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"This is the only town on the planet where they're not going to notice a 40-foot lemon." — Bono, in Las Vegas on the PopMart tour

U2 Bible References: No Line On The Horizon


No Line On The Horizon (2009)

With a long gap between its last album, U2’s twelfth veered toward the experimental once again. Nuanced with African music, complex rhythms, lavish harmonies and rich theology, the record underperformed yet produced the largest supporting tour of the band’s career.

Each song may show up in one, two or three of the following categories:

Direct Quotes: lyrics that are clearly taken from specific verses in the Bible

Indirect References: lyrics that are likely referencing the Bible but without quoting specific verses

Possible Influences: lyrics that hint at biblical themes and influences, but have no overt connection

 


 

"No Line On The Horizon"

 

U2 lyric

Then she put her tongue in my ear

 

Possible influence 

Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (NIV)

Also note that Bono likes to refer to the Spirit in feminine form (See “The First Time” and “Mysterious Ways").

 

 

U2 lyric

No line on the horizon

 

Possible influence 

Matthew 6:9-10 This, then, is how you should pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, your will be done,

    on earth as it is in heaven.” (NIV)

 

This is a favorite passage of Bono’s and may well influence this lyric, song title and album title. The idea presented in the Lord’s Prayer is that, in God’s eyes, there is (or should be) no distinction between heaven and earth.

 

 


 

"Magnificent"

 

U2 lyric

It was a joyful noise

 

Direct quote 

Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. (NRSV)

This idea is common throughout the Psalms.

 

 

U2 lyric

Justified till we die 

 

Indirect reference 

Romans 8:30 Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (NRSV)

This idea is common throughout the letters of Paul in the New Testament.

 

 

U2 lyric

You and I will magnify / Oh, the magnificent 

 

Indirect reference 

Luke 1:46-55 is the song of Mary known as the Magnificat for its first line, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

 

 


 

"Moment Of Surrender"

 

U2 lyric

It's not if I believe in love / But if love believes in me

 

Possible influence 

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Every eye looking every other way / Counting down 'til the pentecost (this lyric is in the liner notes, but not sung on the album)

 

Possible influence 

Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (NIV)

This text also fits well with the “tongue” theme in the first verse of “No Line On The Horizon.”

 

 


 

"Unknown Caller"

 

U2 lyric

3:33 when the numbers fell off the clock face

 

Possible influence 

See the cover art for All That You Can't Leave Behind and its reference to Jeremiah 33:3: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Bono told Rolling Stone, "It's known as 'God's telephone number.'"

 

 

U2 lyric

Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak / Shush now

 

Indirect reference 

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

Password, you, enter here, right now

 

Indirect reference 

Psalm 100:4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. (The Message)

 

 


 

"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight"

 

U2 lyric

Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear

 

Possible influence 

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)

  

 


 

"Stand Up Comedy"

 

U2 lyric

I can stand up for hope, faith, love

 

Possible influence 

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

 

 

U2 lyric

God is love

 

Direct quote 

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (NIV)

 

 


 

"White As Snow"

 

The title of this song is not an unfamiliar line in Scripture. At least two possible influences can be found in:

 

Isaiah 1:18

Though your sins are like scarlet,

    they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson,

    they shall be like wool. (NIV)

 

Psalm 51:7

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;

    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

 

 

U2 lyric

Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not / Only the lamb as white as snow

 

Indirect references

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (NIV)

 1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (NIV)

 Revelation 7, especially 14 & 17 They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb…. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ (NIV)

The book of Revelation is full of references to the Lamb.

 Also notice this tune is patterned after the Christmas hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

 

 


 

"Cedars Of Lebanon"

 

U2 lyric

You're so high above me, higher than everyone / Where are you in the Cedars of Lebanon?

 

Indirect reference 

Psalm 29:5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. (NIV)

There are many references in the Bible to the famous Cedars of Lebanon.