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The Shroud of Turin

The piece of cloth called "The Shroud of Turin" is a fake. Nowhere in Scripture is there a description of what Jesus looked like, as none was needed. Everything recorded in the Bible is to the glory of God and there is absolutely no advantage to us--it does not enhance the kingdom--to have a replica of his face preserved. It has taken on the aspect of an idol to some people and should be viewed with caution. For more "concrete" evidence, consider the following:

"The Jews simply anointed the body, and wrapped it in fine linen, putting spices and ointments in the folds. In our Saviour's case the operation was not completed, owing to the coming of the Sabbath. As soon as the Sabbath was over the pious women came to complete the work...All four [gospels] mention linen clothes. See Matthew 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53; and John 10:5-7. These are also named in connection with the burial of Lazarus. See John 11:44. It is there said that he was 'bound hand and foot with grave-clothes,' and skeptics have made themselves merry with the absurdity of the story that a man having both feet bound together should be able to 'come forth.' That the feet were bound together is, however, a gratuitous assumption. If each leg and each arm were separately swathed in linen bandages the assertion of the evangelist would still be strictly true, for Lazarus would then have been 'bound hand and foot,' while at the same time able, at the command of Christ, to move, though not to walk easily.

"A 'napkin' is also mentioned in connection with the burial of Lazarus. It was bound about his face. See John 11:44. One was also used at the burial of Jesus. See John 20:7. This was a handkerchief which was employed to tie up the chin of a corpse."

(Manners & Customs of the Bible, James M. Freeman)

"The embalmed bodies of men and animals were wrapped in strips of linen."

(Hastings Dictionary of the Bible)

The Greek word othonia at Luke 24:12; John 19:40; and 20:5-7 means 1) a piece of linen, small linen cloth; 2) strips of linen cloth for swathing the dead.

The Greek word sindon at Matthew 27:59 and Mark 15:46 means 1) linen cloth, especially that which was fine and costly, in which the bodies of the dead were wrapped; 2) thing made of fine cloth; 2a) of a light and loose garment worn at night over a naked body.

"The burial clothes consisted of a shroud around the body and a head-cloth..."

(Jewish New Testament Commentary, David Stern)

According to A&E's "The New Explorers" program aired 1/22/98, the shroud has been proven a fake. Samples were taken with sticky tape and examined under a microscope. The "blood" spots at the wrist points were shown to contain paint residue with no blood present. Also, the church has finally given three institutes (Zurich, Oxford and Arizona State) samples for carbon dating with all three places returning a date of the 14th century. Church officials have decided to ignore the results.


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