Question: "What is the House of Jacob?"
Answer: The “house of” someone can refer to the actual structure in which he or she lives, but it can also refer to the “household” of that person, which would include his family and ultimately his descendants and even his dynasty. House of is used extensively this way in the Old Testament: the house of Eli in 1 Samuel 13:14, the house of Saul and house of David in 2 Samuel 3:1, and the house of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 14:10 are just a few examples.
The term house of Jacob is simply another way to refer to the nation of Israel. Israel the patriarch was originally named Jacob (see Genesis 32). The interchangeability of the terms is illustrated in Exodus 19:3–4: “Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians.”’”
There is a religious organization called The House of Jacob Bible Study Class. The following is taken from their official website: “The House of Jacob Bible Study Class is a Church for those who seek entrance into the Kingdom of God. We recognize and teach all that is written in the Holy Bible (Old and New Testament). We teach faith in the testimony of Jesus Christ and observance of God’s laws including: the Ten commandments [sic], God’s Dietary Law and God’s Feast Days. We teach the lineage of the families of the earth including the Gentiles, Hamites and Israelites (Genesis 10). We show how the ‘so-called’ African Americans, and others who were historically taken on slave ships into various countries, are the true descendants of the Biblical Israelites (Deuteronomy 28). We also teach how salvation is open to all people to desire to serve God according to His commandments (Titus 2:11–13) and (Isaiah 56:5–7)” (accessed on 9/27/20).
The House of Jacob Bible Study Class is located in Chicago but spreads its teaching through podcasts, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The membership seems to be primarily black, as one of the distinctive teachings is that “African Americans” are really the physical descendants of Jacob—the house of Jacob. This seems to be consistent with what is known as the Black Hebrew Israelite Movement.
The House of Jacob Bible Study Class also insists on obedience to Old Testament commands with emphasis, as noted above, on feast days, Sabbaths, and dietary laws. It seems that obedience to these laws is necessary for one to be right with God. The New Testament is clear in rejecting this. Speaking before the leaders of the church in Jerusalem, Peter makes an impassioned statement that Gentiles should not be made to keep the law and also points out that Jews were never able to, either: “After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are’” (Acts 15:7–11).
The core teaching of every false religion is the same: you must obey certain commands to be made right with God. Some emphasize Old Testament commands; some emphasize New Testament commands; some emphasize church commands; some emphasize the humanitarian principles of kindness and general morality. Regardless of the specifics, obedience to be right with God is a false gospel. It is not through obedience but by grace through faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8–9).