House of Yahweh

A controversial sect with apocalyptic prophecies and a strict adherence to Old Testament laws.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Armstrongism
Founder: Yisrayl Hawkins
Founded: 1983
Location: Eula, Texas, United States
Size: 300 members

The House of Yahweh (HOY) is a religious group headquartered on a compound in Eula, Texas, and was established in 1980 after splitting from the Worldwide Church of God (WCG). The sect is characterized by its emphasis on adherence to Old Testament laws as a means of justification, a belief in polygamy, and the notion of the spiritual superiority of its elders.

Founded by Yisrayl Hawkins, who was born as Bill Hawkins before legally changing his name, the House of Yahweh claims that it is the only place on earth where specific celebratory feasts are to be observed. These feasts include Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, drawing members to make a pilgrimage to their Texas compound three times a year. The sect teaches that Yahshua (Jesus) was born a man and became the son of Yahweh when he was baptized, later dying for the sins of humanity as an atonement offering.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the House of Yahweh is its rejection of Trinitarianism, the belief in the triune nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which is a core doctrine of mainstream Christianity. Instead, they teach that Yahshua is not a divine being but was a human who became the son of Yahweh and that the Holy Spirit represents the word of Yahweh, the Law, and the Prophets. The group is also known for their failed predictions regarding the end of the world, including a nuclear war’s onset at specific dates that have come and gone without incident.

The sect also teaches that salvation can be obtained through strict adherence to the Torah, obedience to Yahweh’s 613 laws, and keeping Jewish feasts and festivals. They maintain a significant distance from traditional Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter, labeling them as pagan. The group’s interpretation of the Bible is unique to their beliefs, producing their own translation, “The Book of Yahweh,” which they claim is the only accurate version, free from pagan corruptions.

Yisrayl Hawkins, the self-proclaimed prophet of the sect, has faced legal action on several charges, including bigamy and child labor violations. In a notable incident, he was arrested in 2008 and charged with having multiple wives, alongside allegations of sexually abusing a teenager and committing welfare fraud. Moreover, other leaders within the House of Yahweh have also faced legal issues, such as the conviction of an elder for the sexual assault of a minor.

As a result of group’s unconventional teachings, the legal issues of its leaders, and its history of failed apocalyptic predictions​​​​​​, critics and former members have labeled the House of Yahweh as a cult with a strict authoritarian structure, where rebellion against the group’s leaders is seen as rebellion against Yahweh Himself.

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