A threshing floor is where the chaff would be loosened from grains after a harvest. In ancient Palestine, it was a custom to use oxen for treading out grain to loosen the chaff from it. The wheels of carts were sometimes used to do the job (Isaiah 28:27) or farmers would use sticks to beat on the grain (Ruth 2:17). The grain was threshed on a flat, exposed piece of ground, often on a wind-swept hill. After treading on the grain, the farmer will throw it into the air with his fork so the wind would carry the chaff away while the precious kernel remained, thus, separating the grain from the husks (Deuteronomy 25:4).
The threshing floor in the Scriptures is a symbol of the judgement. The prophet Hosea said, “Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window” (Hosea 13:3). And the prophet Jeremiah gave a similar message, “For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: the daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come” (Jeremiah 51:33). And David said that the ungodly “are like the chaff which the wind drives away” (Psalm 1:4 also Isaiah 17:13).
John the Baptist made this statement about God’s judgement: “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12 also Luke 3:17). Notice the language here depicting things that would occur at a threshing floor. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, Christ stated that the work of gathering out the tares and burning them will be accomplished in the time of “harvest” at “the end of the world” (Matthew 13:36–43, 49-50).
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