Thunder on the Mountain by Bob Dylan Annotated

Thunder on the Mountain is a song by Bob Dylan off of the Modern Times CD (2006). Here are the song lyrics with my comments and annotations.

Thunder on the mountain, fires on the moon
“Thunder on the Mountain” was God’s way of telling the Israelites that He was about. (Exodus 19:16)
“Fires on the Moon” shows God’s fury of his people being wounded and the injustice that is on the earth. (Is 30)

There’s a ruckus in the alley and the sun will be here soon
The sun is the SON OF GOD who is going to be here soon.

Today’s the day, gonna grab my trombone and blow
Well, there’s hot stuff here and it’s everywhere I go
The signs of His soon return are all around us. Especially in Bob Dylan songs.
I was thinkin’ ’bout Alicia Keys, couldn’t keep from crying
When she was born in Hell’s Kitchen, I was living down the line
Alicia Keys was actually born in Harlem, but grew up in Hell’s Kitchen

I’m wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be
I been looking for her even clear through Tennessee
I looked for her there too. Alicia Keyes is going to be in Memphis Tennessee on 5/15/2008. The tickets are pricey:
Feel like my soul is beginning to expand
Look into my heart and you will sort of understand
You brought me here, now you’re trying to run me away
The writing’s on the wall, come read it, come see what it say
The truth is really not that hard to understand. The writing is on the wall.
Thunder on the mountain, rolling like a drum
Gonna sleep over there, that’s where the music coming from
I don’t need any guide, I already know the way
Remember this, I’m your servant both night and day
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you … that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in him”
1 John 2:27
The pistols are poppin’ and the power is down
I’d like to try somethin’ but I’m so far from town
The sun keeps shinin’ and the North Wind keeps picking up speed
Gonna forget about myself for a while, gonna go out and see what others need
Since Jesus’s return is imminent, it is time to start a worship revival.
I’ve been sitting down studying the art of love
I think it will fit me like a glove
I want some real good woman to do just what I say
Everybody got to wonder what’s the matter with this cruel world today
God has a special annointing and mission for a woman to follow him exactly.
Thunder on the mountain rolling to the ground
Gonna get up in the morning walk the hard road down
Some sweet day I’ll stand beside my king
I wouldn’t betray your love or any other thing

Some day, Bob Dylan will stand beside God
Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches
I’ll recruit my army from the orphanages
I been to St. Herman’s church and I’ve said my religious vows
I’ve sucked the milk out of a thousand cows
St. Herman was a missionary ascetic monk who brought Greek Orthodoxy to Alaska.
He protected the Alaskan Natives from people who were taking advantage of them.
He could read people’s hearts and tell them about future events.
There is a famous church named after him in the far reaches of Alaska. Bob must have visited that church and made some promises to God there.
I got the porkchops, she got the pie
She ain’t no angel and neither am I
Shame on your greed, shame on your wicked schemes
I’ll say this, I don’t give a damn about your dreams
God is in favor of sex in marriage and is against greed and hypocrisy.
Thunder on the mountain heavy as can be
Mean old twister bearing down on me
All the ladies of Washington scrambling to get out of town
Looks like something bad gonna happen, better roll your airplane down
Everybody’s going and I want to go too
Don’t wanna take a chance with somebody new
I did all I could and I did it right there and then
I’ve already confessed – no need to confess again
People are going to unrevokably make up their minds to accept or reject God
Gonna make a lot of money, gonna go up north
I’ll plant and I’ll harvest what the earth brings forth
The hammer’s on the table, the pitchfork’s on the shelf
For the love of God, you ought to take pity on yourself
People who are in the know should take pity on themselves if they think the point is to gather wealth for themselves.

This is in response to an email that Gretchen forwarded me from John Fischer. I am not sure who John Fischer is – some Christian dude who sends my wife a devotional every day. This was the homework assignment:

Extra Credit over the weekend

For those of you who like to find truth in pop culture: an assignment. I’d like you to write me about what you see in the following lyrics of a Bob Dylan song. I have been jogging with this song for the last few weeks because its rhythm and beat is exactly on my pace, and the energy of it keeps pushing me on. So naturally I have gotten more and more into the words and each time I hear it I see more. That is one of the things about a prophetic gift — it speaks something to everyone, and not all see the same thing.

For those of you wondering if we are talking about the pre-Christian Dylan, the Christian Dylan or the post-Christian Dylan, we are talking about none of the above. We are talking about a man who has had the hand of God on him all his life and has been speaking truth to this culture for 50 years whatever period you want to put him in.

So have fun with it. I’d like to see if I am reading too much into these lyrics. I’d like to know what they say to some of you. I’ll give you just one hint that is pretty obvious: Like many of Dylan’s songs over the years, this one is about the end of the world.



1 Comment

Filed under America, Bob Dylan, Christianity, music, Religion

One response to “Thunder on the Mountain by Bob Dylan Annotated

  1. Very clever; very insight. I welcome you to pick apart my new novel, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS, which I think you’d enjoy.

    It’s a murder-mystery. But not just any rock superstar is knocking on heaven’s door. The murdered rock legend is none other than Bob Dorian, an enigmatic, obtuse, inscrutable, well, you get the picture…

    Suspects? Tons of them. The only problem is they’re all characters in Bob’s songs.

    You can get a copy on or go “behind the tracks” at to learn more about the book.

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