The Meaning of "The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash

Wesleyan Arminian

“The Man Comes Around” is a song about judgment day. It was released in 2002, and was the title song for Johnny Cash’s last album. The song has numerous Biblical references, many of which are cryptic.

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.

This is a quote from Revelation 6:1-2. It references John’s vision of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, who bring disaster at the end of the world.

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

The “man going round taking names” has double meaning. It is a reference to a song by folk singer Lead Belly

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