The Shroud of Turin, Jesus & Prophecy
The Shroud of Turin, the alleged burial cloth of Jesus, is on display during 2015 in the city of Turin, Italy. Many thousands, if not millions of people, will visit Italy this year just to gaze upon what may in fact be the linen cloth that held the body of Jesus as He lay in that tomb over 2,000 years ago.
My wife and I visited Italy in 2010, during a previous exhibition of the Shroud of Turin. It is a most amazing piece of cloth. The almost ghostly image of a tortured man (a reverse image by the way), is faintly visible on the cloth. We have another article on the Shroud, but in this article I want to discuss how the Shroud of Turin displays evidence for the fulfillment of prophecies in the Bible about the coming Redeemer of Israel, and indeed of all human beings.
Furthermore, the Shroud lines up precisely with what is recorded in the gospels about the capture, torture, and crucifixion of Jesus.
The Shroud of Turin – New Evidence (2013)
The Image of a Crucified Man
What do you see when you gaze at the Shroud of Turin affixed to the wall, in that dimly lit church in Italy? Listed below are the key features plainly visible. What is fascinating is how these features match up with what is told in
the Bible about Jesus!
The Shroud is a linen sheet 4.41 meters (~14.5 feet ) long and 1.13 meters (~3.7 feet) wide
It is a tightly woven herringbone twill made in a single piece.
On it can be seen a reverse (positive) double image (front and back) of a human body which has been tortured and beaten, with wounds visible on the left wrist, on the feet and on the right side of the chest.
The Shroud is a burial cloth, which was not particularly common in the burial traditions of the Jews and other ancient peoples. There is theory that the Shroud is actually a table cloth, quickly purchased by Joseph of
Aramathea prior to sundown on Friday afternoon, so that Jesus could be wrapped in something prior to burial.
About 35 centimeters (~14 inches) from each edge and running lengthways down the cloth are two almost symmetrical lines of scorches.The most evident scorch marks were caused by the fire which broke out during the night between 3 and 4 December, 1532 in the choir-sacristy of the Sainte-Chapelle in Chambéry, where the Shroud was kept in a silver-plated casket.
- The intense heat of the fire caused a drop of molten metal from the lid of the casket to perforate the cloth which had been folded into forty-eight layers.
- The water used to put out the fire left its mark on the Shroud as well.
- There are also older traces of combustion which run along two parallel lines at the level of the crossed hands(frontal image) and at the same level of the back (dorsal image) of the Man of the Shroud.
The image shows two imprints of a full-sized human body laid on one half of the linen, with the other half of the cloth being drawn over the head and down to the feet, thus creating two head-to-head images, one frontal and one dorsal. The imprint is of two colors:
- the body print is a slightly hazy sepia (yellow-brown) whose edges appear to fade into the background;
- the pinkish stains are instead due to the presence of blood on the cloth.
The blood stains have been confirmed through extensive analysis to be actual human blood, of type AB, and of a human male (see below for more on this). There is no explanation for what or how the body print was made. It has been confirmed that it is not a painting. Some believe the body print was produced as a by product of Jesus having been raised from the dead, as Christians believe, and as the Bible records.
“They Cast Lots for My Clothes”
The Man on the shroud is without clothes. It is interesting to note that it was foretold in the Old Testament that His clothes would be taken from Him, and that they would “gamble” or cast lots for His cloak. It is also recorded in the gospels how this is exactly what took place:
- Psalm 22:18 “They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots”.
- Matt 27:35 “Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments,casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet:“They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”
- Luke 23:34 “Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.”
- John 19:24 “They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.”
“He Keeps All His Bones”
The legs of the man are crossed, but not broken – as was the usual custom of Roman soldiers to do when dealing with crucified victims (the legs were broken while they were on the cross, to speed the arrival of death).
- Psalms 34:20 “He keeps all His bones: not one of them is broken.” God went to great lengths to prophesyabout the bones of Jesus. It was told that Jesus would receive “stripes,” but none of His bones would be broken. The legs of the two men crucified to the left and right of Jesus had their legs broken by the Roman guards – but not Jesus. David was inspired by Christ to give us this Messianic prophecy.
- John 19:33-36 “When they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water . . . these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken.”
The frontal image shows the head and face of a 1.80 m (~5.9 feet) tall man with long hair, a forked beard and a moustache. The more marked hair mass on the left side of the image suggests that the head was slightly tilted to that side. Pinkish stains are visible on the hair and face.
The most characteristic one is the reversed 3-shaped stain in the center of the forehead. Some believe this marking to be symbolic of the Trinity – that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ is described in the Bible this way:
- John 14:9 “Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
- Col 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
- John 1:18: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”.
“His Appearance was Marred”
- the bridge of the nose is crooked,
- there is bruising under the eye,
- on the right check, on the upper lip and on the jaw.
In Isaiah we read a prophecy that the Messiah would suffer cruel punishment to redeem His people from their sins:
- Isaiah 52:14 “His appearance was marred more than any man.”
In the New Testament, we read how that Jesus, after He was captured by the Romans, endured a terrible beating about the head, face, and in fact over His entire body by Roman guards who were ordered to scourge his body by means of a Roman “flagrum” (a whip which had pieces of metal attached to it for the purposes of tearing flesh from a body). The wounds on the Man depicted on the shroud are what you would expect to see of a Man who was put through that kind of torture. .
A Crown of Thorns Upon His Head
As you look upon the face of the image, you will notice that there is a patterns of blood marks upon the forehead,
what many believe to be puncture wounds from a crown of thorns placed upon the head of the Man. The curse for mankind’s disobedience in the garden of Eden was symbolized by thorns and thistles would be the result of their labors. The crown of thorns upon the head of Jesus symbolizes Him bearing this curse upon Himself, for the redemption of mankind,
- Gen 3:18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.”
- Mark 15:17 “And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head”
- John 19:5 “Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
Matt 27:29 “When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”For more information on the evidence of puncture wounds, and a crown upon the head of the Man depicted on the cloth, visit http://theshroudofturin.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-shroud-of-turin-35the-man-on-shroud.html
“Me Whom They Have Pierced”
On the right of the chest there is the image of a cut about 4.5 centimeters (~1.5 inches ) long by 1.5 centimeters (~0.4 inch) wide from which a large bloodstain emerges.
- Zechariah 12:10 “…they will look upon Me whom they have pierced..”
- John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”
- It is possible to see the two forearms with the left hand crossed over the right wrist at the level of the pubis.
- Psalm 22:14 “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint”.
Scientists and medical experts who have studied the shroud have commented that the arms appear to be unusually distended, as though the arms were pulled out of their sockets. Although not specifically quoted, the Roman practice of crucifixion usually resulted in both arms being pulled out of joint.
Bloodstains are clearly visible on the left wrist and on both forearms. On the dorsal image a series of blood rivulets run down around the nape of the neck.
The dorsal image also shows the feet, above all the right foot. In the central part of the right foot there is a clearly darker area which corresponds to the nail wound. Two different rills of blood run from this wound, one towards the toes and one towards the heel.
- Psalm 22:16 “The assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet.”
Scourge marks spread from the tops of the shoulders to the ankles. There is also a transversal blood flow extending right across the small of the back.
“By His Stripes We Are Healed”
Scourge marks are more prevalent in the back side, and run in groups of two and three. The marks run horizontal and diagonal, and vary in intensity from light contusions to deep punctures. Medical examiners believe these marks are evidence that the scourging was caused by a whip or cord-like device (a Roman “flagrum“).
- “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
- For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
- He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs, And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
- But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
Evidence of Bearing a Cross
Shoulder Injuries show evidence of scraping against a heavy rough object. The dorsal side of the shroud show scourging marks as well as abrasions along the back sides of the shoulder blades, as from carrying a heavy rough object.
- Isaiah 53: “He has borne our griefs, And carried our sorrows“
- John 19:17 “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha”
“This is My Blood… Which is Shed for Many”
There is evidence of actual human blood on the Shroud. During the 1978 testing by STRUP, sample fibrils were removed from several blood stained areas of the shroud. Numerous tests run by the team confirmed that real human blood is present on the shroud, even identifying it to as blood type AB. Further tests in 1997 identified ancient DNA present in the blood samples. Both x and y chromosomes were detected, confirming that the blood was from a human male. The DNA was also in a very degraded state, which is consistent with ancient DNA. For more on the bloodstains on the Shroud of Turin, visit http://theshroudofturin.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-shroud-of-jesus-25-bloodstains.html.
The gospels in the Bible record how that Jesus proclaimed that He would be giving His body and blood as a “ransom” for many:
- Mark 14:22-24 “And s they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat this is my body. Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.”
The Shroud of Turin – Fulfilled Prophecy
The Shroud of Turin exhibits evidence for the fulfillment of multiple prophecies about the “arm of the Lord”, the redeemer spoken of in the Old Testament; as well as aligning with what was recorded concerning Jesus in the New Testament:
The image on the Shroud of Turin is a picture of a crucified Man that was nailed to a cross, one horribly beaten, pierced at the side, as well as in the hands and feet. It is the picture of the Redeemer of Israel, the “suffering servant” foretold in Psalms, Isaiah, and in many other passages in the Old Testament. It is also the picture of Jesus as presented in the New Testament. Note that:
- Not a bone was broken of the crucified Man
- The evidence that both His hands and feet are pierced, as foretold in Scripture
- That He had endured a horrible beating from head to foot, that “by His stripes we are healed”, as foretold in Isaiah
- He was without clothes – fulfillment of the prophecy that they had “cast lots” for His garments
- The figure displays evidence of puncture woulds about the head, indicative of what a crown of thorns would have produced
- On the dorsal side of the shroud, there is evidence of abrasions on the shoulder blades, something that would have resulted from carrying a heavy object such as a wooden cross
- The shroud contains real human brood, on the face, the front, and back of the shroud, of type AB, of a male, and the DNA has been verified to be ancient
The Shroud is presently (summer 2015) on display in the city of Turin, Italy. If you have the opportunity to visit, you most certainly should make the effort to see it. From the weight of evidence, this may in fact be the burial cloth of Jesus – and if it is, it is the most important ancient artifact in existence; and strong evidence for the existence and sacrificial death on the cross of Jesus of Nazareth, the One whom Christians proclaim as the Messiah, the risen Savior of all humans who believe and trust their lives to Him.
Official web site of the Shroud of Turin: http://www.sindone.it/
The Shroud of Turin web site: https://www.shroud.com/
Shroud of Turin Blog: http://shroudstory.com/
Evidence to Believe Shroud of Turn page: https://evidencetobelieve.net/shroud-of-turin/