Bible Facts and Biblical Symbols
The Threshing Floor
Find out what happens in this step in the harvesting process—and how it relates to the Lord’s harvest.
“I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit.” Doctrine and Covenants 35:13
Threshing is the process by which the grain husks, or chaff, are loosened. It is done after the fields have been harvested and usually involves crushing the grain stalks on a flat surface, or threshing floor. Threshing is necessary before the final process of winnowing, which separates the husks from the edible grain before the grain is ground and stored.
What We Can Learn
Just as threshing involves a strong physical act (crushing), the Lord sends forth His humble servants to “thresh the nations by the power of [His] Spirit” (D&C 35:13). Of course, the Spirit’s power isn’t violent in the same way threshing is, but its effects can be similarly impressive. Although it is still, small, and peaceful, the Spirit can penetrate to people’s hearts and help bring about great things, such as the conversion of souls and the breaking down of barriers to the Lord’s work.
Is a means of dividing.
The Spirit divides the righteous from the wicked, the Lord’s people from the world, and Satan’s lies from God’s truth. Those who hear the Lord’s voice through His servants, who have not hardened their hearts, and who choose to repent are counted among the righteous. The wicked experience the Lord’s judgments against them.
Precedes the final separation.
Threshing is a necessary step before the final winnowing. Throughout history, the Lord has at times sent His judgments against wicked people. At His Second Coming, He will separate the wicked from the righteous in preparation for His millennial reign. Before this separation, His servants and His people help prepare the world for the judgment to come by bearing witness through the power of the Spirit.
- The harvested and cut grain, such as wheat or barley, was spread to dry on flat, open surfaces, or threshing floors (see 1 Chronicles 21:20–23).
- The dried stalks were either beaten with flails or crushed by an ox or a donkey dragging a heavy board in which sharp stones were embedded (see Deuteronomy 25:4; 1 Corinthians 9:9).
- The Lord often used the image of threshing as a metaphor for the judgments that He or His people would mete out on other nations or the world, either anciently or before His Second Coming (see Isaiah 28:27–28; Isaiah 41:15; Jeremiah 51:33; Micah 4:13; Habakkuk 3:12; Luke 3:17).