Chapter 6 – Sid Roth
They Thought For Themselves, Chapter 6
There Must Be Something More!
by Sid Roth
“Because I work, eat, sleep and that’s the way it goes. There must be something more.” These are the words of a song that I wrote shortly after graduating from college.
It seems as though I blinked my eyes and I was married. I blinked my eyes again and I had a daughter. I blinked my eyes again and I had a job as a stockbroker with the largest brokerage firm in the world, Merril, Lynch. But there was something missing. Deep inside I felt a yearning—there had to be something more!
I didn’t find it in religion. Both of my parents were Jewish. I attended an Orthodox synagogue and was bar mitzvah. I was proud of being a Jew. But I found the religion boring and many of the religious people hypocritical. God was just not relevant in my life.
So I looked to money for happiness. My goal was to become a millionaire by age 30. But I blinked my eyes again and I was 29 with no hope of being a millionaire by 30.
I left my wife, my daughter, my job, and went searching for something more. I had been married young. Perhaps the single life would give me satisfaction. After one year, I knew this was not my answer.
Then I took an occult, New Age meditation course. The instructor taught me how to lower my brain waves. When I was in this passive, hypnotic state, I was told to invite a “counselor” into my head. He said this counselor would answer my questions.
On the last day of the course, the instructor tested my new power by giving me the name of a woman I didn’t know. Then he asked what was physically wrong with her. I asked my counselor and he showed me that this woman had cancer of the breast. “Could she have cancer of the breast?” I asked. My answer was correct. I knew it was not a lucky guess.
The power started growing. One day I had the thought, I would like to open my own investment business. Almost immediately, a businessman whom I barely knew offered me a free office, secretary, and telephone.
Soon after I took advantage of his offer, he asked, “Sid, did you know your own Jewish Bible condemns your involvement in the occult?” He showed me from the Torah, Deuteronomy 18:1012:
There shall not be found among thee any one who causeth his son or his daughter to pass through the fire [child sacrifice], one who useth divination [fortune telling], one who is an observer of times [astrology], or an enchanter [sorcery or omens], or a conjurer [hypnotist, witch]. Or a charmer [casts a magic spell], or a consulter with familiar spirits [medium or someone using channeling or ouija boards], or a wizard [spiritist, Transcendental Meditation, Silva Mind Control, Edgar Cayce], or who inquireth of the dead [channeling, seances, etc.]. For an abomination unto the Lord are all that do these things ….
This businessman told me that the “counselor” who gave me information was a demon and very evil.
The Bible, the Supernatural, and the Jews
Then I read a book by McCandlish Phillips called, The Bible, the Supernatural, and the Jews. Phillips said that because a Jew is under a covenant with God, he faces an even worse judgment for participating in occult practices. The book included stories of famous Jewish people who had dabbled in the New Age—and lost their lives.
I decided I had better find out if the Bible really was from God. So I stopped consulting my counselor and started reading the Bible. I soon got the scare of my life. My counselor started cursing me. I realized this counselor had a mind of its own and was from the pit of hell. I had to get rid of it. But there was no one I could go to for help.
Then things got worse. I broke into astral projection. This is when your spirit leaves your body. I was afraid my spirit would be unable to find its way back and that my body would be buried alive.
As a young boy I had a great fear of death because I thought that dying meant I would cease to exist. Now death looked like my only way to find relief from this horrible situation.
The Worst Night of My Life
On the worst night of my life I called my wife and asked her to pray. Then I prayed a prayer of my own: “Jesus, help!” I didn’t know if He was real, but I had nowhere else to turn. When I went to bed, I didn’t want to wake up. Life was too hard.
The next morning I knew immediately something was different. The evil that had been inside of me was gone. I knew it had to do with that prayer. Suddenly I realized I had no fear. Instead, I felt surrounded by liquid love. Finally, I had experienced what the New Age could never give me—the tangible presence of God. I had never felt such peace. And I was convinced that Jesus was my Messiah.
Next, I heard the audible voice of God. He told me to return to my wife and daughter. My wife, Joy, had become an agnostic when she was exposed to atheistic professors in college. But when I showed her the predictions about the Jewish people written thousands of years in advance in the Bible, she said, “I must believe the Bible is from God.” (See Chapter 10 for further discussion about these predictions.) She shortly became a believer in Jesus.
Something Wrong With the Rabbi
My mother, a great peacemaker, convinced my father that my newfound belief in Jesus was a phase and it too would pass. I was very concerned for my parents to know the Messiah and I tried to witness at every opportunity. My mother would listen, but my father would get angry and close his ears. Over the years my parents watched how my marriage was restored. They observed the new stability in my life.
They could see I was becoming a real mensch (Hebrew word that, roughly translated, means “a good human”). They watched my wife, daughter, sister, brother-in-law and nephews become believers. When my sister lost her daughter, Cheryl Ann, my parents observed her inner strength in dealing with this tragedy—a strength she had not had previously.
One day, after much prayer, my father let me read to him the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. By the time I finished, he was angry and accused me of reading from a Christian Bible because he said I was reading about Jesus. I showed him it was published by the Hebrew Publishing Company, but that was not good enough. He said he would only accept a Bible from his Orthodox rabbi. Hmm, I thought, My father thinks Isaiah is speaking of Jesus.
So they next day I called our family rabbi for an appointment. When I entered his office, he greeted me with a warm welcome and asked what he could do for me. I asked if he would give me a Bible and inscribe something personal to me. He gladly complied, writing some kind words to me on the inside cover.
I thanked him and left quickly. I could not wait to show this powerful gift to my father. When I arrived, I confidently displayed the inscription to my dad and made sure he read it. Then I began to read the same passage from Isaiah. Now he had only two choices. Either he had to agree Jesus was the Messiah or he had to think something was wrong with the rabbi. To my shock, he said, “I’ve always thought there was something wrong with that rabbi.” And then he proceeded to tell me how he once saw the rabbi eating out in a restaurant on Yom Kippur—the day of fasting.
Think for Yourself
One afternoon when I went over to my parents’ house for a visit, my father was at the race-track. I decided this was the time to prove to my mother that Jesus was the Messiah. I knew that she had very little knowledge of the Scriptures, did not know if they were true, and gave no thought to an after-life, although she came from a religious family and attended an Orthodox synagogue.
I started by trying to prove there is a God and the Bible is His book. “Mom, did you know the entire history of the Jewish people—past, present and future—is in the Bible? Hundreds of precise predictions have come true already. And the scientific dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel proves no one entered these predictions in the Bible after the event occurred.
“For instance, God said He would bless us beyond any people that ever lived, if we would be obedient to His laws (Deuteronomy 28:1). However, if we disobeyed, we would lose our country, be persecuted and scattered to the four corners of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:36-37; Isaiah 11:12). And wherever we would flee, we would be persecuted (Deuteronomy 28:65). And, even though many of us would suffer and die, we would always be preserved as a distinct people (Jeremiah 31:36). With the suffering we have gone through as Jews, you would think every Jew left alive would have assimilated as a means of self preservation. But against impossible odds, God has preserved us as a distinct people.
“Then, in the last days a miracle would happen. Israel would become a Jewish nation (Jeremiah 16:15). If there were no Israel and the U.N. had to vote on it becoming a Jewish homeland today, what would the probability be? Zero would be too generous. That is how impossible it was in 1948. But God caused a great sign to occur that was of far greater magnitude than the crossing of the Red Sea as though it were dry land (Jeremiah 16:14-15). And a nation, Israel, was formed in a day as Isaiah predicted (Isaiah 66:8).
“Amos said once we returned we would rebuild the waste cities (Amos 9:14). And, if you investigate the history of Israel, you will find one city is built upon another. Tel Aviv is as modern and cosmopolitan as any city in the world. Isaiah even said the desert would blossom as the rose (Isaiah 35:1). By the way, did you know Israel exports more roses to Europe than any other nation? Ezekiel prophesied the reforestation of Israel (Ezekiel 36:8).
“And Isaiah 35:7 tells us, ‘The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.’ How did Isaiah know 2,700 years ago that Israel would develop technology that would cause underground water to bubble to the surface supporting the growth of vegetation in the barren desert? Since this water originates from deep within the earth, it comes out warm, allowing growth in any weather!1
“The only way Isaiah or any of the other prophets could have known these things is if God told them. Two hundred years before Cyrus was born, Isaiah identifies him by name and says God would use this Gentile to build the Jewish Temple and restore the cities in Israel (45:1, 13; 44:28). How did Isaiah know his name? And better still, how did God get a heathen to want to restore Jerusalem? Jeremiah prophesied that Israel would go into captivity in Babylon for exactly 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10). Guess how many years we were captive in Babylon?
“I could go on and on about the amazing predictions of the Bible that were written thousands of years before the fact, but would you like to know about our future? Since God has demonstrated 100 percent accuracy so far, it is reasonable to expect Him to know our future.”
As I quickly moved from Scripture to Scripture, I could tell my mother was impressed with my knowledge of the Bible. And for the first time in her life she was confronted with the accuracy of God’s Word.
“Mom, Zechariah says that in the last days the whole world will not know what to do with Jerusalem (12:3). Today, the problems of Jerusalem and the tiny nation of Israel are in the news continuously. And Israel will be invaded by many nations. The invading powers are mentioned by name (Ezekiel 38:3-9). It will be a real blood bath; two-thirds of our people will perish (Zechariah 13:8). And when there is no hope left, the Messiah will fight for Israel. Let me read it to you from Zechariah:
Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle …. “They [the Jewish people] will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great …” (14:3; 12:10, 11).
“Mom, do you know why we will be weeping?” I think this was the first time I paused for air and gave her a chance to speak.
“I guess because we will be so grateful for being spared,” she said.
“That is partially right. But the main reason is that we will realize, for the first time, that Jesus is our Messiah, and we missed Him.”
“But if Jesus is the Messiah, why don’t all the rabbis believe? Sidney, I love you, but you still don’t know as much as the rabbis who have studied all their life.”
“Mom, the Talmud tells us that years ago, when the rabbis pondered how to recognize the Messiah, they concluded that there would be two Messiahs. One would suffer for the people and be like Joseph. He would be rejected by his own people He is described in Isaiah 53:
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not (v. 3).
“And, according to Daniel 9:26, He would die before the second Temple was destroyed:
After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One [the Messiah] will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.
“He would die by crucifixion. David describes this hundreds of years before the first recorded crucifixion. David even saw the guards gambling for his clothes. And he noted that His bones would not be broken because this is the requirement for acceptable sacrifices.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death …. They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing (Psalm 22:14-18).
“He did not die for His own sins but for our sins:
… we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).
“Incidentally, the prophets go on to say His ancestry would be from the line of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13), the Gentiles would follow Him (Isaiah 11:10), and He would be born in Bethlehem of Judah (Micah 5:2). Did you know his mother was living in the wrong place until shortly before His birth? Mary had to go to Bethlehem for a special census for tax purposes at the precise moment of his birth!”
“O.K. already, so why don’t the rabbis see this?” she asked.
“Well, they saw this suffering servant Messiah and called Him ‘Messiah ben (son of) Joseph.’ But then they found just as many predictions about the Messiah reigning as King and ushering in an age of peace. They called Him ‘Messiah ben David,’ like King David. How did they reconcile these supposedly contradictory roles? Their theory was that there were two distinct Messiahs. But today it is clear that it is one Messiah with two appearances. First, he came to initiate the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah, to change us from the inside out.
“The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel … and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:31, 34).
“Since we humans are so unclean compared to the holiness of God, we always needed a mediator and the blood of an innocent animal to atone for our sins. During Temple days our intermediary was a high priest. Today, our intermediary cleanses us from all sins, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world. Then, when we are clean, He actually takes up residence inside our body, which becomes His temple.
“Speaking of two appearances of the Messiah, did you know the first time Moses identified himself as our deliverer we rejected him? (Exodus 2:11-14). And the first time Joseph identified himself as our deliverer, his own brothers wanted to kill him (Genesis 37:8, 19-20). Jesus fits this same pattern. His second appearance will be when He comes to rule the world and to usher in an age of peace.
They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).
“Today the rabbis teach us about His second coming, but never mention Messiah ben Joseph. I found out why when I participated in a debate with a rabbi at the University of Maryland. After the debate, I engaged a young Orthodox rabbinical student in dialogue. I asked him to tell me who Isaiah was speaking of in the 53rd chapter. He amazed me with his answer. He said, ‘I can’t tell you.’
“‘Why?,’ I quickly asked. ‘You know Hebrew better than I. Read it from your Tanakh (Old Covenant).’”
“‘No,’ he responded, ‘it would be a sin.’”
“‘Why?,’ I asked again.”
“‘Because I am not holy enough,’ he said. ‘We can only tell you what the rabbis who lived closer to the days of Moses tell us the verse means.’”
“How sad, Mom. What he was really saying was he could not think for himself.”
Although I thought my presentation to my mother was overwhelming, she let me know she was grateful for the change believing in Jesus had caused in my life, but was not ready to accept the truth. “What would your father say? Are you hungry? Can I get you something to eat?”
Over the years, whenever my mother was sick, I would pray for her and God would heal her. As a Jewish nonbeliever, my mom was so proud of me she would tell all her Jewish friends that if they were sick her son would pray in Jesus Name and God would heal them. Before she died, she too accepted Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus) as her Messiah.
Who is a True Jew?
But my dad was still embarrassed and very hurt by my faith. He was born in Poland and saw anti-Semitism by so-called “Christians” firsthand. After my mother’s funeral, my father had only one question: Was I going to say the prayers (Kaddish) for my mother in the synagogue every day for eleven months? There was an ulterior motive behind my father’s question. If I would say the prayers for my mother, he could be assured that I would say them for him.
And it was his belief that somehow these prayers would be his ticket into heaven without punishment or delay. Since he knew I did not agree with this form of prayer, he wondered what my answer would be. For a split second I thought of the time commitment. I thought of the endurance needed to sit through all the rituals and prayers in a language I did not understand. I thought of the possible repercussions by those in the synagogue who knew of my outspoken faith in Jesus. But as quickly as these thoughts raced through my mind, I found myself agreeing to do it.
It had been years since I had put on the tefillin (little box with Scripture inside that is wrapped around one’s head and arm to conform to Deuteronomy 6:8). A retired rabbi helped me as I placed the tefillin around my arm and on my head.
After one service, I got into a conversation with the man who read from the Torah. The Torah reading happened to be about the Jewish people walking through the Red Sea as though it were dry land. As I discussed this with my friend, he looked at me with the most incredulous expression and said, “You don’t really believe those stories, do you?”
I responded with just as incredulous an expression and said, “You don’t? What are you doing here?”
It is one thing when a secular Jew does not believe in the Torah. But when a Jewish religious leader does not believe, it shocks me. Then, when he told me he did not believe in God or life after death, I was curious why he came to the synagogue at all. He responded, “Because my friends are here. Because I like the traditions of my fathers. And because it gives me something to do.” I always thought these elderly men who davined (prayed) every day at the minyan (a gathering of ten or more Jewish men to pray) were the most holy Jews in the synagogue. I found that many of the men I prayed with felt the same way as this man.
My father greatly appreciated my going to the synagogue every day to pray. And since I had not mentioned Jesus in a while, he asked, “Do you still believe in Him?” I had been waiting for God’s timing because every time I mentioned Jesus, my father would always get angry. I told him that I believed in Jesus and He was the reason I was going to the synagogue. I said I did not believe the prayers were necessary for Mom because she was already in heaven. At that, he got angry and I quickly changed the subject.
On another occasion my father said men from the synagogue had told him that their sons would not have been so faithful to go to the synagogue every day. My father would say to me, “You’re a wonderful son. You’re as good as gold. But do you have to believe in Him?”
The Talmud declares that if a voice from heaven should contradict the majority of rabbis, we must ignore that voice. A true Jew says that if the Torah contradicts the majority of the rabbis, we must follow the Torah.
May God grant that soon all Israel would be true Jews.
Heaven Must Be a Wonderful Place
Years later, I got a call that my father was dying in the hospital. My sister, also a believer, and I went to his bedside. I felt a strong presence of God that had been on me constantly for several days. It was the same tangible presence as when Jesus first became real to me years earlier. I said, “Dad, do you remember how Mom always said, ‘Heaven must be a wonderful place’? Don’t you want to be with her and the rest of our family?”
My father had lost his voice. His body was destroyed by cancer. But a great miracle happened. When I asked him if he wanted to make Yeshua his Messiah and Lord, my sister and I heard him say, “Yes!”
I am a very thankful person. Every member of my immediate Jewish family believes in Yeshua. Joy and I have celebrated 43 years of marriage. My daughter is now married and has three daughters.
It has been more than 30 years since I was set free. Over time, the mind can play tricks. If this had been my only experience with God I would begin to doubt. But I have studied the Bible for myself and I am 100 percent convinced only one person in all of history could be the Jewish Messiah. Daily I experience the presence of God. And I have seen miracles happen thousands of times when I pray for the sick in His name.
Thank God there is something more!
Commentary by Sid Roth
Some people in the New Age believe they have been reincarnated (died and come back as another person or being). Some have testified under hypnosis about experiences in other lives and in countries they have never even visited. How is this possible? The Bible says you die once and then comes the judgment. This rules out any possibility of reincarnation. Therefore, people who speak of past lives are channeling for familiar spirits. These familiar spirits have been around for thousands of years.
My sister, a sensible, stable elementary school teacher, had also violated Deuteronomy 18 and opened herself up to demonic influence. Years later, she attended a deliverance meeting. As the leader of the meeting prayed for demons to manifest so they could be cast out, she heard some coughs around the room and screaming. The screams got louder. They didn’t seem human. My sister hadn’t gone to participate, but observe. In her own words:
I was scared and wanted to leave. I turned to tell my husband (a Jewish accountant) that I wanted to go, but I couldn’t get an audible word out. My tongue wouldn’t lie flat; it kept twisting around in my mouth. Then I looked down at my hands and saw they were both in fists. I couldn’t open them. My fingernails dug into my palms. I was paralyzed! The fear was intolerable. I started crying.
Then a man came over to me and said, “Name your demon.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. Couldn’t he see I was paralyzed? When I didn’t answer, he walked away. Next a lady came over and said the same thing, “Name your demon.” I found the words coming out of my mouth, “Demon of fear.” She commanded it to leave. My fists immediately opened up and I was able to talk. I knew the spirit world was real. That evening I was released from a fear of people that had tormented me my whole life. I was free.
My sister, her husband, and their three sons are now Messianic Jews. I’m glad everyone doesn’t have to experience the reality of the dark, invisible world to find the Lord. The devil is real. Demons are real. And the only defense is the Jewish Messiah.
Notes to “There Must Be Something More!”
1From an interview with Dr. Dov Pasternack of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev on “Report to Zion” Messianic Vision radio broadcast #8 (broadcast April 1989).