Apr 11, 2015

The Virgin's Cloth

Research into the marriage customs of ancient Jews as it relates to the Rapture and the Bride of Christ led me to an interesting thought.  I considered writing a blog about this but I try not to regurgitate other people's work so if you are unfamiliar with the marriage customs, I'd invite you to read The Bride and also Marriage in the Bible.  For our purposes here, I'd like to concentrate and study the Virginity Cloth in Hebrew call the Chuppah.  Did the Lord leave such a physical reminder?

Briefly, the Bridegroom would pay the bride price for his wife and then would spirit her away to her bedroom where they would consummate the marriage.  The virgin bride would lay a cloth under her as proof of her virginity.  Afterward, the Bridegroom would pass the cloth to his waiting groomsmen and the witnesses would testify that the bride had been a virgin on her wedding night.  The cloth would then serve as proof thereafter.

Peter and John at the Tomb with the Shroud
Did the Lord leave his groomsmen such proof?  For as with all things in the church, we are not virgins and since virginity is required at the wedding, again the Lord had to do that for us.  His shed blood though, is the bride price and the proof all in one.  Hidden away in the tomb, symbolically, the Lord consummated the marriage with his church.  He then passes the cloth to his groomsman as witness.  (John 20:6-7)

This is a bit out of order for the marriage custom for the bride and the groom do not consummate until his return but I do not know of any teacher or theory that states we will consummate our marriage to the Lord after the Rapture, so in essence the theory is plausible.  Since the Lord was without sin, he was the virgin on the wedding night, his tomb was the bridal chamber.  He is the hero, he is the savior, he is the groom.

So what of these cloths that He passed to His closest friends?  Peter and John are undoubtedly the closest disciples and retrieve the cloths from the bedchamber.  Where are these now?  I present that they are in Spain and Italy.  The head cloth is called the Sudarium of Oviedo and is in Spain and the Shroud of Turin is in Italy.  Study of these two cloths can consume hours, days, and even decades but there is compelling evidence that these are indeed the articles retrieved from the tomb.

Images on the Shroud and the Sudarium of Oviedo

Is the cloth ever mentioned again in Scripture?  Perhaps, look at 2 Timothy 4:13, Paul asks Timothy the cloke that he left with Carpus.  The word for cloke in the Greek is phelones, (Strong's number 5341)  it is used only once, here.  The word is thought to be a derivative of phaino (Strong's number 5316) which does not mean clothing or garment but light - to bring forth the light.  It is extrapolated that the image on the shroud was caused by a pulse of light brighter than a nuclear explosion.  So Paul was not asking Timothy to bring him a coat, for he does not use the possessive mine but "the" and he does not use the Greek word for clothing, raiment, or robe.  It is highly likely that Paul in his travels would present the cloths as evidence of the Lord's sacrifice just as Fathers would produce the virginity cloth as proof of their daughters virginity.

So when scoffers come forth and claim that the Lord was not sacrificed, that he was not raised, we are called forth to present the evidence - the physical evidence of his sacrifice and suffering.  We can do so today with both cloths.