Summary: Those living in the Last Days will have to swim against the current in order to live a life that leads to joy and fulfillment.
v. 13 and I heard a voice from heaven saying “write, Blessed (O! how happy) are the dead in the Lord who die from now on
Yes, says the Spirit, in order that they will rest from their labors, and their works follow them.
v. 14 and I looked and Look, a white cloud, and on the cloud sitting One like the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle,
v. 15 and another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, “Send your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
v. 16 and the One sitting on the cloud threw his sickle on the earth, and the earth was harvested.
v. 17 and another angle came out of the temple in heaven, also having a sharp sickle.
v. 18 and another angel came out of the altar, having authority over fire, and he yelled with a huge voice to the one having the sharp sickle, saying “Send your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for the grapes are ready.
v. 19 and the angel threw his sickle into the earth and harvested vine of the earth and threw them to the winepress of God’s great anger.
v. 20 and the winepress was stamped outside the city and blood flowed from the winepress up to the bridles of the horses a distance of a bit less than two hundred miles (1600 stadion).
What Makes You Happy?
I can tell you what makes you happy: dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. The best ways to produce those hormones and neurotransmitters is to exercise, eat a healthy diet with lots of different plants, pray, have purpose in your life, do things that help other people (& be in a community where you see people helping others often) and have healthy relationships, preferably in family (including affection like hugs and intimacy). We can also stimulate those same happy pathways by eating carbohydrates and chocolate (really! If you’ve ever heard of “comfort food” it’s a real thing), thinking about things we’re grateful for, going for a walk in the sunshine, seeing “likes” or messages on our mobiles. And, of course you can get similar feelings by viewing sites that perversely mimic healthy relational behavior, and by taking drugs that mimic the function of these natural feel-good chemicals, but those paths tend to be very addictive and destructive.
What Makes You Not Happy?
The flip side of what makes us happy is what makes us not happy. A sedentary lifestyle, lacking a spiritual center, a life without service and purpose, stress, strained relationships, addictions, loneliness and lack of close friendships and bonding-the diseases of the current generation. It seems the Last Days will be filled with such problems. Paul described it:
There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 2 Timothy 3
Looks like a formula for an unhappy generation. Those living in the Last Days will have to swim against the current in order to live a life that leads to joy and fulfillment. For those enduring the Great Tribulation (the last of the Last Days) it will be even worse; the real happiness will come in the rest that results from death. Truly, this world is not our home. Our greatest joy and happiness, fulfillment and reward will be ours only when we rest in the Everlasting Arms. Yet for happiness in this era, Jesus words are just as paradoxical and true as they were when He proclaimed them on the mountainside
“How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “How happy are those who know what sorrow means for they will be given courage and comfort! “Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them! “Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they will be fully satisfied! “Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them! “Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God! “Happy are those who make peace, for they will be sons of God! “Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs! “And what happiness will be yours when people blame you and ill-treat you and say all kinds of slanderous things against you for my sake! Be glad then, yes, be tremendously glad—for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. They persecuted the prophets before your time in exactly the same way. (Matthew 5, Philips)