It is interesting to see how consensus opinions are now being created on the Internet. One person puts out a theory and everyone copies it. Goggle indexes them and suddenly it becomes the truth. All that remains is for someone to publish a book so that the Wikipedia vigilantes can be tamed with a seemingly authoritative footnote from a book! God help those who try to enter a well-thought-out theory directly into Wikipedia because the Church police will remove it faster than you can upload it!
(Please excuse my politically incorrect use of BC and AD instead of BCE and CE, which I have done for clarity. It is difficult enough that the 0 year is absent causing 1 BC (Before Christ) to be followed by 1 AD (the Year of the Lord) which means that 6 years prior to 1 AD is 7 BC not 6 BC. Also, this means that two thousand years after 1 AD is 2001, one year after the celebrated millennium!)
So I have searched the Internet and I find that almost everyone seems to now agree that the crucifixion was on JD Friday, April 3, 33AD. Please try this date. (Note: this is a Julian Date as the Gregorian date puts this on April 1, April Fool’s day! Run the calendar applet that Edward M. Reingold has so generously put up, saving us from talking with a LISP, using April 1, 33AD at emr.cs.iit.edu/home/reingold/calendar-book/third-edition/index.html.)
Not long ago the consensus used to be 30 AD for Jesus’ crucifixion, which the Wikipedia Church police are still enforcing. The date of 30 AD comes about because Luke 3.23 says, “And Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age…”.
The naïve believed that Jesus was born in 1 AD and thus used 30 AD for his crucifixion and, relying on the Synoptic Gospels only, allowed one year for his mission and also forgot the 0, which would make his age at the crucifixion 29!
The next consensus, having finally accepted that the 1 AD date for Jesus’ birth was off by three years at 4 BC (even 5 BC), still used 30 AD for his crucifixion as this would leave time for his now accepted three or four year ministry according to the gospel of John. His mission would have to start at 27 AD (or 26 AD) at age 30.
Finally, this new consensus of Friday, April 3, 33, having given us the true date of Jesus’ crucifixion, moves the start of his mission up to 30 AD or 29 AD at age 33. The time is right to put the true answer on the Internet waves and see if a new consensus can be built that will give the true date of birth for Jesus at 7 BC, which makes him 35 years old at the start of his four year mission in 29 AD and age 39 at his death.
Jesus’ birth date is a particularly thorny problem because the gospels of Matthew and Luke both contain his birth and yet Matthew appears to align with historical facts and Luke appears to have made a mistake that is off by at least nine years after having been a contemporary of the twelve disciples!
Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity (Matthew 2:1), and it is now a known fact that Herod died in 4BC. Furthermore, to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod orders the Massacre of the Innocents (Matthew 2:16-18) i.e. the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus would have to be at least two years old by Herod's death at the end of March or early April 4BC, and this sets the Nativity at or before 6BC.
(Incidentally, the Samaritan (Magian) calendar was two years ahead of Herod’s calendar so the Magi tricked Herod by telling him their date for the expected King, so Herod waited two years before he realized that he had been tricked. Dr. Barbara Thiering, whose theories unjustly tend to be dismissed out of hand by the consensus, has made this shrewd observation. However, this is not really necessary for this discussion anyway.)
Luke places the Nativity during the Census of Quirinius that took place in 6 AD when a census was taken for tax purposes. This date is also accepted by the consensus, though some have labored to try to prove that there was a census earlier to try to reconcile Luke with Matthew. This census had been opposed by Judas the Galilean (Acts 5:37; Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18:1.1), and also known as ‘The Period of Wrath’ in the Dead Sea Scrolls (CD 1:5).
Rather than assuming that Luke is in error, it is more logical to assume that Luke is referring to Jesus’ metaphorical birth, therefore his coming of age (Bar Mitzvah)!
Although this rite of passage (Bar Mitzvah) is traditionally held on the thirteenth birthday, Luke 2:41,42 states that Jesus’ parents took him to Jerusalem to be present at Passover at the age of twelve indicating that that the age twelve must have been significant to the Essenes or the Sadducees and also that his birthday could have been in March or April.
Therefore counting back from 6 AD twelve years, we have a tentative birthday of March or April 7 BC (remembering no 0 date), which synchronizes Matthew and Luke!
(According to http://www.abdicate.net/cal.aspx, Passover on Nissan 15 is JD April 14, 7 BC, but Jesus could have reached the age of twelve as early as March or maybe it was April 3 and Jesus was crucified on his birthday!)
I will in a later blog talk about John the Baptist’s birth date, which is shown in detail in Luke and how it will also confirm this date, but meanwhile, I hope that consensus will eventually accept this obvious point and add it to their sites and to finally vindicate Luke for his unforgivable error and settle an issue that has baffled scholars for two thousand years.