Wednesday, October 14, 2009

xHWA on Hoeh's "Church History"

xHWA has just released excellent research concerning Hoeh's 1959 booklet, A True History of the True Church. You need to read this.

I remember when I first managed to get onto a HWA archival website I the first booklet I went to was that very booklet. I found it mind blowing. xHWA now shows us valuable necessary information about that booklet. I strongly encourage everyone to read, if you have not already.


  1. I am humbled by your comment, RF! I pass all credit to God.

    I would like to post a quote from my full review here, if you don't mind. It might get the gears of your readers' minds turning.

    "One final point I would like to bring up. But this is quite important. Notice how the first era is from 31 AD to 80 AD according to my best estimation of Hoeh’s meaning. The reader will note that the majority of people believe the book of Revelation was written in 96 AD. In other words, Hoeh believes that Jesus inspired the prophecy about Ephasus to be written 16 years after the end of the era. Let’s just speculate momentarily that I am wrong about the end time of this era and Hoeh did not intend us to understand it to be 80 AD. Let’s just speculate that the era ends at John’s death. It is commonly accepted that John died in 100 AD. All total, the letter had little more than 3 years to work. Keep in mind Hoeh claims the era had already left its first love decades earlier. The preaching ended in 69 AD."

    There is no era #1!!

    God bless you and your efforts here, RF. Keep up your great work!

  2. Yes, I found xHWA’s research interesting.

    However, it is easy to fall into similar traps, and make misleading statements, which xHWA does in his above comment.

    Referring to the Ephesus era, and based on Hoeh’s implied dates, xHWA states:-

    “There is no era #1!!”

    This does not follow at all – if Revelation was written shortly before the end of the Ephesus era, or even a few years after it. It is just part of the prophecy, a part that was already in existence, or even finished, when the book was written.

    You have this in other parts of the Bible. For example, King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image in Daniel chapter 2.

    Daniel says to King Nebuchadnezzar, referring to the first Kingdom:-

    (Dan 2:38) ”You are this head of gold.”

    His Kingdom was there, in existence, and had been for a number of years. We can’t say of Daniel

    “There is no Kingdom #1!!”

  3. Dear John F. Kennedy, do not go to Texas. Signed, God. 11-22-1979

  4. Sorry, Quest. Daniel was with Nebuchadnezzar when he told him about his own dream, not 16 years afterwards. This is different.

    You start from a false assumption: "if Revelation was written shortly before the end of the Ephesus era". According to the booklet RF and I are talking about, it did not. So, your example may make sense in another context, but not here.

    The "trap" is moving the goal posts. I know you don't intend to do that, but that is what you've done. If we're talking about the official Worldwide Church of God timeline, as told by Herman Hoeh in his 1959 booklet "True History of the True Church", which we are, then you must not redefine the terms from what he set.

    To reiterate what I said in my first comment, Hoeh clearly states that the preaching in this era ended in 69 AD, after two 19-year time cycles. That is 27 years earlier. So no matter when you move those goal posts to, you are still saying that God warned Ephasus in a letter 27 years after they left their first love. The latest date Hoeh gives is 80 AD. So God warned Ephasus 16 years after it ended.

    If we hypothetically move the goal posts, God gave them three years to repent of something they started 27 years before. Is it possible? Perhaps. But this is completely hypothetical and not what Hoeh left us at all.

    I'm not buying it.

  5. Hi xHWA,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Following your comments, I have taken another look at this booklet – the first time for many years.

    On the one hand I would like to state that it is not my intention to be defending Hoeh. I don’t like the way he wrote the booklet, and I particularly don’t like his dogmatic stile of presenting information (but I suppose that was in keeping with the way things were presented by RCG in that era).

    However I have read through the Ephesus section of the booklet, and I don’t believe you are reading Hoeh’s suggested end of the Ephesus era correctly, although I admit it’s not completely clear.

    He talks of the two 19 year cycles, ending in 69AD (Page 10), and on page 11 refers to the Church moving to Pella, and Peter being martyred “probably around 80AD”, and that “John alone was in charge”. However he doesn’t end the Ephesus era at that point.

    On page 16 he talks of Polycarp, and also Polycrates. These two gentlemen are reputed to have died around AD 155 and AD 196 respectively.

    Hoeh states ‘Polycrates came from that area in which Paul spent most of his time – in Asia Minor, near Ephesus. This was also where John spent his last days. Here we have Christians still remaining true to the faith!”

    It’s only after stating this that Hoeh goes on to quote Rev 2v5 about the warning to Ephesus, and then says “Thus ended the first age of the Church, typified by the ‘Church at Ephesus’”.

    Polycarp died over fifty years after the writing of Revelation, and Polycrates nearly one hundred years after the writing of Revelation. To me the way Hoeh wrote this section, he is definitely including them in the Ephesus era.

    You stated “If we're talking about the official Worldwide Church of God timeline, as told by Herman Hoeh in his 1959 booklet "True History of the True Church", which we are, then you must not redefine the terms from what he set.”

    Looking at what Hoeh actually wrote, my understanding of what he says on page 16 is that the Ephesus era ended after the death of Polycarp and Polycrates – over 100 years after Revelation was written.

  6. Hi again, Quest!

    Thanks for that insight!

    I found that determining the end points to Hoeh's eras was the hardest part of the study. Not one time did he set a hard and fast end/start date, even when HWA was involved. It was all hints.

    I went round and round trying to find what he considered the end of the Ephasus era. He set 69, then 80, then as you said he quoted Polycrates (130-196) and Polycarp (69-155). Even the timing of Pergamos was no help. What sense can a person make of it?

    So here's my logic - Hoeh said the preaching ended in 69 after two 19-year time-cycles; almost everyone else that I can find accepts the end of Ephasus to be around the death of John (Church of the Great God sets it at 325); and then on pages 16 & 17 Hoeh says that, "the synagogue of Satan developed after 80 AD". Since "synagogue of Satan" is a reference to the second era, all signs that I see point to between 80 and 100 AD.
    So, accepting that, all I can review is what Hoeh left in his booklet, I then had to choose one of his own dates, and 80 was the best I had. If he had only been more specific!

    It is my suspicion that people later on caught on to what I found and played with the dates a bit to fix that problem. Is that right to do? I don't know. It seems fishy, but... whatever.

    I think I understand why he quotes Polycrates and Polycarp. I believe from the context that he only quotes them in reference to his main point about the timing of Passover, and not at all about the era time line. In other words, he quotes them out of order to make a point about the Passover controversy.

    I would like to hear more about what you think on this.
    And others, of course.