The world was transfixed by the year 2000--worried about the'Y2K' bug in computers,
millennial madness in cult groups,  political union in Europe,  and a proposal to make
Mary "co-redemptrix" in the Catholic Church.  While Rome flirted with blasphemy, few
realized that the true 2000th lunar anniversary of the birth of Jesus was August 22, 1998,
or on September 11, 1998 by the solar calendar dating we now use.

      Many may live to see the consequences of the anniversary, if it foreshadowed a coming
fake Christ.  Or at the  least, there were  dozens of lunatics eager to take advantage of the
year 2000 hysteria to get the attention of the gullible.

      Yet the 2000th anniversary of the Nativity actually came 475 days before year 2000
began.  The correct anniversary date was about sundown, Jerusalem time, the end of the
Sabbath, Saturday August 22, 1998.

      How can we know the exact day--and nearly the hour--of the birth of Jesus?

      Simple arithmatic.  A child could have done it, if only the basic assumptions had been
correct.  But they weren't.  In the 19th century, critical scholars made a crucial decision to
reject a total lunar eclipse in January 1 BC and to accept instead one in March 4 BC, as
the chronological cornerstone for dating the death of Herod the Great, and thereby, the
possible birth years for Jesus.

      By so doing, the critics could argue Jesus had to born before 4 BC,  contradicting
Luke, who tied Jesus' 30th year to the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, 27-28 AD.  Luke
effectively placed the birth in 3 BC, as did many of the early church fathers.  Ironically,
even the date used by the Pope during the Christmas Eve midnight mass ritual is itself
consistent with the last half of 3 BC.

      The dirty little secret is that virtually all the available evidence has always pointed
at the harvest period of 3 BC as the focal point of the Nativity--including the possibility
of a late summer birth.

      By rejecting Luke, scholars also threw out the date of the birth Luke gives in his
Gospel.  In his second chapter, Luke tells what happened the day Mary came to the
Temple for purification 40 days after the birth of Jesus.  All one has to know is what
day this was.  And Luke plainly names the day.  In fact, he includes three statements
identifying the day.  So what day was this?

      Yom Kippur.  The Day of Atonement.  The 10th day of the seventh month of the
Hebrew calendar.

      In Luke's time, Yom Kippur was called three things: The day of the "Fast," the day
of the "Purification,"and the day of "Redemption."  Luke uses all three to identify the
day Jesus was brought to the Temple.  And he even quotes the Torah rule that mandates
the 40-day period for the mother to wait after the child's birth [Lk 2:22-38].

      And if there were any doubt that it was Yom Kippur,  Luke tells of a woman named
Anna who had been in the Temple for a "night and day" without leaving.  There was
ONLY ONE DAY A YEAR when a person could pray overnight in the Temple: Yom
Kippur.  All other days, the Temple was locked at sundown.

      This shows the 40th day of Mary's Purification had begun at the end of Yom Kippur,
the end of the 10th day of the 7th month, because we know the Purification was done at
the earliest opportunity--at the beginning of the 40th day after birth.  And since the 6th
month normally had only 29 days, simple arithmatic shows Mary's 39 days of Purification
had to have begun around sundown on the 1st day of the 6th month, called Elul.

      This was the night of the first sighting of the new moon of Elul.  The Magi in Babylon
were recording this sunset sliver of the new moon on a clay tablet.  The cuneiform tablet
the Magi made at that hour 2000 years ago, along with thousands of others from Babylon,
resides in the British Museum.  It is possible that this clay tablet was inscribed by one of
the famous Magi who later brought a strange set of gifts to Bethlehem.  So the new moon
seen by the Magi in Babylon at the very moment of Jesus being born is recorded on one of
the tablets now in London.  Cuneiform scholars have identified the date on this tablet as
equivalent to September, 11, 3 BC.

      The Hebrew lunar calendar dates vary with respect to our solar calendar.  So the 1st
of Elul was September 11th in 3 BC, but began on August 22 in 1998.  The same was true
in the days of the early church, of course.  In a given year, the 1st of Elul could have fallen
on September 8th, for example.

      This may solve another ancient mystery.  No one seems to know how Rome came to
honor September 8th as the birthday of Mary.  There is no Biblical,  historical,  or church
tradition to explain it.  It just emerges out of nowhere.  Rome keeps the 8th of December as
the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary [ie. conceived without original sin].  It is
a holy day of obligation for all Catholics to attend Mass.  This feast is clearly based upon
September 8th also, and mortal sin is attached to the failure of a Catholic to observe it, yet
the origins of these dates are unknown.

      On the other hand, we can now see that if Jesus were born on September 11th as Luke
indicates, then Jesus would have been conceived around December 8th in 4 BC. The now
mysterious Mary dates fit Jesus quite well.  How might this have happened?

      In the late 4th century, in early 380 AD, Pope Damasus I was endeavoring to force all
Christians in the Roman Empire to yield to his authority.  He got the Emperor to issue an
edict requiring them to practice the religion of  Rome.  We know that it is about this time
the Christmas midnight Mass was first celebrated and December 25th first identified as a
Catholic holy day.  It is said Damasus was seeking to lure the people away from pagan
rites honoring the birth of the sun god at midnight by compelling Catholic attendance at a
memorial in honor of Christ's death, ie the Mass. The people confused this Mass with the
pagan solar birth rituals conducted at that same time.  Gradually, the Christ-Mass became
associated with the Nativity.

      Meanwhile, the true feast around September 8th, which naturally honored Mary in
giving birth to Jesus, was converted into a day commemorating her own birth, and an old
holyday honoring the conception of Jesus was converted into a day commemorating the
conception of Mary on December 8th.  Strangely, there is still widespread belief among
non-Catholics that this is the day Jesus was concieved--a possible lingering remembrance
of the original meaning of this date.

      We can also tell from Luke's Gospel that Jesus had been born in early evening, for
Luke says the shepherds were keeping watch by night, but still had time to go into town
and tell the people what they had seen earlier that evening.  People rose early with the sun
in those days, and would have been asleep by 9 or 10 pm.  Therefore, the birth had taken
place no later than 8 pm, and probably before 7 pm.  Yet Luke says it happened at  night,
which means after sunset--surely after 6 pm in September.  Hence, it follows that Jesus
was born within a few minutes of 6:30-7:30 pm on the evening of September 11th, 3 BC.

      A confirmation of this time is in the book of Revelation.  Historian Ernest L. Martin
consulted NASA lunar-phase tables and found the image of the heavens in Revelation 12
showed where the sun and the moon were, relative to Virgo, at the time Jesus was born,
pin-pointing sunset of September 11th of 3 BC.  It seems the moon moves so quickly it is
"beneath the feet" of Virgo only a few hours every month.  Moreover, the moon comes
within two lunar diameters of Virgo's feet at the time of a new moon but once in  30 years.
The only such occurance any time near the birth of Jesus was on September 11th, 3 BC.

      Most previous attempts at determining the birth time were based upon astrology and
dating the Star of Bethlehem.  No one considered 3 BC because that year had erroneously
been assumed to follow Herod's death.  However, Dr. Martin has proven that Herod did
not die in 4 BC, but in 1 BC.  Scholars are now generally accepting the new chronology for
Herod, and this in turn has allowed the confirmation of the New Testament date for the
birth of Jesus.  Unfortunately, many churches continue to promote the critics' errors and
paganized traditions about the Nativity.

                THE TIME QUEST