So… they got the land and the glory, and God kept his part of the deal. But, to hear the Old Testament tell it, Israel – as Canaan had become known under Hebrew rule – failed to keep her side of the covenant and obey God’s law. God did his best to remind them they owed him, sending prophets to remind them to stay on the straight and narrow if they wanted him to continue keeping his promises. Naturally, they typically didn’t and often found themselves the slaves of more organized societies, at which point the message from his servants changed to “You know you screwed up. We know you screwed up. If you stop screwing up, the Lord might see his way clear to getting you out of this.” So, they’d stop, and they’d be delivered, and they’d be grateful. But after a while, the cycle would start all over again.
When they realized they’d keep screwing up indiscriminately and getting conquered by foreign rulers no matter how many sacrifices they made and no matter how many times they pledged their love and loyalty to their god, they began fantasizing about a solution; even the prophets began to foretell his coming. One day, an ideal man would come along – a new ruler who would restore their nation, re-establish the physical kingdom of Israel, rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (often destroyed by conquerors), and bring earthly peace. This king was called the Messiah, or anointed one; in Greek, the common language of the known world after a Greek empire took over, it was Christos or Christ.