Reference Essays
The Gospel According to Egypt
Epitome of Ahmed Osman's books:
Stranger in the Valley of the Kings
Moses: Pharaoh of Egypt
House of the Messiah

Moses   Essays Navigator    Exodus

by Charles N. Pope
Copyright ©1999-2004 by Charles Pope
United States Library of Congress
All rights reserved under International and
Pan-American Copyright Conventions


Upon the departure of Akhenaten, the coregent Semenkhare was left in power, but in less than a year he died or was killed,(1) and was succeeded by the now famous Tutankhamun.(2) Because of the very close similarity of their skulls and their identical blood types,(3) Tutankhamun and Semenkhare are considered to have been brothers.(4)

The mummies of Amenhotep III, Tiye, Tutankhamun and Semenkhare(5) have all been identified with a great deal of certainty. Scientists are currently trying to extract DNA from small samples taken from these and other 18th Dynasty mummies.(6) If this effort is successful it could provide a non-controversial solution to the particular mystery of Tutankhamun's parentage.

With Akhenaten in exile, the line of David (Thutmose III) became divided. One Pharaoh lived on in the Sinai. The other "Branch" (Isaiah 4:2, 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5) now "sitting on the throne of his father [Amenhotep III or Akhenaten]," was the young Tutankhamun. After his coronation, or perhaps as part of the coronation itself, Tutankhamun's name was changed. His birth name had been Tut-ankh-aten. The change in his name was likely part of a compromise with the priests of Amun. Because Tutankhamun was only a child of seven to ten years old at his ascension, it could hardly have been a deliberate decision on his own part in contrast to the name change of his father (from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten). Under the supervision of the elderly prime minister, Aye (second son of Yuya and identified with Ephraim, the second and more favored son of the Biblical Joseph), Tutankhamun continued to rule Egypt from the city of Akhetaten until the third or fourth year of his reign (when he was persuaded to change the royal residence as well from the city of Akhetaten to Memphis).

In his tomb it is written that "he spent his life in making images of the gods."(7) Two of his traditional five coronation names included the phrase "Propitiation of the Gods."(8) The monument known as the "Restoration Stele" found at Karnak recorded that Tutankhamun devoted his entire reign to the healing and restoration of Egypt. It read, "The good ruler, performing benefactions for his father [Amun] and all the gods, for he has made what was ruined to endure as a monument for the ages ... the temples ... [had] gone to pieces. Their shrines had become desolate ... overgrown with weeds ... as if they had never been. The land was topsy-turvy ... If one prayed to a god ... he would never come ... (9) Although his main agenda was restoring the status quo of Amun and other Egyptian gods, he also maintained and even added to Akhenaten's temples to the Aten at Karnak.(10)

The life and death of the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun was decidedly "Messianic." The literal meaning of the name Tutankhamun is "Living Image of the Lord (Tut -meaning likeness or image; Ankh - meaning life and symbolized by a cross; and amun - the god Amun)"(11) He is described in his tomb as 'The Beautiful God, beloved, dazzling of face (cf. Exodus 34)(12) like the Aten...'(13) However, the Lord that Tutankhamun's name now acknowledged was no longer the Aten, but Amun. This is encoded by Isaiah 7:14, "the Lord (Adon/Aten is used here) himself shall give you a sign ... His name shall be called Immanuel." Immanuel transliterated back into Egyptian reads Amun-u-el meaning "his (u) god (el) is Amun."(14)

The word messiah is also of Egyptian origin and derives from the ritual anointing of a Pharaoh that was an essential part of the coronation ceremony.(15) Tutankhamun was indeed the messiah of those followers who had gone with Akhenaten into exile, and their main source of protection and provision in the Sinai desert. He also was their only hope of being able to eventually return to their homes in Egypt. This hope ended with the unexpected death of Tutankhamun when he was at most twenty years old.

In the Bible, the father of Joshua is named as Nun. This is the only person having this name in the Bible. Nun was among the most ancient of Egyptian deities and was associated with the primordial waters of chaos of both the Egyptian and Hebrew creation stories.(16) Nun later came to be a symbol of Christ, i.e., the fish.(17) It is Joshua who is said to have been Moses' "aide since his youth" (Numbers 11:28). When Moses fled with his followers to the Sinai, it is Joshua who suddenly appears to support him. It is Joshua who is summoned to take men and fight on Moses' behalf (Exodus 33:12-17).(18) It is Joshua who ascends Mount Sinai with Moses to receive the commandments of God.(19) It is Joshua who enters and remains in the "tent of meeting" where Moses goes to speak with "the Lord" (Exodus 33:7-11).(20) And "the day on which Moses came down from Mount Sinai,"(21) it is Joshua, not Zimri, whom the Talmud says was slain by Phineas in that same tent of meeting (Numbers 25:6-8), not for adultery with a foreign woman, but for spiritual adultery with forbidden gods.(22)

In the wilderness, the Israelites would, by necessity, have allied themselves with bedouin tribes for survival. One such tribe, the Biblical Midianites, are accused of deceit and implicated in the killing of Balaam/Jesus (Numbers 25:17-18).(23) For this reason they were to be abhorred by the Israelites from that time forward.

The name of Akhenaten's "Chief Servitor" and "Second Priest of the Aten" was Panehasy,(24) which is the Egyptian equivalent of Phineas.(25) Excavation of Panehasy's house in the city of Akhetaten has revealed that he and Akhenaten were close friends as well as being completely devoted to the cult of the Aten.(26) (Ironically, the tomb of Panehasy behind the city of Akhetaten (which he was not buried in), later became the site of a Coptic Christian church!)(27)

Osman suggests that the 24,000 Israelites who were said to have died on the day of Phineas' zealous deed, did not die of a plague, but perished at the hands of Aye (Ephraim) who came for the body of Tutankhamun and to meet out swift retribution for his murder.(28) Hosea 13:1 states, "When Ephraim spoke, men trembled; he was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty of Baal worship and died." Just as Tutankhamun (Joshua/Jesus) was accused of compromising the true faith of Aten, so was Aye (Ephraim).

The names Isaiah (Esaias), Joshua, and Jesus have identical meanings, that is literally, "Jehovah-saves."(29)

Joshua and Isaiah are derived from the same Hebrew roots, one making use of the full form of Jehovah and the other the contracted form (Yah). Jesus is the equivalent name in Greek. In the book of Isaiah (literally the book of Jesus), the Messiah is spoken of in both past and future tenses.(30) A straightforward interpretation is that the Messiah had already lived, was killed, but was expected to return to reclaim his rightful place on the throne of David (Thutmose III).

The followers of Moses (Akhenaten) and their descendants were divided over the killing of Tutankhamun (Joshua/Jesus). Those represented by the author(s) of the book of Isaiah believed that the murder of the Messiah was the cause of God's punishment, and the reason for their being exiled from Israel to Babylon as they had previously been expelled from Egypt. In contrast, the compilers of the Talmud state that the killing of "Jesus (the Nazarene)" was justified because he "practiced magic and led Israel astray."(31)

Statements in the Talmud also confirm that Jesus had lived and died in more ancient times, and more specifically in the time of Moses, himself. The Talmud states that it was not the priest Caiaphas who was responsible for the death of Jesus,(32) but that the priest "Pinhas(33) killed him [Balaam/Jesus]."(34) (In the Talmud the names Jesus and Balaam are sometimes synonymous.)(35) Balaam was also recognized in the Talmud as having been a true prophet sent by God for the benefit of the Gentiles.(36) The Talmud relates that Balaam, himself "a descendant of rulers and princes" and a contemporary of Moses, was appointed to oversee the king's affairs while he was away, but had usurped the throne after the king's departure.(37) Although Tutankhamun (Balaam of the Talmud story) still worshiped the Aten, he was seen as ruling illegitimately in Akhenaten's place. Furthermore he had committed blasphemy by restoring the very gods of Egypt that Akhenaten (Moses) had prohibited, and by condoning the ancient forms of magic and mythology associated with their cults.(38) According to the Laws of Moses this was a crime punishable by death and despite the status of Balaam/Jesus, he was not to be "spared".(39)

A fracture that penetrated Tutankhamun's skull, and the bone chip found inside the skull itself, indicates that Tutankhamun did die from an injury caused by a spear or arrow.(40) The mummified skull of Tutankhamun was found completely shaved, but with a short amount of stubble. It has been interpreted that his head may have been shaved as a "preliminary treatment" for the head wound, and that Tutankhamun survived long enough after the injury to grow a short stubble.(41) However, another interpretation is that his head was already shaved at the time of the injury. Ritual shaving of the head was a traditional and mandatory practice among Egyptian priests of that time. As Pharaoh, Tutankhamun officiated as a priest of the highest rank. Centuries later, the apostle Paul had a vision of Jesus the Nazarene (not Jesus of Nazareth as it is commonly mistranslated in the Book of Acts (e.g., Acts 22:8).(42) Paul also had his own head shaved (Acts 21:24-26) after which he was arrested and accused of being a leader of the "sect of the Nazarenes."(43) This was a charge that he did not deny (Acts 24:5-6,14).

After the untimely death of Tutankhamun, Aye buried Tutankhamun in the tomb he was having prepared for himself.(44) This is the source of the statement about the Messiah in the Book of Isaiah, "he was assigned a grave with the wicked, but with the rich in his death."(45) Aside from the Pharaoh, Aye was the wealthiest and most powerful person in Egypt as was his father Yuya (Joseph) before him. After three days, and according to Egyptian tradition, Aye returned to the tomb and presided at the "opening of the mouth" ceremony at which Tutankhamun was believed (as were all Pharaohs) to be resurrected to eternal life in the afterworld.

The identification of Tutankhamun as one source of the Biblical story of Joshua (and archetype for Jesus of Nazareth) is even more clear when passages in the New Testament are re-read in that light. It explains the apparently literal meeting of Jesus (Joshua) with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration.(46) It explains the necessity of Jesus' titles of Messiah and Son of God.(47) It explains the story of the rich burial given to Jesus by Joseph of Arimathaea. It explains why Jesus had to remain in the tomb for parts of three days before his "resurrection." It explains why Jesus raised Lazarus (derived from Osiris)(48) from the dead in order to demonstrate his identification with Osiris and belief in the after-life. It explains the necessity of Jesus' holy birth(49) through Mary (Merit) and the Holy Spirit, and a host of other events and symbolism in the life of Jesus as described in the New Testament.

Tutankhamun was revered as a god both in life and in death. Although he was tragically killed, the Israelite prophets proclaimed that he would one day return and retake his rightful place on the throne of his father David (Thutmose III). This throne had formerly been sacrificed in his attempt to reconcile a divided nation. Osman's theory is that when the Messianic Hope was all but extinguished, the meaning of Tutankhamun's sacrificial death and resurrection was given a new context for a new era in the 1st Century A.D. story of Jesus of Nazareth.(50) In this form, it would come to represent a sacrificial atonement not only for Israel, but for the sins of the whole world.

The tomb of the tragic figure of Tutankhamun, the last of his line, and source of the Messianic hope, came to light in 1922. The art and contents of the tomb included many items which would later become associated with Catholic ritual and symbolism.(51) Other material found in the tomb confirms that his death was in the spring (with burial 70 days later in early summer), the traditional time of the Jewish Passover.(52)

He is the only Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty whose mummy still remains in the Valley of the Kings. Today, over one million people file through his crumbling tomb(53) and past his divested and decaying mummy each year. It is now possible to more fully appreciate the legacy that he and his forefathers have left us.