The Bible informs us collectively that Mankind's existence is centered around the fact that G-D Himself went to the Cross on our behalf and paid for our sins, that we might be rejoined to Him. Humanity was created to intelligently follow, obey, and worship G-D. Therefore, in order to be closer to what really is as things are in the design of the Universe, we must adjust ourselves more to the Creator's laws, and even adhere more and pay more attention to the words left us by the Designer. For G-D, humanity's concept of time and existence centers upon what Christ Jesus did at the Cross. Therefore, our reckonings of time, including calculations of certain lunar and solar events are to be readjusted to conform to when the Gospels say they happened. I believe that by doing so, a new alignment and greater understanding of the past and present and even future (in Christ) falls into place.
"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
...And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst."
(Luke 23:33,44-45) written ca. 50 A.D.
"And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull...they crucified him, and...from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour."
(Matthew 27:33,35,45) written ca. mid 55-mid 56 A.D.
"And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. ...And when they had crucified him...it was the third hour, and they crucified him. ...And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour."
(Mark 15:22,24,25,33) written ca. June 57 A.D.
In 52 A.D., Thallus tried to blow off Jesus’ 30 A.D. crucifixion event of noon-day to 3 pm darkness on an unclouded day as a full moon solar eclipse that even the Romans saw and experienced.
But according to the Gospel accounts, and the failure of hostile Jewish sources to refute the event, the sun appeared to black out while the moon turned to blood from Jerusalem to Rome itself during a full moon when sun was at its meridian, and the moon was above the horizon in fullness.
But when more closely examining the calendar calculations of both Gentile and Jewish calendars to address date certainty, we find that there is NO CERTAINTY:
(notice section 1.3’s conditional application)
Although some rabbinics will say that the Jewish calendar is not likely off by more than a day to at most a few days:
and infers that there is a recognition (among many rabbinic Jews)...but I believe the ancient Jewish Calendar calculations to be off by exactly + 1year -1 day when they are overlapping their Hebrew calendar upon the current Western Civilization calendars.
March 23 would be the correct Passover date as Lactantius, On the Manner in which the Persecutors Died, .1 indicated; being the 10th of the Kalends of April or March 23.
In other words, March 23, 30 A.D -- not March 23, 34 A.D. -- overlaps Nisan 14/15 falling on a Wednesday. I believe this correction to be the most extremely accurate correction that they can make on their computer models (such as the Kaluach software program, for example).
Software programs are only as accurate as the software designer, and if he or she commits flaws in the software programming, the whole calculation becomes flawed at and after some y-factor point.
In the 6th century A.D. Philopon , ON THE MAKING OF THE WORLD, 2.21, wrote in his Greek text regarding the manuscript text from Phlegon,
"And of this darkness... Phlegon also made mention in "the OLYMPIADS".
For he says that "in the second
[only the letter d as the abbreviative is used, as was common practice, d as deutero is "second"]
year of Olympiad 202 [i.e, A.D. 30]
an eclipse of the sun happened, of a greatness never formerly known,
and at the sixth hour of the day it was night,
Philopon continues, conjecturing an interpretation for the abbreviative letter "d" to mean "four", when the most plausible interpretation of the abbreviation is "two". He then obviously adds to what the manuscript of Phlegon said, calculating from that presumption. This addendum apparently then leading to some confusion among scholars about the year of the crucifixion of Christ.
In the Syriac of 12th century Michael the Syrian writes,
“Phlegon, philosopher of the common, had wrote this: The sun it is darkly obscured, and the earth trembles; the dead are brought back to life to enter Jerusalem and they cursed the Jews.'
That is, the pagan philosopher Phlegon, who wrote from the 120s to 137 A.D. using Roman records available at the time to research his Olympiads and write into 16 books that data, confirms Matthew 28's own account as accurate from the Roman records themselves; finding these tidbits as note-worthy historically true trivia, as he passes by on dealing with the 202nd Olympiad. This is among many interesting facts that anti-Christians having anti-Christian agendas don't want you to know.
Did Michael the Syrian add the part about the resurrected dead cursing the living? Hard to say. But if one went to Hell and came back, even if just resurrected (to live a year years more) and found religious works a deception from true faith pushed on them by greedy religious leaders...then, surely, it is NOT an anti-Semitic (but rather a human) flavor being added because as Jews themselves they cursed their religious leaders for holding back the saving message of the Salvation and Redemption of G-D from them and all other Jews. It was the same for the poor ancient Jews who were victims of their rabbis and Sanhedrin as modern Christians are often taken by greedy certain tele-evangelists and pastors of their own Churches who use the purse-strings of their Church to accumulate houses and lands for themselves, irregardless of the Law or accountability either here or before G-D in the world to come.
In Jesus’ ministry, the NASA software designates there were at least two lunar total eclipses:
1) December 20, 28 A.D. between 1:27 to 3:07 pm, Jerusalem time.
2) June 14, 29 A.D. between 9:01 -9:47 pm, Jerusalem time
Oddly enough, the December 20 total eclipse is about 15 months and 3 days prior an ancient testified day for March 23, 30 A.D. being both the 14th of Nisan until sunset, and the day Christ was Crucified.
According to NASA (i.e., their software as it stands at present), there were allegedly no solar total eclipses during any Passover around the time of Jesus' Crucifixion, and show a closest date as November 24, 29 A.D. from 9:22 am to 12:12 pm.
That is 119 days and 3 hours too early, and had the times been 12:22 to 3:12 pm, on March 23, 30 A.D., this too would have been a perfect alignment with the Gospel accounts and ancient historians (like Thallus in 52 A.D. claiming the same happening at the Cross and affecting Rome also, was a predictable eclipse). But with the Gospels and the Book of Acts, we have a testimony of a joint total eclipse of both the sun and the moon at the same time…the sun being black as sackcloth and the moon looking like it turned to blood.
If NASA would update the software, moving up / advancing the dates of Jerusalem time solar eclipses in the First Century A.D. by 119 days and 3 hours...and adjust lunar eclipses up as well by exactly 15 months and 3 days foreward, the NASA software would then match ancient historical accounts regarding the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
However, such an adjustment would also have to be taking into account the total lunar eclipse that occurred on the night Herod allegedly died on some 33 years earlier (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 17.6.4 - "And that very night there was an eclipse of the mooon"); but currently dated by historians looking to the same calculations as that now used in the NASA software, and now dated as either March 23 of 4 B.C. (and formerly as March 13, 4 B.C. prior to the NASA Software calculations). What is not told, is that on September 15, 4 B.C., there was another total lunar eclipse at night from 9:22 pm to 12:01 am the next morning. Because the Bible is the inspired Word of G-D, we are to place the primary (more objective / factual) emphasis on the data that matches the Bible, not on requiring the Bible to meet whatever subjective / emotional theories we come up with thousands of years later.
If we move either one forward 15 months and 3 days, we have the option of Herod dying December 18, 03 B.C. or June 26, 3 B.C. If Joseph was told by an angel of G-D that Herod was dead on December 18/19 of 4 B.C. , we would look to the Jewish Calendar for 5 B.C. to see if Joseph had enough time to travel from Egypt in 4-5 days for Channukah.
But for this, we reckon 33-1/2 years from March 23, 30 A.D. to calculate Chist's birth...adjusting 1 year for the leap from 1 A.D. to 1 B.C, we arrive upon the Fall of 5 B.C.
If Herod dies on December 18, 03 B.C., the comparable data needs to be taken from the Jewish Calendar listing the Calendar date of December 17, 02 B.C. (the margin of its Software error), and December 18 of 3 B.C. would align with Herod's death. That December 18 of 3 B.C. date would then be ca. Thursday 2 Tevet 3759, 12 days after Hannukah on the Jewish "kaluach" software for the same Western European and US Civilizations calendar.
The Hebrew calendar to the Julian is One year minus one day ahead. as when Herod died according to the Jewish Kaluach Calendar adjustment...and this tells us that the Jewish Sabbath according to the software program, has lost a leap day or such adjustment somewhere, plus misreckoned then by exactly one year with the accepted Gentile Calendar for exact Western European and US Civilization/Hebrew alignment dates.
In light of this new data, I too must readjust my prior historical reconstruction to the closest literal interpretation of the Gospel Accounts, and submit that in 3 B.C., Jesus missed Channukah in Israel on the literal day, though He did not miss its belated observance with the prophet and prophetess Simeon and Anna who waited for Him at the Temple.
This would place Jesus' actual birthday almost definitively as between September 15 - 22 of 5 B.C., and his removal from Israel to Egypt.
Herod was likely visited by the Wise men between sometime in August of 3 B.C., before the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles which began on or about the 24th, and before the second birthday of Christ (one of the days of September 15-22).
Phillip Schaff, in his History of the Church, has an excellent synopsis on the period around Jesus’ Birth and the time of the Lukan census, and becomes an aid for us at this point.
He states that in the calculations of Kepler regarding the Bethlehem "star", Kepler calculated a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in 747 Anno Urbis (5 B.C.); and that centuries later, these calculation were moved from June, August, and December of 5 B.C. to May 20, October 27, and November 12 by Professor Ideler in 1826.
Based on the approximation of 2 years old and younger given us in Matthew as to when the Star first appeared, we may gather that the massacre of infants 2 years old and younger likely occurred in or about late August of 3 B.C.
So what is the summary thus far?
1. That the Total Lunar Eclipse Calculations by NASA's software is dating 15 months and 3 days too early at 1980 years into the past.
2. That the Total Solar Eclipse Calculations by NASA's software are 119 days and 3 hours too early at 1980 years into the past.
3. That the Jewish Calendar is 364 days ahead of schedule at 1980 years into the past.
4. Herod more likely died on December 18, 3 B.C.
5. Christ was born between September 15-22 of 5 B.C.
6. Herod was likely visited by the Wise men between sometime in August of 3 B.C., well before the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles which began on or about the 24th, and before the second birthday of Christ (one of the days of September 15-22).
7. The massacre of infants at Bethlehem, some 4.1 miles from Jerusalem, most likely occurred in or about late August of 3 B.C., based on the orders of Herod to slay 2 year olds and younger.
Point 4 tells me that I have to amend my previous assessments that Jesus, rather being weeks old when he was scurried away into Egypt, I have to amend my position that Jesus was indeed very likely about 2 years old when He was removed from Bethlehem into Egypt, and still had time to appear at the Temple to be dedicated on December 25 of 3 B.C. (instead of December 25 of 5 B.C.). Therefore, while one of the 8 days of the Feast of Tabernacles is likely still the de facto birthdate of Jesus.
We must then read the 50 A.D. Luke narrative of the Shepherds in the fields as that of 5 B.C., and Matthew updating the narrative 5-6 years later in 55-56 A.D. regarding Jesus being taken to Egypt just before the age of 2...meaning that Matthean narrative with the wise men deals with 3 B.C.
Western Civilization would do better to recognize the Birth of Christ while Israel keeps Sukkot/Tabernacles. But for the sake of convenience, we can still keep Christmas as a Festivity to recognize Christ Jesus, but it would be better to place that Holiday into the context of a recognition of the dedication of Jesus at the Temple, and the revealing of the Messiah to Simeon and Anna, as though to run parallel to the "born again" experience. However, since Christmas is more of a day of reaching out to the lost, and spreading Christ's Love of Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men, in a positive message pointing them to the Cross...we can leave it be to the context of being meat eaters in the presence of vegetarians, seeking to join in fellowship in a way that does not offend our brothers and sisters in Christ away from Him.
So, in rereading the Gospel accounts with the above knowledge, the Shepherds in the fields and the Census of Augustus happens in October 5 B.C. And as Matthew follows the 50 A.D. account of Luke by 5 years, he also jumps in his 55 A.D. account (published in and around Jerusalem among hostile witnesses, none of whom are in Jewish histories as refuting any of his facts and assertions) by jumping in his account by about 2 years later in chapter 2. In Matthew Chapter 2, Joseph, Mary, Jesus are still in Bethlehem...but now, Joseph (a master carpenter and/or stone-cutter) owns his own home.
A Call to excavate the yet unexcavated Bethlehem that Herod knew, and where Jesus was born in
Justin Martyr, in his Apology, 1.34, says:
"And thou, Bethlehem, the land of Judah" etc."Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, 35 stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can [still] ascertain also from the registers of the taxing made under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judea."
1 stadia was roughly 606 - 630 feet to the Greco Roman. 35 stadia was roughly 4.0 to 4.1 miles from Jerusalem's Old City.
From this, we gather:
1) There were still existing meticulously detailed Roman records about a century and a half after their entry.
2) The taxing Bureaucracy were thorough and exacting record keeping pack-rat Administrators; junkies for detailed information and administration.
3) Cyrenius was called the 1st procurator of Judea.
4) Bethlehem was still existing in the second century A.D., as was known to have existed in Cyrenius' and Jesus' day.
5) The location of this Bethlehem rules out all other nominations for Jesus' birthplace, being 35 stadia from Jerusalem. But pay attention to Justin, here.
Hence, that Bethelehem of Jesus' is in the open fields and winding roads north-northeast of the current city of Bethlehem. That means, it is outside the boundaries of Bethlehem's northern wall. And it is these open fields that archaeologists should excavate. Here is the most likely area they will dig up a stone relic engraved with Bethlehem or some such information in it.
So, if the second century Christian, Justin Martyr (Apology 1.34), stated that the 35 stadia / 4.0-4.1 mile length of that Bethlehem from Jerusalem, (read the gates at the Hinom Valley), and hence that Bethlehem that Jesus was born in was well closer to Jerusalem than the modern Bethlehem, various Christian denominations and sects are currently worshipping in the wrong place.
The identifiable location where archaeologists should generally dig for the Bethlehem of 3 B.C. is in the fields north-northeast of current Bethlehem, 4.0 - 4.1 miles from the Hinom Valley, just on the south side and near the top of a hill, barely out of a direct line of sight view from Jerusalem.