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Some people approach the Book of Revelation as if it predicted the date of the end of the world. Others trawl through its pages for proof that such-and-such a political figure is the Antichrist John speaks of. Still, others seem to glory in what comes across as doom and gloom in the book's story.
William Riley's approach is altogether different. A Scripture teacher who knew that he was suffering a terminal illness, he explores how reading the Apocalypse can be an authentic spring-time of the soul. This can be true not just for the individual believer but for the Church too, to which it can bring a message of celebration, challenge and - above all - hope. For Fr Riley, the Apocalypse succeeds in being both completely honest about the reality of evil in the world, and utterly confident about the truth of God. If it portrays evil with great force it is only as a help to perceiving more clearly the reality of God. The Seer opens up a vision of God as majestic - sovereignly ruling over cosmic forces- and offers this as an assurance that the God who may often be unseens and unheard still remains the source and goal of all things.
Willam Riley (1949-1995), a native of Ohio, and a priest of the diocese of Dublin, taught Scripture at Carysfort College of Education and later at the Mater Dei Institute, both in Dublin. His books included The Bible Group: an Owner's Manual and The Tale of Two Testaments.
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