In The Two Governorships of Quintilius Varus (Chapter Eleven), DR Ernest L Martin states: "If it can be shown historically that Quintilius Varus was in fact twice governor of Syria, it would give a great deal of validity to the chronological reconstruction I present in this book. And truly, that proof can be given." In our opinion, DR Martin indeed proves his reconstruction beyond doubt.
"We thus have an interesting question regarding the governors of Syria at this crucial time in history. We find that Quintilius Varus was twice governor of Syria. Coins have been found which show that Varus was supervisor over Syria in the 25th, 26th and 27th years of the Actian Era (6 to 4 B.C.E.). And in the reference quoted above, Josephus states that Sentius Saturninus was governor just before Varus became governor again in 2 B.C.E. and he ruled in that capacity (this second time) from 2 B.C.E. till at least C.E. 1. So, between Varus’ two governorships of Syria, Sentius Saturninus ruled from the middle of 4 B.C.E. to the middle part of 2 B.C.E.
"Remarkably, the early Christian apologist Tertullian, who lived in the late 2nd century and was by profession a lawyer and well acquainted with Roman governmental affairs, said that the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem was conducted when Sentius Saturninus was governor of Syria. And Tertullian in his work An Answer to the Jews, stated that Jesus was born in a year that we now recognize as 3/2 B.C.E. 2 This fits precisely with our reconstruction of history during this dark decade. It means that Quintilius Varus was governor of Syria from 6 to 4 B.C.E., followed by Sentius Saturninus from 4 to 2 B.C.E., and then followed again by Varus from 2 B.C.E. to at least C.E. 1.
DR Martin concludes:
"What is the outcome of these historical indications? They help to show,
- that Luke was right in placing Jesus’ nativity in 3 or 2 B.C.E.;
- that Tertullian was right in saying the censuses which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem were during the governorship of Saturninus (3/2 B.C.E.);
- that the coins are right in showing a Syrian governorship of Varus from 6 to 4 B.C.E.,
- that Josephus was correct in showing another governorship for Varus from 2 B.C.E. to C.E. 1; and
- that the lapis tiburtinus shows the validity of the matter by confirming the dual governorship of Varus."
Martin, Ernest L. “The Star of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished the World.” 29 DEC 2012. <http://www.askelm.com/star/star013.htm>
You can purchase the hardbound version of The Star of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished the World, by DR Ernest L Martin at amazon.com.
You can read or listen to The Star of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished the World at the ASK ELM website.
You can also listen to David Sielaff’s wonderful audio interview with George Ann Hughes at the Byte Show. These files bring us up to date, for David Sielaff continues the work of Ernest L Martin today. You will find the full interview at The Byte Show. Scroll way down to The Star of Bethlehem series, in fourteen parts.
Also available are all eleven parts of The Star of Bethlehem interviews Ernest L Martin did with Jeff Rense at ASK ELM.