Ogres, declared Shrek in the first film of that name, are like onions. They have layers.

Garry got a 3D printer for Christmas (which works by filament fusion), so I have had the privilege of seeing these marvellous things at work (making a bed for Barbie dolls for my grandchildren’s dolls’ house, making stars for our Christmas project and so on.) What is fascinating about 3D printing is that it, too, works in layers. The printer builds up a 3D shape layer upon layer. This box started out as one thin layer and gradually became a useful little storage box.

The Bible is in many respects a little bit like a 3D printer (or onion, or ogre…!) in that it has layers of meaning. When we study topics such as ‘the day of the Lord’, it’s the cumulative effect of numerous references which gives us the rounded (multi-faceted, 3D!) picture of what is meant by that phrase. We have looked at references in Isaiah and tonight saw how this phrase is used in other Old Testament books. The list is long!

  • Jeremiah 46:10

  • Ezekiel 30:1-4

  • Zephaniah 1:7-18

  • Zephaniah 2:1-3

  • Joel 1:13-15

  • Joel 2:28-32

  • Joel 3:14-16

  • Amos 5:18-20

  • Amos 9:11-15

  • Micah 4:1-8

  • Zechariah 9:14-17

  • Zechariah 14:20-21

  • Obadiah 1:15

  • Malachi 4:1-6

It is only through a cumulative, layer upon layer, reading of these Scriptures that we can see what ‘the day of the Lord’ means. It is a time associated with God’s personal intervention in history, with judgment and punishment, with God putting everything right. It is a time associated with the lofty being brought low and the humble exalted, a time of refining and pruning, a time of final reckoning. But this day is also associated with salvation and joy for all who have called on God’s name and relied on Him rather than on their own sinful pride: ‘The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.’ (Zech 9:16)

The New Testament builds on this solid body of facts and interprets them through the lens of Jesus. But that’s another Bible study for another day!