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The Shroud of Turin seen under new light: The scientific evidence

The Shroud of Turin is considered to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Erroneous carbon dating in 1988 declared the Shroud of Turin as medieval and this announcement received many headlines world-wide. Later correction of this information stating the cloth could be dated to the first century never quite received the same amount of attention. Research performed by Sue Benford and Joseph Marino found the sample of the Shroud used for the first carbon dating came from a side piece of the Shroud, which happened to be a patch used to repair the original, earlier piece of linen. The patch was from medieval times.

The notion that the Shroud of Turin was a forgery was already ingrained in the public’s mind and interest in the Shroud began to fade away. Original STRP researcher Ray Rogers thought these new findings were preposterous and set out to debunk them. He was surprised to discover the Benford/Marino information was correct. His 2005 published peer review research states this fact.

The Shroud image has been unable to be replicated and the image itself is very superficial, effecting only the first layer or two of microfibers. Each individual thread is made up of about 200 microfibers. The image lies on less than one percent of an individual thread. When you really begin to study the Shroud it is hard to debunk the evidence. It does not appear to be the work of a medieval artist. No trace of ink, dye or paint has been found, and the image was created in 3-D. STRP, a scientific organization formed to study the Shroud, despite all its remarkable discoveries, was never able to determine how the image was created.

There is actually a pixelated effect to the image of the Shroud. The closer the microfiber was to the body the greater it was affected. Distance, or dimensional information, was actually encoded within the image. Only discovered when run through a VP-8 image analyzer, the Shroud of Turin actually produced a three-dimensional image of a tortured man. We see a man who was scourged and beaten, a man with wounds to his head similar to those which would have been made by a crown of thorns, a man with a stab wound to his side all in amazing detail, a man who has been crucified. Many of the most amazing images in the Shroud were originally discovered when the first photographs were taken in 1898 and viewed as a negative.

When you look at these images, you may actually be staring at the face of Jesus. The idea the Shroud of Turin being authentic has staggering implications. Cor 9:22 says, “I have become all things to many people so that by any means, some might be saved.” Could the Shroud be one of these many means, something God has left for us to experience? Is this one of the “many convincing proofs” (Acts 1:3) used to show us Jesus lives? This proof has rested in relative anonymity for most of history. Because of modern scientific technology, we are finally able to look at the Shroud in a completely new way.

In The Shroud Encounter, Russ Bereault discusses the 1978 team of scientist, STRP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) who went to Turin, Italy, and examined the Shroud for five days. He states they discovered the linen cloth is a very fine, rare and expensive type similar to the first century and did originate in Israel. Only a very wealthy person would have had such a cloth at that time. The Bible tells us (Mark 15:45-46) how Joseph of Arimathea, a patron of Jesus and a very wealthy man, purchased a fine linen cloth to wrap Jesus’ body. Joseph was a Pharisee, a high priest and had access to the finest fabric. The fabric from which the high priest’s temple clothes were made had to be considered worthy of someone about to enter the Holy of Holy’s.

The blood on the Shroud has tested as real AB human blood. It appears to have oozed from a wounded man’s body, wounds which uphold the Biblical story of Christ’s crucifixion. The image itself does seem to suggest a human being died from these wounds. Under UV photography you can even see previously invisible to the naked eye serum rings around the blood stains. The blood was discovered to hold male DNA in 1995.

The image of the man itself appears as if it was scorched on to the cloth in the micro-layer. It is not an actual scorch however. During the Middle Ages the Shroud of Turin was damaged in a fire and has actual scorch marks. The actual burns fluoresce, or glow, under ultra-violet light, but the image of the man does not. The burns fluoresce because they were created from heat.

In 2011 researchers in Europe experimented with an Ultra-Violet excimer laser and were able to achieve the same microns in depth and coloration of an image on their linen as we see on the Shroud. This 40 nano-second burst of laser light would certainly be considered a (Cor 15:51-52)“flash, a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” This does back up Holy Scripture which states that at the moment of Resurrection there was intense, momentary, burst of light, and there will be again.

According to Mr. Bereault the first mention of the Shroud itself comes from the first century in the Legend of King Agbar. In this story a King was dying from leprosy and sent his messenger to go and bring back Jesus so he could be healed. The messenger was too late, Jesus was crucified, but he returns the Apostle Jude Thaddeus and a mysterious piece of cloth with an image upon it. When King Agbar views this image he is healed of leprosy and becomes a believer. Jude proceeds to evangelize the city. Bereault claims to have found a traceable history for the existence of the Shroud since that time.

Modern society now communicates more with visual images than words. The Shroud is a different form of Gospel. It testifies to the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. When Peter and John ran into the tomb the linen cloth was the first thing they saw lying there. When they saw this cloth they believed Jesus had risen. Jesus has been described as the image of the invisible God. The Shroud of Turin does not fall under the category of a graven image. The Shroud preaches the Gospel. It supports everything we know about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Part one of this article discussed the hidden message encoded within the Shroud of Turin.

The second annual Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit will take place July 25-27, 2014 in Colorado Springs. This is a beautiful place to listen to 22 speakers discuss various topics of Bible prophecy, including Mr. Russ Breault. Mr. Breault’s Shroud of Turin Prophecy Package can be found here.