By Sandra Chambers and Troy Anderson
A crowd of 550 people sing, clap and even dance in rhythm to the upbeat Jewish melodies played by LaDonna Taylor, a gifted violinist.
The venue, an auditorium in the heart of Jerusalem, is filled nearly to capacity with local Jewish people who have come, not only to hear the 30-minute violin concert, but also a lecture on the topic of, “The Supernatural.”
What they don’t realize is that tonight most of their lives and destinies will forever be changed.
There are no outward religious trappings of banners, flags, shofars or Bibles, but the atmosphere of heaven begins to invade the auditorium. The lecturer, an American-born Jew named Sid Roth, takes the stage and begins to speak out “words of knowledge” of healings that are taking place. Many in the auditorium stand to confirm that they have been healed of pain in their back, neck or other parts of their body.
Roth then begins to speak on the promised topic of the supernatural. He shares his personal testimony of how he was deeply involved in the occult, the counterfeit supernatural of Satan, and how he received total deliverance and freedom through a supernatural encounter with Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ. Most who have come to the lecture have never heard the gospel before, but when Roth gives an altar call, 525 of the 550 people in the auditorium stand, almost in unison, to boldly proclaim Yeshua as their Messiah and Lord.
Sid Roth giving an altar call at an outreach in Jerusalem
“I have just witnessed the most supernatural event in the modern-day history of Israel, and the most supernatural event I’ve seen in the 40 years I have been investigating miracles,” Roth said on his globally-televised show, It’s Supernatural!, regarding the October 2014 event. “While many people were physically healed that night, more importantly, they got a ‘supernatural heart transplant.’ They got their Messiah!”
Tracking the Supernatural
Roth has tracked the supernatural wave of God for four decades and is convinced that the increasing openness of Jewish people to the gospel and the unprecedented reports of worldwide healings, resurrections and other miracles is evidence that the world is living in the last days. Amid these widespread reports of miracles and other supernatural phenomena, Roth’s show is now one of the highest-rated Christian television shows and is “viewed as No. 1” among some Christian television networks.
“We are entering a time of what the Bible calls, ‘The fullness of the Gentiles,’ spoken of in Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25,” Roth told Charisma.“It’s a time when the spiritual blinders will fall off of the Jewish people and they will accept their Messiah and fulfill their destiny to evangelize the world.”
In his recent book, Sooner Than You Think, Roth tells of a dream he had in 2013 in which Jesus appeared to him and said, ‘I am coming back soon! I am coming back soon! I am coming back soon!’
“Many people from various walks of life are getting the same warnings from God,” Roth reports. “Even Orthodox rabbis are saying that they hear the footsteps of the Messiah.”
Surprisingly, a number of biblical scholars, teachers and prophecy experts agree.
Craig Keener, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary and author of Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, points out that the Bible predicts that supernatural signs and miracles will accompany the spreading of the gospel in the end times.
“We know that the Good News of the kingdom must be preached among the nations before the end (Matt. 24:14),” Keener says, “and we know that the gospel is spreading at an accelerating rate.”
Many are also pointing to the fulfillment of many Old Testament and New Testament prophecies.
“I have studied many subjects, including history, and I do not think I have ever seen a time in history when so much biblical prophecy is happening right under our noses,” says Paul McGuire, a prophecy expert, commentator for Fox News, CNN and the History Channel and host of the GOD TV show Apocalypse and the End Times. “No matter where you go in the world, but especially in the First World nations, prophetic signs are appearing with increasing frequency. In fact, more prophetic signs are coming true in our generation than ever before.”
Experts say the current fascination with demonic supernatural activity is another sign that the world is in the end times.
“The Bible teaches that there will be a quantum increase in demonic supernatural activity,” McGuire says. “Just turn on your TV and you will see hard core, occult-based programs that deal with ghosts, paranormal activities, psychic power, witchcraft, necromancy and sorcery.”
While some prophecy teachers emphasize only the false signs and wonders, McGuire points to Acts 2 as evidence that while demonic activity continues to increase, God is also going to pour out His supernatural power in an increased measure with signs and wonders and legitimate prophecies, dreams and miracles.
A Supernatural Prophetic Voice
Roth is one of the prophetic voices today that is pointing toward God’s supernatural miracles.
“It is no accident that God raised up Sid Roth over 43 years ago and gave him a hunger for the supernatural,” McGuire says. “Millions of people, who would never tune into a Christian television program, tune into Sid Roth’s TV show, It’s Supernatural!, because the name of the show intrigues them. Then when they watch, they hear the message of the gospel in a completely nontraditional manner. It takes a Jew to put together a show like that and it takes a supernatural Jew like Sid Roth to win both Jews and Gentiles to Jesus Christ.”
Sid conducting an interview on It’s Supernatural!
On his show, Roth positions himself as an investigative reporter who interviews believers in Jesus about their supernatural experiences with God.
“The show is brilliantly done,” says Pat Boone, the legendary singer and actor who starred in The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Cross and the Switchblade and is an out outspoken supporter of both Roth and Israel. “They’re not just telling stories, but they’re dramatizing them [with actors] and that makes the stories so much more real and draws people in.”
The show, which began in 1996, reaches millions around the world in North America, Central America, South America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, India, the Philippines, Israel and the Middle East. In Israel, it is broadcast 33 times a week on both Christian and secular television in English, Hebrew, Arabic and Russian. The president of TBN in Russia also reports that It’s Supernatural! program is the most popular show on their station.
“The real purpose of the show is not to glorify the supernatural,” Roth insists, “but rather, it’s a way to reach nonbelievers, especially Jews. The Bible says that the ‘Jew requires a sign,’ (1 Cor. 1:22) and miracles to prove the reality of God and open the door to proclaim why Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. I have found if I don’t show authentic miracles of God to Jewish people, Satan will show them his counterfeits. In fact, the religion that has the highest percentage of leaders and followers of cults and the occult is Judaism.”
As a Jewish young person who was personally caught up in Satan’s web of deceit, Roth seeks to warn others of the dangers lurking in the demonic supernatural.
Hooked on the Supernatural
From an early age Roth had a keen interest in anything to do with the New Age, the occult, astrology, fortunetelling, handwriting analysis, reincarnation, hypnosis, communicating with the dead, spiritualism, Ouija boards and psychic powers.
“All held a fascination for me that was far beyond a mere hobby, fad or interest,” Roth says.
Growing up in a traditional Orthodox Jewish family, Roth attended synagogue, observed all the Jewish holidays and celebrated his bar mitzvah at age 13. He believed there was a God, but says that the religious aspect of his Jewishness seemed abstract, irrelevant and full of hypocrisy.
From his first job as a paperboy to his career in insurance sales and later as an executive with Merrill Lynch, Roth’s single goal in life was to earn more money and prestige and to become a millionaire by the age of 30. At the age of 23, Roth fell in love and married a Baptist girl, Joy.
Soon, a baby was on the way and he began to feel trapped by his new responsibilities as a husband and father. With his dream of becoming a millionaire by age 30 seemingly out of reach, Roth fell into despair.
“Life seemed to have no future,” he says. “It was empty, colorless, devoid of meaning and excitement.”
Roth began to frequent singles bars and became a real swinger. With his marriage hanging together by a mere thread, he decided to consult the fortuneteller he had been visiting for two years. When Roth asked him whether he should leave his wife, the fortune-teller gave him a strong “go-ahead.”
Soon after the breakup of his marriage, a business associate told Roth about a mind-control class that had revolutionized a friend’s life. Without hesitating, Roth signed up for the course. The introductory session promised that by the end of the week participants would know what other people were thinking, be able to cure illnesses and improve their finances.
“I knew it was going to be what I had been searching for all my life,” Roth says. “It would be a can’t-fail approach to all the acclaim and financial success I had been looking for.”
As promised, by the end of the week, Roth had tapped into the supernatural in a new way. He had learned to access a supernatural counselor in his head who could answer any question and perform any test asked of him.
Realizing that with this new power he could have anything he wanted, Roth decided to go into business for himself. When an acquaintance offered him free office space, a phone and a secretary until he got on his feet, Roth jumped at the opportunity. What he didn’t know was that his benefactor was a Christian who held prayer meetings at the office.
One of the men who attended the prayer meeting was a Jewish believer, so out of curiosity Roth decided to check it out.
“I actually gave them a hard time, questioning everything they said and ridiculing their faith,” he admits.
One day, the Jewish believer stopped by Roth’s office and challenged him as to the source of his supernatural powers: “The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob is not pleased with your involvement in mind control. He condemns all New Age occult practices, and if God condemns these practices, guess where your supernatural power is coming from?”
The question frightened Roth enough that he began to search for an answer. Could there be a devil, and could he be the source behind his power? He sought advice from one of the top instructors of mind control in the country, but was told there was no such thing as evil. But Roth’s fear and uncertainty as to the source of his power continued to grow.
One day he kept getting flashes from his past life of all the bad things he had done. Going to bed that night with a mezuzah around his neck and a Bible under his pillow, an overwhelming sense of terror enveloped him.
“For the first time in my life, the nothingness of death looked better than continuing my tortured existence,” Roth explained. Terrified, hopeless and not wanting to live anymore, he cried out, “Jesus, help!”
“The next thing I knew it was morning,” he says. “My bedroom was flooded with the tangible presence of God. Every cell in my body was invigorated with His life. The fear was gone! The counselor was gone! And in their place was peace and indescribable joy. I instantly knew that Jesus was responsible and that there was greater power in His name than in all the forces of darkness that were trying to destroy me!”
Roth also knew without a doubt that Jesus was the Messiah and that he had received the gift of everlasting life. Then he says he heard the audible voice of God telling him to return to his wife and daughter. This supernatural experience with the Messiah transformed Roth’s thinking and his purpose for living.
A Heart for the Jew
After his supernatural experience, Roth felt an urgency and a calling to share the Messiah he had come to know with others, especially his fellow Jews. Shortly after his acceptance of Jesus, a local newspaper, the Washington Daily News, ran a front-page story about him and a few other Christian businessmen, labeling them, “White Collar Jesus Freaks.”
“It’s a wonder I survived that first year,” Roth says, “I was a Jewish believer in Jesus, which is not so unusual today, but 40 years ago it was a unique phenomena.”
The immediate notoriety Roth received from the newspaper article took him by surprise. He admits that he was totally unprepared for the ministry opportunities that came his way. He soon became a regular on the Full- Gospel Businessmen’s speaking circuit.
“I knew very little about the Bible or Christianity at the time,” Roth says, “so I would simply share my personal testimony whenever I was asked to speak.”
The newspaper article also caught the eye of Kathryn Kuhlman, a well-known evangelist and faith healer in the 1940s to 1970s, who invited Roth to appear on her TV show. Kuhlman even offered to mentor Roth in the supernatural if he would move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was located. Roth turned her down because as a young believer he says he took the Bible at face value and assumed that all Christians walked in the supernatural.
“It is the biggest regret of my life,” Roth says.
Continuing to pursue his call to Jewish evangelism, Roth became the president of the Hebrew Christian Alliance in Washington, D.C., and also helped to start one of the first Messianic Jewish congregations in Rockville, Maryland, called Beth Messiah. In 1977, he launched “Messianic Vision,” a nationally syndicated radio show which was one of the first Jewish outreach ministries of its kind. It aired daily on stations throughout the United States for 38 years. Just last year, the show moved to the Internet and is now a one-hour weekly show which can be heard on Roth’s website, sidroth.org.
“Even before I went into full-time ministry, I used to listen to Sid Roth on the radio,” says Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of the New York Times best-selling books The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah. “He was one of the first major pioneers as a Jewish believer in media, a visionary and a trail blazer. He also has a heart for evangelism. When he was a guest speaker at Beth Israel Congregation, I would take him out to eat before or after speaking. I cannot remember one meal where he didn’t witness to the waitress about salvation, and more often than not, she would bow her head and pray to receive the Lord.”
In the early 1990s, when the Russian Jews were immigrating to New York City by the tens of thousands, Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries, says Roth encouraged him, not only by what he said, but also by what he did.
“I consider Sid Roth one of the unsung heroes of the Great Russian Jewish messianic revival of the last 25 years,” Glaser says. “As a leader of a Jewish mission in Brooklyn at the time, I knew the harvest had been prepared, but I was not sure how to reach out since we didn’t speak Russian. But that didn’t stop Sid, who would fly to Brooklyn almost every weekend to encourage me, help out with the work and preach. Sid rented space for the meetings and helped start a Russian Messianic Jewish congregation in Brooklyn.”
In 1993, Roth was a co-speaker with Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Bernis for the first large Jewish evangelistic meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, that saw 2,000 people accept the Messiah. This festival of Jewish music and dance, with a gospel presentation, was organized by Bernis, who is now the chief executive officer of Jewish Voice Ministries International.
“Sid is the first Jewish believer I met after I became a believer and he’s had a great impact on my life and ministry for 30 years,” Bernis says. “Many of the key milestones in my ministry involve Sid Roth. He was there at the beginning of my pastoral ministry as a young Messianic rabbi. We teamed up together for the first outreach in Russia back in 1993 and Sid was a real influence in my decision to come to Jewish Voice. I consider him one of my closest friends and he’s the most committed believer I know. He’s more committed to moving in the power of God, in the authentic power of the Holy Spirit, than anyone I’ve ever met.”
Roth has continued to reach out to Jews with the gospel message through his lectures on the supernatural and in his books.
“In 1995, God instructed me in a dream to write a book of Jewish testimonies,” Roth says. “God said that more Jewish people would come to know Him through the book than anything I had ever done.”
Sid holding up a copy of They Thought for Themselves to the studio audience of It’s Supernatural!
That book, They Thought for Themselves (a collection of testimonies by ten Jewish believers), has reached millions with the gospel. It has been translated into nine languages and more than 1.4 million copies of the book have been mailed to Jews in North America as a part of the Project 77 outreach. Another estimated 1.3 million copies of the Russian version have been distributed in the former Soviet Union, Germany and the U.S.
The ‘Chutzpah’ of Sid Roth
Those who know Roth well say he is the “real deal.” They point to his humility, his willingness to be open and transparent, both in his ministry and in his personal life, and his genuine care and concern for others. Those who know him also know Roth has plenty of “chutzpah,” a Yiddish word that describes someone who has a lot of “guts.”
Dr. Michael Brown, President of FIRE School Ministries, calls Roth a true “soul-winner.”
“I have known Sid Roth for more than 30 years and he has never wavered from his calling and burden to demonstrate God’s miraculous power and win the lost,” Brown says. “I remember dropping him off at a hotel once where hundreds of young people were walking around in bizarre costumes, apparently gathering for a convention. Sid looked at me, smiled and said, ‘A soul-winner’s paradise!’ ”
Those who work with Roth also say he has more energy than most people half his age. “I’ve worked with Sid for over 12 years and he is one of the most upbeat people I know,” says Steve Newton, president and chief executive officer of Newton Media. “He talks like a 20-year-old who has another 80 years in front of him. He’s also a big risktaker for God. He never puts limits on what God can do and he always wants to be on the cutting edge with trends, creative concepts and guests that he interviews. He has a true passion to reach unsaved Jewish people for the Messiah. It’s a rare and special calling and everything he does, he does to reach the lost.”
McGuire says the opportunity to meet and spend time with Roth and his wife was “an experience I will never forget.”
“Despite his power and stature, Sid does not put on airs,” McGuire says. “What has struck me about Sid is his genuine hunger for the Lord. Recently, during dinner with a group of friends, Sid shared how the Lord had been dealing with him about praying in the Spirit for about one hour each day and how that spiritual discipline was transforming his life and ministry. And he challenged each of us to do the same.”
Many who know, work with and have crossed paths with Roth will agree with McGuire’s statement: “Sid knows that he has been supernaturally called by Yeshua to preach a supernatural gospel, and the way he fulfills that call is through having the heart of a servant and total reliance on the power of God.”
Keeping Focused on God’s Purposes
“Retirement” is not a word in Roth’s vocabulary. He’s always looking ahead with excitement to what God is going to do next. “I expect 2015 to be the most supernatural year yet!” Roth proclaims. “The raindrops are beginning to fall, signifying the beginning of the great awakening. We are on the verge of a worldwide revival where God’s supernatural miracles will become as commonplace as they were in the early church. I believe the population of entire cities will become on-fire believers in Messiah Jesus. Miracles will be reported on the 6 o’clock news and football stadiums will be used, not for sports, but for meetings that will host the glory of God.”
How does Roth know for certain this revival is coming soon? “The nation of Israel has always been God’s prophetic time clock,” Roth says, “and the Bible says that when the spiritual blinders fall off of the Jewish people and they accept their Messiah, there will be an outpouring of God’s glory like we’ve never seen before. Jesus is coming soon!”
Reprinted with permission from Charisma, June 2015. Copyright Charisma Media, USA. All rights reserved. www.charismamag.com