The subject of the Shroud of Turin is one that has fallen by the wayside in the modern world. It is time to bring in to the forefront, but in a slightly different way. The issue at hand is what not the authenticity of the Shroud, evidence for which will be addressed in part two of this article, but what does this artifact have to say to us in the 21st century? The Shroud is a document which conveys a message, a message from God to his children. Jesus was the word of God made flesh, and the Shroud is scripture in a snapshot. If real, it could very well be the most important document on the planet. It forces us to confront something that is for many, unbelievable. There is more going on with the Shroud than the human eye can see.
The Shroud itself is a 14 foot piece of linen that holds the image of a man, both front and back and appears to have captured his image in flesh and bone simultaneously. The man is approximately 5’10” tall and the wounds of crucifixion are apparent. In The Shroud Encounter, Russ Bereault discusses how the image gives the impression that Jesus appears to have collapsed down through flesh then bone and was converted into pure Light, as if the linen passed through the body to a depth of 8 mm and then the body was gone. This is why in certain areas besides the flesh we see outlines for the finger bones, eye sockets and even some teeth.
The message in the Shroud contains information about the past, present and future. It takes us back to an historical event, the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is present with us now. We can see it. There are pictures of it all over the internet. Everyone has the opportunity to see with their own eyes the price that was paid. Some people call the Shroud an icon or relic, but according to Shroud scholar, Russ Breault’s fascinating perspective, it is actuality a receipt.
We were “bought” with a price. (Cor 6:19-20) We were “purchased” with his own blood. (Acts 20:28) We have been “redeemed” by the precious blood of Christ. Peter 1:18-19 describes Jesus speaking of being here to serve, his blood being the “ransom”. All these descriptions refer to a transaction taking place, a transaction that took place for us. A receipt is a proof of purchase issued on a document that the transaction did take place. On the receipt is the price that was paid. When Jesus claimed, “It is finished,” he was saying our price was paid in full. We see this represented on the Shroud.
When you look at this piece of fabric, the Shroud of Turin, you can see the scourge marks and blood. You see “the stripes by which we were healed.” (Isiah 53:5) About 120 scourge marks are found on this body. Roman scourging was a horribly painful ordeal. They did not use regular whips, but a brutally designed device of multiple metal-tipped leather straps created to pull flesh from the body. Often an image is capable of communicating more than words.
The narrative of the Bible is the redemption of planet earth. As stated earlier, the Shroud provides us a glimpse of what is to come for us in the future as well. A 2011 study of the Shroud analyzing the depth and coloration of the image indicated it seemed to be created by a 40 nano-second burst from ultra-violet light. In Cor 15:51-52 we are told we will be shown a mystery, “In the twinkling of an eye we will be changed, raised from the dead incorruptible.” This is the Resurrection. It brings to mind the image of a flash of light so brief it can barely be timed.
In the Bible we are told God loves us so much he gave up his only son to save us. What we see in the Shroud is documentary evidence of this event. The message of the Shroud is visual, not literal, for all the doubting Thomas’ of the world. Some people cannot profess their faith unless they are presented with evidence face to face. Yes Jesus said, “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen,” but Jesus did not condemn Thomas for his lack of faith. Thomas went on to make one of the strongest professions of Christian faith to be found in the Bible. With the story of Thomas a segment of humanity is represented.
The future event the Shroud speaks of is something many Christians are not comfortable discussing. Many practicing Christians never think about the return of Christ, not as an actual event. They may discuss it as a theological idea, but even those who talk about it theoretically usually don’t take it further to actually taking place in real life. The term “Rapture” has taken on a life of its own in today’s society and turned many Christians off to discussing their own resurrection. The Shroud is a document that says this type of event has occurred in the past, Jesus being the first fruit, and the Bible says it is coming to the rest of the fruit, us, in the future.
The world is full of doubt, yet we are asked to believe. The Shroud of Turin after all these years may be a new way to go forth with the Gospel. The Shroud fully supports the words of the Bible. There is no variation between scripture and the Shroud. The Shroud is not above Holy Scripture, it reflects the light of it. In the original Hebrew God did not say, “Let there be light” but the feeling trying to be expressed is more accurately translated as, “Be light” meaning, “I am light and light emanate out from me”. John 1:5-7 talks of how God is light and that when we walk in the light we have fellowship with him and Jesus, whose blood has washed away all out sins.
When you consider the fact that God is light and that it was a burst of light which created the image on the Shroud we once again see Scripture and this document of linen corresponding with each other. When this event took place with Jesus’ soul and his lifeless body there was a burst of light and then he was gone. The Shroud holds that moment in time for all to see. Light was an important part of the resurrection. We are told what happened to Jesus is going to happen to us in the future. Continue to part two of this article.
Mr. Russ Breault will be one of the 22 speakers at the second annual Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit taking place July 25-27, 2014 in Colorado Springs. This is a beautiful place to discuss various topics of Bible prophecy. Mr. Breault’s Shroud of Turin Prophecy Package can be found here.