New King James Version
First Seal: The Conqueror
6 Now (A)I saw when the Lamb opened one of the [a]seals; and I heard (B)one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, (C)a white horse. (D)He who sat on it had a bow; (E)and a crown was given to him, and he went out (F)conquering and to conquer.
Second Seal: Conflict on Earth
3 When He opened the second seal, (G)I heard the second living creature saying, “Come [b]and see.” 4 (H)Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to (I)take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.
Third Seal: Scarcity on Earth
5 When He opened the third seal, (J)I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, (K)a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of (L)scales[c] in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A [d]quart of wheat for a [e]denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and (M)do not harm the oil and the wine.”
Fourth Seal: Widespread Death on Earth
7 When He opened the fourth seal, (N)I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come and see.” 8 (O)So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And [f]power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, (P)to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, (Q)and by the beasts of the earth.
Fifth Seal: The Cry of the Martyrs
9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under (R)the altar (S)the souls of those who had been slain (T)for the word of God and for (U)the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, (V)“How long, O Lord, (W)holy and true, (X)until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a (Y)white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them (Z)that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Sixth Seal: Cosmic Disturbances
12 I looked when He opened the sixth seal, (AA)and [g]behold, there was a great earthquake; and (AB)the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the [h]moon became like blood. 13 (AC)And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 (AD)Then the sky [i]receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and (AE)every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 15 And the (AF)kings of the earth, the great men, [j]the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, (AG)hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 (AH)and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who (AI)sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, (AJ)and who is able to stand?”
- Revelation 6:1 NU, M seven seals
- Revelation 6:3 NU, M omit and see
- Revelation 6:5 balances
- Revelation 6:6 Gr. choinix, about 1 quart
- Revelation 6:6 About 1 day’s wage for a worker
- Revelation 6:8 authority
- Revelation 6:12 NU, M omit behold
- Revelation 6:12 NU, M whole moon
- Revelation 6:14 Or split apart
- Revelation 6:15 NU, M the commanders, the rich men,
The First Seal—The Conqueror
6 Then I saw as the Lamb (Christ) broke one of the seven [a]seals [of the scroll initiating the judgments], and I heard one of the four living creatures call out as with a voice of thunder, “[b]Come.” 2 I looked, and behold, a [c]white horse [of victory] whose rider carried a [d]bow; and a crown [of victory] was given to him, and he rode forth conquering and to conquer.(A)
The Second Seal—War
3 When He (the Lamb) broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature call out, “Come.” 4 And another, a [e]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.(B)
The Third Seal—Famine
5 When 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).(C) 6 And 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 [f]damage the oil and the wine.”(D)
The Fourth Seal—Death
7 When He (the Lamb) broke open the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature call out, “Come.” 8 So 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 [g]plague (pestilence, disease) and by the wild beasts of the earth.(E)
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9 When 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]. 10 They 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?”(F) 11 Then 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
12 I looked when He (the Lamb) broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as [h]sackcloth [made] of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;(G) 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, like a fig tree shedding its late [summer] figs when shaken by a strong wind.(H) 14 The 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. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the [i]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; 16 and 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;(I) 17 for 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]?”(J)
- Revelation 6:1 A seal, sphragis, could only be broken by the one who has authority over it. In breaking the seals and disclosing God’s judgments, Christ demonstrated His own divine authority over creation.
- Revelation 6:1 One early ms reads Come and see. Also vv 3, 5, 7.
- Revelation 6:2 Some interpreters note that the rabbis said that if one sees a white horse in a dream, it is a good sign (Talmud). Jewish believers who heard these words being read in their church (see 1:3) probably would think that the vision indicated Israel would soon be freed from foreign domination. In the Roman world a white horse was a symbol of victory in battle. In this case the peace is deceptive because it will not be lasting. Other interpreters argue that the horseman represents the conquering Christ, as in 19:11.
- Revelation 6:2 Without an arrow (if arrows are not to be assumed) the bow may symbolize a bloodless victory or conquest.
- Revelation 6:4 In contrast to the white horse, the rabbis said that if one saw a red horse walking gently, it was a good sign, but if the horse was galloping, it was a bad sign. It was also said that the man riding the red horse in Zechariah’s vision (Zech 1:8) was a sign that God intended to turn the whole world into blood (Talmud).
- Revelation 6:6 This may be a warning to be very careful handling olive oil and wine, which ordinarily are basic commodities, because famine will make them very expensive. The vision indicates that famine and inflation will take such a toll that a laborer will earn only enough to feed himself with wheat, or to provide barley for a small family. He will have almost nothing left for clothing, shelter, and incidentals.
- Revelation 6:8 Or death.
- Revelation 6:12 This was a coarse, uncomfortable material usually made of black goat hair and customarily worn as a sign of mourning or repentance.
- Revelation 6:15 Lit chiliarchs, a Greek word literally meaning a ruler (commander) of a thousand men, but used generally of high-ranking military officers.
New Living Translation
The Lamb Breaks the First Six Seals
6 As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll.[a] Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2 I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory.
3 When the Lamb broke the second seal, I heard the second living being say, “Come!” 4 Then another horse appeared, a red one. Its rider was given a mighty sword and the authority to take peace from the earth. And there was war and slaughter everywhere.
5 When the Lamb broke the third seal, I heard the third living being say, “Come!” I looked up and saw a black horse, and its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice from among the four living beings say, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay.[b] And don’t waste[c] the olive oil and wine.”
7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the fourth living being say, “Come!” 8 I looked up and saw a horse whose color was pale green. Its rider was named Death, and his companion was the Grave.[d] These two were given authority over one-fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword and famine and disease[e] and wild animals.
9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. 10 They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters[f]—their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them.
12 I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. 13 Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. 14 The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places.
15 Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?”
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.