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Tutankhamun and Moses

Jesus answered him [Nicodemus], “…as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”             John 3: 10-15


Over 50 times in the four biographies of Jesus Christ written in the First Century AD the man Moses is named. On most of those occasions, the name of Moses is on the lips of Jesus Christ himself.


One example is in bold above and occurred when Jesus had a night-time visit in AD 30 from a member of Jerusalem’s ruling Council, the Sanhedrin. In our terms, Nicodemus was a States Member – and Jesus spoke to him about Moses.


Moses, according to the national archives of the Jewish people and nation, was a major figure in their history. We have no Jersey equivalent. Indeed, there is probably no other man with a track record like Moses.


The facts are straightforward. The descendants of Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation had originally left Palestine and lived in Egypt to escape famine. Over a period of 400 years they had multiplied, as slaves in Egypt, to around 1.5 million slaves. And these Israelite slaves were horribly misused....... They were a huge resource, a source of great wealth, for the “superior” Egyptians.


The Jewish national archives (printed into the Christian Bibles under the title “Old Testament”) report that Almighty God, through Moses, led all 1.5 million slaves out of captivity in Egypt without any warfare whatsoever. The plagues of Egypt, including the death of the firstborn in every Egyptian household on one particular night, are well known. The date? The earliest date estimated by historians is 1350 BC.


Worse than losing their slaves, the Egyptians lost their entire army – men, horses, chariots - when they pursued the Israelites into the Red Sea.


What’s this got to do with Tutankhamun?


Well, on Wednesday this week, Egypt’s antiquities chief announced the findings of a two year study of the mummies of Tutankhamun and others using DNA profiling and CT scanning. The key finding of scientists from Egypt, Italy and Germany was that King Tut was the son of Pharaoh Akhenaten who ruled Egypt between 1351 and 1344 BC. King Tut himself reigned between 1334 BC and 1325 BC.


There are many strange and unexplained things about Akenhaten and Tutankhamun. Akhenaten, in particular, has gone down in history as the “heretical” Pharaoh because he tried to alter the worship of many “gods” by his fellow Egyptians. He sought that all would become monotheistic (like the Israelites?) and would worship one true “God” alone. He built a new city on the Nile – now the archaeological site of Amarna –dedicated to the worship of that one God, Aten.


Was this because all their former “gods” had so singularly failed? Had they failed because of the great economic loss of 1.5 million unpaid slave workers and of the entire Army? Did Akhenaten commence worship of one God following the exodus of monotheistic Israel? His name change (from Amenhotep – meaning ‘Amun is Satisfied’ - to Akenhaten, which meant ‘Effective Spirit of Aten’) seems to indicate a deep religious change.


And Tutankhamun? He started out with the name TutankhATEN. In the final months of his young life this was altered to TutankhAMUN. Did this mark a reversion from monotheism back to the former worship of many gods now that his father was dead?


Records of both Akhenaten and Tutankhamun were later erased from all Egyptian history, temples and monuments – the experiment with a new “One God” had failed completely. Tutankhamun’s tomb was so carefully hidden that it remained undiscovered until 1922.


But what about Moses? And Jesus’ constant references to Moses? And, especially, what did Jesus mean when he spoke the above words abouy Moses to Nicodemus?

‘The righteous One lifted up upon the cross is the sinner’s only point of contact with the saving power of God.’ (Lewis Sperry Chafer, American theologian, 1871-1952)
‘The Son of Man lifted up at Calvary shows how far men will go in sin, and how far God will go to save men and women.’(H C Trumbull, Army chaplain, lecturer and author, 1830-1903)
Richard Syvret

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