Sid Roth - Dead Man Miraculously Comes Back to Life
Sid Roth: Hello. I'm Sid Roth your investigative reporter with Bill Wolfson. Now what would happen if you were pastor's pastor and one of your pastors calls you one day and says, "I think God is showing up. I think something wonderful is going on. I want your opinion. I don't want you to speak. I want you to come out to my church in monee, Illinois. That's exactly what happened to you, bill. You went there. What happened?
Bill Wolfson: What happened was a little girl just put her hands, she didn't even touch me, and she said, "Father, get this junk out of him now".
Sid Roth: Junk?
Bill Wolfson: Junk.
Sid Roth: Pastor's pastor? Tell me your background.
Bill Wolfson: Oh you know, it's amazing. I was brought up in the south side of Chicago. I was brought up in a conservative Jewish family. In fact, it's really the truth. When my friends got caught smoking marijuana behind the garage, I got caught eating pork ribs. I mean, I was brought up in a kosher between conservative and orthodox family. And I mean, my life was absolutely a dream life. I was a child actor. From age 10 to 16, I was in professional acting. I was in the traveling company with "Mame" with cyd charisse. I was in "Music man" with forest tucker. I worked with cesar Romero. In fact I worked with a number of western stars. You remember James drury from "The Virginian", nick Barkley from "Big valley"
Sid Roth: Oh yeah.
Bill Wolfson: Hugh o'brien from "Wyatt earp". I was in a play called "A thousand clowns" with all three of them at three different distinct times. I mean, I had a private tutor for six years.
Sid Roth: How does a Jewish man from a, I call it, conservadox background.
Bill Wolfson: Conservadox, that's right.
Sid Roth: Who's on his way to being a superstar become a believer in Jesus?
Bill Wolfson: You know, it's still strange. I look back it and, you know, it makes no sense. You want to talk about it's supernatural, it makes no sense in the natural. When I was 16 years of age I became a has-been. You see, because I'm 5-foot-5 and 3/4, I'll never forget that 3/4, because I was 5-foot-5 and 3/4, I was able to play young children until I was 16, 16-1/2, until I started shaping. And you know, directors prefer to work with older kids that can still portray younger parts. It's much more convenient. Well after having a tutor for six years, all of a sudden I was in a high school on the south side of Chicago of 4300 students. Now I hadn't been a high school for all these years and I took a class. I was absolutely depressed to be thrust out of drama and thrust into secular education. And I took a class called independent reading. I mean, it was an absolutely mickey mouse class. And the goal was to read x amount of books in the course of a year, and then you can get an a in the class. I started reading a lot of different biographies on different sports activists. And I mean, I read the story about bob gibson, a guy name ron leflore. I mean, you name it, all these different athletes. And there was a book that was misshelved, I call God-shelved in the library at homewood-flossmoor high school. It was called, "Run baby run". Well I thought, well this is probably a book about a gang leader that became an athlete, because I just read the book about gates brown who used to play for the detroit tigers, and later on he got out of prison and became a baseball player, that type of story. I read the book. It was about nicky cruz, this guy that was a gang banger in harlem, New York, and how he became this thing called, I was a Jew, a meshuganah, I called it a born-again Christian or something like that. I read the book and I just began to weep and weep. It absolutely impacted my life. And that day I just looked up to the heavens and I used to always pray in Hebrew, you know, "Baruch atah adonai" and all that stuff. And I said, I mean, how could I say this, something as weird as Jesus. I had never read the New Testament. The name Jesus was so uncomfortable. It just didn't roll off my lips correctly. And I said, "Jesus, if you're really God, if you're really the answer, show me". You know what happened?
Sid Roth: What?
Bill Wolfson: Nothing. The next three and half years of my life I continued to deal marijuana, continued to deal with different hallucinogenics, dealt more with barbiturates, and I mean, it really had no real impact. Then a few years later I met a guy named John. He was a Baptist. We called him John the Baptist, and he kept talking about Jesus and Jesus, and Jesus. And I had a real interesting situation happen. We ran out of matches for our marijuana. We were having a party in my apartment. You know, we had this water pipe, we called it a bong. And so I went down the dormitory hall and I knocked on somebody's door, never even met them. All of a sudden they open the door, somebody from my history class, and there were about 40 people in this studio apartment, not even a one-bedroom apartment. And they got all these books out there. I didn't know, they looked like the tanakh. They looked like the Old Testament, like the Bible. I didn't realize it was the whole Bible. They said, "Billy, come on in". And I said, "Can I borrow some matches". "Sure" and they gave me matches. I didn't even realize where I was at. They said, "Can we pray for you"? I said, sure. Being a Jew I thought they stood at this thing, you know, the little thing called the Mezuzah. I thought they'd stand by their doorpost and they'd kiss the thing like we used to do as Jews, and then they'd, you know, say a little prayer for me. So they said, "Can we pray for you"? I said, "Sure". I didn't realize they meant now. They grabbed me by the hand, Sid. Somebody grabbed me on the other hand and they started speaking in some kind of weird language. I thought, you know, I didn't know this term "Rapture" like this thing about going up to be in heaven or something. If I would have known what that word "Rapture" meant I would have prayed for it that moment. I was so uncomfortable.
Sid Roth: I'm sure.
Bill Wolfson: But something just clicked inside of me. And I'm saying, God don't interfere with my plans. I'm graduating college at 19. I'm on my way to law school at northwestern university. I don't have time to become this, I didn't know, I guess he called it a Christian or something. I mean, this is so antithetical. I come from a wealthy family. My whole life was planned out for me. My mom used to look at my brother bobby, you know, and she used to introduce us this way, "This is my son bobby the lawyer, my son Billy the doctor". I mean, I had a plan. I had a direction.
Sid Roth: Did you become an attorney?
Bill Wolfson: You know, I went to law school at northwestern university and right there in the first semester at northwestern I had the strangest experience. Let me tell you about it. It was on, I look back at it. It was on March 14, 1977. I was with a group of people. In fact, there were seven Jewish people in my circle and one of them became this thing called a Christian. His name was bob sheldon. He was a coke dealer. I mean, he was my best friend's brother. I'm saying, oh God, what is going on here. I actually became irritated. I was like, there's this guy in the Bible called Paul, Saul of Tarsus or something. I became an agitator. I mean, I just persecuted him. I cursed at him. I was derogatory. Anyway, he said, "You know what bill, in the Bible, in the Old Testament and in the New Testament God promises he'll show signs and wonders, supernatural things to unbelievers". And I figured, that's me. So anyway, so I said, "Lord, if Jesus is the answer," I didn't even mean it. I wasn't even sincere. I was really kind of like, kind of like this guy in the Bible called king of Agrippa. You know, he almost persuaded me.
Sid Roth: What happened?
Bill Wolfson: I said, "If you're real, show me". What happened was my father had a problem with his father. My father came from Russia during the bolshevik revolution in 1917. He had a problem with his father, hadn't visited him in seven and a half years. I said, "If you're real I want my father David Michael Wolfson, south side Chicago to visit his father". I prayed this on a Friday night. It was March 11, 1977. I called on March 10th or 11th. I called home that Saturday morning. Forgot I even prayed the prayer. I said, "Mom, can I talk to dad for a second"? She said, "Billy, you won't believe this. A miracle happened. I've been nudging your father for years to go see his father over at the drexel retirement home. This morning he got up and said, 'jean, this will sound strange, but I think I'm supposed to go see my dad.'" and he went to the retirement home.
Sid Roth: What did you take that as?
Bill Wolfson: You know what? This is what's bizarre. When the supernatural happens and we're in the middle of this script we don't even realize it's supernatural. I thought, this is like an esp thing or a clairvoyant thing, or something strange. So anyway, that wasn't good enough for me. So the next thing that I did was, I said, "You know what God, if you're really real, I don't want to be the only Jew that accepts this Jesus guy". I mean, I was always brought up with this thing called the Shema. We used to say, "Sh'ma yis'ra'eil adonai eloheinu".
Sid Roth: Of course.
Bill Wolfson: "Hear o Israel, the Lord thy God, the Lord is one God". I couldn't accept this new math thing, you know, three Gods, one, you know, this Trinity thing. I mean, that was just religious and I just couldn't accept that. So I said, if this is really the truth, I want to see other Jewish friends get saved. On March 12th, my roommate in college Martin sheldon comes to me, "Bill! Bill, I just became a Christian". You don't want to hear what I said. I can't say this on television. I was ticked. I wasn't even looking for this prayer to be answered.
Sid Roth: No wonder that 11-year-old girl said, "Get the junk out of him". But let me tell you something. This gets so amazing. We'll be right back.
Sid Roth: Hello. I'm Sid Roth your investigative reporter. I'm speaking to bill Wolfson, a Jewish man that is resisting and resisting sign after sign from God that Jesus is the Messiah. And he's saying, I'm a tough nut to crack. God, save some of my friends, my Jewish roommate. And his Jewish roommate, he became a believer. What happened next?
Bill Wolfson: Again, I never expected it to happen. All of a sudden, Warren engleberg, another Jewish friend gets saved.
Sid Roth: Sounds Jewish to me.
Bill Wolfson: This is all in three days. Then you got Richard Warren. We called him dicky Warren, a drummer, he gets saved. Then Mark's mother adel gets saved, father fred gets saved, brother George gets saved. Then his brother David gets saved.
Sid Roth: Was that enough? Was that enough Jewish people from your prayer?
Bill Wolfson: On March 14, 1977, at eight p.M., I fell on my face and I cried out for the first time in my life, "Jesus"! Can you believe I said this?
Sid Roth: That must have been difficult.
Bill Wolfson: "Jesus, come into my heart. Be my Lord and Savior". I mean, I realized I'm out of the will. I realized my parents are going to have a funeral for me. That's what Jews do. They sit shiva. That's like a whole week of morning as a result of what I'm doing. I'm crying out to Jesus and at that moment, he answers. He not only does that, all of a sudden I started speaking in a weird language and it wasn't Hebrew. It wasn't "Baruch atah adonai", it was like this weird tongue thing and I had no idea what it was. It freaked me out. Here I am speaking in a tongue and all of a sudden I'm saying some other words along with it that aren't all that Christian, you know, because I am scared. I don't know what's happening inside of me. And then I heard as clearly as we're talking right now, I heard this voice from God, Yahweh or whoever, and he said, "You're dropping out of law school this week. It's over".
Sid Roth: Did you, how did you feel?
Bill Wolfson: Oh I felt betrayed. I felt defrauded. This is my whole life. I wanted to be a lawyer since I was ten years of age. And he said, "I've called you to, listen to this, this might be too weird, "Preach the Gospel". And I had never read one verse of the New Testament in my entire life, and my whole life changed that night.
Sid Roth: It changed so much. Give me a picture of where you are just before that young girl laid hands on you and prayed for you in monee, Illinois.
Bill Wolfson: Oh, how much it's changed. First of all, I didn't marry a Jewish woman. I married a mennonite and today I got five Jewmenites, five Jewmenite children. And how it's changed is I went on and became the pastor of a church.
Sid Roth: How large is it?
Bill Wolfson: It's about 2000-plus and growing rapidly. We're in a $13 million building, seats about 3000.
Sid Roth: So when this young 11-year-old puts her hands on you and says:
Bill Wolfson: "Father, get this junk out of him now"!
Sid Roth: What happened?
Bill Wolfson: I fell down. I wanted to rebuke her and say, "Who do you think you are. I know your father. I know this church. I have spoken in this church 50, 60, 70 times". I was ready to rebuke her. I literally was like lifted off the floor, thrown backwards and I was just on the floor for the next few hours. And during this time, I mean, this never happened to me before. And Sid, people think I'm absolutely insane when I say it, but I heard the audible voice of God.
Sid Roth: You mean previous to the point you heard God in an impression, but this time it was audible?
Bill Wolfson: Oh yeah. I heard him in my heart. I heard him in my mind. Sometime I thought it was him. Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was my wife, you know, kvetching, as we say in yiddish, you know, complaining.
Sid Roth: I understand. Sometimes it was the pizza.
Bill Wolfson: The pepperoni pizza. But this was undeniably, unmistakably God. And he said, "You're arrogant. You're prideful. You're self-centered". He says, "If you don't let me get this junk out of your life, this pride, this arrogance, he says, "You become like a ceo, the head of a corporation, not a church". He said, "Hey bro, it's over for you".
Sid Roth: Did he use those words?
Bill Wolfson: Well he used some other more spiritual words. But I mean, I've got to bring them. Bottom line, he said, "If you don't want me, what he said was he said something out of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. He said, "I'm going to pull this thing called a candlestick out of you". I'm going, what in the world is this candlestick? And he said, very simply, he said, "All of the tools you need to minister the way you need to minister, you're going to lose them. It's over. It's gone". And he began to share with me, many people today don't go to churches because so many of us preachers have become phonies. We've become so contrived. We've become so theatrical. And he said, "If you don't let me get this stuff out of your life it's over". You know what I said? I thought I was going to die. I thought that if I didn't change on that spot, I was addicted to drugs at this time.
Sid Roth: To drugs?
Bill Wolfson: To drugs. I was a drug addict. Now let me explain to you. They were pharmaceutical. The doctor prescribed them. What had happened is I had an injury in a restaurant about six years ago. I was hit in the back by a brass handle on the door while I was on the telephone, from a drunk that was coming out of the bathroom, and it did nerve damage to my scapula and my rhomboids. The emg tests and everything showed severe nerve damage. I was in ongoing pain. I was taking eight percocet and eight soma a day. Those are very serious pharmaceutical medications. And I never even asked for a healing. While I was on the floor he said, "You drug addict. I don't know why I didn't heal you all these years". He said, "I had a miracle for you, a supernatural occurrence and you missed it". I got up the next morning. I was with a friend of mine by the name of Carl. I just felt this impression, let's go lift weight. I hadn't lifted weights for the longest time. We lifted weights, no pain. I couldn't lift my arm higher than this. I had this crepitus, meaning this crackling in my suprascapula, absolutely gone, absolutely healed. Totally changed.
Sid Roth: What about the drug addiction?
Bill Wolfson: You know what? When come off percocet or soma, you pretty much have to do what's called sunset for about six months to a year because your body and your mind becomes very dependent on it. Stop taking it, never needed another one since, totally and completely healed.
Sid Roth: Now bottom line, what did God say to you when you were on the floor?
Bill Wolfson: Bottom line is he said, "Listen," he says, "I want to use you, and he used this weird word in the context of restoration and revival. I'm saying, "What do you mean? What does this really mean"? He says, "I want you to turn the hearts of people that have become disenchanted with me, that don't want God because many of my servants have abused them, taken advantage of them, have been control freaks, have been arrogant". He says, "I want you to go out there and I want you to preach". He gave me some weird words. You're asking me to tell you, words like "Righteousness", words like, "Tell me people stop sinning". I mean, he really...
Sid Roth: Wait a second. You had a good church. What did he tell you about your church?
Bill Wolfson: What he told me about my church was he said, I told him, I said, "God, I can't be that bad". We've led 15, 1600 hundred people to the Lord in the last few years. He said, "Half your people don't even know me, don't even have a relationship". I said, "But they're disciples". He said, "No, they're your disciples". Imagine that, "They're your disciples, not my disciples".
Sid Roth: Sounds like he's not too happy with you.
Bill Wolfson: You know what? At that moment it was like the time, have you ever heard of a guy named Cain and Abel in the Bible? You know what I mean, this guy Cain. And here's a guy Cain, he hears the voice of God and we don't realize it, he was a bad guy. He was in a lot of trouble. But we don't realize, it is the love of God that causes him to talk to us and get us on the right path and say, you're going in a direction of destruction. You know what God always said to me in essence?
Sid Roth: What would happen if you died at that moment?
Bill Wolfson: You know, it's kind of scary. I cannot promise you.. I hope I would have gone to heaven.
Sid Roth: Do you realize what he just said? This is a man that knew God. Half his church, God said, did not know God. That's pretty scary stuff. Wait until you find out changed occurred in pastor bill Wolfson. We'll be right back.
Sid Roth: Hello. Sid Roth your investigative reporter here with bill Wolfson. Can you picture this pastor's pastor on the floor. An 11-year-old lays hands on him. He's out for over an hour and a half, and Jesus comes to him, and he hears for the first time in his life, really the audible voice of God. And God says, "You're a professional pastor. You're making disciples onto yourself, not onto me, and I'm dissatisfied with what you're doing. And besides that, half of your congregation doesn't even know me, and besides that this is your final warning". Well bill, you heeded that and you went back to your congregation. What happened the first service back?
Bill Wolfson: We had four services. And I went back to tacoma, Washington, turned off all the lights in the church and I actually did a sermon with a flashlight. Can you believe that? And I started talking about, is there sin in your life, is there sin in your life? I mean, I was a man possessed with a mission. And all of a sudden this thing called revival broke out in the church. Would you believe it? All of a sudden, we went on a fast. I thought it was going to be for two weeks. It turned out to be for my wife and i, 70 days. I was not allowed to eat by directive of God. I was not allowed to eat for 70 days. I went from 148, 149 down to 109 pounds. But let me tell you some of the things that happened.
Sid Roth: That's what I want to know.
Bill Wolfson: Four days into this thing called the revival, and we had been in it for 81 weeks now, four days into it, a man by the name of leon simms, a Jewish man from an orthodox background, from New York, if you will, he has a massive heart attack and he dies.
Sid Roth: In the service?
Bill Wolfson: Right in the service. And we do not allow people to die in our church. It's against the rules.
Sid Roth: It sure would curtail a move of God's spirit.
Bill Wolfson: Oh absolutely. And there's a paramedic and they're doing all the mouth to mouth, and there's a dentist there. Didn't check his teeth. Did everything that she knew to try to bring him back. And finally a lady that was there said, "Look, this is a prayer meeting. We believe in the supernatural. Let's pray for him". We pray. He was out for over 11-1/2 to 12 minutes, and all of a sudden...
Sid Roth: Doesn't that kind of make you brain dead? I've heard of being brain dead in things like that.
Bill Wolfson: Oh he couldn't have been dead at that point without serious brain damage, if he could come back. Anyway, we pray for him. He stands up. He comes back from the dead. Actually, he sat up is what actually happened. And they took him to the hospital, took him to observation and things of this nature. To make a long story short...
Sid Roth: How did you know he was dead?
Bill Wolfson: Oh there was, first of all, there was medical affirmation right there. There was no question about it. He was absolutely dead. Eyes rolled back in the head, no pulse, no breath. And when you have a paramedic say he's dead and a dentist, they still have medical training, say that he's dead.
Sid Roth: So he sits up.
Bill Wolfson: And he has no idea what just happened. But to make a long story short, he has no more brain damage today than he had before the heart attack, you know. We always tease him. Absolutely documented bona fide healing.
Sid Roth: But you know what, that is amazing to me. But the thing that is even more amazing is your daughter. How old was she?
Bill Wolfson: Jeanine would have been about 11 at the time.
Sid Roth: So your 11-year-old daughter walks up to a 400-pound that is in a wheelchair.
Bill Wolfson: That's right.
Sid Roth: That is, I assume she's in a wheelchair because she can't walk.
Bill Wolfson: Jackie ward, that's right.
Sid Roth: And she has a tube, like a breathing tube inside.
Bill Wolfson: Yeah, she had oxygen tubes, two tubes going up her nose.
Sid Roth: So what did your daughter do?
Bill Wolfson: She walks up to her, and these are people we know. This isn't some kind of crusade somewhere in another country. These are people we live with, we know, and she says, "Jackie, we don't do this, not our people". She says, "Jackie, God told me you're healed". She says, "I am"? And she ripped the tubes right out of her nose.
Sid Roth: Did you watch this?
Bill Wolfson: No, no I didn't. One of my deacons came up to me and said, "Jeanine just pulled the breathing tubes out of Jackie's nose". And I'm thinking from a legal background, we got a lawsuit here. What is she doing? Anyway, I talked to her and I said, "Jeanine, you don't do this. I mean, this is ridiculous". She says, "Don't you have faith? Don't you believe God can heal her"?
Sid Roth: Your daughter is saying that to you.
Bill Wolfson: Yeah. I said, "Yeah". She says, "God told me". Jeanine has never done anything like this before. She says, "God told me that she's healed". And I said, and Jackie gets out of the wheelchair and begins to walk, and she begins to run around the church. Then she goes up in the balcony and says, "I didn't know you didn't change the carpet in the balcony yet. You changed it on the main floor. I've never been on the balcony in the six years I've been in the church". She goes to her doctor that Monday. They do a test. No longer needs oxygen tubes. She had a terminal illness, a heart disease, absolutely healed, and out of the wheelchair. And they sent a nurse from the doctor's office to the revival that Tuesday night, because the revival started out 70 days in a row, and said, "She's healed! She's healed"! Had a young lady had endometriosis, 16 years old, they wanted to do a hysterectomy, prayed for her at the revival. Actually somebody else prayed for her at the revival, just regular everyday people. This isn't preachers praying. This isn't an evangelist. This is everyday people just praying. They were going to do a hysterectomy. To make a long story short, they went in, they did exploratory surgery, absolutely completely healed.
Sid Roth: What's going on with the children in your congregation?
Bill Wolfson: There is a fire for God. There is this thing, it's weird. I mean, I can't give it to you in religious terms. They're just jazzed. They're fervent. I mean, they want to be there. Remember when we come together and we pray for the sick and we see miracles happen, we spend five, six, seven hours at a time just waiting on God. This isn't a typical church thing. This is something different.
Sid Roth: This sounds so different. It sounds different. Doesn't that sound different than what's going on in your church? Maybe what's going on there is a restoration of the original book of acts. Maybe that's what God wants right in your home, right in your apartment, right wherever you're watching right now. The first step is, remember, half the people in this congregation God said, "They don't me" do you know God? I don't mean do you go to a particular church. I'm saying, do you know God. You must repent your sins against a holy God and you must believe that Jesus died for your sins and you will be clean according to the Word of God. And then ask Jesus to live inside of you. He wants to become as real to you as he is to bill Wolfson, because God says, "I'm not a respector of persons", and you have a destiny. But you have to walk into it yet! Today walk into it. This is your moment in history. Everyone has a moment. And someone's eyes are being healed right now in Jesus' name.