From internal evidence in the New Testament it would seem that Jesus and the apostles employed a Midrashic hermeneutic as evidenced in the manner by which the New Testament often uses and explains the old.
Pattern, not just prediction
Central to the issue of interpretation is not simply the use of Midrash in the New Testament alone, but rather how it functions in conjunction with the subject of prophecy. Western hermeneutics misunderstand the end times prophecy, seeing it merely in terms of prediction and fulfillment.
The ancient Jewish concept of prophecy saw it as a pattern being recapitulated. This idea is crucial in understanding the errors of dominionism and restorationism which argue that the last days are over, having all happened in a literal sense in 70 AD. At that time the second temple was destroyed in fulfillment of the prophecies of the Jewish prophet Daniel and also, later, those of Jesus in the Olivet discourse.
One way to understand the Jewish concept of prophecy is as thematic
recapitulation, where a pattern of events replays the same theme
repeatedly. For example one problem that western hermeneutics has never been
able to answer satisfactorily is: how can Matthew be justified in quoting Hosea
11:1 ("When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.
The theme of the passage is that of "coming out of Egypt." Abraham-the father of all who believe - becomes an archetype; that is, his experience as patriarch is archetypal of his descendants corning out of Egypt - or in other words what happens to him, also happens to his descendants at a later date. During a famine Abraham the patriarch stays temporarily in Egypt and following divine judgment on Pharaoh he leaves bringing wealth from Egypt before entering into the Promised Land. Many years later his descendants, the sons of Jacob, enter Egypt as the result of another famine and God's judgment again falls on Pharaoh. When they leave Egypt for the Promised Land, they bring the wealth of Egypt with them thus replaying the experience of the archetype Abraham and developing the theme of coming out of Egypt.
Similarly in 1 Corinthians 10 we Christians are told that we too have come out of Egypt, again replaying the same experience further developing the same theme. Pharaoh was worshipped as God by the Egyptians who deified him and as such he becomes a metaphor for the Devil, the god of this world. Just as Moses made a covenant using blood which he sprinkled on the people, so Jesus, who was a prophet like Moses, makes a new covenant in His blood so covering His people. Egypt can now be seen as a symbol of the world, and just as Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea out of Egypt into the Promised Land, so Jesus leads us out of the world through baptism and into heaven.
In the book of Revelation we see the same Judgements against Egypt replayed in the final judgements of God upon a sinful world. Just as Pharaoh's magicians were able to counterfeit the miracles of Moses and Aaron, so the Antichrist and False Prophet will counterfeit the miracles of Jesus and his witnesses.
The Song of Moses sung by Miriam in the Exodus narrative is
sung again in Revelation where the destruction of Pharaoh and his army are seen
as a type of the judgment of Satan and his demon cohorts. Therefore, just as
Joseph's bones were brought out of Egypt so the dead in Christ will rise first
when we come out of the world together at Jesus' return.
Thus the Exodus of Jesus from Egypt in Matthew's nativity narrative fits precisely into the same pattern following the same theme. A wicked king is again judged-this time Herod-and the Messiah comes out of Egypt where he had fled in time of trouble. Here Jesus is pictured as the embodiment of Israel, in much the same way as the church is the Body of Christ. Old Testament citations such as "Israel, My Glory" and "Israel, My Firstborn" may now be understood for what they are-allusions to the Messiah.
Hence, as Abraham departed from Egypt, his physical descendants came out of Egypt in the Exodus. Then, his seed the Messiah comes out of Egypt, and we, His spiritual descendants, come out of 'Egypt'. Finally all of these Exodus events prefigure some aspect of the resurrection and rapture of the Church. As can be seen Jewish prophecies of this kind have multiple fulfilments with each fulfillment being a type revealing some aspect of their ultimate fulfilment. In fact in its simplest sense this is the basic principle of Midrash.
Approaching Matthew's nativity story from this Jewish perspective instead of a western one, we can understand how and why his words as found in the text of Hosea 11:1 apply to Jesus upon the death of Herod. We may understand how the phrase "out of Egypt I have called my son" is also valid as a prophecy about the Messiah who represents both the embodiment of Israel and the redemptive hope of Israel.