I want to know if it is biblical the veneration of relics and may it be possible that they are authentic, for example a splinter of wood from the cross on which Jesus was crucified?
What are relics?
According to www.encyclopedia.com,
rel·ic / ˈrelik/ • n. an object surviving from an earlier time, esp. one of historical or sentimental interest. ∎ a part of a deceased holy person’s body or belongings kept as an object of reverence. ∎ an object, custom, or belief that has survived from an earlier time but is now outmoded: individualized computer programming and time-sharing would become expensive relics. ∎ (relics) all that is left of something: relics of a lost civilization.
Do not touch the bones of a dead person
Relics that are most venerated by people are the bones of saints. A law given to the people of Israel in the Old Testament says:
Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days. (Numbers 19:16)(NASB)
Joseph asked his bones to be brought home
Joseph was sold by his brothers and became a slave in Egypt. Then, by the grace and guidance of God he became the prime minister in Egypt and saved from the famine that lasted 7 years those who were in Egypt and his family who came from Canaan. Joseph died in Egypt, but asked that his bones would be brought to his country.When the people of Israel were freed from the slavery of Egypt:
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you.” (Exodus 13:19)(NASB)
Joseph’s bones have never become an object of worship, but they have been buried:
Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of Joseph’s sons. (Joshua 24:32)(NASB)
The miracle of the prophet Elisha’s bones
This story is also written in the Old Testament:
Elisha died, and they buried him. Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land in the spring of the year. As they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet. (2 Kings 13:20-21)(NASB)
Even in this case it is not reported that someone had removed the bones of Elisha to be used for veneration and healing.
The question referred to the biblical approach to this subject, that’s why I will only limit to the biblical texts cited above. What does the reader know and what does he think in this regard?
Translated by Felicia Rotaru