(A Critique of Herman Hoeh’s Article)
By Kelly Marshall
After proclaiming the British-Israel doctrine proved who were God’s chosen people, Herbert Armstrong began to receive questions about the identity of the “other tribes of Israel.” Having no authentic source to substantiate his claims, HWA assigned this task to the Worldwide Church of God’s “historian,” the distinguished Dr. Herman Hoeh.1 Being recognized as one of the first four graduates of Ambassador College, HWA conferred upon Hoeh his “doctorate” in “Theology.” Members were taught to put their trust in Hoeh. He was painted as an individual so highly gifted in intellect and scriptural discernment–on par with Daniel and Solomon– that his eccentric behavior was a by-product of what was considered a special blessing. Sermons given by Hoeh left the members feeling “enlightened” even though they reluctantly admitted that they couldn’t understand half of what Hoeh was talking about. Ministers simply smiled. Members were taught that Satan had distorted history, but God raised up Hoeh to handle the special task of restoring it. At least members took great comfort in knowing that God was “directly guiding” Hoeh in his academic pursuits as he valiantly corroborated HWA’s teachings.
Every “cult” engages in fabricating its own sacred history. Hoeh earned his pay through this activity. Engaging in “extra-biblical revelation,” Hoeh wrote the “Location of the Tribes of Israel” to validate HWA’s teachings. While reading this article, notice carefully, the lack of sources to back up Hoeh’s claims, the use of smokescreens (changing topics continually), the use of capital lettering, and scripture hacking. Hoeh’s technique is to say something without really saying anything. Much like his sermons, Hoeh rambles aimlessly, hoping to induce boredom, so one cannot think through what is actually being said. (Hoeh’s words are in blue and indented and my comments are in black type.
Location of the Tribes of Israel
By Herman Hoeh
We are often asked this question: “If the British Commonwealth is Ephraim and the U.S.A. is Manasseh, where are the other tribes of Israel”? The British-Israel World Federation has never given a satisfactory answer. In fact, they have contended at times that the half-tribe of Manasseh, which lived east of the Jordan, is Japan, and that Dan is Germany. All their attempted historical research neglects the Bible as the only guide to INTERPRETATION of historical evidence.
Herman Hoeh begins his historical revelations with the typical HWA discrediting technique. In order to make one’s claims valid, he must ensure that other sources of information are rendered null and void. He lets readers know how grossly incompetent the British-Israel World Federation is for misidentifying the tribes of Dan and Manasseh. According to Hoeh, these errors are a result of “neglecting the Bible” as part of their research. Hoeh, having this burden foisted upon him, will step in and fill this gap. Relying on his scholarly intellect and armed with the Bible as his only guide, God will certainly endow him with supernatural wisdom to understand scriptural “identity markers” to discern “historical evidence.” Hoeh is setting the reader up to believe that his version of ancient history is the only true version. Operating on the assumption that his method of pinpointing the ancient tribes is the only correct approach, all other opinions will be strained through this measure and predictably, will be found wanting. Hoeh continues below:
We already understand the undeniable identity of Ephraim and Manasseh. By a process of elimination, the other tribes appear quickly–knowing first of all that the Scandinavian peoples and those of Western Europe are Israel. In these nations we have all the required characteristics which we find in no other group. To prove which tribe each is today, we need to prove which country has the identifying signs of each tribe AND prove that no other country has such signs.
Stating the identity of Ephraim and Manasseh as undeniable fact, he quickly moves on. He lets readers know that through an elimination process, the other tribes appear. What “elimination process” did Hoeh utilize to immediately conclude that Scandinavia and Western Europeans were the remaining “Lost Tribes?” Hoeh states that:
- One must find the identifying signs of each tribe and
- One must prove that no other country has them.
After millennia of intermarriage and migrations, Hoeh’s methods are obviously too simplistic. He has no degree in archeology, anthropology, ancient history, linguistics, etc., but we are to believe that somehow he can bypass any expertise in these fields and still provide precise information. Notice that Hoeh carefully does not say that he is using “secular history” as one of his “elimination processes.” But that’s okay. Using his own methods, let’s see whether we can come up with the same conclusions as Hoeh, or whether Hoeh has resorted to fabrication of history in order to agree with HWA’s teachings, since it was HWA that awarded Hoeh his “doctorate degree.”
Here is the Biblical and historical evidence placing the tribal boundaries today:
Hoeh previously chastised the BI Federation for research that “neglects the Bible as the only guide to INTERPRETATION of historical evidence.” Here, Hoeh is claiming that his evidence is based solely on the Bible and his interpretation of the historical evidence found therein. In other words, one must put their faith in Hoeh and his interpretation, and ignore secular history. Below, Hoeh will claim to use Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33 as his main guides to correctly interpret obscure history:
In Genesis 49 we have a prophecy concerning the state of each of the tribes in the “Latter days” and also in Deuteronomy 33, a chapter dealing with the blessings. With these two main chapters as guides, we can rightly INTERPRET obscure historical evidence that no history book yet clarifies.
Hoeh begins with the term “Latter days” so that readers will think he means the 20th century. He does not point out that Deuteronomy 4:30 and 31:29 also use this term, clearly showing that “Latter days” does not necessarily mean 3000 years into the future, but the latter days of Israel’s reign as a nation.
Hoeh gives his legitimacy a boost by claiming that, “we can rightly INTERPRET obscure historical evidence that no history book yet clarifies.” When one reads between the lines of this sophisticated speech, Hoeh is saying that he is correctly discerning vague historical evidence, and why not? How can anyone refute him? Since history books can’t clarify (or verify) his interpretations, then he is free to reinterpret history. It worked for the Mormons–it should work for him.
Hoeh uses Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33 as his main chapter guides to trace the “Lost Tribes.” Though he claimed earlier that he used historical evidence, he will not give a single source from which his information was derived. So we will provide the complete scriptural quotes when needed, just in case Hoeh “misses” anything.
EPHRAIM, MANASSEH, AND JUDAH
1 and 2: Ephraim and Manasseh are already designated.
3: Judah constituted mainly of the House of Judah, to be scattered among all nations, becoming a taunt and a byword. We are not to expect them as a separate nation among Israel today, defying all who would come against them. A small part of Judah was carried captive with Israel (II Kings 18:13), as found in the records of the Assyrian kings. Thus, among Israel we should find a small remnant of Judah. We locate the name as Jutes, and living in Jutland, Denmark. Some migrated to England.
Hoeh states that the House of Judah is to be scattered among all nations, and are not to be a separate nation “among Israel today.” He concludes that we should find a small remnant of Judah amongst Israel, which had been taken captive by the Assyrians. He states that the Jutes living in Jutland, Denmark fit this description, and that some of them migrated to England. Later in the article, Hoeh will inform his readers that the tribe of Dan also settled in Denmark. From this we will assume three things since Hoeh is intentionally vague on this matter. The first assumption that we will make is that Hoeh is implying that the modern day Jutes are Jews. The second assumption is that these Jutes were descended from the Jews that were carried away into captivity by the Assyrians (along with the Northern Kingdom), and eventually migrated into Jutland, Denmark. Hoeh never states how these Jews arrived to Jutland, but we know that HWA taught that the “Lost Tribes” were carried off by the Assyrians, and later settled in Western Europe and Scandinavia. The third assumption is that Hoeh’s comment, “among Israel, we should find a small remnant of Judah” means that we should find a remnant of Judah living in an Israelite country. In this case, a remnant tribe of Judah is living amongst the Israelite tribe of Dan in Denmark. Now we will prove whether this information is truthful and can be validated. We will also use Hoeh’s own evaluation methods to see whether we come up with the same results.
In the remainder of Hoeh’s article, we see that he clearly lists the other Israelite nations as France, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Holland (Netherlands), Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Remember that Hoeh previously stated in his “process of elimination” that he used two methods: “One must find the identifying signs of each tribe and, one must prove that no other country has them.” Let’s see if any of these other modern-day Israelite nations have the tribe of Judah (Jews) living among them, but not as a separate nation.
Since Hoeh does not give specific historical evidence, we must resort to looking up information ourselves. HWA said “prove all things” to see whether they are true, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if we consulted an encyclopedia to substantiate Hoeh’s information and claims. Do the other nations of “Israel” have Jews living amongst them? According to the Colliers Encyclopedia (which will be quoted throughout) we find these interesting bits of information concerning the other tribes of Israel: [emp. mine]
Netherlands, Ethnology and Population, Racial Origins and Religions, p. 480: …The number of Jews has declined greatly because of mass deportations carried out by the German occupation forces during World War II.
Luxembourg, Grand Duchy of, Ethnology and Population, p. 605: …The population is mainly Roman Catholic, but the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and there are Protestant and Jewish communities in the larger cities.
Switzerland, Ethnology and Population, Religion, p. 357: …More than 40 percent of Switzerland is Roman Catholic, and there are also some old Catholics (0.6%) and Jews (0.4%)…Most of the Jews are concentrated in the big cities of Zurich, Basel, and Geneva.
France, Population and Ethnology, Religion, p. 345: …There are about 200,000 Jews in France, and 300,000 immigrants from Algeria are Moslems.
Belgium, The People, Religion, p. 303: …There are only 50,000 Protestants and fewer than 25,000 Jews.
Using Hoeh’s methods (“one must find the identifying signs and prove that no other county has them”), we have proved that other “Israelite” countries do, indeed, have the same identifying signs as the supposed Jutes living in Denmark. We see Jews (Judah) “living among Israel but not as a separate nation”–the very same requirements Hoeh used to arrive at his erroneous conclusions. If finding Jews living among an Israelite nation is the method used to locate this remnant tribe carried off by the Assyrians, then why has Hoeh disregarded the Jews in these other countries as viable contestants? Maybe the Jews in Luxembourg are these “remnant” Jews? Or maybe the Jews in Switzerland or Belgium are this special remnant?
Notice that Hoeh speaks as if his findings are “fact” but gives absolutely no proof. He quotes only one scripture in II Kings 18:13 as evidence, but the scripture simply states “In the fourteenth year of Kind Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them.” This Scripture says that Assyria did take those in the fortified cities of Judah as captives but states no more. If Hoeh is going to declare that the Jutes are the tribe of Judah living in Jutland today, where is the evidence? It certainly wasn’t contained in that particular scripture. What other sources did he use to reach his conclusions? Hoeh has given no facts whatsoever that can be validated. Although Hoeh states that the British-Israel World Federation couldn’t give him a “satisfactory answer,” one would hope that they provided more information than Hoeh has at this point. Now let’s take a look at where the Jutes really came from. [emp. mine]
The Teutons (Teutones) were mentioned as a Germanic people in early historical writings by Greek and Roman authors. Their homeland was given as Jutland, the western peninsula of modern Denmark. There is debate as to whether they were a Celtic or Germanic people since the name Teutones itself appears to be Celtic; Strabo and Velleius, however, counted them among the Germanic tribes. German historians did not associate the name Teutons with their Germanic ancestors until the 13th century.
More than 100 years before the birth of Christ, many of the Teutoni, as well as the Cimbri, migrated south and west to the Danube valley, where they encountered the expanding Roman Empire. (For more information see offsite article Teutons.)
Hoeh would have saved himself a lot of grief had he consulted an encyclopedia. The Jutes are not captives from Judah, but are a Teutonic people. The Teutons are either Celtic or Germanic, and migrated into the Danube valley. These Teutons are the descendents of the modern day Jutes, as well as the Germans. (The Germans are not the ancient Assyrians. See my article on Germany and Ancient Assyria, which will corroborate this). Now let’s see what Collier’s Encyclopedia says concerning the population of Denmark:
Denmark, Population, p. 386, para. III: Danish is the official language of the country, although German is also spoken in the southern part of Jutland. The state religion is Lutheran, but religious liberty is guaranteed by law. The non-Lutheran population, numbering about 70,000, includes Catholics, Jews, Methodists, and Baptists.
So Jews live in Jutland, but they are not called “Jutes,” nor does this say they are descended from the Jutes. They are simply called “Jews.” Hoeh has taken advantage of members’ weakness in history. By using similar sounding names (“Judah” and “Jutes”) members thought Hoeh knew what he was talking about, and never questioned it. Because he was one of the first Ambassador College graduates, members instantly trusted him. Hoeh clearly took advantage of this and violated that trust by fabricating historical evidence and lying to the membership.
Finally, let’s use Hoeh’s main biblical evidence that he claimed to use to determine the identity of the “Lost Tribes.” Let’s look at Genesis 49 and Deuteronomy 33 and see what these Scriptures have to say concerning Judah:
Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies. Thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up; he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The scepter shall not depart form Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering to the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garment in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk. (Genesis 49:8-12)
And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hand be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies. (Deu. 33:7)
Hoeh stated at the beginning that the “latter day prophecies” were found here, and that he used these main chapters “as guides” to rightly interpret obscure history. Notice that Hoeh did not go out of his way to quote these verses, even though it would have been easy for him to do so. Why? Because these verses do not prove that these remnant Jews are Jutes, and that they are dwelling in Jutland, Denmark. He knew he could not conjure up this false teaching from these verses, so he avoided quoting them. The Jutes are not a remnant tribe of Judah. They are Teutonic by descent, and not Semitic. Hoeh gives no evidence that can be verified and no proof to this claim.
What about the main tribe of Judah? Let’s go back and re-examine the first part of Hoeh’s revelation concerning the tribe of Judah:
Judah constituted mainly of the House of Judah, to be scattered among all nations, becoming a taunt and a byword. We are not to expect them as a separate nation among Israel today, defying all who would come against them.
On Friday, May 14, 1948, the day in which the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish National Council proclaimed the independent State of Israel. Over the past 50 years, Israel has survived and flourished as a “separate nation” and they have certainly defied all who have come against them. Hoeh was aware of this, but avoided mentioning it. It has become obvious that Hoeh has not “rightly interpreted obscure historical evidence” and the history books have, indeed, clarified this.
4: Levi, the priestly tribe, was to be scattered in Israel (Gen. 49:5-7). God never gave them land to inherit as the other tribes. Therefore, we should not expect them to be given territory today. Nothing is said in Deut. 33 about inheriting land. Among the Jews today we find many bearing the names: Levi, Levy, Levine. Others bear the name “Cohen” and its variations. The Hebrew word “Kohen” means priest and is so translated 725 times in the King James version. Here then, we have the great bulk of Levi–scattered among Judah because they left their priestly functions in Israel almost totally (I Kings 12:31).
Hoeh informs us that the great bulk of Levi is scattered among Judah today, but he doesn’t give us any specific details. Does he mean Judah is in the Holy Land of the modern-day nation of Israel? He doesn’t say. Although Hoeh seems to be revealing in-depth information, it’s really quite vague. One would think that Hoeh could do better since he informed readers what a poor job the British-Israel World Federation had done with this task. What exactly is the significance of Kohen being mentioned 725 times in the KJV of the Bible? Hoeh informs us that it means “priest” and that they have left their “priestly functions,” but delves no further. He simply insists they weren’t given any territory and that the great bulk of them are “scattered among Judah.” If finding the names of Levi and Kohen (and their derivatives) among Judah is an “identifying sign,” then why doesn’t Hoeh mention that the names of Simeon, Judah, Benjamin, Reuben, Issachar, Zebulun, Asher and Gad–names that have remained unchanged to this present day–can also be found among Judah? If finding names is a surefire technique for tribal locations, then Hoeh should apply this equally to the other tribes, but he doesn’t (as we will observe later in this article).
5: Simeon received no blessing from Moses. In fact, he does not even mention the tribe! Jacob said God would scatter them throughout Israel. How? Take a map of Palestine for the time of the division of the land. Notice that Simeon did have an inheritance SOUTH of Judah. When Judah separated from Israel, Judah occupied that territory, yet Simeon went with Israel! The only explanation is that Simeon migrated into Israel generally, but no new territory was assigned to Simeon. This tribe became scattered. It is possible that the small scattered tribes in Western Europe, variously called the Senones or Semaones or Sennones, represented the fragments of the tribe of Simeon.
Possible? What does Hoeh mean by “possible”? This is the man that declares at the end of his article that “IN ALL THE WORLD THERE IS NO GROUP OF NATIONS SO PERFECTLY CORRESPONDING TO THE PROPHECIES. He even uses the typical Armstrong attention-grabbing capital lettering to emphasize his point. But right here, we see Hoeh stumble. In the beginning of his article, he states with confidence that “through the process of elimination, the other tribes appear quickly,” but here we see no definite statement of the identity of modern-day Simeon. If, indeed, the tribe of Simeon is a “small scattered tribe in Western Europe called the Senones, Semaones, or Sennones,” then he should be able to easily prove this. The only historical evidence that I was able to locate on the Internet encyclopedia concerning the Senones is quoted below. The other two spellings are either non-existent or incorrect. Here we see a very short description of the Senones:
Senones, name of two distinct groups of ancient people of Gaul. One settled in NE Italy S of the Po in the 4th cent. B.C; the other lived in the valley of the Seine.
Did Hoeh purposefully target this group because it sounded close enough to Simeon, just as the Jutes sounded similar to Judah? The Senones were the ancient people of Gaul, which today is known as France. Where exactly in Western Europe do these “Senones” live today and why doesn’t Hoeh tell us outright? If he knows they live in Western Europe, how difficult would it be for him to give their precise location? Could it be because Hoeh had already determined that the tribe of Reuben is modern day France and the Senones would conflict with his story?
Although Hoeh correctly states that Simeon did not receive a blessing from Moses in Deuteronomy 33, he did not quote Genesis 49. Let’s take a look at this latter day prophecy, the very one Hoeh insisted he used at the beginning of his article to correctly interpret the “Lost Tribes'” identity:
Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments [or a pair in violence] of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel. (Gen. 49:5-7)
Carefully notice that the tribe of Levi is mentioned along with the tribe of Simeon in this scripture, which Hoeh conveniently did not quote. Simeon and Levi are given the same prophecy–they would be scattered amongst Israel. Since Levi and Simeon were given the same prophecy, Hoeh should then follow the same criteria he used to identify Levi. If Hoeh insists that finding the names Levi or Kohen as one of the identifying signs, then why does Hoeh failed to mention that the name of Simeon occurs hundreds of times in the New York phone directory? Apparently, fragments of Simeon can easily be located in Manasseh (a. k. a. the United States of America, according to Hoeh). Why does Hoeh insist that Simeon’s name changed to “Sennones” while Levi’s stayed the same? Here, we see Hoeh engaging in shifting his criteria to accommodate his fabrications. If Hoeh’s assertion that the Sennones of Western Europe are descended from Simeon is correct, he should be able to provide ample evidence, but he doesn’t. Hoeh’s avoidance of specifics, continued failure to give concrete proof, and inconsistent requirements should rightly make one suspicious.
6: Reuben, unstable as water and having the excellency of greatness, we have recognized as France. Southern France, settled by the descendants of Javan (the Greeks), is gentile. The only democratic country, that is unstable, yet sets the styles for the world, has the form of real excellency, and has the same sex weakness as Reuben, is France. When rightly translated, Moses says: “Let Reuben live, and not die in that his men become few” (Deut. 33:6). Of all the western nations, France has the lowest birthrate, although at one time France was the most populous country in all Europe, outnumbering England nearly 6 to 1. No other country in all the world fits all these qualifications. And is it not significant that the very country at war with England around 1800 should be France (Reuben), who would lose the birthright in the Napoleonic war? (Napoleon was Italian.)
Hoeh’s criteria for identifying the tribe of Reuben is lame at best. By partially quoting Genesis 49:3, and infusing it with modern comparisons, he concludes Reuben is the country of France. Let’s take a closer look at how this highly educated AC graduate came to this conclusion. He states the identifying marks of Reuben are:
- The only democratic country, that is unstable
- Yet sets the styles for the world
- Has the form of real excellency
- Has the same sex weakness
Let’s look at requirement number 1 above. Are there other countries that have “unstable democracies”? The Philippines is one, and Russia is another. (Remember, Hoeh says, “No other country in all the world fits all these qualifications.”) Certainly there are more. If Hoeh is using the Bible as his guide, then where are the Scriptures that say that Reuben was an unstable democracy? Genesis 49:4 states, “Unstable as water.” How did Hoeh get “democracy” from “water”?
Requirement number 2 is quite comical when you think about it. Are there other countries that, “sets the styles for the world”? How about Milan, Italy or New York? More importantly, where in the Bible does it say that the tribe of Reuben was “fashionably correct”? Why doesn’t Hoeh give at least one Scripture to back this up?
The third requirement is about as vague as it gets: “Has a form of real excellency”–what is that supposed to mean? Excellency in what? Does this mean wealth? Military power? Fine art, cheese and wine? Hoeh doesn’t elaborate. Is this vague characteristic exclusive to the tribe of Reuben, or could there be other nations that possess “a form of real excellency”? If Hoeh claims this as “one of the identifying signs,” it certainly could be assigned to any country since we don’t specifically know what Hoeh was implying. Let’s examine the Scriptures to see what they have to say:
“Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel [his precedence is forfeited]; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it; he went up to my couch.” (Genesis 49:3-4)
Genesis 49, Verse 3
Reuben as the first-born had a right to a double portion of all that the father had; see Deuteronomy 21:17 …. “But because thou hast sinned, the birthright is given to Joseph, the kingdom to Judah, and the priesthood to Levi.” That the birthright was given to the sons of Joseph we have the fullest proof from 1 Chronicles 5:1.
Pouring out like the waters – This is an obscure sentence because unfinished. It evidently relates to the defilement of his father‘s couch; and the word פחז (pachaz), here translated pouring out, and in our Version unstable, has a bad meaning in other places of the Scripture, being applied to dissolute, debauched, and licentious conduct. See Judges 9:4; Zephaniah 3:4; Jeremiah 23:14, Jeremiah 23:32; Jeremiah 29:23.
Thou shalt not excel – This tribe never rose to any eminence in Israel; was not so numerous by one third as either Judah, Joseph, or Dan, when Moses took the sum of them in the wilderness, Numbers 1:21; and was among the first that were carried into captivity, 1 Chronicles 5:26.
Then thou didst defile – Another unfinished sentence, similar to the former, and upon the same subject, passing over a transaction covertly, which delicacy forbade Jacob to enlarge on. For the crime of Reuben, see Clarke on Genesis 35:22 (note).
1 Chronicles 5, Verse 1
The sons of Reuben the first-born – As Reuben was the eldest son of Jacob, why was not his genealogy reviewed first? This verse answers the question; he lost the birthright because of the transgression mentioned Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:4, and the precedency was given to Judah; from him therefore came the chief ruler. This appears to be the meaning of the place. (Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
Scripture plainly states that Reuben lost his birthright when he committed adultery with Bilhah, and not in the Napoleonic war thousands of years later. Notice how the footnote backs up each comment with supporting Scriptures, and a clear explanation. Why can Hoeh, a supposed “scholar,” not do the same?
The fourth requirement is tied into the above verse and is just as questionable: “Has the same sex weakness.” Reuben committed adultery with his father’s concubine, Bilhah, the mother of Dan and Napthali (Gen. 35:22). If having a “sex weakness”–this term could cover a range of sexual activity since we are uncertain whether Hoeh is speaking specifically of adultery, promiscuity, or incest–is one of the “identifying signs” and “no other country” should have this same sign, then we need to investigate whether this characteristic exists in other countries or if this characteristic is exclusive to France. What about Holland (which Hoeh identifies as the tribe of Zebulum)? Holland is well known in Europe for its sexual immorality. What about the United States (Manasseh)? Could the United Kingdom (Ephraim), and Sweden (Napthali) also contain sexually immoral people? This “sign” could certainly be applied to any (if not every) country in the world. If we use Hoeh’s methods (find the identifying signs of each tribe and prove that no other country has them) then we can easily disqualify Reuben as France since there are other countries that can be identified as sexually immoral.
Now let’s examine Hoeh’s comments concerning Reuben in Deuteronomy 33:
When rightly translated, Moses says: “Let Reuben live, and not die in that his men become few” (Deut. 33:6). Of all the western nations, France has the lowest birthrate, although at one time France was the most populous country in all Europe, outnumbering England nearly 6 to 1.
Hoeh has certainly learned from the knee of Mr. Confusion. In one breath he informs us that France has the lowest birthrate, but at one time was the most populous country in all Europe. If the low birthrate was used as an identifying factor, was France still Reuben when it had a high birthrate? The following information (taken from the web) easily contradicts Hoeh’s assertions:
France’s birth rate was among the highest in Europe from 1945 until the late 1960s. Since then, its birthrate has fallen but remains higher than that of most other west European countries.
Apparently, France is having no problem with their birthrate and still maintains the largest population among the “Israelite nations” located in Western Europe. This fact can also be corroborated by the 2004 Census chart listed below:
Spain has a population of nearly 40 million people, with 77 inhabitants per square Km. It has the lowest birth rate in the world, at only 1.1 children per woman. [web article]
It appears that there are other nations that have low birthrates, proving this characteristic is not exclusive to France. Let’s continue with Hoeh’s remarks:
And is it not significant that the very country at war with England around 1800 should be France (Reuben), who would lose the birthright in the Napoleonic war? (Napoleon was Italian.)
Hoeh once again resorts to hazy details. Does he mean that France lost its birthright when Napoleon, an Italian by birth, ascended the throne as Emperor of France (something he seems to imply)? Or does he mean France lost its birthright when Napoleon was defeated in 1815 during the Battle of Waterloo? Can we begin to see how Hoeh’s ambiguous remarks can lead to various assumptions? Why can’t Hoeh simply give specific, verifiable details on what he is discussing? Why must he surround himself with smokescreens instead of giving direct answers?
What exactly is the significance of Reuben being at war with England, especially around 1800? None, actually. France and England have been at war with one another for centuries, and this war was just another in the series. This particular group of wars, known as the Coalition wars (the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Coalition Wars), began in 1792, finally ending in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon was exiled after this final defeat. Hoeh could have easily given this information, but didn’t. Why? Hoeh emphasized the 1800 date as an attempt to corroborate HWA’s claims that this date was significant (the 2520 years2 punishment had ended and now God was obligated to bless Ephraim and Manasseh unconditionally). He was careful not to go into details lest one figure out that the “blessing” for Ephraim turned out to be another war with France! Hoeh is clearly sleeping in the same bed of deception as HWA.
Although Hoeh informs us that Napoleon was Italian, he was actually Corsican. He was born on Corsica, a French-controlled island located in the Mediterranean Sea, north of Sardinia and west of Italy. Napoleon’s parents were from northern Italian stock; therefore, Napoleon would be considered a French citizen. So the tribe of Reuben did not lose its birthright when Napoleon ruled the country.
Hoeh indicates that Reuben lost his birthright in the Napoleonic war, but never gives specific details on how and when this happened. I Chronicles 5:1 states, “…his [Reuben’s] birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel.” Are we to believe that Reuben lost his birthright–twice? Scripture plainly states that he lost his birthright when he committed adultery, and it was “given” (past tense) to the sons of Joseph. Now Hoeh wants us to believe Reuben lost it again during the Napoleonic wars. Can a birthright be lost more than once? How did Reuben gain it back so he could lose it again? This certainly defies logic.
Dan was originally divided into two parts, one about Joppa, a seaport, and the other in the north of Palestine. Dan refused to fight along side the other tribes against the Gentiles (Judges 5:17). Dan would judge, or stand up to rule, his own people as one of the separate tribes of Israel–indicating he would gain self-government in the following manner: “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the part, that biteth the horse’s heels, so that his rider falleth, backward.” Ireland has done just that to England. In fact, the symbol of the illegal Irish Republican Army was the coiled snake!
Dan would also be like a young lion leaping forth, an apt description of Denmark which acquired the Virgin Islands, Greenland, Iceland and other islands in her heyday. Especially unique is the fact that of all the tribes Northern Dan still preserves their father’s name–the Danes!
Here, Hoeh states that Dan has broken up into two tribes. The first tribe is located in Ireland, and the second in Denmark. Hoeh states that one of this “proofs” of Dan’s location is the symbol of the snake on the Irish Republican Army’s flag. The Irish Republican Army’s flag is different than the national flag of Ireland. The national flag of Ireland consists of three broad, vertical green, white, and orange stripes–and no coiled snake. The tricolor flag has been Ireland’s flag since 1848. The Irish Republican Army (a terrorist group or freedom fighters, depending which side of the conflict one is positioned) didn’t come into existence until 1916, sixty-eight years later. Hoeh gives more credence to the IRA’s flag than to the national flag simply because it gives legitimacy to his claims. And why doesn’t Hoeh use the same criteria when identifying the second tribe of Dan? If looking for animals on a nation’s flag is a credible method, then we should find a lion as the symbol (“a lion leaping forth”) on the Danish flag, but of course, we don’t. Hoeh continually shifts his requirements while looking for “identifying signs,” seeking out only those things that give his theories credibility.
Hoeh identifies the country of England as “the rider that falleth, backward.” If fighting England “to gain self-government” is one of the identifying signs (assuming this is what he is trying to imply), then the tribe of Manasseh has held this same sign. Manasseh (United States of America) resisted England for over a decade, finally fighting and gaining its independence and right to “self-government” in 1776. Why did Hoeh ignore this well-known piece of United States history? Let’s continue with the second half of the prophecy:
Dan would also be like a young lion leaping forth, an apt description of Denmark which acquired the Virgin Islands, Greenland, Iceland and other islands in her heyday. Especially unique is the fact that of all the tribes Northern Dan still preserves their father’s name–the Danes!
Hoeh informs us that acquiring territory is another identifying sign (assuming that’s what he meant when he said, “like a young lion leaping forth”). He states that Denmark acquired the Virgin Islands, Greenland, Iceland and other islands “in her heyday.” When exactly was this “heyday” period? Greenland and Iceland had become part of Denmark in 1397 under the Kalmar Union. Concerning the Virgin Islands, Denmark established its first colony on the island of St. Thomas in the second half of the 17th century, eventually expanding into the island of St. John, and finally purchasing St. Croix in 1733 from France. Why does Hoeh not provide a few simple facts? Is it possible that other nations, during this “heyday” period, were also “acquiring” territory? What about the European colonial expansion of the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries involving countries such as France, England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Belgium? Notice how Hoeh deceptively uses the phrase “acquiring territory” instead of “colonizing.” Denmark was simply part of the European colonial expansion. The dates of Denmark’s “heydey” clearly coordinate with these historical dates. Apparently, Dan wasn’t the only lion leaping forth during this time period.
Hoeh reiterates HWA’s propaganda concerning the country of Denmark being named after “their father, Dan.” One would think that a country, named after “Dan,” would be filled with towns and cities bearing his name. On the contrary–there is not one single town, city, county or body of water that bears the name of Dan in any of its “required” forms–no Dan, Den, Din, Don, Dun, or Dn in all of Denmark! Not one single body of water or island bears his name. This is rather strange considering that HWA claimed “It is a significant fact that the tribe of Dan…named every place they went after their father Dan.”3 Also according to HWA, Denmark supposedly means “Dan’s Mark.”4 In old German, Denmark actually means “border region inhabited by Danes” and not “Dan’s Mark” as HWA led his followers to believe.
What about the name of Dan being found in Ireland? Even in the country of Ireland, of the 602 cities and towns, only 18 of them contain the required prefix.5 Northern Ireland contains only 5 cities out of 120 using the required prefix. There is nothing extraordinary about finding the name of Dan in Ireland. Hoeh fails to mention that one can find a comparable number of “Dan” names in Scotland. Out of 610 towns and cities, there are 18 that contain the required prefix. One can also find towns and cities using the names of Dan in the United States. Iowa has 12 of them, one of which is called “Denmark.” Evidently, locating the name of “Dan” as proof of national identity is not a reliable method.
More importantly, HWA claimed that the “Lost Tribes of Israel” completely lost their identities, no longer knowing who they were and thinking themselves to be Gentiles. Obviously the tribe of Dan had not forgotten their identity if they’re going around naming towns, countries and rivers after their father.
Benjamin constitutes Norway and Iceland. The Icelandic people in reality are a colony of Norwegians. Benjamin was given to David because Jerusalem, David’s capital, was in the tribe of Benjamin, not Judah. God said He would give David light in Jerusalem (I Kings 11:36). This verse could not refer to Judah which did not have to be given to the Jewish House of David. Benjamin was told to flee the destruction of Jerusalem (Jer. 6:1) which many of them did.
Hoeh employs HWA’s smokescreen techniques: Jump around different topics so the reader can’t discern exactly which topic he’s actually discussing. In this case, Hoeh reveals that Benjamin is Norway and Iceland, but elaborates no further. He quickly jumps to an unrelated topic (Benjamin being given to David), which has no relation to the first topic, but before the reader can think through what’s being said, Hoeh quickly jumps to yet another unrelated topic–Benjamin fleeing the destruction of Jerusalem. Why any of this information bears any relationship to Norway and Iceland remains unexplained by Hoeh. Cults are notorious for keeping their members sidetracked with irrelevant information. Hoeh continues:
Benjamin is compared to “a wolf that raveneth; in the morning he devoureth the prey, and at even he divideth the spoil” (Gen. 49:27). This is certainly an apt description of the Vikings who pillaged Northern Europe, and even Mediterranean regions. Almost all Viking raids came from Norway.
The tribe of Benjamin became well known for their fighting abilities displayed by their archers and slingers (Judges 20:16; I Chr. 8:40; 12:2; II Chron. 14:8; 17:17) and their warlike temperament (Judges 19, 20). Hoeh insists that this fighting (pillaging) quality is proof that Benjamin is Norway since Viking raids came from Norway. True, the Vikings came from Norway, but Vikings also came from Denmark and Sweden. The Danish and Norwegian Vikings first traveled west and south, arriving in England, Europe, Iceland, Greenland, and North America. The Swedish Vikings traveled east and seemed more interested in colonizing than their westward counterparts. According to the encyclopedia, the Vikings were:
Scandinavian warriors who raided the coasts of Europe and the British Isles from the 9th to the 11th century…At the beginning of the Viking Age, they were the best shipbuilders and sailors in the world, venturing as far as Greenland and North America….Many Vikings settled where they had raided. The Scandinavian raiders in Russian were known as Varangians; their leader Rurik founded the first Russian state…Elsewhere Vikings came to be known as Danes, Northmen, Norsemen, or Normans. (“Vikings,” Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2005).
The Vikings were known as Danes, and the country of Denmark played a significant role in the Viking raids of Europe, even though Hoeh does not mention this. The Vikings also settled in Normandy, France, and were called Normans, but Hoeh ignores this as well and does not include them as part of Benjamin. So having Viking roots (a pillaging people) is not an exclusive “sign” for Norway, since the Vikings also came from Denmark and Sweden.
Hoeh revealed that the tribes of Judah (Jutes), Dan (Denmark), Issachar (Finland), and Napthali (Sweden) make up the peoples of Scandinavia. In truth, the ethnic origins of Scandinavia are so interwoven that Hoeh’s suggestion that each country is a distinct tribe of Israel simply isn’t true. We also must revisit the question as to why Hoeh insists that locating the name of Levi among Israel as an identifying factor, while he ignores that the name Benjamin has remained unchanged and still can be found among the Jewish communities today.
It is also significant that Benjamin, the smallest tribe, still is the smallest today. There are fewer Norwegians (plus 148 thousand from Iceland) than any other Israelite nation. (Moses’ blessing in Deut. 33 has particular reference to this fact that Jerusalem was in the tribe of Benjamin.)
Can we really disregard centuries of historical documentation and simply peer into the future at population numbers to arrive with factual comparisons? Yet this is exactly what Hoeh has done. He wants us to ignore historical facts and focus on the similarities that he has carefully chosen–in this case, the small size of the tribe of Benjamin in comparison to the small population size of Norway/Iceland. Hoeh’s method of meandering through history and plucking out information that agrees with his speculations is unscientific and crude. In this case, his search for “identifying signs” spans a period in Jerusalem during the time of David, then fast-forwards into the 9th to11th centuries, during the time of the Vikings, and then fast-forwards into the 20th century (when Hoeh wrote the article) and looks at the population numbers, all the while disregarding factual details and historical information.
9: Issachar is compared to a “large-boned ass,” Jacob continues: “For he saw a resting-place that it was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and he BOWED HIS SHOULDER TO BEAR, and became a SERVANT UNDER “ASSWORK.” (Gen. 49:14-15.) An ass is not the most intelligent of animals, but it is a willing worker. Such is Finland.
Can Hoeh prove that other countries don’t have “willing workers”? If this is one of the identifying signs (being a “willing worker”), can we easily ascribe this same, ethereal quality to the other nations? This description cannot be introduced as concrete evidence since it cannot be proven either way whether a country has “willing” or “unwilling” workers, and whether this is an exclusive characteristic to Finland or any other country for that matter.
Finland is the ONLY nation that has voluntarily taken the full responsibility of her debts. She is today paying off a huge indemnity to Russia. Her land is pleasant and good, not extraordinarily rich. According to Deuteronomy 33:19 she derives wealth from fishing and from hidden treasures of the sand–gigantic peat bogs and the finest sand for glass-making. Issachar is not a colonizing people–they dwell pastorally “in tents,” said Moses.
Hoeh qualifies Finland as Issachar because, he asserts, she is the ONLY nation that is paying off her debts (assuming that’s what Hoeh meant). From where did Hoeh derive this information? How can we be sure that the other nations aren’t paying their debts? An online search brought up some interesting information. A data list of each country’s national debt shows that five “Israelite” nations qualified in the Top 100 (The United States of America came in first):
If paying off the national debt is one of the “identifying signs” of Issachar, then what about these other nations? What exactly does Hoeh mean when he says that Finland has “voluntarily taken the full responsibility of her debts”? Does this mean the other nations are involuntarily taking responsibility for theirs? How can we be sure that other nations aren’t paying their debts and that Finland is the ONLY nation paying theirs? If Hoeh doesn’t provide the evidence, then we cannot verify the accuracy of this particular claim, therefore we cannot accept this as concrete proof of Finland’s identity.
According to Deuteronomy 33:19 she derives wealth from fishing and from hidden treasures of the sand–gigantic peat bogs and the finest sand for glass-making. Issachar is not a colonizing people–they dwell pastorally “in tents,” said Moses.
Hoeh also bows to deception by partially quoting Deuteronomy 33:18-19. Below is a full quote:
And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. (KJV)
Moses gave the same blessing to both Issachar and Zebulun together. If the proof of Issachar lies in its fishing industry, peat bogs, and glassmaking, why does Hoeh avoid using these same standards to identify Zebelun (see number 11 below)? This verse clearly states, “They.” And how does Hoeh get a non-colonizing people from “dwelling in tents”? Can we begin to realize how much we allowed our trust in Hoeh’s interpretations to be our guide, and not the Word of God, nor any credible sources?
10: Nepthali represents Sweden–“satisfied with favor, full with the blessings of the Lord.” She is compared to a prancing hind or deer and “giveth goodly words” (Gen. 49:21). From Sweden, with a well-balanced economy, come the Nobel prizes in token to great world accomplishments. Sweden, during two world wars and the recent trouble in Palestine, sent her emissaries to speak words of conciliation and peace. The promise by Moses to possess “the sea and the south” is applicable both to ancient Nepthali and modern Sweden: notice the position of the Sea of Galilee and Baltic relative to the position of this tribe.
A well-balanced economy?–To the tune of $66.5 billion dollars of debt! Sweden, of all the supposed European “Israelite” nations, holds the number one position for national debt! (See debt chart above.) If having a “well-balanced economy” is one of the identifying factors, then Hoeh has clearly misidentified the tribe of Napthali! Hoeh also does not inform readers that the Royal Swedish Academy is not the only institution that awards Nobel Prizes. The Norwegian Nobel Institute also awards recipients for the world-renowned “Peace Prize.” Since we have another tribe (Benjamin) “giving goodly words” (Nobel prizes), we can easily disqualify Sweden as the sole bearer of this particular sign. Hoeh mentions that Sweden sent emissaries to “speak words of conciliation and peace,” but does not tell us who these emissaries were, nor gives any dates. Why does Hoeh, over and over again, resort to ambiguity, but lauds himself at the end of the article for his precision?
What does the position of the Baltic and the Sea of Galilee have in common? Nothing. Hoeh’s attempts to link them with imagined similarities that simply aren’t there. If the position of Sweden to the Baltic Sea is a significant factor for proper identification, then what about Finland? The Baltic is located south of Finland as well. So this characteristic is not unique to Sweden.
11: Zebulun settled in Holland (The Netherlands). Zebulun dwell at the “shore of the sea, and he shall be a shore for ships, and his flank shall be upon Zidon”–a Gentile country. Moses said: “rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out.” She takes also treasures from the sea and the sand, Zebulun, then, is a colonizing people. She is not a pillaging people as Benjamin.
Concerning the tribe of Zebulun, which Hoeh has identified as Holland, details are sparse. Hoeh points out that Zidon is a Gentile country but does not elaborate on why knowing this is significant, or even how this relates to Holland. Hoeh gives no facts, leaving one to engage in endless speculation. And what exactly does Hoeh mean when he quotes Moses saying, “rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out”? Going out where? Hoeh introduced this as evidence, but gives no explanations. Hoeh then concludes that taking treasures from the sand and sea makes Zebulun a colonizing people. This statement is as illogical as it gets. How does taking “treasures from the sand and sea” make one a colonizing people? Hoeh, earlier under Issachar, used the fishing industry, peat bogs, and glassmaking as evidence, but we do not see him give that same evidence here under Zebulun, even though the same prophecy was given to both tribes together in Deut. 33:19.
Since we must prove that other countries cannot have these same “signs,” this naturally leads us to ask, “Are there other countries that have seaports (‘a shore for ship’) and colonies? What about France?” There are seven major seaports in France. France also established colonies throughout the Americas, Africa, and Indian Ocean, but Hoeh does not bring this up. Belgium has four major seaports and established colonies in Africa. England, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Norway also have seaports and established colonies. Other countries share the same characteristics, so Holland has easily been disqualified.
12: Gad, which means “the troop” certainly designates Switzerland–the only Israelite nation in which every man is mobilized for defense. Against Gad would come the foreign troops, said Jacob, but he will “trod upon their heel.” Moses declared that Gad does NOT “leap” a characteristic of the colonizing or pillaging tribes. Gad “teareth the arm, yea, the crown of the head”–of the Holy Roman Empire, in whose territory “he chose a first part for himself, and there a portion of a ruler was reserved.” To Gad come “the heads of the people”–as they do today to Geneva. No other nation on earth so perfectly fits this description of a nation of troops.
Even though Hoeh attempts to make a case for Gad being Switzerland purely by the definition of Gad’s name, he has failed to point out one important fact. Switzerland never “trod upon the heel” of any foreign troops–Switzerland has managed to stay neutral through two world wars. Even to this day, the Swiss do not engage in “armed conflicts” with other countries, but serve in “peacekeeping missions.” Since Hoeh introduced this as evidence (“against Gad would come the foreign troops”), of what event was he specifically speaking? If this indeed, is an identifying factor, then Hoeh should be able to supply the facts to back his speculations but he doesn’t. He simply skips to the next unrelated subject.
Hoeh also contradicts himself. He says that Gad “does NOT ‘leap’ a characteristic of the colonizing or pillaging tribes.”
Let’s take a direct look at scripture to see what the Bible, itself, has to say about the Tribe of Gad. Clearly, we see Gad “pillaging” (or “leaping,” which somehow translates the two as being the same thing in Hoeh’s mind):
I Chron. 5:18-22: The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war. … and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him. And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand [lots of pillaging going on here], and of men an hundred thousand. (KJV)
I Chron. 12:8-15: And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains… These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west. (KJV)
Scripture plainly tells us that the Gadites were the “best of the best” in battle–the elite forces –and had no problems engaging in all out war against other nations. Their abilities in war went above and beyond the average warrior. With all that pillaging, it seems that Gad is “leaping” all over the place, even though Hoeh said they would not! The “interpretations” that Hoeh provided clearly conflicts with the reality of Switzerland’s army, who aren’t even remotely interested in war! Simple reading of scriptures makes the Bible understandable, unlike Hoeh who leaves people in a fog as they attempt to decipher his explanations. Below is a good example of Hoeh’s ambiguity:
Gad “teareth the arm, yea, the crown of the head”–of the Holy Roman Empire, in whose territory “he chose a first part for himself, and there a portion of a ruler was reserved.” To Gad come “the heads of the people”–as they do today to Geneva. No other nation on earth so perfectly fits this description of a nation of troops.
Hoeh has clearly inserted his own meanings to the verses in Deuteronomy 33:20-21. The full verses are quoted below, in the KJV:
“And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad; he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.” (Deuteronomy 33:20-21)
Where is “the Holy Roman Empire” referenced in these verses? Nowhere. But since Hoeh already decided that Gad was Switzerland, and Switzerland is located north of Italy, he could finagle this verse to agree with his revelations. What about the “heads of the people” going to Geneva? Hoeh insists this is one of the “signs.” Are there other countries where international leaders (heads of the people) convene together? What about the United Nations? The U.N. is located in Manhattan, New York (Manasseh). And what about NATO, which is located in Brussels, Belgium (Asher)?
Hoeh wants us to believe that the Swiss are one of the “Lost Tribes” and are of Israelite descent. This is simply not true. The Swiss are descended from four distinct ethnic groups: French Swiss, German Swiss, Italian Swiss, and Rhaeto-Roman Swiss. Any encyclopedia can verify this. When given concrete facts, we begin to scrutinize the details. Once we scrutinize the details questions begin to surface, and rightfully so. When Hoeh can avoid giving details, he can avoid scrutiny.
13: Asher–“his bread shall be fat and he shall yield royal danties” (Gen. 49:20). This peculiar expression could have reference alone to Belgium and the kindred state Luxembourg. From Belgium have come the finest Flemish paintings, the royal tapestries which graced the halls of kings, fine cut diamonds, porcelain and Belgian lace. Belgium and Luxembourg are blessed above many another son of Jacob–“Blessed be Asher above sons; let him be the favoured of his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil”–prosperity. Iron and brass shall be thy bars; and as thy days, so shall thy riches increase. Because of uranium, Belgium’s prosperity will continue to grow. (The above rendering of Deut. 33:25 is the correct–it is highly obscure.)
Here, Hoeh lumps Belgium and Luxembourg together as the tribe of Asher. He quickly summarizes that “yielding royal dainties” is a “peculiar expression” that easily points to these countries. Let’s suppose for a moment that Hoeh’s interpretation is correct. Using his own methods of identification, could there possibly be other nations that have these same qualifications? What about the fine paintings of Van Gogh and Rembrandt found in Holland? Dutch painters are equally legendary. The artwork displayed in the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam is testimony to this. Holland is also known for it fine cut diamonds from its South African mines. Why didn’t Hoeh bring this up? Hoeh mentions Belgian porcelain, but the Dutch are also well-known for their Blue Delft porcelain. Dutch floral tapestries have also graced the halls of chateaus and castles of Europe, and the Dutch also produce beautiful lace. So Belgium shares all the same identifying characteristics with Holland, but Hoeh fails to point any of this out. In conclusion, Belgium and Luxembourg cannot decisively be the tribe of Asher since another tribe (Holland) easily shares the same identifying characteristics. Hoeh’s own requirements have cancelled Belgium and Luxembourg out.
Now let’s take a closer look at Hoeh’s reference of Deuteronomy 33:25:
Iron and brass shall by thy bars; and as thy days, so shall they riches increase. Because of uranium, Belgium’s prosperity will continue to grow. (The above rendering of Deut. 33:25 is the correct–it is highly obscure.)
Hoeh asserts that this particular translation of Deut. 33:25, though “highly obscure,” is the correct rendering. Predictably, he does not disclose what version of the Bible he is quoting from, or whether he is attempting to derive this from his own interpretation of Hebrew. This is very shoddy research from one who holds a doctorate. The full verses in the KJV is quoted below:
And of Asher he said, “Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes [or under thy shoes] shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall they strength be. (Deut. 33:24-25)
>Adam Clarke Commentary plainly states:
Let Asher be blessed with children – Let him have a numerous posterity, continually increasing.
Let him be acceptable to his brethren – May he be in perfect union and harmony with the other tribes.
Let him dip his foot in oil – Let him have a fertile soil, and an abundance of all the conveniences and comforts of life.
Thy shoes shall be iron and brass – Some suppose this may refer to the iron and copper mines in their territory; but it is more likely that it relates to their warlike disposition, as we know that greaves, boots, shoes, etc., of iron, brass, and tin, were used by ancient warriors. Goliath had greaves of brass on his legs, 1 Samuel 17:6; and the brazen-booted Greeks, χαλκοκνημιδες Αχαιοι , is one of the epithets given by Homer to his heroes; see Iliad. lib. viii., ver. 41.
Maybe if Hoeh had stuck with the translations he rejected and consulted a theologian, he would have discovered the plain meaning of this “highly obscure” verse. Once again, observe how good scholarship, as used in this Bible footnote, makes scripture easy for the common layperson to understand, not more difficult.
Now let’s examine the second half of this prophecy:
Belgium and Luxembourg are blessed above many another son of Jacob–“Blessed be Asher above sons; let him be the favoured of his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil”–prosperity. Iron and brass shall be thy bars; and as thy days, so shall thy riches increase. Because of uranium, Belgium’s prosperity will continue to grow. (The above rendering of Deut. 33:25 is the correct–it is highly obscure.)
Hoeh informs us that “prosperity” is one of the identifying signs of Asher. He explains that Belgium’s prosperity will continue to grow because of uranium. Hoeh gives the impression that uranium was discovered in Belgium, but the truth is, the uranium came from the Belgian Congo. The Congo, a country in Africa, had become a colony of Belgium in 1908. Belgium held a monopoly on uranium until the mid-1930s when Canada entered the market, stealing 40% of the share. The Congo mine closed in 1937 and the 20-year stockpile of uranium was transferred to the U.S. in 1940.6 The Congo finally gained its independence from Belgium in 1960. Hoeh does not reveal these historical facts to cover his tracks. Hoeh didn’t mention the closing of the Congo mine, nor Canada’s offering of lower priced uranium. Wouldn’t these events have a major impact on Belgium’s future prosperity? If Belgium’s prosperity depended on uranium, then it has certainly taken a blow.
Hoeh, earlier (under the tribe of Gad) described that “leaping” is a characteristic of colonizing or pillaging people. Here we see Belgium as a colonizing people, but Hoeh completely ignores this. It appears that a tribe does not necessarily have to have “leaping” qualities in order to be a colonizing people.
If Hoeh declares the characteristic of “prosperity” as a sign, then it is fairly easy to prove that this quality can be held by other nations, especially since HWA himself stated, “yet the other eight tribes of Israel were also God’s chosen people. They, too, have been blessed with a good measure of material prosperity…7
Below is Hoeh’s summary to his research:
SUMMARY: Here we have a recapitulation of Jacob’s prophecy for the latter days, and of Moses’ blessings (some of which apply to the millennium). IN ALL THE WORLD THERE IS NO GROUP OF NATIONS SO PERFECTLY CORRESPONDING TO THE PROPHECIES. And within this extraordinary group of nations each nation has its own characteristics. To alter the placement of these tribes, as does the British Israel Federation, would obscure the marvelous proof that each of these nations does represent a tribe of Israel. True, Gentiles are found in almost every one (the Negro, the Indian, the Lapp, the descendants of Javan and Phoenicians), but so was it in ancient Israel. True, in some of these tribes there are to be found descendants of the other tribes–but there are less variations in these continental nations than in Ephraim (Great Britain). Notice, too, that GERMANY does not belong among Israel, although there may be some Israelites still dwelling within her borders.
Hoeh has pronounced his findings as accurate fact. Extolling his claims in capital letters, he assures us that there are no other group of nations that perfectly correspond to these prophecies. He, once again, lets us know the failings of the British Israel Federation and their placement of these tribes. Although Hoeh mentions the BI Federation’s incorrect placement of Dan and Manasseh, he never discloses what they said concerning the remaining tribes for our comparison. Why not? Did he plagiarize their findings and he doesn’t want anyone to get suspicious? Or were their conclusions better than his and he didn’t want anyone figuring that out? If Hoeh’s discoveries were superior to the BI Federation, then he shouldn’t be afraid to reveal their conclusions. In Hoeh’s final paragraph, he states:
In choosing Manasseh as the tribe through whom He does His work, God is using the same pattern as He used for the Levites. God originally gave the priests 13 cities to dwell in, and He added 35 more for the Levites. Totaling 48. So Manasseh began with 13 primary states which were added 35 others, making 48. Is it any wonder God’s work developed in Manasseh–the only tribe that can finance it?
Where in the Bible can we find God choosing Manasseh to do His work on the basis of being the “only tribe that can finance it“? Why does Hoeh conclude that Manasseh is the only country able to finance HWA’s work, especially since the United States is the number one debtor nation? What about Switzerland and their world famous currency and Swiss banks? Aren’t they in a better position to finance the work?
Hoeh said that Levi was found in Judah, but now he wants us to believe that there is a correlation between the number of states in the United States of America and the number of Levitical cities, and that this is more than coincidence. Our loyalty to Hoeh had blinded us to believe whatever he said, no matter how far-fetched his statements could be. Today, there are 50 states in the United States of America, clearly canceling out this parallel comparison made by Hoeh. As history progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that many of Hoeh’s requirements for identifying tribal locations have become non-existent. His interpretations of these “prophecies,” like his teacher before him (Herbert Armstrong), have utterly failed.
In closing, Hoeh does not give one speck of concrete, detailed proof that is indelibly conclusive. He partially quotes Scriptures, does not fully disclose details–especially if it contradicts him–and does not provide sources. By using his own required “methods” his findings were easily debunked. This kind of “research” from a “doctor of theology” is clearly lacking and pathetic.
How could Hoeh not know that he was conning innocent people? How could he go on for decades, knowing that he was earning his living by duping people? Was his burning conscience the catalyst for his conversion to Buddhism? Hoeh admitted, during the Tkach, Sr. reforms, that the Compendium of World History was full of errors.8 Why did he wait until his paycheck was threatened before candidly admitting that his research was bogus? The “Lost Tribes of Israel” being the modern nations of Western Europe and Scandinavia is nothing more than a fable9–and both Herbert Armstrong and Herman Hoeh knew this, but chose to perpetuate this myth for their financial gain.
I hope we have all learned to better discern false teachers and their deceptive methods, and may we be better equipped to not fall into any more traps that may come our way in the future.
By Kelly Marshall
Exit & Support Network™
March 8, 2005
Last updated March 14, 2005
Also read: British-Israelism–True or False?
Update: Thank You For Your Article on the So-Called Lost Tribes of Israel (June 14, 2008 detailed letter, followed by: Fallacies Built Up by Men, reply from Kelly Marshall.)
1 Herman Hoeh died November 21, 2004. It has been reported that he was receiving a salary of $130,000 when he was an evangelist in the Worldwide Church of God. As Herbert Armstrong, Hoeh gave many false prophecies, which are recorded in The Plain Truth magazine.
2 S. E. Anderson (author of Armstrongism;s 300 Errors Exposed [see our Booklist]) says, “HWA’s Hebrew years have only 360 days each; he is short 5 l/4 days in each of 2520 years; this means he is short 13, 230 days, or about 36 l/4 years.” To see where HWA copied this from and why it doesn’t add up, read “2520 Years Punishment” in chapter 5 of Kelly Marshall’s critical review of Mystery of the Ages.
3 The United States and Britain in Prophecy, p. 96, 1980.
4 Denmark means “Dan’s Mark.” (Ibid., p. 99)
5 The Hammond Universal World Atlas, p.16, 1988
6 Information derived from online article, “Uranium’s Scientific History 1789-1939,” Dr. Bertrand Goldschmidt, 1989.
7 Mystery of the Ages, p. 187, 1980.
8 The Compendium of World History by Herman Hoeh was used as history curriculum at Ambassador College when Hoeh taught history. It was dropped from publication in the early `70s but remained in church libraries through the `90s. During the Tkach reforms, Ron Kelly gave a June 2, 1990 sermon titled, “Fun With Prophecy.” In it Kelly caused members to laugh at, and think silly, the teachings they had previously believed, including the “place of safety.” During this same period of time members watched a headquarters video where Herman Hoeh laughed about his Compendium and said, “If you believe everything we said, then you’re not thinking.” Feigning good humor, he waved his hands and said, “Just throw it out!” His grinning face and casual demeanor was an attempt at setting the members at ease over this discomforting revelation. This was all part of the propaganda to get members to throw out their old literature, change their established beliefs, and accept the new doctrinal changes.
9 J. Vernon McGee said, “If you search through the Bible from the time Israel returned to the land after the captivity, you can pick up practically all of the tribes.” (Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 4, p. 255.) Following are a few scriptures in the Bible where he shows the tribes of Israel were not “lost”: II Chronicles 34:9 (Here a remnant of the northern kingdom of Israel is sending in money for the repair of the temple); Mark 2:13-14 (mentions Levi who belonged to the tribe of Levi); Luke 2:36-38 (Anna is of the tribe of Asher); James 1:1 “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” (James refers to believers in Israel, Christian Jews of that day). Regarding James 1:1 McGee says: “It is obvious that James is referring to the believers in Israel. He is writing to the Christian Jews of that day. After all, the early church was 100 percent Jewish for quite a period of time … Today people speak of the ‘ten lost tribes of Israel,’ but no tribes really got lost. God scattered them throughout the world. … They are on every continent of the world.” (Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. 5, p. 627.) [emp. ours]
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