The Pharisees adopted a bottom up hermeneutic that saw Moses and the Torah as the foundation of all doctrine. It was based upon the concept of specularia and the Rabbis said and I quote: “Of the Hebrew prophets, Moses was pre-eminent and stands in a class by himself. ‘What was the distinction between Moses and the other prophets? The latter looked through nine specularia, cloudy specularia, whereas Moses looked only through one that was clear’ (Everyman’s Talmud, Abraham Cohen, page 123)
This was based upon Numbers 12:6-8; And he said, "Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. (7) Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. (8) With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" Notice the words he is faithful in all my house and file that for later. The Jews used this passage to prove that Moses and the Torah was clearer revelation from God than any other prophet and for the old covenant, the mosaic covenant, I agree. As a result, all of the scripture had to be interpreted in view of this concept of the clearest specularia.
We have shown in several posts that Jesus and his apostles define the phrase the word of God as either Jesus or the gospel and often it was the gospel. I have suggested that this gives the scripture a solely redemptive focus. But, what about this specularia situation? ….Is there a place in the New Testament writings that suggests that this idea of specularia has changed? The answer is yes. I think that it was overthrown in Hebrews chapter three.
Heb 3:1-7 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, (2) who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. (3) For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses--as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (4) (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) (5) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, (6) but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. (7) Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear his voice,
I have underlined some parts of the above passage to make a point. It is obvious that the writer of Hebrews is using midrash to refer back to Numbers 12:6-8. He is referring to the exact place that the rabbis have used to develop their bottom up specularia and, he is suggesting that Today, they should hear the voice of Jesus….in other words, they should look at scripture the same way that Jesus and his diciples looked at it…redemptively, with a top down interpretation model that changes the specularia from Moses to Jesus. Will take up Matthew 5:17-20 in the next post.
You can find posts that explain various positions of this blog in the following areas: Introduction, The Word of God, Realized Eschatology,Jew – Gentile Distinction. These are just a few of the blog posts but, I encourage you to look through them or, you can get a free PDF of the blog through the latest Saturday.