Some claim that the Lev Tahor group is a cult because of the way that they look and dress. They all dress in black. They believe in very modest clothing. They are careful not to expose too much bare skin. It is their custom for men to have their head shaved, and they have side-locks that hang from under a black hat. The men’s beards are never cut. To them, this is all a part of their service to God. Certainly, it is not a crime to look different than others! Any time that you are different than the majority of the people you are considered peculiar. But, the truth is that those who follow the Bible are to be peculiar, different. Receiving Jesus as your Saviour should cause a change in a true disciple of God!
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
Many people are also skeptical of the Lev Tahor group because of their long prayers. They tend to pray much longer than the average religious Jewish person.
This should be something to be admired, not condemned. Prayer is precious to the God of the Bible, if it is sincere.
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 “Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
The Lev Tahor group requires their members to serve God with all of their heart and soul. This certainly should not be considered a principal of a cult. Every Bible believer is told to do the same.
Matthew 22:37 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
How often has a man been tempted to lust after a girl because of her immodest clothing? It may greatly benefit the rest of the world to learn a lesson in modesty from the Lev Tahor. I am not saying that everyone should wear black, but modesty certainly is godly. God certainly likes colors. He paints the multicolored rainbow in the bright blue sky. Colorful flowers make the rolling hills flow with beauty. God has put coats of many colors on the beasts of the field. Certainly, God is not against clothes that have various colors. But, the Scriptures tell us that women’s clothes should be modest. This means that she should not be exposing too much skin to cause others to lust after her. Of course, this same principal would apply to men dressing modestly.
1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;”
It also seems like a cult to many people because the group avoids television viewing and computers. These things have certainly been a great benefit to mankind, but at the same time, this modern technology has done great harm to the human race. This technology has allowed sin to unfold and capture people in many evil traps.
2 Timothy 3:4-7 “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
The group has also been accused of physical abuse and unsanitary conditions. If they are going beyond what the Bible allows for discipline of rebellious children, they certainly should be held accountable. But, if they are using corporal punishment, as prescribed by the Bible, they should be commended, not condemned. Jails are full of children and adults who had slack parents. It is the duty of every parent to correct their rebellious children. The Bible declares that corporal punishment will correct a child who is Hell-bent. It is far better for a child to receive proper, corrective corporal punishment than to walk a path that leads them to Hell.
Proverbs 23:13-14 “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
“According to Ontario Superior Court Judge Lynda Templeton, ‘The religious beliefs of the Lev Tahor include but are not limited to (a) a rejection of the concept of Zionism; (b) a belief that God is present in everything and controls everything; (c) a rejection of Darwinism because it is based on a concept of randomness and mutation that suggests a lack of direction by a higher power; and (d) an acceptance of science generally but an interpretation of scientific principles that accords with their religious beliefs.’
The main requirement is ongoing, dedicated, worship and service to God. The community claims the way they live is within the boundaries of the Halacha and Jewish tradition. They assert that their lifestyle is not new or different.
According to Judge Templeton, the traditional way of life of members of the Lev Tahor community is not ‘merely a matter of personal preference, but one of deep religious conviction, shared by an organized group, and intimately related to daily living. … Religion is not simply a matter of theocratic belief but pervades and determines their entire way of life regulating it with detail through strictly enforced rules of the community.
… The adoption and practice of the Torah to the extent perceived by members of Lev Tahor as desirable or necessary in their daily lives’” (2)
This group is in error for rejecting Zionism, but that certainly does not necessarily make them a dangerous cult. If they take up arms against Israel because of their anti-Zionist belief, that would make them dangerous. Zionism is the movement and belief that God has guaranteed Israel land and that they are a chosen people in God’s plan. The Jews have been promised by God to return to Israel and establish a nation. Their Jewish identity will survive the dispersions of the past. Helbrans, the leader of the Lev Tahor group, made the following statement about Zionism:
“A Jew who believes in the Torah cannot take a side in this struggle,’ he says. ‘The Zionist state must be annulled and quickly, from the Torah’s point of view. Because of that same outlook, other peoples must not be enslaved. The Jewish people must wait in exile for redemption and the coming of the Messiah. I pray every day for this to happen, but I would be happy if it is done without any bloodshed.’” (3)
This statement by Helbrans about Zionism contradicts the reality of Israel becoming a nation before the Messiah, Jesus, returns, according to prophecy in the Torah, Scriptures.
It was prophesied that Israel would become a nation in a day. It also says that Israel would have peace. This prophecy came partially true on May 14, 1948. After being dispersed for around 2,000 years, Israel became a nation in one day, as prophesied. This prophecy will not be complete until the Messiah, Jesus, comes to rule over her. He will provide the prophesied peace for Israel.
Isaiah 66:8-13 “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. 10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: 11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. 12 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. 13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
It is also apparent that it is in God’s plan for Israel to be an established nation when the Messiah, Jesus, comes back. They will be in their homeland when the Messiah comes to their rescue. If the Jews were still scattered all over the world, the nations of the world could not come against them in Jerusalem, as prophesied.
Zechariah 14:1-3 “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.”
The Superior Court Judge, Lynda Templeton, states that the Lev Tahor group believes that “God is Present in everything and controls everything;…” (4)
If the judge is saying that the Lev Tahor group believes everything is God, this is a false doctrine. This would be the false teaching of Pantheism. If she is saying that they believe God is present observing every circumstance, this is a true Biblical principal. The Bible teaches that God is omnipresent (present everywhere), but everything is not God. The concept of God’s presence and control is not a cult idea. It is a Biblical principle. Sometimes, to the outside world it appears that God can not be found, but the truth is that God allows man to have a free will. But, God is present and in control. When it is time to stop an individual who is out of control, God will do so in His time.
Acts 17:28-31 “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
Just because God is present everywhere, seeing evil and good, this does not mean that God approves of evil. God hates evil, and He will judge it! Our Holy God sees when anyone does evil. He hates evil. He will judge those who do evil. Mankind will give account before God for every evil deed that they do.
Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
Judge Lynda Templeton also stated that the ultra-Orthodox Jewish group rejected the evolutionary ideas of Darwin. Again, this is not a cult idea. In fact, to believe in the evolution of mankind is a cult. It takes a lot of faith to believe in evolution since there is no evidence to prove it. The Bible declares that God created everything. All of the evidence backs it up. Just as a complex watch or computer is made by design, all living things were created by design.
Isaiah 42:5 “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:”
Genesis 2:3 “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
It is not a cult to believe that true science will not conflict with the scientific principals and examples in the Bible. Scientists have laughed at some of the science of the Bible just to find out that their theories are false. For example: scientists for a long time believed that the earth was flat, but the Bible has long declared that it is circular.
Isaiah 40:22 “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:”
It appears that the ultra-Orthodox Jewish group is searching for the truth about serving God. As a child, the founder of the group, Helbrans, continually searched out how to serve God. He wanted to know the purpose of life. His parents, who are not religious, tried to prevent Helbrans from seeking out religious answers to life. But, he continued his goal of trying to find answers about life. The following is Helbrans’ statement about his search for the truth about the meaning of life and God:
“The attraction to a more religious way of life began before his bar mitzvah. ‘I was just curious to know why I’m alive and why the world exists,’ Helbrans recalls. ‘I wanted to understand what it all meant.’ He says he asked these questions to his parents and teachers, and every adult he knew. He also searched for answers in the books that were available to him as a boy.” (5)
Helbrans and his group say they are seeking the purpose of life. The Bible tells us that we were created for God’s pleasure. Our purpose is to bring pleasure to God by receiving His way of salvation and then follow Him in obedient love to show our appreciation for the free gift of salvation.
Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
The Bible states very plainly the truth about salvation, which is provided by Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
“Helbrans says he [is] also ready to acknowledge that he could be wrong. ‘The search for truth is the purpose. And at its base there exists the assumption that one could also be wrong. Otherwise, there would be no search,’ he says. ‘If you convince me I am wrong about something, and that there is another truth, I won’t be able to avoid embracing it. I strive to maintain an open line of communication with the Hasidim, to hear them, to accept criticism and to amend things if there are mistakes.’” (6)
According to this statement above, it appears that Helbrans and his group are ready to embrace the true salvation of God, if it is revealed to them. If we are as close to the prophesied seven-year Tribulation as it seems, it is possible that God is preparing Helbrans’ group for a special purpose.
During the Tribulation, the Lamb, Jesus Christ, will set apart a special group of 144,000 Jewish men. These Jewish men will express devotion to Jesus, and they will display godly characteristics. These Jewish men will be redeemed by the shed blood of Jesus. When they have accomplished their purpose in the Tribulation, they will sing a special song before the throne of God. They will follow the Lamb, Jesus.
Since Lev Tahor means “Pure Heart” in Hebrew, it is possible that some of the men from this group will finally obtain their goal of receiving a pure heart, when they meet Jesus. The Lev Tahor group claims to be striving to be pure for God. If some of the Jewish men from this group meet Jesus in the Tribulation period, it is very possible that those qualified will become a part of the 144,000 who will follow Jesus wherever He goes.
Revelation 14:1-5 “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”
It appears that Helbrans and some of his disciples put themselves through various forms of suffering to accomplish salvation. This is contrary to the requirement of the Bible. Jesus suffered for all the sins of mankind once and for all. Repentance is necessary for salvation, but not penance, such as rolling in the snow, lashings, and cutting ones flesh. They said that they did not do what is considered to be horrific suffering for salvation much, but they did do some horrific suffering sometimes. But, the truth is that they never have to suffer to receive salvation. It was prophesied that Jesus would suffer for all the sins of the world. This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus suffered and died on the cross. This complete fulfillment of prophecy can be read in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Isaiah 53:4-7 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
In conclusion, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious group, known as Lev Tahor, may be a cult that is doing harm to society. But, on the other-hand, they may just be devoted to finding God’s way of salvation. In fact, some of the men of Lev Tahor may be a part of the prophesied 144,000 Jewish men in Revelation 7 and 14. If Lev Tahor is a cult that is doing harm, those individuals responsible for the harm should be punished. But, if they are seeking to serve God, we should pray for them and try to persuade them to come to the God of the Bible. But, most of all, we should not turn against all Jews because of a few misguided Jews. As Christians, we must put on the armor of God and wage war against the real enemy, Satan the roaring lion!
HIBM Editorial by Avi Goldstein * Jewish Cult Provokes Anti-Semitism! part 2– Dr. K. Daniel Fried, Editor in Chief –copyright © 2014 www.hopeofisrael.net
(2) (4) http://en.wikipedia.org
’When you’re on the path of truth, you don’t care what others say’
Lev Tahor: Pure as the driven snow, or hearts of darkness?
(3) (5) (6) http://www.haaretz.com
Lev Tahor Children Praying and Studying!
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