The First Seal—The Conqueror
1Then I saw as the Lamb (Christ) broke one of the seven seals [of the scroll initiating the judgments], and I heard one of the four living creatures call out as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” 2I looked, and behold, a white horse [of victory] whose rider carried a bow; and a crown [of victory] was given to him, and he rode forth conquering and to conquer.
The Second Seal—War
3When He (the Lamb) broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature call out, “Come.” 4And another, a fiery red horse [of bloodshed], came out; and its rider was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that men would slaughter one another; and a great sword [of war and violent death] was given to him.
The Third Seal—Famine
5When He (the Lamb) broke open the third seal, I heard the third living creature call out, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse [of famine]; and the rider had in his hand a pair of scales (a balance). 6And I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius (a day’s wages), and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
The Fourth Seal—Death
7When He (the Lamb) broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, “Come.” 8So I looked, and behold, an ashen (pale greenish gray) horse [like a corpse, representing death and pestilence]; and its rider’s name was Death; and Hades (the realm of the dead) was following with him. They were given authority and power over a fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword and with famine and with plague (pestilence, disease) and by the wild beasts of the earth.
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9When He (the Lamb) broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained [out of loyalty to Christ]. 10They cried in a loud voice, saying, “O Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood on those [unregenerate ones] who dwell on the earth?” 11Then they were each given a white robe; and they were told to rest and wait quietly for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers and sisters who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed.
The Sixth Seal—Terror
12I looked when He (the Lamb) broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth [made] of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree shedding its late [summer] figs when shaken by a strong wind. 14The sky was split [separated from the land] and rolled up like a scroll, and every mountain and island were dislodged and moved out of their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the military commanders and the wealthy and the strong and everyone, [whether] slave or free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne, and from the [righteous] wrath and indignation of the Lamb; 17for the great day of their wrath and vengeance and retribution has come, and who is able to [face God and] stand [before the wrath of the Lamb]?”