The Lamb opens the seals
1 Then I watched while the Lamb opened one of the seven seals on the book. I heard one of the four beings say, ‘Come!’ It spoke very loudly with a voice like thunder. 2 I looked, and I saw a white horse. The person who was riding the horse held a bow. Someone gave him a crown. He had fought many people and he had won. Now he rode out on his horse to win against many more people.
6:2The crown showed that he was a king.
3 Then the Lamb opened the second seal. I heard another of the beings say, ‘Come!’ 4 Then another horse came out. This horse was bright red, like fire. The person who was riding the horse had authority. He could take peace away from the earth, so that people killed each other. Someone gave him a large sword.
5 Then the Lamb opened the third seal. I heard the next being say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and I saw a black horse. The person who was riding the horse held something in his hand. He used it to weigh things. 6 Then I heard a sound like somebody speaking among the four beings. The voice said, ‘A litre of wheat is worth one day's work. And three litres of barley is also worth one day's work. But do not destroy the olive oil and the wine.’
6:6Wheat and barley are plants that farmers grow. People use the seeds to make flour for bread. The rider on the black horse weighs the wheat and barley seeds. They are very expensive. This shows a time of trouble when people will not have enough food to eat. There may not be enough water to grow wheat or barley. But the rider on the black horse must not destroy the fruits that grow on trees (olives and grapes). Olives make oil to cook with. Grapes make wine to drink. So, this time of trouble will not destroy everything that people need.
7 Then the Lamb opened the fourth seal. I heard the last being say, ‘Come!’ 8 I looked, and I saw a grey horse. The name of the person who was riding the horse was Death. The place for dead people, called Hades, was following near to him. They had authority to kill people in a quarter of the earth. They could kill people in different ways. They could kill them in wars. They could cause people die because there was no food. They could cause people to become very ill so that they died. They could also cause wild animals to kill people.
6:8The ‘grey’ horse is the same colour as a person who is ill or dead.
9 Then the Lamb opened the fifth seal. I saw an altar where people offered gifts to God. I saw the spirits of some of God's people under the altar. These people had died because they had believed God's message. They had continued to speak the true message about Jesus Christ. That is why people had killed them. 10 These believers spoke loudly to God. They shouted, ‘Lord, you have all authority. You are completely good. You always do what is right. When will you decide to judge the people who live on the earth? Do not wait! You should quickly punish the people who killed us!’
11 Then each believer received white clothes. God told them to wait for a short time more. They must wait until other believers on earth also died. These believers are also servants of God. God will wait until people kill those believers too. Then the number of them will be complete.
12 I watched again. I saw the Lamb open the sixth seal. Then the ground moved strongly and everything on the earth moved. The sun became black like thick black cloth. The whole moon became red like blood. 13 The stars in the sky fell to the earth. They fell like fruits fall from a tree when a strong wind blows. 14 The sky divided in two. It rolled up like a piece of paper and it went away. Every mountain and every island moved away from its place.
15 Then everyone on the earth hid themselves. They went to the mountains and they hid among the rocks and in holes in the rocks. Everyone tried to hide, even the kings and the rulers. The soldiers' leaders, the rich people and other powerful people all went to hide. Everyone hid, whether they were slaves or free people. 16 They shouted to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and cover us. Hide us, so that the one who sits on the throne cannot see us. Also hide us from the Lamb who is very angry with us. 17 Their great day has come. They will punish us because they are so angry. Nobody will be able to get away.’