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The Man Comes Around

The Man Comes Around” is the title track from Johnny Cash‘s American IV: The Man Comes Around, released in 2002 It is one of the last songs Cash wrote in his life. Both sung and spoken, the song makes numerous Biblical references, especially from the Book of Revelation. The titular “Man” inferentially refers to Jesus Christ and the Second Coming.

The chorus contains the words “the whirlwind is in the thorn tree”. This reference is explained in Cash’s 1997 autobiography. He writes that Queen Elizabeth II  appeared to him in a dream and said “Johnny Cash, you’re a thorn bush in a whirlwind”. Cash later found the same reference in the Book of Job, and was inspired to write thirty-three verses of what would become “The Man Comes Around”

Sit back and invest five minutes of your life in this song. You will not regret it…

“And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder: One of the four beasts saying: ‘Come and see.’ And I saw. And behold, a white horse.” 
(Revelation 6:1-2)

There’s a man going around taking names
And he decides who to free and who to blame
Everybody won’t be treated quite the same
There will be a golden ladder reaching down
When the man comes around

The hairs on your arm will stand up
At the terror in each sip and each sup
Will you partake of that last offered cup
Or disappear into the potter’s ground
When the man comes around?

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to a big kettledrum
Voices calling and voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn trees
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn trees
It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks
Until Armageddon, no shalam, no shalom

Then the father hen will call his chickens home
The wise man will bow down before the thorn
And at his feet they will cast the golden crowns
When the man comes around

Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still
Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still
Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still
Listen to the words long written down
When the man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to a big kettledrum
Voices calling and voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It’s Alpha and Omega’s kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn trees
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn trees
It’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks
In measured hundred weight and penny pound
When the man comes around

“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him.” 

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