Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Note 6 at Lu 3:17: The Greek word used here for "fan" is "PTUON," and it denotes "a winnowing shovel" (Vine's Expository Dictionary). These were three-pronged wooden pitchforks that were used to throw the grain up into the air where the wind would blow the chaff away, and the grain would fall back down to the ground. As with many Old Testament prophecies (ex. Joe 2:28-32), this prophecy of end-time judgment is combined with prophecies of Jesus' first advent. There was not the clear distinction between our Lord's first and second coming then as there is now. Joh 3:17-18 shows Jesus' mission of mercy at His first coming, while scriptures such as Mt 25:31-34; Ac 17:31; 2Ti 4:1; Re 6:15-17, and 17:14 show Jesus coming with wrath and judgment upon His enemies at His second appearing. Old Testament prophecies combined the two (Mal 3:1-3).