John Gavazzoni
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The Gavazzonis'

The Extension of Death
By John Gavazzoni

Life is the energy by which the kingdom of God extends itself. Though God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ over all regardless of their spiritual state, He does, nevertheless, hide His gracious sovereignty from us until the time of His choosing, upon which time, He reveals to the immediately chosen one that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. In spite of how evangelical invitations are worded, that's what really happens. It's not that the time has arrived for us to make Christ Lord (as we customarily hear); it's that Christ has stepped in to exercise His Lordship, and reclaim us as His own---which we always have been. ("The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein.") He does this simply by the infusion of His life, and in the sense described above, God's kingdom, in the hands of His Son, extends itself. Remember, you were redeemed (bought back) from pretensions to ownership to your real Owner by the shedding of His precious blood, that is, by His life given sacrificially.

Contrary-wise, this world's system, the present orderly arrangement---or as a descriptive option of translation by Jonathan Mitchell: the Dominant System---is extended by death. In positing the contrarian corollary, I will dare to say that it is by the energy of death, for death, in its way, is energetically destructive. "For as by one man, sin entered the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men upon which, all have sinned." The Dominant System extends itself by death being passed on generation after generation, BUT it depends upon the extension of life for its extension. Each time a new life is born, death begins to extend itself, paradoxically, via that life.

Death rides on the back of life, and depends upon it for its continuance. Pause here with me, and consider that we speak of living our life. Life is lived. But what about death? Life lives, but what does death do? There's a translation option found in Jonathan Mitchell's translation of Romans 6:10, which if I recall correctly is the option chosen by the NAS (I'm sitting her typing in Cramer, PA, with my NAS translation back in Thousand Oaks, CA) which has Paul saying something very logical, and which answers my question: If life lives, what does death do? The translation goes: "For the death He died, He died to sin once for all, but the life He lives, He lives unto God." (probably the better translation has Him dying for, instead of to sin)

Ahh hah! Jesus died a death. As life is lived, death is died. We live life, and die death. It just now occurred to me that we speak of someone dying some kind of death, e.g., "He died a peaceful death," or He died a violent death." The death that is passed on to all men is a death continuing to be died. The purpose of this present evil system, is to maintain the dying of death on the back of the living of life, and at any one time, one of the two---living or dying---is the greater dynamic, the greater energy at work while both are going on.

To be sure, death finally yields to life. Jesus has guaranteed that in His death and resurrection. In fact, though it seems that death terminates life, it is just the opposite: Life finally terminates death. "The death He died, He died unto sin once for all." In His death, death has finally been died. Death is a dead end, but life goes on. Jesus died the death that ended death, but continues living eternally unto, for, with, and by God on our behalf.

I want to make an application here: In our exposure to someone's teaching, preaching or writing, we need to discern what going on, what's being passed on, what energy is at work through that one. Is it the energy of life or death? Is that one in the immediate moment dying more than He is living? He or she may switch from one to the other in the middle of a message. Oh yes, true. Or you, the listener may be dying more than living at that moment, and not able to recognize life when it's being lived ministerially. Many times a message brimming with life will not be received as life because the temperament of the minister is different than the listener. We can miss life because the mental and/or emotional temperament of the one ministering in written or spoken ministry is not to our liking. Instead of interacting with the one ministering according to the anointing we have from the Father, we react negatively because of our soulish preferences. I have at times passed on articles pertaining to our natural lives, articles I have carefully researched, referencing excellent sources, and have their messages rejected because of the style of writing by the author. Many times, our negative reaction to truth lies in the fact that something about the style of the author or speaker unconsciously pushes a button that re-connects us with an old soul-wound. Priceless are those times when the interaction among the saints of God is from the anointing within, to the anointing within.

I have observed within the natural realm, that which is analogous to the spiritual realm as pertaining to our subject, and the above reactionary factor often comes into play in that realm as pertaining to physical health, and health care. Much is made of modern medicine's success at keeping us alive longer, but upon closer examination, in the case of so many, they are being kept alive so death can continue to dominating their lives. On the very rare occasion, when I agree with my primary physician that I ought to come in and have blood work done, sitting in the waiting area, looking around at mostly folks of my advanced age, I think to myself, "These dear ones, aren't living, they're dying, and they're being kept alive just enough to extend their dying. They're cash-cows for the pharmaceutical industry, whose agenda is: "Let's keep them just alive enough that they'll need our drugs so that they can endure their dying." We might allow it to be called medical care, but it's sure not health care. There is very little health building in the mainstream practice. No, it's more a practice destroying health while keeping the patent alive.

In general, this present evil world-system's domination of the practice of medicine---very particularly in this nation that boasts in having the best health care system in the world---is the practice of extending death and is to the discerning eye, it is up to it's ears in complicity with that larger system which runs on, and extends itself by the energy of death. I've often told the story of being bested at arm wrestling by my maternal grandfather when he was 72 years of age, and I was 16, at the peak of my weight lifting days. We had a family gathering in the house where grandpop Pasquale and grandma Teresa Lombardi had retired after selling their farm.

My dad was telling everyone about my body building dedication and how much (especially upper-body) strength I had gained from it. I don't recall how it started, but I found myself being challenged by all my uncles (husbands of the 6 still-living Lombardi daughters). One by one we sat at the kitchen table and went to arm wrestling. The uncles discovered that they were badly out of shape, and much to their dismay, I beat each of them almost effortlessly. They were pretty much still in the prime of their lives. Dad took a crack at me too, and lost, at which point, not wanting me to fill up with pride, said, "OK, how about going at it with grandpop?"

Well, I had heard of Pasqaule's legendary strength, but after all, here he was 72 years old, mostly sitting in his rocking share the last two years since moving from the farm, and sporting a mid-section of sizeable girth. So I figured, this might be a tough match, but I'm pretty sure I'd beat grandpop. Man, was I in for a shock. Grandpop pulled his rocking chair up to the table, and placed his arm ready for combat. I looked at the fingers that had entertained all the grandchildren when we were younger, doing such things as striking a walnut with one hammer-like blow just using with two fingers, and cracking it open, and I looked across the table at a sly little smile that exuded an amused confidence. At that point, my own confidence dropped a notch or two.

We locked hands and I initiated the contest pushing against his arm with all the strength I could muster. He just sat there with that little smile of amusement, and then put my arm down as if I were a little child he was playing with----which he was: that is, playing with me. Never in my life had I encountered such strength. I, and the baritone of our teenage gospel quartette, had dominated arm wrestling in high school competing with bigger and older young men, but with "Patsy" Lombardi, I had not only met my match, I found myself totally out of my league.

What I mean to point out here is that Grandpop was vital and strong both mentally and physically, even as death was working in his aging. Right up to the time two years later when he died of a sudden, massive heart attack, he still was a man very alive. Physically speaking, life was more prominent in his dying, instead of death being more prominent in his living. Right up to the time he passed on I wouldn't have even thought of trying to arm wrestle with him again, certainly not with any hope of winning. And I'm sure if Grandma, the day before he died, brought him a jar to open, he would have twisted it off without a hint of effort. Even the lid of a jar mechanically tightened to the extreme would have yielded to his grip. Physically, he was alive right up to the moment of his death, whereas so many of his age were more dead than alive while they lived, even as they "lived" longer than he.

Now before you jump to any conclusions as to where I'm coming from in this article, I hasten to acknowledge---nay exalt in---the truth that "though the outer man perishes, yet the inner man is renewed day by day." In no way, am I suggesting that if a brother or sister in Christ is suffering debilitating illness, that it is a manifestation of a lack of spiritual life in the inner-man life. Sometimes in the worst of physical weakness and suffering, the life of Christ is powerfully at work and its glory shining most brightly through the afflicted one. I'm simply pointing out a principle: As only the grace of God can enable you to do, when life and death is set before you, choose life, but know that whatever your experience of death might be – spiritually, soulically, or physically – it has been swallowed up in the victory of Jesus resurrection from the dead.

John GavazzoniJohn Gavazzoni
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