Friday, April 10, 2009

"sift you as wheat"


In ancient Israel the process of sifting the wheat was the last stage in preparing the harvest. The sifting occurred once the wheat had been gathered in and winnowed (tossed in the air to remove the chaff). The wheat was gathered up off the floor or ground and shaken in a sieve to remove the rocks, dirt and other debris that may have been gathered in with the kernels of wheat.

When the Lord tells his disciples that Satan desires to sift them as wheat, they have already been identified as "wheat." They are not the chaff that has been blown away in the whirlwind, a term used by the Lord to describe the condition of those who are disobedient and do not hearken to the voice of the prophets.

Sifting occurs later. The wheat is shaken and falls to the ground and what is left in the sieve is rubble, dirt and trash. I would assume that the sifting process, according to how we respond to it, can either purify us that we may be gathered into the garner cleansed from the rubble of the natural man, or we lose our faith and the debris of the world is what remains with us. Peter was sifted and came out stronger for it. He triumphed over Satan. We will each be "sifted." We will each decide the end result of that sifting.

19 comments:

Ruth said...

Nice explanation on sifting as wheat. I'm working on a talk for church and wondered what this sifting process was and never considered the significance of the wheat.
Thanks again.
Sam

Vaughn said...

You don't know me, but I found this blog entry as I did a google search to learn about sifting wheat. I was also pleased to see that I stumbled across an LDS person's blog, as I am LDS too. At least, I am assuming you are LDS because you are from Orem. I'm sorry if I'm mistaken.

Anyway, I was reading in Luke 22:31 when Christ says that Satan desires to sift Peter as wheat. Well, the JST rewords that as "Satan hath desired you, that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat." That is an interesting twist to what we normally read. To me, it seems to say that Satan desired Peter so much because he was to be left at the head of the church after Christ left. Without a prophet, the children of the kingdom would be sifted as wheat. And, we see, that shortly after the death of Peter and the other apostles, the children of the kingdom were sifted as wheat and fell into apostasy.

I am so grateful for a living prophet today to lead us and guide us so we aren't sifted as wheat.

Sally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sally said...

Thank you Vaughan for your insight. Isn't it amazing how the JST can expand an idea with a few words. I believe, as always, the Savior's analogies apply on many levels, large and small. I think we will all get our own personal siftings (where we are shaken mightily) and the end result comes down to the individual choices we make and how well we endure the shaking. I too am grateful for a living prophet. (Wasn't conference wonderful!) You probably won't read this reply but thanks anyway.

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Mark P. said...

I also came upon this blog in searching for insights onto "sifting." I appreciate the simple explanation and richer analogies drawn from it. But I am still pondering, why does *Satan* desire to sift the wheat? Surely he does not want to see us purified or separated from the rocks and stones. Perhaps he wants us to believe we as leaders or members of the Lord's true Church are *not* wheat but are in fact stones? If anyone is still following this post, I would love your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Please take the time to compare the gospels and especially Luke with John you will see that Luke added his own flavor of Jesus, John, James and Peter and Mary. Please come to my blog and read. I have worked hard on it and in order to understand you have to read earier articles but in comparing these gospels you start to see the conspiracy of lies.
Merangue.wordpress.com
If you put some of the events side by side it is apparent the decimation of truth. Johns gospel is the most concise and truthful of them all.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Peter was sifted in his theology of who he believed Jesuswas and his mission. remember that Jesus had told Peter to get behind Him because he was thinking in natural and worldly terms about Jesus. Jesus never came to overthrow roman rule but to give Himself sacrificially for the sins of the world. peter said he would never deny Jesus perhaps thinking that Jesus would rise up and overhtrow the romans. Peter was sifted maybe because he had the wrong concept of Jesus and a wrong theology about his mission. Perhaps peter was sifted in that he was unable to stand for Jesus when confronted with the reality of arrest and possible death. His theology of maybe wealth andsperity was tested. Peter followed Jesus at a distance, he then denied him and then broke down and wept. He was tested as to his repsonse to the new reality how he would repond to this. Thankfully peter returned to jesus and was converted and used mightilly. yes we are all tested in this way we may thing the Lord has let us down because of some misconception we have this is where the devil comes in and discourages us and disheartens us this is where we are sifted to see what will come forth thank God Jesus is praying for us

Sally said...

Thank you all for your contributions.

D said...

Response to Mark P: Satan never wants us purified or cleansed. He wants us to break down. He wants us to give up. He wants us to lose hope with the sifting. Satan has a purpose for sifting and the purpose is to cause us to lose faith. Sifting is the process of going through troubles, trials, hardships, pain and suffering. Satan put this on us so that we would be ineffective for God's purpose. Satan puts troubles on us so that we may lose faith. The Message Bible even re-word the text to say that "Satan sifts so that you all may be separated from me." I reviewed this text in 17 Bible translations and all of them with the exception of one begins verse 32 with the conjunction "BUT". As you know, a conjunction joins. That is where the word conjunction originates from, (conjunct which means to join). The conjunction "BUT" presents a contrast or an exception. The contrast is that Satan wants to harm us But. The exception is that Satan wants to destroy us But. But joins the sentence in verse 31 to the phrase in verse 32. What Satan meant for our bad, God turns it around for our good. Satan does it to make us lose faith. But God enables our faith to grow stronger. Ironically both of these goals are sought with the same act of sifting. Jesus said in verse 32 "But I have prayed for you.... What did Jesus pray? That your faith fail not. Therefore after Satan finish sifting us, we will be able to withstand his sifting because Jesus has already prayed for us. And rather than the sifting causing us to lose faith; the trials and tribulations and sufferings that Satan takes us through just makes us stronger and purify us. Satan meant it for bad but God turned it around for our good. Read the story of Job. Specifically Chapter 1-2 and Chapter 42. Satan asked God to have a shot at Job so that he could make Job curse God to his face. But Job maintained his integrity. Read James 1:2-4. That gives us the result of our trials. If I can paraphrase, the trying or the testing of our faith brings about the ability for us to take a great deal of punishment from evil people. When our faith is tried, as we go through it, we become perfect or mature or have all the required elements, qualities and characteristics to flee from any flaws, faults, or fears.

William Turner said...

This is an interesting link about sifting wheat. It gives two steps: thrashing and winnowing. The wheat is thrashed to separate the seed(the element capable of reproducing) from the chaff. Then the winnowing takes the chaff elsewhere while the seed remains on the earth. It is also interesting to note that when ever the Gospel is preached it causes a great division between those who believe and obey and those who do not.

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4925686_farmers-sift-wheat.html

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for sharing your revelation.

Michaela L. said...

That was actually really helpful! Thank you for all the comments and for starting the conversation! I think all my questions were answered in the order I was asking them! Nice to finally find a satisfying answer from ask.com!:}

Anonymous said...

k said,
Thank you for all the comments and I appreciate the explanations about Luke 22:31-32. I wanted to know what was "Sifting as Wheat" meant. I'm putting together a sermon for youth in a Revival.I needed to get more info,God said Faith without work is dead, so I'm working...Thank you!!!!

Jerry said...

As others have said, thank you for starting this discussion on such a timeless subject. I was especially blessed by D's response and his exposition of the significance of the word BUT. Whatever plans the enemy has for the believer, (and he has many) God has a BUT to bring those plans to naught. The outcome depends upon us employing and enpowering God's BUT, which begins by believing His Word and entering into relationship with Him by the Holy Spirit.
It's awesome to consider and know that with all of Satan's shaking, sifting, trials, tribulations, winnowing, etc., Jesus' words of Intercession, holds us fast in relationship with the Father and defeats the enemy's purposes.

ATIYA said...

Thank you for this post. I had searched and searched in order to find an understandable explanation of, "Sift Like Wheat". Your explaination was the one that I read and the lightbulb went off.

Mark said...

Thanks for your comments Sally. They are very insightful!!! I couldn't find anything on lds.org about this topic!!

Dirk Davidson said...

It seems that in the case of Peter's sifting, the seminal fact was that the Lord had prayed for him that his faith would not fail. Peter was acted on by the decisions made in the spiritual realm, like Job was acted on and knew nothing of the dialogue in the spiritual realm that ran events--unlike Peter who was put in the know by the Lord. Wheat is wheat, pebbles are pebbles. The Lord of the Harvest knows what He's doing and will not be accused of losing wheat He has worked to produce. Job did not fail; Peter did not fail. We can rest in this. Our faith, a gift, will not fail, but only because He has prayed for us. I was helped by this posting: the chaff is long gone when the sifting starts. Those that don't hear the Word are chaff. Just the pebbles (hard places in us) remain to be dealt with when the sifting starts. Blessings.

merrifieldjournal said...

AWESOME!!!! Will be using this in the lesson today!!!!