The Meaning of the Threshing Floor

We have all seen pictures of an ox or a donkey dragging a threshing sled around and around on a threshing floor. This circular motion has a deeper meaning than simply threshing the grain from its husks. As mentioned elsewhere, Derek Gilbert notes that threshing floors were often pagan high places. The pagans considered them to be portals to the spiritual realm.

The circular motion of the threshing floor is replicated at pagan sites. Archaeologists have found pagan altars or high places where the walkways were walled in such a manner as to cause the pagan worshipper to walk in a counter-clockwise spiral around the altar until they came to the center where the altar was stood. This counter-clockwise circumnavigation is also found in certain Islamic rituals, such as the pilgrimage to Mecca where pilgrims walk around the black cube.

In the great spiritual battle between God, our Heavenly Father, and the rebellious created beings that follow Satan, the threshing floor has yet another meaning. As Bible Believers, we associate the threshing floor with judgment.

Judgment was pronounced against Israel because of the disobedience of King David. The angel of the Lord was destroying Jerusalem until the Lord repented and told the angel to stop. The angel stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. (First Chronicles 21:15)

King David desired to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David, as Jerusalem was then known. Curiously, it was at the threshing floor of Nachon where the cart carrying the Ark became unstable. Uzzah, an Israelite, reached out his hand to steady the Ark and the Lord struck him dead. (Second Samuel 6:6) The proper method of carrying the Ark was for priests to carry it between long poles inserted in rings on the side of the Ark. There was judgment for disobedience.

The Lord used Babylon in judgment against Israel. It was not because Babylon was a righteous or pure nation. Later, the Lord said that He would also judge Babylon.

“The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.” – Jeremiah 51:33
The threshing sled was called a tribulum in Latin. Tribulum is the basis for our English word tribulation. The threshing floor presents a picture of the Lord’s wrath in the Last Days. He will thresh the wicked during the Tribulation.

“The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.” – Habakkuk 3:11-12
I am so thankful for the Lord’s mercy and grace and patience.

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