The apocalyptic world of the Fourth Gospel
The perspective adopted in the Fourth Gospel reflects the symbolic world of the Johannine community; a perspective which can be termed apocalyptic because it seeks to reveal another, higher, heavenly order of reality providing a sense of divine legitimation in the face Jewish hostility. Jesus is shown to be the witness par excellence of the heavenly realm and the source of ultimate truth. Although bearing resemblancesto an apocalyptic seer, the presentation of the Johannine Jesus owes a greater debt to principal angel traditions which are themselves rooted in the figure of the -Mill JNýIn. Crucially, the presence of Jesus becomes the defining eschatological moment in the lives of all who meet him, determining both present and future destiny. However, inherent in the idea of an apocalyptic disclosure is the fact that it is hidden from ordinary human understanding, requiring supernatural elucidation. Now in the Fourth Gospel the role of the Spirit-Paraclete is modelled on the angelus interpres of apocalypticism. He progressively interprets the full meaning of the Jesusrevelation to successive generations of believers; acts in a legal capacity by representing the interests of believers who are facing the accusations and persecutions of former allies; and lifts the believer into the transcendent realm which, through the act of worship 'in spirit and truth', makes heaven a present reality on earth. Within the worshipping community the revelation of Jesus continues to be a spiritual reality, with his earthly life acting as an apocalyptic paradigm for later followers. Hostility from their opponents reflects the cosmic conflict in the heavenly realm. Thus the encounter between these two contrasting orders of reality is portrayed as an ongoing state of affairs since Jesus is ever present in the community which bear his name; it continues to shine in the darkness of a hostile world.