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Grace Bible Church

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries


The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.

The Tree of Life for week ending 10/14/01.


In Genesis chapter 12 we see God calling a man named Abram (who was born an Arab but would become a Jew) out of Ur and into
Canaan. Our study of this chapter will show the real origin of the problems in the Middle East, and that true peace will never come until our Lord Jesus Christ returns. We have seen the importance of recognizing the signs and seeing the recent events across the world in their proper perspective. 

MAT 24:1-3. And Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.  And He answered and said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down." And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

In this passage our Lord begins to reveal some of the signs that would take place before His second coming.

MAT 24:4-5. And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ [or "I am the true god or the Messiah" and will deceive many."

This is the only sign our Lord repeats more than once (three times); therefore, it is a warning we should take seriously. He repeats it in verse 11 ("And many false prophets will arise, and will deceive many.") and in verse 24, ("For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead [deceive], if possible, even the elect.").

He is not giving this warning to the secular world, but to the Church and to those who will still be here during the Great Tribulation after the Rapture. This seven-year period, called "Daniel's 70th week," will be the greatest power struggle in human history. It is the time of
Satan's desperation, and the Bible has more to say about the Tribulation than any other period in history. It was prophesied in the Old Testament and in the book of Revelation, chapters 6-19. It should be of interest to us that the Bible has the most to say about the shortest dispensation.

MAT 24:6-7. "And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes."

The Greek word for "nation" is "ethnos," which also applies to ethnic groups rising against each other. This is exactly what is happening in the Middle East today; the Arabs not only hate Israel, but they also hate each other! Sudan's sworn enemy is Egypt, Iraq and Kuwait hate each other, and Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting with each other.

Verse 8 is the key to the whole message; the Lord says, "But all these things are the beginning of birth pangs." All the predictions given here by the Lord Jesus Christ will be happening at the same time (and we can see all these things taking place right now), and they are only the beginning.


LUK 21:10-11 tells us a little more: "Then He continued by saying to them, 'Nation will rise against nation [ethnic group against ethnic group], and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.'" In LUK 21:12-24 we have a parenthetical statement. What Jesus is telling His disciples in verse 11, He will resume in verse 25, but in verses 12 through 24, He gives the answer to the first question they asked. He tells them when Jerusalem would be destroyed and how the temple would be destroyed. He also tells them in LUK 21:24 that the Jews will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations, and "Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."

LUK 21:25-26. "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."

We live in a time when that exact scenario is right in place as He said it would be. The most important prophetic sign was Israel once again becoming a nation. Our Lord said that Israel would miraculously be returned and become a nation again shortly before He comes back, and then all these predictions would come to pass. The Bible predicted the exact year and day that Israel would become a nation again, and on May 14th, 1948 that historic event transpired, shocking foreign governments around the world. This great day marked the first time since the days of Solomon that a united Israel took its place as a sovereign independent state among the nations of the world. According to prophecy, the present state of Israel will not be destroyed; they will never be scattered again, although they will go through a terrible period when they are almost annihilated in the Tribulation.

Despite the apparent anarchy of the events in our day, God is still on the throne of this universe and is still in full control of history. The universe is unfolding precisely as our Lord ordained and foresaw in eternity past. The issue that will trigger the last battle of the world, before our Lord comes back, will be a controversy between Israel and the surrounding nations over who owns Jerusalem.

Our Lord said Israel would have control over Jerusalem and, in spite of all the odds against them, they now have Jerusalem again, in spite of the 1.4 billion Muslims who claim it for themselves. This issue is the main reason behind most of the conflict throughout the world.
Jerusalem has become the center of the world, and, as Ezekiel prophesied, Russia has been arming the nations around the Israel that oppose her. Our Lord said something very interesting would happen during the Tribulation period that we can understand now in the times in which we live. He said in Mat 24:21-22, "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short." With the advent of modern technology and nuclear weapons, passages such as these should have new meaning to believers in this generation.

For centuries, human history has basically revolved around the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs, and between the God of the
Bible and the "god" of the Koran (i.e., the devil). The United States of America has been attacked because of our national stand with Israel, and because God is using us to protect the Jews. And where did this great conflict begin? Back in Genesis chapter 12 with a man named Abram...

GEN 12:10. Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

The problem for Abram at this point is that he has been neglecting Bible doctrine and as he approaches Egypt, he becomes filled with worry. Worry is really a failure of faith. True faith in God is a faith that grows, and faith grows as it is tested. For Abram, the first test was that of a famine, and he failed. We are now shown the results of his failure, beginning with verse 11.

GEN 12:11-12. And it came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, "See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and it will come about when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, 'This is his wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live."

Abram will have to learn that it is not what the Egyptians see that matters; it is what the Lord saw in eternity past and what He did about it. This fear in Abram is typical of the believer going down to Egypt (which represents the world). Egypt represents slavery for God's people, and as ISA 31:1 warns us, "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help." Abram is very self-centered now, and he is insecure regarding his own life. Therefore, he is willing to sacrifice all those around him to protect himself. This is what happens to the believer when he is carnal; he doesn't care if he hurts others. Because of his fear, his appreciation for Sarai is gone. In GEN 12:11, the verb translated "see now" is "hinneh-na," meaning "listen to me, please"; Abram is practically begging. A man who is pre-occupied with himself will lose the attention of his woman, and Abram is trying to get Sarai to listen to him.

Abram has pulled away from the real source of security, the real source of blessing, and he has no courage or integrity. He was headed for maturity, but then he crashed and burned. A believer can be spiritual, "on fire" for God one day, and then fearful and cowardly the next, because all believers are actually two different people, based on their attitude towards the Word of God at any given time. Abram, like many believers, is noble with honor and integrity when positive, and  weak and cowardly when he is negative.

GEN 12:13. "Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you and that I may live on account of you."

In GEN 12:11-13 Abram is worried about himself when he should be protecting his wife Sarai, rather than endangering her. Abram is begging Sarai for his life instead of using his life to protect her. As of this time Abram has no children, but God has promised him that he will be a great nation in verse two. God has promised that Abram would have a progeny that would be a great blessing and would occupy the land of Canaan. However, Abram has permitted Egypt to eclipse God from his view, and he fears the Egyptians will murder him. Remember that God has said to Abram, "I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." How simple life is if we just believe what God says and don't worry about what Egypt (the world) has to say. As believers, to trust God with our whole life, and then not trust Him with one circumstance is inconsistent and irrational, characteristic of the believer in Egypt. Our Lord said in MAT 10:28-31, "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your
Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows."

Unfortunately, in Gen 12, Abram has forgotten the Word of God, and is now looking to his woman for deliverance to save his own neck. Abram had vowed to always take care of Sarai, but now he wants her to lie to protect him. The beauty that he has enjoyed and treasured and that has been a pleasure to him suddenly becomes a great danger. Abram the man is rapidly disappearing, and Abram the wimp is rearing his ugly head.

GEN 12:14-16. And it came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And Pharaoh's officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.

As demonstrated by Abram, fear destroys love and turns the believer into a selfish monster who is willing to sacrifice anyone else for his own survival. Abram is giving Sarai a compliment in verse 11, but it is merely a front for his cowardice. She is in love with him, and he realizes that love is her strength, and therefore he appeals to her love. He is setting up his beautiful wife for a proposal that will reveal how his manliness has disappeared. One of the most treacherous experiences in life is to be used by someone you love, as David wrote in PSA 55:12-14, "For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend. We who had sweet fellowship together, walked in the house of God in the throng." Sarai may even feel complimented, but she is being used by someone she loves, but who loves himself so much that there is no love left for her.

Nothing robs the believer of honor and integrity like selfishness and self-centeredness. Beware of flattery from unstable, treacherous, dishonorable believers because flattery is a disguise for hypocrisy; behind their reversionism and hypocrisy is fear and insecurity. In the gaps where doctrine has departed from Abram's soul, he has imagination, and he is anticipating all the dangers and problems as cowards do. An insecure, frightened person will always try to use you.

· Abram is willing to betray Category 2 love (right man/right woman) to save his own life.

· True Category 2 love would protect Sarai, but pseudo-love betrays her, as pseudo-love always does.

· At this time, Abram is a traitor to Sarah; he is neither her lover nor her protector.

· Abram would use Sarai's beauty to gratify his own lust and then turn around and betray her by exposing her to the lust of others.

· You can not truly love someone else and think more of your own life then you do of theirs.

· A great characteristic of Category 2 love is to think more of someone else's life then you do of your own.

· Flattery is the facade of pseudo-love. Pseudo-love is the love of 
liars and hypocrites.

· No real man, and no gentlemen, would ever compromise a woman to gratify his own lust for survival.

· Selfishness destroys capacity for love, life, and happiness.

· If a person thinks more of himself than of doctrine, he will think more of himself then he does of others whom he allegedly loves.

If a born-again believer thinks more of himself then he does of Bible doctrine, then he will think more of himself then he does of God, which is actually blasphemous, and incredibly this is the state into which God's man, Abram, has fallen. What a great lesson that there is hope for all of us, regardless of our past!

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