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Rev. Joseph Cohen's Testimony
'Messiah is Alive!'
Heart knowledge of Jesus as Messiah changes the life as well as the countenance of Joseph Cohen....
Over three and one-half million copies of the book Two Men From Eden written by Morris Cerullo were sent to as many homes of Jewish families throughout the United States in 1978. As a result thousands of letters began to immediately pour into the World Evangelism Headquarters in San Diego.
"I found Messiah! I found Messiah!", cried one letter after another. Tears of sheer joy ran down the cheeks of World Evangelism staff members as they read heart-stirring responses of thousands of Jews who wrote in thanking God for putting the Two Men From Eden into their hands and subsequently the Messiah, Jesus Christ, into their hearts.
One young Jewish man who received the book was Joseph Cohen of Port Chester, New York, who was not overly impressed...at first.
"I looked at the book, saw it was by Morris Cerullo...but I didn't know who that was. Then I read a couple of chapters," Joseph says. "It was very interesting, but after about two chapters I could tell the book was about Jesus and I knew I wasn't supposed to read it...I didn't want anything to do with Jesus or Jews who claimed Jesus was the Messiah. I thought they were traitors to our religion. I was very bitter. So I stopped reading the book.
"To this I don't know why I didn't throw the book away. That is what I usually do with something that doesn't interest me. However, I put this book on a table instead and it stayed there for more than a year.
"Though I didn't read it all...the first two chapters had raised some questions in my mind. Little did I know that if I had read just a little further I would have found the answers to everything."
Answers were something Joseph desperately needed.
The real Answer, Jesus Christ, began to come into focus in Joseph's life the day that he stood in a funeral home and looked down at the lifeless form of his best friend. His first thought was, "that could have been me in that casket!" The two friends had a lot in common...including a common habit which had led to his friend's untimely death. With an overdose of drugs the other young man's heart stopped beating and his life ended abruptly in a state of hopeless agony.
Joseph realized that he was on the same path of self-destruction, living in a world of darkness and bondage caused by drinking, gambling, and drugs. He knew it was only a matter of time until he probably would come to the same tragic end as his friend.
As his lifeless friend had, Joseph was living a tragic life, daily tempting the terminal clutches of death.
The story of the chains of bondage which imprisoned this young Jewish man reads like a modern day horror story which plagues millions in our present day society.
"When I looked into that coffin I didn't see my friend; I saw myself," Joseph said. "I had been living a tragic life of death. I had reached such a low point I had been completely unable to cope with this thing called life.
"I started searching everywhere for some kind of answers. This led to my addiction to drugs. Practically every day I went to work stoned. I became an alcoholic. One addiction led to another and I was soon caught up in the horrible bondage of gambling. There I was. It felt as though I was in the middle of the ocean drowning with no one in sight to help me. I was a very frightened lonely man full of hate, fear and jealousy.
"Every day I would see cars pass by me with bumper stickers saying, 'I found It!' My heart would cry, 'I want to find it, too!' But where could I go and what must I do?
"One day a book came in the mail called Two Men From Eden. It was written by a Jewish evangelist named Morris Cerullo who professed to know the answers to this life, but it was about Jesus. I was Jewish and didn't dare believe in Jesus. So I tossed the book on the table and there it remained for almost two years.
"In the meantime my life got progressively worse!"
Seeing his lifeless friend laying in that coffin and the trauma of the funeral was too much for Joseph. For the next five weeks he went completely berserk in a type of madness driven by hell itself. He began to drown himself in excessive and practically fatal amounts of drugs and alcohol. Under this influence he began gambling more than he ever had before and the inevitable came toppling down upon him. Strung out on drugs and beaten, he lost all he owned and went into tremendous debt. This was it. He had reached his end.
"I came to the realization that I just couldn't face life," Joseph remembers then, "After attending some Gamblers Anonymous meetings, we were encouraged to turn our lives over to a power greater than ourselves.
"It sounded good and I would have...if the devil hadn't kept pounding into my head 'Look at all you have done. Do you really think God will forgive that? With all you have done God could never forgive that or you!'
"With this reverberating in my head, I really fell under condemnation and sunk into a new low, if I could indeed have sunk any deeper."
When the spark of hope implanted in his heart by the Gamblers Anonymous failed by self-condemnation, Joseph late one night in his living room began to cry out to God. As a volcano suppressed for years until the pressure no longer could be contained, Joseph's plea burst from his deepest parts for God's answer to his desperation. Rivers of tears flooded and flowed from his bloodshot eyes drenching the couch he was laying on. Deep within himself he felt a need for cleansing of his dirty past. One by one, Joseph began naming every sin, every wrong he could remember.
"God of my fathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob hear my cries!" he prayed. "Forgive me for my sin against you and man. Come into my life and cleanse me. Reveal yourself to me and make of me what you would have!"
What happened that night between God and Joseph was nothing short of the greatest miracle every man and woman, boy and girl in this entire earth has the privilege of experiencing...he experienced a transforming encounter with the living God capable of turning any life from darkness to light.
Joseph did not realize all the particulars of what had actually taken place during this tremendous experience with God but he soon found out as God brought those across Joseph's path who unfolded to him the truths of the Messiah, Jesus. Also, he discovered his copy of Two Men From Eden and began reading it.
"I found if I had read only a few chapters further, there was the whole plan of salvation!" Joseph declared. "God had been trying to show me the Answer all along!"
With an unquenchable zeal to learn more of His Messiah, Joseph joined himself to a local Christian fellowship. At one of the services a guest minister told of his association with a Jewish evangelist with a great world-wide ministry, headquartered in San Diego.
Imagine Joseph's surprise that it was Morris Cerullo, the author of the treasured book which he now carried in his car.
Last August, Joseph heard of Rev. Cerullo's crusade in Boston.
"God told me to go," he says. "I was broke and had no place to stay, but I drove 275 miles to be there...and God provided a place for me to stay."
During one service, Rev. Cerullo read part of Joseph's testimony and Joseph is hopeful that some of the hundreds who came forward for salvation during the altar service were touched by his own experience.
He has seen about 15 people accept Jesus Christ as Messiah and doesn't know how many more might have been influenced as he has "planted seed" wherever he goes. His greatest love is to talk of Jesus.
One "planted seed" was that Joseph finally parted with his now-beloved copy of Two Men From Eden, giving it to a friend name Ira.
"Through the combination of the book and seeing the change in my life," Joseph said, "My friend has accepted Christ as Messiah though he hasn't told his parents yet as they are Orthodox Jewish people. But he will be attending church and he listens to Christian radio programs."
Joseph now is eagerly awaiting a new order of Two Men From Eden...one to share with a 68 year old Jewish woman and one to channel to a Rabbi to whom a friend has been witnessing...a continuing seed that is finding fruit in the hearts and lives of countless Jews as Morris Cerrullo World Evangelism continues to fulfill its commission to reach every Jew in the world for Jesus before Messiah returns.