Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
GREAT LENT: DAY 24
“For then, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations. They have divided my land.” Joel 3:1-2
Today’s passage is from the closing chapter of Joel’s prophecy which is directed to the summit of all hopes — the highest desire. The prophet describes that for which we all await attentively.
There is a saying about human anticipation that goes like this: A person always waits for some important turn in life. This waiting then gives the energy to overcome difficulties. Thus, the virtue of waiting gives birth to hope. In our lives, there are many different things for which we wait impatiently, with the expectation that our hopes will be realized in the coming days, weeks, months, or even years. But in today’s passage, the prophet Joel exhorts us to wait for the most important change: the culmination of time itself and human history, which will take place in the valley of “Jehoshaphat,” also known in Scriptures as the valley of “Judgment.”
We know from the New Testament that our Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth for judgment at the second coming. Apostle Paul writes about the last days: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Certainly, the end of human history will be a day accompanied by judgment and compensation. All the nations and every person will stand before God’s judgment, the “valley of Jehoshaphat,” the symbolic place where no one will be able to escape from our Lord’s judgment.
In our daily lives, where we are surrounded by various hardships, this day as described by the Apostle and the prophet seems to us as if it is far away in a distant time, and hence, we become indifferent to the importance of waiting. However, every Christian must contemplate the Last Judgment and live in expectation of our Lord Jesus Christ’s second coming, because it is through this waiting and anticipation that we produce the hope that changes us and, redeems our lives here on this earth.
We know that God will meet us on that judgment day and vindicate all the wrongs committed against Him and us. Therefore, in the words of Apostle Peter, we “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt us at the proper time, having cast all our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7)