The Winnowing Fork

2008

Please read Matthew chapter 3: 1-12:

In order to fully appreciate this winnowing fork word or teaching, then you probably want to read ‘The Threshing Floor’ first. The threshing floor is one of the seven letters that are on this website. If you choose not to read the threshing floor you will still be able to get this but you definitely won’t have the same background understanding going into this teaching. This word did not come to me by way of dream or vision but rather it came by good ol’ fashioned revelation. God has been birthing this understanding in me because at this very moment the Church (the Bride, not the building) is going through a time of winnowing. Also, for many who will be helping with the harvest and with tending sheep, there is a real need to understand the winnowing process in the lives of individual believers. Believers who will hopefully go through this process with a Church leadership that has more to offer than an award winning smile, and a song when they are going through their very real trial.

“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire”. – Matthew 3:12 (John the Baptist speaking about Jesus)

Now, before we get going into the spiritual side of this teaching, lets simplify things a bit by talking about the physical application of ‘winnowing’. Winnowing is actually a very necessary part of the grain harvesting process, I never saw the winnowing going on in the threshing floor vision, but after some revelation I know it had to have happened in order to thoroughly separate the wheat (seed) from the chaff (the stalk, husk, any part of the plant that is not seed). Winnowing is a process that takes place after all the wheat has been scattered out over the threshing floor and beaten to make the seed break loose from the stalk. After the beating or ‘threshing’ has taken place, then the workmen take large forks (similar to pitchforks), they scoop up piles of threshed wheat and toss them into the air (like tossing or flipping pancakes), they do this repetitively until they have winnowed the entire threshing floor. Keep in mind, this process is the ‘ancient’ way of processing the harvest, modern wheat farmers are much more advanced than this, and if any are reading this right now they might be getting a good chuckle out of this very time consuming grain processing technique.

Now why did the workmen winnow the threshing floor? What was the purpose of all their hard work? You see, even after the wheat has been threshed much of the seed still clings to the stalk. The winnowing process is the final stage of separating the wheat from the stalk. After the winnowing, the seed will be laying directly on top of the threshing floor, but the chaff, …its all ‘UP’ on top of the seed, until either the workmen or the wind carry it away. Now, I have just essentially told you all that is happening right now to the Bride and what is going on inside Her as a body, and as a Church. But, I will explain in some detail, the spiritual meaning of this process and how it applies to us.

Before we get into the spiritual explanation of the winnowing process, I want to point out that Jesus rarely explained the meanings of His teachings or His parables even when they almost demanded an explanation. I mean when Jesus said, ”he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him”, how much easier would it have been for people to understand what He meant by that statement if He would have only explained Himself? But,….He didn’t. Today, there are many Christians that demand that they be told spiritual revelation in a way that they can ‘receive’ it. They don’t want to be told things that don’t tickle their ears, they don’t want to hear that sin is evil, and they don’t want to search the Spirit of God themselves for anything, ….they want to sit back in comfort and have spiritual things explained to them in a way they can ‘hear’ it, and in a pleasing voice intonation, by a ‘loving’ servant’ who ignores their sin and is ‘accepting’ of their worldly behavior. But Jesus, …you know, …the master, the King of the Universe, ya, …that guy, He never did that. In fact, He said, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear”. I am telling you a day is coming and now is, when people who won’t listen to what the Spirit of God is saying will completely miss the message of Jesus to the body of Christ, and once again they will find what He says ‘hard to listen to’. As we go into this explanation of the spiritual application of winnowing, keep in mind that these explanations will get fewer and farther between. If you need to understand that more, then I’ll give you a hint,….you can find the answer in 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 special emphasis on verses 6-10.

Spiritual Winnowing

Now, for this part you’re going to want to have made sure that you read Matthew 3: 1-12. The Spiritual harvesting process is easy to understand if you first make two very important distinctions. You must distinguish the seed from the stalk, and understand that spiritually this is the distinguishing between the ‘flesh’ and the ‘spirit’. In fact, that very distinction is where you learn the importance of the cross and why we are told to deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily. Because you will never live a life in the Spirit until your flesh has been put to death on the cross, ….don’t kid yourself, as the author of a recent book has declared, “there is no crown without a cross”. That is why we have the symbolic baptism of water; now I do realize that there is more to baptism spiritually than just symbolism, but truthfully I will tell you that most of baptism is symbolic. It is a symbolic death and resurrection of our own selves. When we go under water we are symbolically going to our deaths, and coming out of the water, we are symbolically coming to life in the Spirit. This is one of the many reasons that the Holy Spirit landed on Jesus in the form of a dove after He had come up out of the water upon His baptism. Although I have noticed that the modern world has long since forgotten the whole truth of baptism, you will notice in Matthew chapter 3:6 that they were being baptized ‘as they confessed their sins’ even this act is a form of winnowing as the person who is about to go to their death in the flesh is laying out the exact condition of their flesh, they are doing this with full faith that they are about to be completely separated from these things never to go back to them again, …..this is called true repentance (something else the modern church has forgotten), without true repentance you will have seed still futily clinging to the stalk demanding to stay attached to its flesh and to the world, not understanding that it will never make it into the barn if it stays attached to the stalk. In fact, …the truth is, ….seed that stays attached to the stalk will follow the stalk right into the unquenchable fire.

John the Baptist even rebuked the spiritual leaders of his day as they came to be baptized (he knew their hearts weren’t right) and he told them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance, ….in other words, don’t just confess your sins but also walk away from them with a true and contrite heart and bear the fruit of the righteousness that shows that you are sincerely separated from your flesh and its desires and are now grounded in the Spirit of truth and are walking in the desires of a Holy God.

Winnowing goes beyond that however, as many of you have learned, …a life lived in the Spirit is not a ‘LIFE’ lived in the flesh. In the life of true believer in Jesus, you will inevitably end up on the threshing floor. You will go through times of trials and testing that bring your flesh and spirit into a place of anguish and suffering and it is during these times that you find your flesh warring against your spirit. You will end up having to meet the demands of either your flesh or your spirit, there is no middle ground, some will tell you that there is a place of spiritual ‘balance’ where your spirit and your flesh both have their desires appeased, ….what a lie! The truth is that, in a battle between your flesh and your spirit, someone has to die and someone has to live, if you are really to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “you cannot serve two masters, either you will love the one and hate the other, or hate the one and love the other”. During the winnowing of your personal being, your spirit and your flesh are being separated so that you can produce the true fruit of righteousness in your life which is the revelation of Christ Himself in you.

Jesus Winnowed

Everyone that God will use to bring glory to Him and His Kingdom will go through the winnowing process and many will go through it more than just one time. Even Jesus before He began His public ministry went through a winnowing process. After His baptism He was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, After Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights, the Bible says that He then became hungry, and that is when the devil came to Him and began tempting Him.

So basically the devil waited until Jesus was torn down a little bit after His long fast, ….He waited until He thought Jesus was weak and then staged his attack. The temptations that the devil tempted Jesus with are actually very pointed tactical strategies to not only take Jesus down, but also to pervert the true work and ministry He was to perform.

The first strategy was to get Jesus to save Himself, ….you might say, “wait,..wasn’t the devil trying to get Jesus to break His fast by making stones into bread?” Yes, that is basically true, however; the strategy was to get Jesus to save Himself from the condition that God had brought Him into …..after all, it was God that led Jesus into the wilderness by His Spirit, in order to bring Jesus into this time of fasting for the very purpose of being tested by the devil, you will notice that the devil did not bring bread to Jesus, …I mean if the purpose was to just tempt Jesus with food then the devil could have just brought a pizza.

But the main part of this temptation was to get Jesus to create His own way out of His situation, and not only that, but also to use the power that God had genuinely given Him to do it with. It was more important that the will of God be done in Jesus’ life than it was for Jesus to be saved from the trial that God had led Him to. Notice later in Jesus’ life He again had to repeat the pattern of this trial in a bigger way, when faced with the decision to use His divine influence to save Himself from God’s plan, or to surrender Himself to God’s perfect will, remember His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane?

The second temptation strategy that satan used was a very different strategy, but the Church is suffering the consequence of this strategy amongst its own ranks right now. So it’s especially good to review this strategy at this moment in time. You will notice that in the first temptation satan began his temptation by saying, “if you are the Son of God”, he also does this the second time he tempts Jesus. In both cases, He is appealing to Jesus’ own identity and authority in God. He is literally saying, …if you are who you say you are in God then you should be able to do this, …. In the first temptation, He was trying to get Jesus to use His authority and position to save Himself, but in the second he tries to get Jesus to use His God given position and authority to do something much different. He tries to tempt Jesus to use His authority and position to exalt Himself showing Gods favor on His life. Had Jesus thrown Himself from the pinnacle of the Temple before the people in the Holy City and had been set down on the ground by Angels then His approval rating by all would have sky rocketed, after all don’t you remember the religious leaders asking Jesus to show them a sign? This certainly would have been a sign, because no Jewish leader would have believed that such a sign would come from anyone that God had not approved of. But, in order for Jesus to pass such a test, He would literally have to test God because this particular test was not the will of God ……. How many today with position and authority that have been given to them by God are failing to abstain from the temptation to use those God given things to exalt themselves, …even at times above the name and authority of Jesus. They are telling God where, and when, He is going to do what they want and even how He is going to do it, then they do the work using the authority and anointing that God gave them to do it with, …….it will never produce a lasting work, and it will destroy those who have fallen to this temptation, if it wasn’t for the mercy of God all of these would be lost.

The third and final temptation that satan tempted Jesus with was pretty straight forward. Basically satan was going to give Jesus the World if He would only bow down and worship satan himself. First off, you have to understand that this was entirely possible, some people don’t know that satan has been given dominion over the Earth and that everything on this Earth that is not surrendered to Jesus belongs to Him. Now there are, of course, a lot of specific conditions to how this all works, and satan, of course, never can have dominion over God but my purpose in writing this is not to explain the intricacies of spiritual dominion on the Earth, however I do want you to understand that satan was not offering Jesus something that he didn’t have, …he very much did posses what he was tempting Jesus with. You see, satan himself would have exalted Jesus before the Kingdoms of the Earth if Jesus would have exalted satan in His own life, ….how strange that satan was not even interested in Jesus exalting satan before men. You see if Jesus had fallen before satan and worshipped him, then satan would have been in authority even over the Son of God, because Jesus would have surrendered that authority directly to the devil, ….all that in exchange for mere authority over the Kingdoms of the world, …something Jesus is to posses anyway.

If you think many haven’t fallen to the temptation to be given authority and dominion over something that Jesus is to one day posses anyway, …all in the name of surrendering their will to satan, then I’ve got a great big Mega-Church surprise for you! That’s right, …much of the church today has fallen away from the will and truth of God, in fact as the Bible says that a time will come when the Church will not be able to endure sound doctrine, but wanting their ears tickled they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and they will turn away from truth and turn aside to myths. Who are these teachers who teach in accordance with the desires of people who have turned away from the true doctrine of God? Where do teachers like this come from? Why do they even desire to do this? I’ll tell you why, because a fallen Church offers a Kingdom of Monolithic church buildings, Denominational Empires, and platforms for ‘special anointed people’ to be exalted and admired, ….and even, …worshiped. But in order for a person to even want to do this their heart has to be far from God and very much under control of something else, in fact many of these people began their Christian lives with sincere hearts and were given gifts by God Himself to be used in service of the body of Christ, …but, ….they fell to the temptation of being given a Kingdom in exchange for their loyalty to the will of satan.

You will notice that when Jesus walked in the will of God, not only did it not bring Him an immediate Kingdom on Earth, but it didn’t even make Him popular or desired as a leader among the prominent of His own people, …in other words, …the Church leadership of His day rejected Him and did not even give Him a place in their little Kingdom, and even satan’s Kingdom(Rome) was in power over the Church that Jesus so desperately loved, ….how easy it would have been to have a Mega-Temple if Jesus had only surrendered to satan’s request, …..but instead He surrendered to Gods will.

How many today have failed to surrender to God’s plan and will for the true Church and Bride of Christ, only to trade their calling for a little Kingdom that is passing away, …choosing to create cute little myths that make people feel warm and fuzzy so that they will keep padding the offering basket, instead of laying down their fleshly, earthly lives for a true Church and for the will of God.

Not only is it sin, but it is absolutely the work of satan himself, those cute fuzzy little myths are really doctrines of devils and many are following those doctrines right into the pit of hell, the whole time believing they are walking with God, …..the men who have fallen to this temptation have literally put themselves into a place of leading Kingdoms on Earth right into hell ….it’s so terrible.

Just like Peter, you will be sifted

Ahhh, …a new word, ‘sifted’, … what is sifting? Sifting is basically the process if winnowing. Sifting is that same process of separating seed from chaff. OK, remember Luke 22:31 where Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, behold satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat?” Now the first question that pops into my mind is, why did satan want to sift Peter (Simon) and yet didn’t specifically request to sift the other disciples as well? Why Peter?

OK, it is important to see this, so that we can understand the kinds of temptations and sifting or winnowing that will come to our own lives if we end up in a similar place to Peter. You see Peter Had already been chosen by Jesus to be the rock on which the Church would be built, and Jesus had even given the keys to the Kingdom to Peter, in other words the leadership and authority of the Church on Earth was to be given to Peter after Jesus was gone. You know I always find it interesting that Peter was the Disciple who walked in faith first, if Jesus ever told the Disciples anything Peter was the first to see it, the first to believe it, and the first to try it. John, however was the Disciple whom Jesus loved and the one who could be found even laying his head on Jesus as they were reclining at a table to eat. And yet God gave the leadership and authority of the Church to the Disciple of faith instead of the Disciple of love, ….I really do find that interesting. I know that you can posses every gift of faith there is and it means nothing without love, but does love mean anything without faith and believing in God Himself? Hmmmmm.

Anyway it is important to note that Jesus was sifted or winnowed before He entered into His public ministry, it was important that there be no corrupt flesh found on or in Him before He began His work. Because Jesus Himself was without sin He was found to be free of any corruption during his sifting and temptation.

In Luke 22:25-29, Jesus explains what true spiritual authority looks like, and how it operates, after giving a very simple and straight forward explanation, it is at that point where Jesus tells Peter that satan has demanded to sift him like wheat. Basically Jesus knew that if Peter was going to walk in authority he was going to have to go through the winnowing process and it was not going to be easy, in fact, Jesus knew he was going to fail. In verse 32, Jesus says to Peter that He has prayed that Peter’s faith will not fail, and that once he has turned again, …that then he would be able to strengthen his brothers. Why was Peter going to have to strengthen his brothers? Well they were going to walk in spiritual authority as well and so guess what they were going to have to go through?,…like I said Peter was always first,….literally. Peter failed the first test three times. Remember, the first temptation that satan tempted Jesus with? The temptation to save Himself. Peter was put into a position to be identified as one of the people who were with Jesus as a Disciple of His, putting him at risk of being punished or worse; three times Peter was tested, three times He chose to save himself. Many judge Peter for doing this but remember, Peter was the only one in the garden not to run away, instead he chose to stand and fight at the risk of his own life, just as he had told Jesus he was willing to do and obviously he was the only one at that time who really meant it, and still he failed the sifting test of saving himself. Later he was vindicated by Jesus and told to go feed His sheep (minister).

In these last days, many are going to be put in places of spiritual leadership, and spiritual authority. Although not all that will walk in spiritual authority will necessarily walk in spiritual leadership. There is a great harvest coming but the laborers are few (true laborers), all who labor will first be tested, all who are going to walk in leadership, authority, and true Godly ministry will go through the sifting of the winnowing fork experience in fact, ….many of us are going through it right now. Many will go through this experience more than once, but all who desire to do God’s work will go through it. Many are ministering now in the World who fell to their own hearts desires during their time of sifting, and though they are walking in gifting and anointing given to them by God, they are using those gifts and annointings to build their own little Kingdoms. Know this, …the Bride of the Lamb will be Spotless, and blemishless, and even without a wrinkle, …I tell you the truth that this Bride will not become this way without having been sifted and thoroughly separated from Her flesh and from the Kingdom of the Earth.

As you are going through this winnowing process you will notice that it is not as grueling and agonizing as the threshing was, it’s not the same level of trial, but you will notice that you will suddenly have many decisions placed before you as to which direction you are going to go in your life with God. Your heart will begin to join with your mind and plead the case of your flesh, trying with every attempt to justify an escape from death in the flesh. Many of the things God has spoken to you about over the years regarding sin in your life and fulfilling fleshly desires to escape the pain of this death to self will suddenly become front burner issues in your life. God will allow every relationship, every stronghold, and every unright condition in your heart to be brought before you in a form of a test to see if you will choose to separate yourself from the things that separate you from God. Let me just encourage you, ….there is nothing on this Earth worth separation from God. If you are truly dead to this world and alive in the Spirit you will not be separated from God.

It won’t be long from now that we will have another decision to make regarding the mark of the beast, this in itself is another winnowing test type of experience. You will have to ultimately choose between this life and all it has to offer or you will choose the Kingdom of Heaven and believe that the unseen promises of God are true. We will literally be in a position to choose life or death by a simple little personal life decision. At that point, it looks like saving your life to choose death, and it looks like certain physical death to choose life, …God is going to bring this decision making process right down to a rice grain sized computer chip, ….amazing! Do not think that we won’t have to make a thousand smaller decisions just like that one before that day comes.

In conclusion I will say that it is obvious that the winnowing time has come to the Church and as usual this type of testing begins in the house, judgment always begins in the house. You might say, “how is this judgment?” Well, winnowing is a separating of good from evil, of deciding one path or another, …those in themselves are judgment processes. As we are going through this process, it is important to follow the example of Jesus when He was going through this process, …for one, He was fasting knowing full well that his own flesh was about to become the biggest tool used against Him, …and secondly, He flatly took His stand on the Word of God. The devil tried to twist the Word of God to give Jesus a perfect excuse for failing, but Jesus stuck right to the Word of God using it as a weapon in His defense, ….I suggest we do the same. I realize this prescription doesn’t look very spiritual, I mean it doesn’t involve falling on the floor and screaming revelatory mantras, while performing prophetic acts, …its just simple straight forward believing the Word of God and His promises more than you believe in the promise of any other kind of ‘salvation’.

I believe that is as much as I want to cover on this one, so I’ll stop here and leave you with this one last encouragement. If you love God more than you love this World then the winnowing fork won’t do you in, but I will tell you that, if you put this world before God, it will not be good for you, ….as always I will tell you, love God first with all of your being.

In His service,

Daniel Paul