, praise, and debate.” She goes on to say,

You have to be prepared for a reaction. The same is certainly true with fans of the theater every time a new translation of Shakespeare comes.

To imagine that the Torah, with its promises to Israel, has been cast aside for universal spiritualizing and turned into mere poetic language is more than a mistake.

Over 260 years ago, Rabbi Jacob Emden wrote letters to the ancestor of Queen Margrethe, Fredereck V, and also to Jewish governance of his time. He praised the teachings of Jesus and Paul but claimed that Christian publishers and scholars understood almost nothing of the intended message of the Gospels:

Because of these errant scholars, hatred has increased toward the Jews who are blameless of any guilt and proceed innocently to observe their Torah with all their heart, imbued with the fear of God. They should instead bring their people to love the ancient Children of Israel who remain loyal to their God, as indeed commanded to Christians by their original teachers. [5]

At a time when the crown of Denmark is coming under scrutiny regarding her tightening of immigration policy and Denmark is seeing a rise in activity from Neo-Nazi groups like the Nordic Resistance Movement, we should encourage Queen Margrethe to continue her kingdom’s relatively unblemished legacy and save her church from the disasters that are sure to befall any people who seek to separate the Jewish people from the land of Israel.

Footnotes:
  1. https://www.folkekirken.dk/aktuelt/nyheder/ny-bibeloversaettelse-goer-op-med-kirkeligt-klubsprog
  2. https://yearofthebible.com/
  3. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/148885/lutherans-publish-new-version-of-bible-without-the-word-israel-in-it/
  4. https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/europe/1587376359-denmark-israel-references-removed-from-new-testament-edition
  5. Harvey Falk, Jesus the Pharisee: A New Look at the Jewishness of Jesus (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2002), 22-23.
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About the Author: Ami is part of the Jerusalem-based FFOZ team where he works as a support staff member at the Bram Center. Ami is a contributor to the FFOZ Torah Clubhouse for children, and also submits articles for Messiah Journal. More articles by Ami

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