Moses and the Exodus – Who was Akhenaten?
Within a hundred years of Moses and the Exodus, a weird blip happens on the ancient Egyptian radar. Amenhotep III dies, and is succeeded by his second son, Amenhotep IV. This guy is a visionary who turns away from the state pantheon of gods, and instead, turns Egypt to the worship of a single deity known as the Aten -- the disk of the sun.
Amenhotep IV changes his name to Akhenaten -- “he who is beneficial to the Aten” -- and shuts down the polytheistic, religious capital at Thebes. Akhenaten builds a new, monotheistic capital 180 miles north at Amarna, and there, serves as high priest to the Aten with his beautiful wife, Nefertiti.
Moses and the Exodus -- What Happened to Akhenaten?
Pharaoh Akhenaten strips everything from the polytheistic priesthood -- hundreds of years of power, prestige, and wealth -- and declares the Aten as the one, supreme god.
The art of the period goes from over-the-top idealism -- depicting pharaohs and priests as youthful, muscular, and god-like -- to in-the-raw naturalism – depicting Akhenaten himself as potbellied, thick-lipped, and effeminate.
It seems Akhenaten reigned as Pharaoh a bit under 20 years, and upon his death, everything returned to Egyptian “normal” -- The single god concept was again replaced by the pantheon of deities… and pharaohs, once again, took on larger-than-life imagery.
What happened to Akhenaten? What motivated him to revolutionize centuries of Egyptian culture and religion? Could it be that experiencing the death of the first born of all the males in Egypt some decades prior was such a motivation? What type of power would you need to experience from God to get your attention?
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