It is apparent that the pieces of the scriptural puzzle fit together when one considers death as a sleep; where the dead, both wicked and righteous, await their reward. The reward, eternal life or eternal death, is received at a time designated by God. Eternal death for the wicked is accomplished by fire that comes down from God. This fire can not be put out until it has completely burned up, everything that is wicked, and only ashes are left.

1 John 4:
    7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
    8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
    16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Exodus 34:
    6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
    7 Keeping mercy for thousands, f orgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Jonah 4:
    2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

Micah 7:
    18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
    19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

    Could God punish sinners for billions and trillions of years without retaining His anger forever? Does keeping people alive, so they can live in eternal pain, fit a character that is Love? Could one describe a God who keeps people burning forever and ever (endlessly) as a merciful God?

Ezekiel 33:
    11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

    God says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” After coming and dying on the cross and then continual pleading, “turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die,” a loving God has no choice but to destroy those who will not turn away from evil. A loving God must destroy the wicked so evil and all the suffering that goes with it will not be perpetuated.
    Eternal death instead of eternal suffering fits Gods character of Love and Mercy.
    The Author’s prayer is that all will choose eternal life with the One who is the very best friend that anyone can have, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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