Christians, Muslims and modern Jews have fallen under the impression that the 'messiah' is supposed to be a descendant of King David. Christians and Muslims believe that the messiah is Jesus Christ whereas the Jews think it will be someone else. Yet none of them are paying close attention to what the stories of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament are actually talking about. It does not say that the messiah is a descendant of King David, but rather it says that the messiah / anointed one is King David himself. Now of course the term 'messiah' was used somewhat loosely. For example Cyrus the Great is referred to as a 'messiah'. But what I'm about to argue is that King David was believed by the early Jews to be the 'savior' who would return from the dead at the end of times.
The people who wrote the Hebrew Bible believed that their bodies would be physically resurrected out of their graves at the end times / last days. They believed that the New Jerusalem would be the capital of the 'new earth' and that David would be the resurrected messiah king. In other words, they thought that King David would resurrect from the dead at the end times (along with the rest of the Jews) and that he himself would be the messiah. They would then live forever in this New Jerusalem. David is described as being the "righteous branch" who would be raised / resurrected from the earth to become the prince of the New Jerusalem.
The following Old Testament quotes are an example of David being described as the king/prince who will be 'raised up' (resurrected).
David described as the King, Prince and ‘One Shepherd’ who will be "Raised up"
Jeremiah 30:9 "But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them."
Hosea 3:5 "Afterward the Israelites will return and seek The LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days."
Ezekiel 34:23-24 "And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken."
Ezekiel 37:24-25 "My servant David will be king over them and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever."
David described as the 'Righteous Branch' and 'Anointed One'
Jeremiah 33:15 "In those days and at that time, I will cause the righteous branch David to spring forth; and he shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth."
Psalms 89:20 "I have found David my servant and I have anointed him with my holy oil."
The Book of Ezekiel
The book of Ezekiel claims that Yahweh will put new flesh back upon the dead Israelites and then put his spirit / breath back into their lungs, which would bring them back to life. The ancient Hebrews believed that the resurrected King David would be the messiah / anointed one. Ezekiel chapter 37 clearly shows that these people did not believe in some sort of 'metaphysical' resurrection (whatever that's supposed to mean) but rather they thought that their bones would be literally raised out of their graves and then new flesh would be put on them. To read Ezekiel chapter 37 in it's entirety, Click Here.
The New Testament's claim that Jesus is the messiah has absolutely no foundation whatsoever. The Old Testament clearly claims that King David himself (not a descendant) is the messiah / anointed one who would resurrect and become the prince of the New Jerusalem. The concept of the messiah being a descendant of David was developed some time within the ‘intertestamental period’.
But as for David, he didn’t really rule over a huge kingdom and almost all of what’s written about him is completely fictional. David was actually just a tribal chieftain in the Judaean hills.
© 2014 Kevin Porter
Kevin Porter (author) on June 13, 2014:
The Valley of Dry Bones
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”
One Nation Under One King
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
“When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
“‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”