Time and date are only separate for humans. The system keeps only a count of seconds, and divides by 86400 for display purposes.
If you see Jan 1st 1970 08:21:34 and the timezone is UTC, it means that the machine cold-started with no external time source 8 hours and 20-odd minutes ago. It's quite possible that this date is in some other timezone; for example, in Japan (JST), this date indicates a machine that booted 20 minutes ago.
In any case, the time shown is not indicative of the real time, any more than the date is indicative of the real date. Not unless you booted at precisely midnight.
If your machine lacks a hardware clock that keeps the time while powered off, and it has a network connection, use
ntpdate to retrieve the time via NTP.