BASIS OF OUR COMMUNICATION
What this page originally said was changed (edited) in the last half of February 2019, parts of it removed. Therefore it may come across as "choppy" or fragmented. That's because bits are missing.
When you first phoned me in May 2018, you expressed that it was very important to you that, never, in the future, would I (should I ever happen to have contact with any of a certain network of people we know), divulge to any of them, any of the things you were now discussing with me, that I will never reveal to any of them what I've learned from conversations with you. This "understanding" was to be the BASIS for us ... . that ... this "contact" and communication cannot occur, unless and in fact it is on THAT very basis, with that understanding and commitment, a solid agreement to that effect. Without that promise, there would be NONE of this communication. * Some of the original text of this has been removed. * You in fact additionally said that, for your part, you aren't even ever going tell anyone in that "network" of people that you've even had any CONTACT with me. You went on and added that even the "circumstances" of your "walking among them" should demonstrate that no "scenario" like that will even arise: You said, "The fact is, I don't even talk to them that much. In fact I'm seeing them, less and less." You went on saying things like you are getting the feeling anyway, that they somewhat "avoid" you. You asked me, "Does that make sense to you?" And you chatted about "that."
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|NOTE: If the tenor or drift of my speaking along in here strikes you as a tad "one-sided" or my recollection of our discussions a tad "un-even," realize what the nature of this message is, or, "why" it is even written: It has to do with the possibility of "third party" partakers of the material. Of course you & I constitute the first two parties. Anybody else therefore constitutes a "third party." If I seem to be speaking to you a bit "oddly" herein, it is with that "limiting" possibility in my mind.|
You've "reiterated" the matter several times along the way. For instance around February 22, 2019 after you hadn't phoned since about January 28th, you put in a phone call to me. We didn't talk about much that day, but you did for some reason repeat the message above, basically that all of our communications are private and nothing of it is ever to go beyond "us." So, suffice it to say, that "basis" was firmly established.
How I view this website and every molecule of it: It is NOT something "other" than our telephone conversations. It is not "besides" them, nor in "addition" to them. It is precisely the SAME COMMUNICATION AS our phone conversations. It is the same "flow of communication" as is currently occurring by phone.
It is not "something else" than that. Consider: When that understanding above was being established (back in May and June 2018) you even discussed people "recording" things. You said that indeed regarding the "prophetic" for example, and in a couple of other instances in your life, you "recorded" things for your own personal reference and later study and review. We bantered back and forth regarding the very notion of "recording," and the net result was that we understood one another clearly. ... Some of the original text of this, removed. ... It was established that there would be no such thing as that with our communications. What I'm saying is that this website constitutes that same kind of "communication" with you, and any copying out from it of anything, would in fact be RECORDING it, no differently than if you "recorded" someone's phone conversation. You do NOT have my permission to thus "record" or "copy" any of my communication to you via THIS WEBSITE. Here is how absolutely this website is the very same communication that we are exchanging by phone: Think of it this way: Say that on the phone I told you privately that I have a quote from a theologian that I've written down. Say you ask me to read the quotation to you over the phone, but it is too lengthy, so I say, "I'll mail it to you. It will arrive in an envelope marked 'PRIVATE' and 'TOP SECRET' etc." Notice that sending you that quotation by mail is ACTUALLY the "MEANS" of achieving more fully the "matter" of the PHONE communication we were having. This, that is, "WHAT" was being communicated by phone, is "ITSELF" being mailed to you. It's not "something else." It's not of a different nature. It's not something "other" than the communication transpiring over the phone. It's the same communication or transmission of information. It's the same "transaction." So you see, what I say of this website is wholly with the same understanding that we have regarding the conversation by phone. 1. Nothing from it will ever be shared by you with others, and 2., nothing of it will be "recorded" or "copied" or "taken" for future use by you.
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"But," you might ask, "What about what I carry away from the website in my brain, in my memory, in my mind, my heart, or in my spirit?" Well: I do realize that anything that can be memorized, anything that can be remembered, is certainly capable of being "carried away from" the site, in your head, in your brain, in your memory, and as "knowledge," that is, "stuff that you then know." It is VERY possible that in this website I might quote a line that some Christian author wrote in his book that is available from Amazon or Thriftbooks, et al. Now say that "that" tip from me perks your interest, and you don't want to forget the title of that book and the name of the author. I realize that you may want to jot yourself a note for yourself on a piece of scrap paper, to remember that book title or that interesting quote. That is just normal human thinking and behavior, and that's perfectly acceptable "take away" from the website. I don't expect you to be anything but "normal." ... Some of the original text of this, removed. ...
I spoke to you of the way that Nicodemus came to Christ by night, and that I have had experience with people who paint themselves supposedly as a Nicodemus, but who, later, have not the strength or ethical principles to resist the temptation to gossip (or be a "talebearer") when they are among their peers in their own circle. How soon they throw off the "understandings" they "USED" to "get" the info they craved out of sheer morbid curiosity, that "nosiness" that is the addiction of gossips. They cannot sleep well if they suspect there is some tantalizing tidbit out there, some juicy morsel of "insider info" that has been kept from them. They are driven by compulsion to be "in on" the secrets of others. The gossip and talebearer says to himself, "I MUST HAVE it, else I die!" and so he sets forth on his quest for hidden treasure, getting the inside dope on people.
I have used the term "false Nicodemuses" and I would like to show you that it is a very valid and fitting term for the sort of individual I intend by the term: I am not the first Christian to employ the term. It's "been around." Just off the cuff I can supply you with two quite ancient instances of it. I think you will see then that my own usage of the term is even more appropriate than theirs who used it before me.
In 1600 (also 1609) Robert Cawdray's work, A Treasury or Storehouse of Similes was published, and Cawdray has been cited, used and quoted profusely by scholars for the past 400 years, as for example by such men as Charles Spurgeon. In Volume 2 of the 1609 edition of the Treasury under the topic heading of Persecution on page 256 Cawdray refers to "false Nicodemuses" in reference to Christians who, in times of persecution, yield to and obey the persecutors, such as obeying the command to commit idolatry, to save themselves, while professing that they secretly, inwardly "reserve their hearts to God." Cawdray says this is no more acceptable than a husband would think if his wife were giving her body to whoredom, while professing to her husband that inwardly her heart is kept for him. Of these then who commit wrong under the pressure of persecution, Cawdray says, "every faithful Christian ought to shun such false Nicodemuses as those."
Next we learn from the Scottish theologian James Moffatt (Rev. Professor James Moffatt, D.D, Litt.D., etc.) that, none other than John Calvin himself referred to some Christians as "false Nicodemuses." Moffatt's "Expository Notes on Acts" was published in The Expositor Vol. XVII, 1919. In his treatment on Acts on page 240 of The Expositor Moffatt refers to Calvin repudiating certain Protestants whom Calvin termed "these false Nicodemuses" who continued to cling to the ways of the Catholic Church. Calvin's application of the term "false Nicodemuses" was to a certain sort of religious person who came unto Protestants acting outwardly as though sympathetic with Protestant truth, while inwardly they were were still entrenched in their Catholic loyalties, or maintained outward conformity to the Catholic Church.
Federico Zuliani wrote Discovering the Riches of the Word, 2015. On page 311 in chapter 12 which is on Calvin's use of "Nicodemus" in polemics, Zuliani discussed the origins of the term, "Nicodemites" being "the figure of Nicodemus, the Pharisee who believed in Jesus but visted him ONLY by night out of FEAR (John 3:2) and DID NOT DARE to manifest his faith in public. Then, as to "Calvin's understanding of the term" (that Calvin used) Zuliani said, all we will do just here is to "summarize it-however much a simplification- that Calvin used the term to condemn and to stigmatize those Christians who, following the example of Nicodemus, had embraced the true religion (i.e. the Reformed one) but were TOO SCARED TO SHOW IT PUBLICLY and lived in SECRET, DISGUISING their true beliefs. Calvin's polemic against such men was much OLDER, however, and by this time entrenched: It had started already in 1537." There Zuliani footnotes Calvin's 1537 work, Epistolae duae de rebus hoc saeculao cognitu necassariis.
So in Calvin's use of the term "false Nicodemuses" we can see quite a "rounded" portrayal of a personality type. The "false Nicodemus" "comes UNTO" the Protestant that he knows, giving off that he is a SYMPATHIZER and even BELIEVER in the TRUTH, but a stronger influence than that governs his behavior and makes him secretive, which is, his "need" to be seen as conforming to the (Catholic) system that he is in. But it cannot be overlooked that the most prominent feature of the original Nicodemus was that he "came unto Jesus," on at least some level "believing in him." What then is "false" regarding a "false Nicodemus?" It is not that he wholly "lies" in his profession to be on Jesus' "side," but really that the "profession of his lips" does not "match" what he practices. For all his apparent "belief" in Jesus Nicodemus seemed unwilling to publicly differ with his religious peers, even them that were "against" Jesus.
So, as Calvin realized, there was "enough" lacking in the makeup of the "real" or original Nicodemus to find fault with. What then must we suppose is really the matter with a "FALSE" Nicodemus?
It is that he is not ACTUALLY of the character of the REAL Nicodemus, although he "comes along" appearing to be LIKE the original Nicodemus. The REAL Nicodemus rose enough above his cowardice to "speak up" just a tad at one point, to the effect that the Sanhedrin ought to "hear" Jesus' defense (John 7:50, 51). And at the end, after the crucifixion, Nicodemus risked his "standing" with the religious, when he came forward with Joseph of Arimathea to care for the body of Jesus, for burial. But a "false Nicodemus" doesn't even do that much in defense of the truth. He exhibits NO real aignment with the controversial or disapproved ones, but only "comes unto" them in secret betimes, under cover of darkness, driven to "get information" out of them to satisfy their own craven meddling "need to know," but only FEIGNING sympathy, friendship or association with them. In reality their heart is with the religious establishment. But even that is not out of true conviction as to what is right, but rather is self-serving, like that expression, "he knows which side his bread is buttered on." He calculates he can "benefit" most by alignment with the establishment. The "false Nicodemus" has not believed this lesson, "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake" (Lk. 6:22). No, the "false Nicodemus" cannot bear to be seen aligned with the cause of the ostracized. Quite otherwise, the Christian of noble character hears the call of this exhortation, "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach" (Heb. 13:13).
A scripture passage well speaks of these "false Nicodemuses": In Psalm 41 David says these false friends come to visit him when he is sick, knowing that he is now vulnerable. We sometimes speak of people "getting" someone when they are "down." Well David had his false Nicodemuses. They took the opportunity to come see him as if just "concerned friends" because their friend was down. Here it is in the NASB: Verse 6 says, "if he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood" (that is, he's only pretending to be a truly concerned caring friend) and it says, "but when he goes outside, he TELLS it." Ah, There's the visitor's true mission revealed, he was on a surveillance mission, gathering intelligence. The King James puts it, "And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he TELLETH it." And in verse 7 David says they "whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt." They assess him to be finally down, and they say in verse 8, "he shall rise up no more." Amazingly, this is the very passage quoted in the NT about Judas Iscariot going out to betray Jesus; Verse 9, "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." Isn't that something?
Matthew Henry's Commentaries on the Psalms are held in the highest esteem by many of the most noted theologians. Let me share here what the MHC says on Psalm 41, on these false friends who come and "visit," only to "get the goods on" David and then go forth and "tell it" and "whisper" it to others:
He writes of verse 5, that they proceed "to ruin his reputation." He says that David "was, upon all accounts, the greatest ornament and blessing of his country; and yet, it seems, there were some who were sick of him, as the Jews were of Paul, crying out, 'Away with such a fellow from the earth.' ... They envied him his name, and the honour he had won, and doubted not but, if he were dead, THAT (his good name) would be laid in the dust with him." In coming to see him, it says, "They picked up every thing they could to reproach him with (v. 6): 'If he come to see me' (as it has always been reckoned a piece of neighbourly kindness to visit the sick) 'he speaks vanity; that is, he pretends friendship, and that his errand is to mourn with me and to comfort me; he tells me he is very sorry to see me so much indisposed, and wishes me my health; but it is all flattery and falsehood.' We complain, and justly, of the want of sincerity in our days, and that there is scarcely any true friendship to be found among men; but it seems, by this, that the former days were no better than these. David's friends were all compliment, and had nothing of that affection for him in their hearts which they made profession of. Nor was that the worst of it; it was upon a mischievous design that they came to see him, that they might make invidious remarks upon every thing he said or did, and might represent it as they pleased to others, with their own comments upon it, so as to render him odious or ridiculous: His heart gathereth iniquity to itself, puts ill constructions upon every thing; and then, when he goes among his companions, he TELLS it to them, that they may tell it TO OTHERS. Report, say they, and we will report it, Jer. 20:10. If he complained much of his illness, they would reproach him for his pusillanimity; if he scarcely complained at all, they would reproach him for his stupidity. If he prayed, or gave them good counsel, they would banter it, and call it canting; if he kept silence from good, when the wicked were before him, they would say that he had forgotten his religion now that he was sick. There is no fence against those whose malice thus gathers iniquity."
I believe that this matter that I call a "false Nicodemus" is truly exposed in Scripture as a grave sin. I believe that when men stand in the Judgment that THIS sin will be brought out. I have studied it out. Here in this page it can't be expounded at length. But there is something of Judas Iscariot in these of whom it says "when he goeth abroad he telleth it," and they will regret it, in that day when they must give account.
Consider the reference, A brief explication of the first fifty Psalms by David Dickson, 1583 - 1663 at this verse ("when he goeth abroad he telleth it"):
"Evil speeches against the godly WILL BE TAKEN NOTICE OF BY GOD. ... Mine enemies speak evil of me. The ... enemies of godliness is such, 'When shall he die, and his NAME perish?' say they. The godly have to do not only with OPEN enemies, but with SECRET FALSE DISSEMBLERS also, who will PROFESS FRIENDSHIP with fair words, ... from whose falsehood there is no refuge more than from the force of the open enemy, save to fly to God, the Judge of all oppressed people: If he come to see me, he speaketh vanity; many fair words, but none of them true. The objective of the wicked man's PRETENDED KINDNESS TO THE GODLY, and of his insinuating of himself INTO THEIR FELLOWSHIP is, that he may MAKE OBSERVATION OF SOMETHING in their behaviour, or condition or speeches, whereof he may make advantage against them. If he cometh to see me, his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; WHEN HE GOETH ABROAD HE TELLETH IT. ... All that hate me WHISPER together against me, against me do they devise my hurt. When the godly fall in straits, the wicked judge that the godly shall never get out of their trouble, and in this hope do refresh themselves. They say, Now that he lieth, HE SHALL RISE NO MORE. ... Yea, mine own familiar friend in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lift up his heel against me. ... Every believer may be assured of this, that what injuries are done to Christ IN THEIR PERSON, CHRIST SHALL REQUITE THEIR PERSECUTERS; for he in his mystical members shall never be so born down, but he shall be raised up again (as he was raised up personally after his personal suffering). As David prayeth in this place, Raise me up."
Matthew Henry says of these false Nicodemuses, "They promised themselves that he would never ... ever wipe off the odium with which they had loaded him. They whispered together against him (v. 7), speaking that secretly in one another's ears which they could not for shame speak out, and which, if they did, they knew would be confuted. Whisperers and backbiters are put together among the worst of sinners, Rom. 1:29, 30." He says, "The reproach with which they had loaded his name, they hoped, would cleave so fast to it that it would perish with him, and then they should gain their point. They went by a modern (Latin) maxim, 'Fortiter calumniari, aliquid adhaerebit' - Fling an abundance of calumny, and some will be sure to stick. 'The disease he is now under will certainly make an end of him; for it is the punishment of some great enormous crime, which he will not be brought to repent of, and proves him, however he has appeared, a son of Belial.' Or, 'It is inflicted by Satan, who is called Belial,' the wicked one, 2 Co. 6:15. 'It is (according to a loose way of speaking some have) a devilish disease, and therefore it will cleave fast to him; and now that he lieth, now that his distemper prevails so far as to oblige him to keep his bed, he shall rise up no more; we shall GET RID OF HIM, and divide THE SPOIL of his preferments.'" (Dictionary, "preferments, David's "advancement to higher office, dignity or station." In other words, "Let's grab his ministry and position, and the place of favor that he enjoys, and have it for ourselves." So, helping to "knock him down" was additionally with the motive of having his place for themselves. Wow. This evil will surely be brought out into the light on Judgment Day.
Matthew Henry then says, "There was ONE PARTICULARLY, in whom he (David) had reposed a great deal of CONFIDENCE, that took part with his enemies and was as abusive to him as any of them (v. 9): My own familiar friend; probably he means Ahithophel, who had been HIS BOSOM-FRIEND AND PRIME-MINISTER OF STATE, in whom he TRUSTED as one inviolably firm to him, whose advice he relied much upon in dealing with his enemies, and who did eat of his bread, that is, with whom he had been very intimate and whom he had taken to sit at the table with him. ...Yet this base and treacherous CONFIDANT of David's forgot all the eaten bread, and lifted up his heel against him that had lifted up his head; not only deserted him, but insulted him, kicked at him, endeavoured to supplant him. Those are wicked indeed whom no courtesy done them, nor CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN THEM, will oblige; and let US not think it strange if WE receive like abuses from such: David did, and the Son of David; for of Judas the traitor David here, in the Spirit, spoke; our Saviour himself so expounds this, and therefore gave Judas the sop, that the scripture might be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me, Jn. 13:18, 26."
Then Matthew Henry writes, that though David perceived this about them, knew what they were up to, knew what was in their hearts, "he said nothing to THEM, but turned himself to God: 'O Lord! be thou merciful to me, for they are unmerciful ... They endeavour to RUN ME DOWN, but, Lord, do thou raise me up.' ... He depended upon God, who had thus delivered him from many an evil work, to preserve him to his heavenly kingdom, as blessed Paul, 2 Tim. 4:18."
Sharing the Matthew Henry Commentary and others, I realize contributes to this being a long piece. I just wanted to include these great Christian writers because they so pointedly speak to the "phony Nicodemus" affair, with the aspect that, "when he goeth abroad, he telleth it." I have learned that this whole "area" is treated of, very largely in the Bible, and, it is an area of truth that God has deeply taught me. God does not always use painful life experiences or the "college of hard knocks" to teach us. Sometimes we learn "graciously" (as the Puritan and Reformed writers put it), when life is flowing smoothly. But I have found that the lessons taught through pain and sorrow seem to be the most enduring; as when they say, "I learned that the hard way." Things learned easily, when all is well, are also easily put out of mind when eventually put to the test, while lessons learned "the hard way" (like learning not to put your hand on a hot stove burner) tend to present themselves vividly to mind when the eventual test of it arises. I do not know why, but God seems to have seen fit to teach me the latter way more than some.
Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 41:6, which says "when he goeth abroad he telleth it":
"And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity." His visits of sympathy are visitations of mockery. When the fox calls on the sick lamb his words are soft, but he licks his lips in hope of the carcass. It is wretched work to have spies haunting one's bedchamber, calling in pretence of kindness, but with malice in their hearts. Hypocritical talk is always fulsome and sickening to honest men, but especially to the suffering saint. Our divine Lord had much of this from the false hearts that watched his words. "His heart gathereth iniquity to itself." Like will to like. The bird makes its nest of feathers. Out of the sweetest flowers chemists can distil poison, and from the purest words and deeds malice can gather groundwork for calumnious report. It is perfectly marvellous how spite spins webs out of no materials whatever. It is no small trial to have base persons around you lying in wait for every word which they may pervert into evil. The Master whom we serve was constantly subject to this affliction. "When he goeth abroad, he telleth it." He makes his lies, and then vends them in open market. He is no sooner out of the house than he outs with his lie, and this against a sick man whom he called to see as a friend - a sick man to whose incoherent and random speeches pity should be showed. Ah, black hearted wretch! A devil's cub indeed. How far abroad men will go to publish their slanders! They would fain placard the sky with their falsehoods. A little fault is made much of; a slip of the tongue is a libel, a mistake a crime, and if a word can bear two meanings the worse is always fathered upon it. Tell it in Gath, publish it in Askelon, that the daughters of the uncircumcised may triumph. It is base to strike a man when he is down, yet such is the meanness of mankind towards a Christian hero should he for awhile chance to be under a cloud."
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|"Lest this become far too exhaustive, I'll conclude. The main point is that this WEBSITE'S communications are on the same "basis" as our phone communications, and is shared with the same "understanding."
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