Romans 4:17 – Speaking Those Things That Are Not As Though They Were!
Posted by Job on April 8, 2011
Rom 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, [even] God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Suffer me while I provide three examples of YHWH speaking those things that are not as though they were.
Genesis 1:1 reads “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In the beginning of what? Space, time, matter, all of creation, the entirety of the existence of all things apart from YHWH Himself, for YHWH alone is I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14). How did God accomplish creation? Well, by Jesus Christ were all things made (Hebrews 1:2 and John 1:3) and Jesus Christ is none other than the Word of God (John 1:1). So, when God said (among other things) “Let there be light”, YHWH accomplished creatio ex nihilo, which means that He made something out of nothing. Before God spoke, there was nothing. This means that with respect to creation, God spoke things that were not as though they were.
Let there be light: and there was light. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God called the firmament Heaven. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion … over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female!
After God spoke, these things were. Before God spoke, these things were not! God called these things before they were!
After God created Adam, He gave the commandment: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Note that God did not say “if you eat of it, you will surely die.” God said “in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” We cannot hedge concerning this meaning. It likely did not mean that Adam would drop dead on the very day that he ate it, for that did not happen. Adam lived to be 930 years old. Instead, it was a prediction. God knew that Adam would eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil! God knew that the fall would take place! Do not be deceived. When God spoke those words in Genesis 2:17, He foretold the fall of Adam – and through Adam mankind – into sin though it had not yet happened. Adam ate thereof, and because of this in Adam all die (1 Corinthians 15:22). And for all who die in Adam, their fate is the second death; eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). So, with regards to Adam and all those in him, God spoke things that were not as though they were when He said or in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die! For Adam and those in him are not yet cast into the lake of fire, but rest assured: they will be.
But do not despair! 1 Corinthians 15:22 also says that in Christ all live! Yes, that text was written after Jesus Christ came, endured His passion, resurrected and returned to God the Father in accordance with the scriptures. But immediately after the fall, in what is called the protoevangelium, God bore witness of this great salvation thousands of years before it occurred! Before the martyrdom of Abel, before the translation of Enoch, before the calling of Abraham, before Moses led Israel out of Egypt, before the star prophecy of Balaam, before the Davidic line was formed, before the children of Israel came out of exile and began longing for the Messianic hope, God spoke a thing that was not as though it were!
To Satan after the fall in Genesis 3:15, YHWH said “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God did not say “this woman”, referencing Eve, for Eve is the mother of all humanity, both elect and non-elect, both the Godly seed and Satan’s seed (those of Adam). He said “the woman.” Which woman? Revelation 12:1-2 reads “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” And who is this woman’s seed? It is given in Revelation 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” And who is the dragon of Revelation 12:17? Revelation 12:9 tells us. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” So, clearly in Genesis 3:15, God called the mystery of the salvation obtained for the elect by Jesus Christ – something that was not because Jesus Christ was not yet come into the world and lifted up on the cross as payment for sins – as though it was.
Revelation 21:1-7 gives us a picture of the fulfillment of what God spoke in Genesis 3:15, of what His only begotten Son obtained for His elect, those called out before the foundation of the world. Indeed, that is yet another thing that God spoke that was not as though it were, for God decreed the salvation of those that were elect before they were even born; before they even were!
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Why can only God call things that are not as though they were? It is because God is the only One that is capable of making those things that are not be! Only God has the power to transform that which is not into something that is! With this body of facts at your disposal, how can you resist so great a salvation … one that is so great precisely because of the greatness of the One who makes it a reality for all who believe?
Do not be deceived: this has been the plan of YHWH from before the foundation of the world. Evidence of this is God’s creating man in His image and His likeness, and this makes man unique among all creation, including even the angels for whom there is no remedy, no avoidance of eternal damnation, for those who fell. God made man in His own image precisely so that upon His Word’s coming to the world in human flesh as 100% God and 100% man when He was born of a virgin by the Name Jesus Christ, He would so perfectly reveal God the Father to the extent that to look upon Jesus Christ was as looking upon God the Father! So by making Adam in His image, God called the redemption of those who would believe before Adam even plunged creation into sin in the first place. Though salvation through Jesus Christ was not, God called – God planned – as though it were.
So, now that you are confronted with this overpowering evidence, I urge and implore you to resist this Truth no longer. Instead, be saved by the One who speaks things that are not as though they were, and by doing so makes those things reality! Lest you perish in an eternal lake of fire, repent of your sins and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ by: