I saw a scroll in the right-hand of the one who sits on the throne; it was covered with writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel, who announced in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3But there was no one in heaven or on earth or in the world below5.3 world below: The world of the dead (see 1.18). who could open the scroll and look inside it. 4I cried bitterly because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside it. 5
Then one of the elders said to me, “Don't cry. Look! The Lion from Judah's tribe, the great descendant of David, has won the victory, and he can break the seven seals and open the scroll.”
Then I saw a Lamb standing in the centre of the throne, surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb appeared to have been killed. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God that have been sent throughout the whole earth. 7The Lamb went and took the scroll from the right-hand of the one who sits on the throne. 8
As he did so, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God's people. 9
They sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to break open its seals.
For you were killed, and by your sacrificial death you bought for God
people from every tribe, language, nation, and race.
You have made them a kingdom of priests to serve our God,
and they shall rule on earth.”
Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood round the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, 12and sang in a loud voice:
“The Lamb who was killed is worthy
to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength,
honour, glory, and praise!”13And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea — all living beings in the universe — and they were singing:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,
be praise and honour, glory and might,
for ever and ever!”14The four living creatures answered, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshipped.
61Then I saw the Lamb break open the first of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice that sounded like thunder, “Come!” 2
I looked, and there was a white horse. Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown. He rode out as a conqueror to conquer.
3Then the Lamb broke open the second seal; and I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4
Another horse came out, a red one. Its rider was given the power to bring war on the earth, so that people should kill each other. He was given a large sword.
Then the Lamb broke open the third seal; and I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there was a black horse. Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand. 6I heard what sounded like a voice coming from among the four living creatures, which said, “A litre of wheat for a day's wages, and three litres of barley for a day's wages. But do not damage the olive trees and the vineyards!”
7Then the Lamb broke open the fourth seal; and I heard the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8
I looked, and there was a pale-coloured horse. Its rider was named Death, and Hades6.8 Hades: The world of the dead (see 1.18). followed close behind. They were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill by means of war, famine, disease, and wild animals.
9Then the Lamb broke open the fifth seal. I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been killed because they had proclaimed God's word and had been faithful in their witnessing. 10They shouted in a loud voice, “Almighty Lord, holy and true! How long will it be until you judge the people on earth and punish them for killing us?” 11Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to rest a little while longer, until the complete number of their fellow-servants and fellow-Christians had been killed, as they had been.
And I saw the Lamb break open the sixth seal. There was a violent earthquake, and the sun became black like coarse black cloth, and the moon turned completely red like blood. 13
The stars fell down to the earth, like unripe figs falling from the tree when a strong wind shakes it. 14
The sky disappeared like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. 15
Then the kings of the earth, the rulers and the military chiefs, the rich and the powerful, and all other people, slave and free, hid themselves in caves and under rocks on the mountains. 16
They called out to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the eyes of the one who sits on the throne and from the anger of the Lamb! 17
The terrible day of their anger is here, and who can stand against it?”
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so that no wind should blow on the earth or the sea or against any tree. 2And I saw another angel coming up from the east with the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels to whom God had given the power to damage the earth and the sea. 3
The angel said, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees, until we mark the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads.” 4And I was told that the number of those who were marked with God's seal on their foreheads was 144,000. They were from the twelve tribes of Israel, 5-812,000 from each tribe: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.
9After this I looked, and there was an enormous crowd — no one could count all the people! They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood in front of the throne and of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. 10They called out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb!” 11All the angels stood round the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures. Then they threw themselves face downwards in front of the throne and worshipped God, 12saying, “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honour, power, and might belong to our God for ever and ever! Amen!”
13One of the elders asked me, “Who are these people dressed in white robes, and where do they come from?”
“I don't know, sir. You do,” I answered.
He said to me, “These are the people who have come safely through the terrible persecution. They have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb. 15That is why they stand before God's throne and serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will protect them with his presence. 16
Never again will they hunger or thirst; neither sun nor any scorching heat will burn them, 17
because the Lamb, who is in the centre of the throne, will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”