The Heir To David's Throne
It is amazing that most people who call themselves "Christian" don't actually know what the word means. A "Christian" is a follower of Christ, but like most people, I did not know what the word "Christ" meant for many years. Like some, I assumed that it was part of his name. Others know that it is a title, but don't know exactly what it means. The fact is, however, that the word Christ comes from the Greek word christos, which means "anointed one." It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, mashiyach from which we get our English word, Messiah. The titles Messiah and Christ mean exactly the same thing: an anointed one.
While there have been other "anointed ones" throughout the Old Testament, there are prophecies of the anointed one who was to come. The term "anointed" is first used in the book of Leviticus. It occurs four times and refers to the priests who would be anointed for that office. The next two occurrences of the word are very descriptive.
I Samuel 2:
God's plan involved raising up a king whom He would exalt and strengthen. The human kings of Israel, throughout the Old Testament, were referred to as the Lord's anointed. Because Saul did not do what God had commanded, his kingdom was taken away and given to David, who is described as a man after God's heart (I Samuel 13:13-14). God was pleased with David's rule, because for the most part he kept God's commandments, and even when he didn't, he repented because his heart was ultimately to please God. God told David that He would "appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more" (II Samuel 7:10). Moreover He promised that of David's kingdom there would be no end.
II Samuel 7:
Many prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures have a dual fulfillment, that is, there is an immediate, more specific fulfillment, and a long-term, ultimate fulfillment as well. The specific and immediate fulfillment of these verses was in the person of David's son Solomon, who built a house for God's name, after David died. Solomon sat on the throne of Israel in David's place, and it is called the throne of the Lord in I Chronicles 29:23 ("Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father..."). The throne of Israel is called the throne of the Lord, because the king of Israel was intended to be God's representative on earth, who would rule on God's behalf. He would be a "vice-regent" or ruler second only to God Himself. The king of the nation of Israel was a "type" or foreshadowing of the ultimate king of the whole earth that God said He would raise up.
But Solomon did not remain faithful until the end, and by the time he died had turned to idolatry. The kingdom was divided after that, and descendents of David and Solomon continued to reign until the Babylonian captivity. Some ruled well, most did not. After the people returned from captivity in Babylon under the Persian empire, the promised kingdom of God on earth still did not materialize, and the nation of Israel continued to be under the rule of various Gentile kingdoms. Yet God had promised that He would establish David's throne for ever. (It is referred to in Psalms 72 and 89 as well).
While the immediate fulfillment of II Samuel 7:12 was in David's son Solomon, like many prophecies there was also another, long-term fulfillment. The second Psalm is a Messianic prophecy, referring to the future rule of God and His anointed (Messiah, or Christ). "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (vs. 2-3). But God says that He will "set my king upon my holy hill of Zion" (v. 6).
He also says, prophetically, "Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee" (v. 7). The coming king would not only be of David's lineage, but also the Son of God ("I will be his father, and he shall be my son" - II Samuel 7:14). "Son of God" is a Messianic title, frequently linked with "The Christ." He would rule the nations mightily on his Father's behalf.
His rule will involve putting down those rebellious kings. "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (vs. 8-9). For this reason, the kings of the earth are warned, "Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss [give honor, do homage to] the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way" (vs. 11-12).
God will eventually send His anointed king to rule the earth and rid it of those who would rebel against God's judgment and oppress the people. This divine intervention to bring about peace on earth is also described in Psalm 110. It has been the hope of Israel all along, starting with the promise of land to Abraham, and the promise of a never-ending kingdom to David.
The first thing that is said about Jesus in Matthew 1:1 is that he was the Messiah, the son of Abraham and the son of David. The angel told his mother Mary (in Luke 1:32-33) that "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." Every prophecy about who the Messiah would be is summed up in these verses. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of God's promise to establish David's throne for ever.