Friday, February 20, 2015

HIS THRESHING FLOOR













In every Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) there is an account of John the Baptist speaking about his baptism by water for repentance compared to the coming baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire by Jesus (Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33). Let us study Matthew 3:11-12 in particular.

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

In these verses we can see....... 

  1. John the Baptist admitting his ministry is not the Christ's (“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.)
  2. That it will be Jesus doing the baptizing of believers with the Holy Spirit and fire (He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.).
  3. And that there will be a Great Winnowing/Threshing someday where "wheat" is symbolic of believers and "chaff" is symbolic of unbelievers (His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”)
In these two verses we have Salvation, Holy Spirit Baptism, and the Second Coming/Sheep and Goat Judgment (Matt. 25:31-46) all proclaimed to us by John the Baptist. The broad scope can certainly be seen here. However, I am going to focus now a little more on the last part of John's declaration (#3).

Threshing is to separate the grain/seed from the plant by a beating action. Before machines did this for us, outdoor threshing consisted usually of a circular floor made of a hard surface (stone, slate, tile, or wood) and sloped for rain water run-off. It was typically located on an elevated piece of land to catch the wind for the winnowing process. It was also community owned and operated.

Inside threshing (barn threshing) was usually located just inside a bay door on hardwood, stone or packed dirt flooring. To prevent grain/seeds from falling or blowing outside a board called the "Threshold" was placed across the entrance/exit of the doors.

"After this threshing process, the broken stalks and grain were collected and then thrown up into the air with a wooden fork-like tool called a winnowing fan. The chaff would be blown away by the wind; the short torn straw would fall some distance away, while the heavier grain would fall at the winnower's feet. The grain could then be further cleansed by sieving." (source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshing_floor)

Other Scripture like Psalm 1:4 supports this horticultural imagery  - "Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away." Notice the wicked are the "chaff" and the "wind", also known throughout The Bible as the Holy Spirit, is the agent that blows the chaff or wicked away. However, in our main Scripture of study above (Matt. 3:11-12) the chaff is burned up, not blown away. It is eradicated. If there are weeds or bad seed in the chaff it does not receive the chance to get blown somewhere else and sprout.

My personal application in this is to challenge myself and my readers in Christ to willfully place yourself in God's Threshing Floor. Let us allow Him to separate our personal "chaff" or wickedness by His Holy Spirit Fire so that only good, usable grain/seed remains. A broken/humble and contrite heart God does not despise (Psalm 51:17). So, God I pray......."Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me [thresh/winnow it out], and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24)