I watched while the Lamb ripped off the first of the seven seals. I heard one of the Animals roar, "Come out!"
I looked - I saw a white horse. Its rider carried a bow and was given a victory garland. He rode off victorious, conquering right and left.
When the Lamb ripped off the second seal, I heard the second Animal cry, "Come out!"
Another horse appeared, this one red. Its rider was off to take peace from the earth, setting people at each other's throats, killing one another. He was given a huge sword.
When he ripped off the third seal, I heard the third Animal cry, "Come out!" I looked. A black horse this time. Its rider carried a set of scales in his hand.
I heard a message (it seemed to issue from the Four Animals): "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, or three quarts of barley, but all the oil and wine you want."
When he ripped off the fourth seal, I heard the fourth Animal cry, "Come out!"
I looked. A colorless horse, sickly pale. Its rider was Death, and Hell was close on its heels. They were given power to destroy a fourth of the earth by war, famine, disease, and wild beasts.
When he ripped off the fifth seal, I saw the souls of those killed because they had held firm in their witness to the Word of God. They were gathered under the Altar,
and cried out in loud prayers, "How long, Strong God, Holy and True? How long before you step in and avenge our murders?"
Then each martyr was given a white robe and told to sit back and wait until the full number of martyrs was filled from among their servant companions and friends in the faith.
I watched while he ripped off the sixth seal: a bone-jarring earthquake, sun turned black as ink, moon all bloody,
stars falling out of the sky like figs shaken from a tree in a high wind,
sky snapped shut like a book, islands and mountains sliding this way and that.
And then pandemonium, everyone and his dog running for cover - kings, princes, generals, rich and strong, along with every commoner, slave or free. They hid in mountain caves and rocky dens,
calling out to mountains and rocks, "Refuge! Hide us from the One Seated on the Throne and the wrath of the Lamb!
The great Day of their wrath has come - who can stand it?"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)