Greetings from Jerusalem! Presently, I am watching sheets of rain blow from the Zion Gate over to the Mount of Olives on a nasty night. But praise God, it’s much warmer here than it was yesterday in Nova Scotia. It has been a long journey just to get to this place, and Eric and I didn’t have much “success” as the world defines it finding Israelis working kiosks at the shopping malls along our route (14 malls with encounters only at the very first stop in Winston-Salem, NC). But, the LORD is good, and the very scene I see out this window right now must have been what inspired the Psalmist to write: “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people” (Psalm 125:2). Truly, the Lord has been round about us and has guided us according to His ways. The Gospel has gone out, and brethren have been edified.
Some describe our President’s politics, including his appeasements of Democrat enemies, as “4D chess.” Everything—the omnibus spending bill, the government shutdown, the refusal to use his constitutional authority to fire a corrupt special counsel, the compromises on the wall, etc.—it’s all 4D chess they say. I’m more inclined to believe it’s all part and parcel of America drowning in the mess it has made. The God of our Founders is not the author of confusion in the churches (i.e. genuine New Testament assemblies, I Corinthians 14:33), but oh is He ever in societies that once knew Him and have now turned their backs (Daniel 9:8). When a nation that knew God’s Word messes with God’s Word, the God of the Word messes with that nation’s collective mind. Thus, what many call 4D chess is simply confusion of face. And the only remedy, if there yet remains one (cf. II Chronicles 36:16), is repentance, national repentance. We should pray for our President, that He would call the nation to repentance, that He would fear the LORD and not the face of man. 4D chess in Washington or not, we live by different rules in service to the Great Commission, testifying first to the Jewish people and also to the Gentile nations. Whether it be combing shopping malls, hitting the trails in South America & South Asia, preaching and teaching the brethren, lifting up our voices on a street corner, giving testimony of the work, or right here walking the streets of Jerusalem, I believe a way to best explain what we do is to affirm what we DON’T do. And to sum up what we don’t do in the work of the Great Commission is, in a manner of speaking, 5D chess, five D’s. Zerayim DOES NOT:
1. DEVIATE from the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah
2. DEPUTIZE for funding
3. go into financial DEBT
4. DISSOCIATE from local church authority or partnership
5. DISMISS, as primarily a Jewish missions ministry, opportunity amongst the Gentiles
Much of this makes no sense to men-centered ministries built upon business models and driven by numbers and “decisions.” 5D chess in the Great Commission, however, is driven by obedience. Jesus’ command in Mark 16:15 is our succinct responsibility: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Verse 16, on the other hand, is God’s problem: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” When we embrace these simple truths, we don’t have to deviate, deputize, go into debt, dissociate, or dismiss. Rather, there is great liberty in the preaching of the Gospel to both Jew and Gentile.
Our 1,900-mile mall circuit from North Carolina up to Halifax, Nova Scotia started out with a bang. We stopped at Haines Mall in Winston-Salem as a “warm-up” because I had encountered Israelis there before. There were two taking a lunch break and arguing over something in Hebrew on an upstairs bench near their kiosk. They stopped arguing when they saw Eric’s IDF hoodie, and as we approached, I said in Hebrew: “We are Gentiles, not Jewish, but we are friends of Israel and the Jewish people because the God of Israel changed our lives.” I then explained how the Lord used the Jewish people to write down the Holy Scriptures so that we all could know the true God and the true Messiah. The girl asked if I believed in the New Testament, and I responded: “Well of course, it’s part of the Bible.” In frustration, she said that people are always coming up to her at that mall and trying to talk to her about Jesus and the New Testament. Hey, praise God for this! I then explained that the Lord was trying to get her attention and that it would be foolish not to listen and to believe upon the Messiah. What happened next was just great. A blonde lady walked up and asked if we were talking about Jesus. I said yes, and she praised God aloud. Then, another man stood up from the bench where he was sitting nearby and exclaimed, “My family and I are from Indonesia, and Jesus saved us too!” Immediately, the two Israelis turned their backs upon us and walked away, Romans 11:11 right in front of our eyes. After a few great minutes of fellowship with those two believers, we walked over to the Israeli kiosk and explained to the two who fled that they had just seen Old Testament prophecy fulfilled. The Tanakh is very clear that Messiah would be a light to the Gentiles, and that is exactly what they were seeing. I offered each of them a New Testament, and they both refused. But, they took Zerayim cards, and I guarantee they will not soon forget that scene of Gentile strangers immediately bonded by their love for the Jewish Messiah. It was powerful and what we thought would be just a warm-up.
From there, we combed shopping malls in Roanoke, VA; Wilkes-Barre and Scranton PA; Binghamton, Saratoga, and Glens Fall, NY; Rutland and Montpelier, VT; Gorham, NH; two malls in St. John, New Brunswick, and two in the vicinity of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Nada. We never saw another Israeli. Did we waste our time? Was our strategy flawed? Of course not, for we play 5D Chess; and the strategy is obedience, not results. We crumbed with plenty of Gospel tracts, and there were some good encounters with Gentiles. Outside of Albany, NY we met a Gentile Christian couple at a small prayer meeting where I had opportunity to share a word of exhortation. These have a Jewish neighbor and promised to give to her a Hebrew-English Tanakh and a Hebrew-English New Testament that we provided. We also got to encourage some young men in the faith, receive good exhortation from an older sister in the faith, and we met a born-again Jewish brother from Vermont who helps pastor a home church. He and his wife opened up their home to us for the night, and we had some great fellowship. It was a start of what I believe will be a good friendship. Such things are priceless. Sweet fellowship with believing families in both Central Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia were also worth far more than bags of gold. And then, there was a lonely Dunkin’ Donuts along a dark highway in northern New Hampshire. It was late, and we needed some coffee to get us across Maine and into Canada. The guy behind the counter just started opening up to us about junk in his life. I shared about a true remedy only found in the Holy Scriptures. He gladly took a nice leather Bible that once belonged to my father-in-law. Please pray for Cowen. ‘Twas a divine appointment in the most unlikely of places.
Over here in Israel, searching for Israelis is no longer a problem. They are everywhere! The next month is going to be a lot of work and a lot of fun. And, I wouldn’t trade a single mile or a single mall from that long road trip we made between North Carolina and Nova Scotia just to get on that airplane that brought us here. Neither the immigration officers at the Canadian border nor those at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv could understand why we would do such a thing. But hey, they don’t play 5D chess, and they have never met the One who said: “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (I Corinthians 1:27).
Please pray for us in the coming weeks. It’s really expensive here in Israel, but He will provide.
Jesse Boyd & Eric Trent, Colporters for the Word of God and the Testimony of Yeshua Ha’Messiach