Pro and Con 1189

Posted 3-25-05

"New evidence on the Shroud of Turin"

Deborah (24 Mar 2005) from Five Doves site
What scientists have discovered about the other burial cloth of Christ -- and how it confirms the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin
Review on "Sacred Blood, Sacred Image" (book) by Janice Bennett

Human Events Book Servide
Our Editor's Review:

The Sudarium of Oviedo is a small, bloodstained linen cloth that was rescued from the Persian invasion of Jerusalem in 614 A.D. and later brought to Oviedo, Spain -- where, for more than 1,200 years, it has been quietly venerated as the head covering specifically mentioned in the Gospel of John. Recently, scientists with the Spanish Center for Sindonology have DISCOVERED ASTONISHING PARALLELS BETWEEN THE EVIDENCE FOUND ON THE SUDARIUM AND THAT ON THE SHROUD OF TURIN. Now, in Sacred Blood, Sacred Image, Janice Bennett details the findings that have led these scientists to declare that the Sudarium and the Shroud, venerated for centuries as the two burial cloths of Jesus, could only have covered the same crucifixion victim -- and that the ONLY POSSIBILITY THAT CAN BE SUPPORTED SCIENTIFICALLY AND HISTORICALLY IS THAT THIS PERSON WAS JESUS CHRIST.

As Bennett explains, part of Jewish burial custom was to cover the face of the dead, sparing the family further distress. The Sudarium, from the Latin for "face cloth," would have been wrapped over the head of the crucified Christ while still on the Cross. It would then have been discarded after the body was transferred to the tomb and wrapped in the Shroud. This is consistent with John's gospel, which tells us that the Sudarium was rolled up in a place by itself. It also explains why the Sudarium, though it carries bloodstains like the Shroud, unlike the Shroud does not carry an image -- since CHRIST'S RESURRECTION, WHICH MANY BELIEVE TO HAVE CAUSED THE IMAGE ON THE SHROUD, WOULD HAVE OCCURRED AFTER THE SUDARIUM HAD BEEN DISCARDED....


The length of the nose through which the fluid came onto the Sudarium has been calculated at eight centimetres, exactly the same length as the nose on the image on the Shroud.

Using his Polarized Image Overlay Technique to study correlations between the Shroud and the Sudarium, Dr. Allen Whanger of Duke University found 70 points of correlation on the front of the Sudarium and 50 on the back -- inexplicable unless both cloths covered the same head.

Specific pollens found only in Palestine are found in both relics, while the Sudarium has pollen from Egypt and Spain that is not found on the Shroud, consistent with their different histories after leaving Jerusalem.

Residues of what is probably myrrh and aloe have also been discovered, in line with John 19:39-40: "Nicodemus came as well . . . and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes. . . . They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, following the Jewish burial custom."... (Emphasis mine)

Incoming email, Re: Damascus

It's so good to hear from you again. And I'm delighted to hear of your new computer.

I've been "following" (I can't claim to be a student) prophecy since 1991. Most of what little I know I've learned from you. Even so, I feel I know less now than when I started, except that I become more and more convinced that Jesus Christ is at the door, that His call is imminent.

I have seen three scenarios for Gog & Magog: 1. Immediately preceding the 70 th. week 2. Immediately preceding and leading into Armeggedon 3. Exclusively a millennium end event...

Likewise Damascus.

Following geopolitics as I do, I do tend to get excited when I see a clustering of events APPARENTLY pointing to end time events. Damascus is a bomb waiting to explode. The Gog alliance is solidifying.

Having been 100% wrong 100% of the time to date, I've given up trying to determine the future. I am exclusively a watcher, well knowing that God is in full control and that these events will transpire in His time. Agape

My reply

There are all kinds of interpretations out there, and it is human to make mistakes. As hard as I have studied, look how many I've made. That shouldn't stop our studies. Just trust Scripture more than man's writings about Scripture. I learned that lesson when I read about an 18" stack of books from BIOLA's Seminary Collection each week for 7 years. I couldn't find anyone who could help me understand what the cherubim and flaming sword of Gen. 3:24 and Eze. 1 and 10 represented.

After praying for the Lord to show me, I just used the Bible and Strong's Concordance. Looking up each obscure word in Eze. One, I finally unraveled the mystery. Ezekiel was looking up at the heavens. The four cherubim flying in concentric rings were the terrestrial planets orbiting the Sun, that fire that enfolds itself and shines brilliantly. Flying in an ring outside of those orbits of the terrestrial planets was the cloud of broken pieces of a planet that split apart. That cloud represented our Asteroid Belt.

Finally, Eze. 1:13 gave me a clue to what the flaming sword represented. The DRB says, "as for the likeness of the living creatures (lively things, the terrestrial planets), their appearance was like that of burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of LAMPS. This was the vision RUNNING TO AND FRO IN THE MIDST OF THE LIVING CREATURES, A BRIGHT FIRE, and lightning going forth from the fire." The lamps tie in with the seven-branched lampstand. Josephus told us that the lamps represented the planets, including the Sun. Putting the information in Ezekiel 1 with what Josephus told us about the lampstand in the temple, we can deduce what Ezekiel saw in the sky, the terrestrial planets orbiting the Sun.

The flaming sword represents an asteroid in a cometary orbit. It looks like a bright torch, a fire running to and fro in the midst of the orbits of the terrestrial planets. Eze. 1:13 (WEB) says, "As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, (here a new subject appears) LIKE THE APPEARANCE OF TORCHES: THE FIRE WENT UP AND DOWN AMONG THE LIVING CREATURES (lively things, the terrestrial planets); and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning."

The asteroid reference is clearer in some versions than others. Here is Eze. 1:13 (YLT): "As to the likeness of the living creatures, their appearances are AS COALS OF FIRE--BURNING AS THE APPEARANCE OF LAMPS; IT (the asteroid) IS GOING UP AND DOWN BETWEEN THE LIVING CREATURES (the terrestrial planets), and brightness is to the fire, and out of the fire is going forth lightning."

Here is Eze. 1:13-15 (ROTHERHAM), "As for the likeness of the living ones, their appearance, was like live coals of fire, burning up like the appearance of torches, the same (another torch, it, the asteroid), went to and fro between the living ones (between the terrestrial planets),––and the fire had, brightness, and, out of the fire, went forth a lightning. And, the living ones, ran and returned,––like the appearance of a flash of lightning. ¶ And I looked at the living ones,––and lo! ONE WHEEL UPON THE EARTH beside the living ones (lively ones), for each of his four faces" (the four faces that were on the banners at the cardinal points of the compass when Israel camped around the Tabernacle).

Eze. 1:13-15 (AV) says, "As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it (the asteroid) went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning. ¶ Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel (of the 4) upon the EARTH by the living creatures, with his four faces."

The Earth is one of the terrestrial planets. It too has an orbital wheel. Like the other terrestrial planets, Earth orbits in all four directions, not turning aside as it circles the Sun.

All that wasn't easy to figure out. It took years, but I finally got it, with the Lord helping me understand.

We can quickly change our view when we find something else supported by Scripture. We should prove to ourselves whether we go along with what we hear or read by examining the Scripture context carefully, looking for clues. It is our job to "shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2Ti 2:15).

It is not all spelled out so the unbeliever can understand it. It is here a little and there a little--on purpose. Only those indwelt by the Holy Spirit can sort it out. We have to be detectives looking for clues. We might develop a couple of different scenarios along the way, hoping that the next clue will make it all come clear. Little by little, our understanding increases.

It was the same way with Eze. 38:20. What would make the fish of the Great Sea shake? and all the men of the world shake? An asteroid impact. When would men see the Lord? When they see the Sign of the Son of Man (Mt. 24:30) in the heavens as the smoke from the impact is rolled aside like a scroll.

Isa 34:4 (KJV) says, "And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree." Rev. 6:14 (KJV) says, "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."

Mt. 24:29,30 (KJV) says, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

See how the clues are scattered? Yet, when we put them together, the picture comes clear. The more we know about the whole Bible, the more we can see in one section. Man couldn't have written the Bible. They were only writing down what the Lord inspired them to write. The mind of God was necessary to plant the various clues that would tie together later on.... Agape

"Josephus' Account of Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum"

From Five Doves site: Deborah (25 Mar 2005)

"Josephus' Account of Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum"

...In Rome, in the year 93, Josephus published his lengthy history of the Jews. While discussing the period in which the Jews of Judaea were governed by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate, Josephus included the following account:

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared. - Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63 (Based on the translation of Louis H. Feldman, The Loeb Classical Library.)...

For the first time, it has become possible to prove that the Jesus account cannot have been a complete forgery and even to identify which parts were written by Josephus and which were added by a later interpolator....

7. Conclusions: Answers to Scholar's Frequently Asked Questions
The conclusions drawn from the discovery. Was the passage a forgery? Did Josephus write any of it, and if so, which parts? This section shows how these past puzzles of the Jesus account of Josephus can be resolved.
Answers to scholar's questions

How past puzzles of the Jesus account of Josephus are resolved using the parallels with the Emmaus narrative. See the parallels in the table....

Throughout his history, Josephus talks about "the Jews" in the third person when recounting past events, yet here he talks about "the principal men among us." Does this first person "us" mean this phrase was not written by Josephus, but was added by a later Christian who had a theological agenda?

The same use of the first person occurs in Luke in the parallel location: "our chief priests and leaders". This is a peculiar usage in Luke-Acts. The simultaneously appearance of a single odd usage in two corresponding texts indicates it appeared in the source document from which they were both derived (or, equivalently, that one text copied closely the other). We therefore can conclude with very great confidence that this phrase appeared in the original passage as written by Josephus. There are in fact other instances when Josephus employs peculiar phrases simply because they appeared in his sources, which he was closely adhering to. The Agapius translation does not have this phrase, so gives no support,; we recall that nothing from Agapius is conclusive due to the double translation into the Arabic. Taking rather the hypothesis that we consider likely authentic that which appears in two out of the three texts (Luke, Josephus, Agapius), WE CAN ACCEPT THIS PHRASE AS GENUINELY APPEARING IN THE ANTIQUITIES. (Emphasis mine)

My comments

Josephus was a Pharisee priest. Here is some information he wrote about himself:

Flavius Josephus, The Life of Flavius Josephus (ed. William Whiston, A.M.)

The family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one, but hath descended all along from the priests; and as nobility among several people is of a different origin, so with us to be of the sacerdotal dignity, is an indication of the splendor of a family. Now, I am not only sprung from a sacerdotal family in general, but from the first of the twenty-four 1 courses; and as among us there is not only a considerable difference between one family of each course and another, I am of the chief family of that first course also; nay, further, by my mother I am of the royal blood; for the children of Asamoneus, from whom that family was derived, had both the office of the high priesthood, and the dignity of a king, for a long time together. I will accordingly set down my progenitors in order. My grandfather's father was named Simon, with the addition of Psellus: he lived at the same time with that son of Simon the high priest, who first of all the high priests was named Hyrcanus. This Simon Psellus had nine sons, one of whom was Matthias, called Ephlias: he married the daughter of Jonathan the high priest, which Jonathan was the first of the sons of Asamoneus, who was high priest, and was the brother of Simon the high priest also. This Matthias had a son called Matthias Curtus, and that in the first year of the government of Hyrcanus: his son's name was Joseph, born in the ninth year of the reign of Alexandra: his son Matthias was born in the tenth year of the reign of Archclaus; as was I born to Matthias in the first year of the reign of Caius Caesar. I have three sons: Hyrcanus, the eldest, was born in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian, as was Justus born in the seventh, and Agrippa in the ninth. Thus have I set down the genealog of my family as I have found it described 2 in the public records, and so bid adieu to those who calumniate me [as of a lower original].
Flavius Josephus

Josephus was born in 37 C.E. and was given the Hebrew name Joseph ben Mattathias. His mother was a descendant of the Hasmonean family that had ruled Jerusalem a century earlier, and by birthright he was a priest. In Jerusalem he received a superb education, and at the age of 27 (in 64 C.E.) he led a delegation to the court of the Roman emperor Nero. Two years later he was pressed to serve as the general of the Jewish forces in Galilee in the revolt against Rome. He was captured and afterwards became a Roman citizen and pensioner of the Flavian emperors Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. He is most widely known by the Roman name he then acquired, Flavius Josephus (or simply "Josephus").

In Rome Josephus resided in an apartment within the emperor's house and devoted much of his time to writing. In part his works were addressed to his fellow Jews, justifying to them not only Roman conduct during the Jewish War, but also his own personal conduct in switching loyalties. However, his writings were also designed to justify Jewish culture and religion to an interested and sometimes sympathetic Roman audience. The earliest of his extant writings is the Bellum Judaicarum (or Jewish War), which was apparently drafted initially in Aramaic and then translated into Greek 5 to 10 years after the 70 C.E. destruction of Jerusalem. His second work, Antiquitates Judaicae (or Jewish Antiquities), was published more than a decade later; it was much longer, and recounts Jewish history from creation to the Jewish War, and contains some valuable historical information. His last two works, probably published shortly before his death, include the Vita (or Life), an autobiography intended primarily to defend his conduct during the Jewish War 30 years earlier, and Contra Apionem (or Against Apion), an apologetic defense of Judaism against a wave of anti-Semitism emanating from Alexandria. Josephus probably died ca. 100 C.E., several years after Trajan had become emperor in Rome. His writings, while generally ignored by fellow Jews, were preserved by Christians not only because they chronicled generally and so well the "time between the testaments," but also because they contained specific references to John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and Jesus' brother James....
Testimonium Flavianum

Flavius Josephus published a history of the Jews in twenty books around 93 CE. In the 18th and 20th books, there are two little references to Jesus that have inspired a massive literature on their authenticity or spuriousness. The purpose of this paper is to survey all of the relevant arguments concerning the authorship of these passages....

...The present author was once firmly convinced that both references in the Antiquities were authentic. After reading the study of Ken Olson that shows the vocabulary of the Testimonium to be not Josephan but rather Eusebian, I was inclined to regard both references as spurious. But now that I have found evidence that the reference in 20.9.1 does not require an earlier reference to Jesus, I am presently persuaded to regard the shorter reference as authentic....

So complete a silence is perhaps more embarrassing for the mythologists than for their opponents. By what right, indeed, should it be permissible to conclude from it that Jesus never existed, and not permissible to deny that a Christian movement existed in Palestine prior to the year 70? Since Josephus has been silent not only concerning Jesus, but also concerning Christianity, how is his silence to be explained? Uniquely by the character and the object of his work. The writer desired to flatter the Romans and gain their good graces. To do this he expunged from the picture he drew everything likely to offend or to excite their apprehension. Thus it is that he has scarcely at all spoken of the Messianic cult which nevertheless constituted the center of Jewish thought in the first century. That he did so was because this cult was a menace to Rome, for the Kingdom of the Messiah could only be built upon the ruins of the Empire. (p. 36)

But assuming that at least the shorter reference is authentic, what can we conclude from this? It shows that Josephus accepted the historicity of Jesus. Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact. It ought to be accepted as history unless there is good reason for disputing the fact. Moreover, it is reasonable to think that Josephus heard about the deposition of Ananus as soon as it happened. Ed Tyler points out in correspondence, "The passage is not really about James, but about Ananus. It's the tale of how Ananus lost his job as High Priest. So why would Christians in Rome be the source for the tale of how a High Priest lost his job? Josephus was close at hand when it happened, and was a man of some standing in the Jewish community. I can't imagine that he missed it when it was news, and didn't find out about it until he talked to some Christians about 30 years later." Thus, Josephus' information about the identity of James brings us back to the period prior to the First Jewish Revolt. If Josephus referred to James as the brother of Jesus in the Antiquities, in all likelihood the historical James identified himself as the brother of Jesus, and this identification would secure the place of Jesus as a figure in history.
The passage in Ant. 20.9.1 (Whiston) says, "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of the judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or some of his companions;] and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned".

In the Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin, 43a, Tractate Folio), it says, "On the eve of Pesah they hung Jeshu [the Nazarene]. And the crier went forth before him forty days (saying, '[Jeshu the Nazarene] goeth forth to be stoned, because he hath practiced magic and deceived and led astray Israel. Any one who knoweth aught in his favour, let him come and declare concerning him. And they found naught in his favour. And THEY HUNG HIM ON THE EVE OF PESAH" (emphasis mine).

If the unbelieving Jews didn't fail to mention Jesus, it seems to me that as a historian, Josephus would have been remiss if he hadn't included Jesus in his histories.

Today is called Good Friday, but Jesus was crucified on Thursday (Nisan 13), the "EVE OF PESAH" (Nisan 14, Passover). Sunday was Resurrection Day, three days and three nights later (Mt. 12:40). They were Thursday (day), Friday (day, then night), Saturday, (day, then night), and Sunday (night).

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