The Shroud of Turin
In the year 4 BCE, three Zoroastrian Magi went to visit the newborn baby Jesus, knowing that he would grow up to become someone very important. Of course, the boy grew up as a Galilean Jew who firmly believed in the God of the prophet Moses, not Zarathustra. The Israelites of the Ancient Near East even taught him about the faith of Abraham and a coming Messiah who would save their people. As was to be expected, when the time came for the bar mitzvah ceremony of Jesus of Nazareth, his parents took him to Jerusalem. This was the time-honored custom of every ancient Israelite of Jewish faith whether they were from Upper or Lower Galilee. However, while in the sacred city the young man ended up getting lost from his parents after some time. When they finally found Jesus days later, Joseph and Mary were surprised to find him engaged in a deep philosophical discussion with some rather prominent rabbis and official lawmakers. Even at that young age, he was already quite a competent thinker in his own right. So, of course, by his mid-twenties, Jesus was having intense peak experiences above and beyond most any other prophet in the whole of human history.
In the second decade of the first century, Jesus became a highly devout disciple of the eccentric ascetic prophet John the Baptist. Then, after being baptized Jesus began to wander the desert preaching his word. John and other pious people like the Essenes tremendously impacted what Jesus came to believe, so when he learned of the Baptist’s beheading he was absolutely devastated. This is when Jesus first formed the teachings of the Gospels. He then began his ministries in Galilee, building up a rather large following in just a couple years time. Jesus soon became a renowned healer who took shamanism and monotheism to a whole new level, even bringing the sick back from their deathbed on occasion. Then, one day Jesus took Peter, James, and John atop a special mountain to pray. There at that moment, Jesus underwent the Transfiguration of Christ and His (capital H) spiritual radiance began to shine with such illuminated brightness that the Anointed One was then visited by the enlightened souls of Moses and Elijah.
Ultimately, Jesus had first truly found God in the Jordan River, then later God found Christ on Mount Tabor. This was all the more important because during the life of Jesus Christ the Jews only had one synagogue in the whole entire world. After all, Abraham praised but one God alone so it was thought that anything more than one place of worship would have been sacrilege. In this way, Jerusalem served as the single sacred site for the ancient Israelites who carried on the teachings of Moses. Near the end of His life, Christ went to Jerusalem for Passover like He had done so many times before. The only difference was that this time the Anointed One simply could not and would not contain His outrage at people’s blatant disrespect for and disregard of the Supreme Being. There, He turned over the tables of the money changers and expelled all the merchants from the holy building, not wanting it to be a den of thieves but a genuine house of worship instead.
In the end, Jesus Christ declared Himself to be the manifestation of God on Earth. He became the self-proclaimed Son of the Father and King of the Jews but was quickly arrested as a result of those kinds of assertions. Jesus Christ was taken to the Jewish high priest and was thereby condemned for blasphemy. The Jews wanted Christ to be put to death for what He had done, but everyone was under Roman rule so He was turned over to Pontius Pilate. Ultimately, Christ’s insurrection in collusion with Judas led to the crucifixion. The Redeemer had continuously challenged the political authority of the Roman Empire and one day it all finally caught up with Him. In the last human sacrifice ever sanctioned by the God of Abraham, Christ performed the greatest act of Theurgy in the whole of human history, thus atoning for the sins of mankind, allowing anyone into Heaven with His blessing. Then, three days after the Crucifixion, in yet another morbid thanatonic rite, Christ rose from the dead by performing the miracle of the Resurrection. At that moment, the most powerful magus of all time underwent a “walk-in” with His own body.
The spiritual radiance from the Risen One created a photographic negative on the Shroud during the performance of the Resurrection. Plus, the relic serves as a tangible record of that otherworldly miracle. In regards to this, note that the Cross is a relic from the Crucifixion on Good Friday, while the Shroud is a relic from the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, so these were separate spells cast in succession. The point is that when Christ rose from the dead the raw supernatural power of His otherworldly Theurgical abilities left a visible imprint on the corporeal plane of existence, which can still be seen two millennia later. This is something that could never be physically recreated with present or even future techniques and technologies. Of course, this extraordinary claim requires a great deal of proof. Luckily, the more that you look for the more that you find when it comes to the Shroud. The mounting evidence is unmistakable and it should be undeniable. By examining this invaluable artifact, it’s possible to learn things about Jesus that we would have no other way of knowing. For instance, He was about 5’11" and He weighed around 175 pounds. Also, the blood of Christ was type AB. There is a detailed forensic record of nearly every wound He sustained. It may be a holy relic, but it’s really just a piece of cloth. The miracle is the important thing, not the record of it. The way I see it, we should learn everything we can from the Shroud of Turin, plain and simple.
Here’s what I think may have happened. After the Crucifixion of Christ, the Shroud was taken from the Tomb of Jesus by Saint Peter to Edessa, Turkey. Then, in the year 944, a Byzantine ruler sent part of his army out to bring the Shroud to Constantinople. Centuries later, in 1204 the Knights Templar of the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople. They took the divine artifact to France where Margaret De Charne transferred ownership to the Savoy family. Then, in 1532 a fire in the Savoy Cathedral damaged the holy relic when the silver chest it was in became partially molten and burned holes into the Shroud. Following that tragedy water was then dumped onto the ancient relic, but the image was completely unaffected by this. Also at some point, someone removed a small section of the Shroud, hopefully for safekeeping, but probably to sell it. Either way, the fragment could still be out there. Regardless, a little while after the fire, nuns repaired the Shroud and attached a protective backing cloth to it. Then, in 1578 the Savoy’s established their capital in Turin, Italy where the Shroud remains to this very day. In 1898 Segundo Pierre took the first photo of the Shroud. The relic became an overnight sensation, yet again. For the first time since the days of Christ, the face of Jesus was being looked upon once more. At that moment Pierre realized that the image on the Shroud was really a photographic negative. Later, in 1931 Giuseppe Andrea got the same results and verified those findings. So, by the time I was born in 1976, the Shroud had become world-famous.
The thing is, how do we actually know that all of this has to be true? Couldn’t it all just be part of a Medieval hoax like some have claimed? Well, in the Bible it says that Joseph of Arimathea purchased a fine-linen burial cloth for the Savior, and sure enough, the Shroud contains pollen from flowers that only grow in and around Jerusalem. Plus, the Shroud is exactly two by eight cubits, which was the standard size for Jewish burial shrouds in the 1st century. Similarly, the dirt in the footprint on the burial cloth is from Damascus Gate. The Shroud was definitely used to bury an ancient Israelite, and nothing other than Christ’s spiritual radiance could have created the image on it, so He must have been the one. You see, the actual picture of Jesus doesn’t contain any dye or pigment, of any kind. There is only dye on the repaired corner of the Shroud, and no place on the original linen. The negative was produced through degradation of the linen cellulose, not the application of pigment. More importantly, VP8 analysis has revealed that the Shroud contains holographic data that was encrypted into the fabric. This allows the dark and light portions of the 2-dimensional image to create a “brightness map” that can then be displayed in a 3-dimensional grid, thus allowing accurate models to be rendered. Therefore, the one-of-a-kind photographic effect could have only ever been achieved through supernatural means.
The reason that skeptics think the Shroud is a Medieval hoax is the result of a contaminated carbon dating test. The nuns had repaired the Shroud in the same corner that the sample had been removed from in order to perform the test. Thus, the mixture of 1st-century linen and mainly 16th-century cotton led scientists to conclude that the Shroud was made sometime between the years 1260 and 1390. In addition to this, the reweaving has been verified with microscopic analysis, which clearly reveals the misaligned herringbone pattern. Unfortunately, it was the worst spot that they could have taken their sample from. The test didn’t reveal the true age of the relic, at all. So, the truth is that it needs to be retested, but the Church refuses to allow it. The thing is that only the scorched parts can be reliably tested now, too. This is because microscopic bugs were found on the Shroud, so in 2005 the Church used thymol to sterilize the container the relic is kept in. This inadvertently contaminated the Shroud with carbon that can only be completely removed from the charred portions of cloth. Again, though, the tests would have to reveal that this is a 1st-century artifact from the time of Christ, otherwise, it would be inconsistent with the pollen and dirt. On top of that, there was a Roman coin placed over the Redeemer’s right eye. This is important because those particular leptons were only in circulation between the years 29 and 36.
Another clue to the true age of the Shroud comes from the Five Wounds. You see, Roman crucifixion ended in the year 337 and it had been all but forgotten about by 1,000 years later. The point is that Medieval hoaxers would have envisioned Christ being nailed to the Cross with a nail going into the top of his foot, but the Romans did it through the side of the foot. Sure enough, the Shroud reveals that Jesus was strung up in the old Roman way, consistent with history, not religious iconography. More importantly, the Five Wounds line up perfectly on the front and the back of the Shroud. His thumbs were even turned inward because the Romans ruptured the median nerves when they nailed Christ’s wrists to the Cross. Also, the blood is authentic, and it even contains bilirubin. This is the substance that causes bruises to turn yellow, and it only results from severe trauma. UV photography even detected the presence of serum, which a forger would not have known to include in the textile. There is even proof that Christ’s blood stopped flowing when He died and then resumed flowing when He came back to life. So, ultimately, all of the evidence is in complete agreement with the Biblical accounts of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Thus, the Passion of Christ is real!!!