03.05.24 42 – 38 The Roman Poet Virgil Predicts A Coming Messiah

03.05.24 The Roman Poet Virgil Predicts A Coming Messiah

Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 14, 2016  -  Comments Off on 03.05.24 The Roman Poet Virgil Predicts A Coming Messiah

03.05.24 42 – 38 B.C. Messiah Predicted by Roman Poet Virgil

The Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro (70 – 19 B.C.), usually referred to as Virgil, was known for several Latin works of literature. In his fourth Eclogues, published between the years 42 and 38 B.C., he made reference to a messianic-type of individual who could come down from the heavens.[1] The fact that he repeated a Cumaean prophecy,[2] underscores the point that many, if not all Middle Eastern people groups at this time were expecting a messiah of some kind.  Obviously, Virgil portrayed his expectation within the Greco-Roman religious system.

Now the last age of the Cumaean prophecy begins and

The great roll-call of the centuries is born anew;

Now Virgin Justice returns, and Saturn’s reign:


Now a new race descends from the heavens above.

Only favor the child who’s born, under whom

The first race of iron shall end, and a golden race

Will rise up throughout the world … and                                                       

 Any traces of our evils that remain will be cancelled,


He will take on divine life, and he will see gods

Mingled with heroes, and be seen by them,

And rule a peaceful world with his father’s powers.

            Virgil, Eclogue IV: The Golden Age


The term “race” means age and “golden race” means golden age – a time when a divine child will end the civil wars within the empire and usher in the golden age of peace and prosperity.[3]  This is followed by a heavenly utopia on earth.  Note the following segment:

And for you, boy, the uncultivated earth will pour out

Her first little gifts, straggling ivy and cyclamen everywhere

And the bean flower with the smiling acanthus.

The goats will come home themselves, their udders swollen

With milk, and the cattle will have no fear of fierce lions:

Your cradle itself will pour out delightful flowers:

And the snakes will die, and deceitful poisonous herbs

Will wither: Assyrian spice plants will spring up everywhere.

Virgil, Eclogue IV: The Golden Age


How Virgil received the Cumaean prophecy of the expected golden age is unknown. It was sculptured within the Greco-Roman religious system, as is evident when reading the entire chapter. However, the idea of a favored child coming from the heavens to bring peace on earth, and to end conflicts of iron (war), and establish a peaceful utopia like the millennial reign of Jesus, is absolutely incredible. Clearly, throughout the Roman world, there was an exciting expectation of a messiah.[4]

[1]. Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 121.

[2]. Some scholars believe Virgil may have obtained his information from the popular Jewish Sibylline poems, or possibly from a copy of the scroll of Isaiah.  See Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 1:324.


[3].  Franz, http://www.lifeandland.org/2009/02/the-angelic-proclamation-to-the-shepherds-luke-28-15/ Retrieved April 10, 2011.


[4]. See also 03.05.15. However, some historians believe Virgil was not thinking of a Jewish Messiah, but Caesar Augustus who claimed to be a son of god. In the year 4 B.C. Augustus minted coins on which he described himself as the “son of god.”


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