Now Available: The Great Works of God: Leviticus + An endorsement from Dr. Geoff Boyle

We are delighted to announce the release of The Great Works of God, Part Seven: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Leviticus, written by Valerius Herberger, translated by Matthew Carver. Find a description of the book, purchasing information, endorsements, and excerpts here.

In addition, we offer you the following review from Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Boyle, Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana: “Consolation in the name of Jesus—that’s what Valerius Herberger delivers in Part Seven of his meditations on Scripture. Much like Augustine’s Confessions, this devotional commentary teaches and exhorts, convicts and comforts the Christian through a running prayer to the Father, through the Son, with the Holy Spirit. Every page richly orders all of Leviticus towards Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for us. Yet, as Herberger sees Jesus in the covenant to Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he’s never willing to leave us as the baptized out either. It’s always looking back and forward, and always from the cross of Christ.

“The breadth of Scriptural knowledge and citation, along with hymns and classical poems, makes this series of meditations through Leviticus a true nourishment of the soul, and Matthew Carver’s translation allows one to feed without interruption! That is, the book that causes most of us to stumble while reading through the Scriptures—Leviticus—comes to us, through Herberger’s insight and Carver’s translation, as a book of Christ. Herberger shows how profitably and clearly Leviticus ‘explains how the Lamb of God was slain from the beginning of the world (Rev. 13:8). From the beginning of the world, His bloody death was always seen in the sacrifices of the people of God; and from the beginning of the world, the power of His merit has also availed for all believing hearts’ (25). Everything points to Jesus: the sacrifice of cattle to His strength; the corners of the altar to the corners of His cross; the sheep to His gentleness and innocence; the goats and kids to His authority and boldness; the doves to His humility; and every burnt offering to Christ the crucified (31, 33). On and on it goes: Here in Leviticus the shadow, there in Christ the truth itself—’This is all full of mystery’ (72). With Herberger as your guide, the ‘Mosaic shell’ of Leviticus cracks and gives forth ‘the precious, delectable nut’ of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (79). And not just Leviticus alone, Herberger claims, but ‘how utterly the whole course of [Christ’s] life is wrapped up in the Old Testament!’ (165). So, ‘Rouse yourself, devout heart, and ponder this. You will discover it in truth’ (123).”

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Dr. David Scaer endorses The Great Works of God: Leviticus

“Leviticus, with its prescribed rituals for God’s Old Testament people, is too easily passed over. After reading The Great Works of God by Valerius Herberger, skeptic readers will come to see Leviticus as valuable in coming to terms with what it means for Jesus to be the Christ. Within the detailed ceremonies required by God of the Israelites are aspects of Christ’s atonement. Laity will find Matthew Carver’s translation of the 70 devotions of a 17th-century German pastor easy reading. Pastors will find themes to be developed in sermons and Bible classes. Highly recommended.”

Dr. David P. Scaer
Professor of New Testament and                   Systematic Theological
Concordia Theological Seminary
Fort Wayne, Indiana

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Now available for pre-order: The Great Works of God: Leviticus

Originally written in German by 17th-century Lutheran pastor Valerius Herberger, The Great Works of God, Part Seven: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Leviticus, is now available in English. The third book of Moses, commonly called Leviticus, outlines the ceremonial law set forth by God for His people. Newly rescued from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites stood before Mount Sinai to receive instruction on how a sinful people approach a holy God. In these 70 devotional meditations, Valerius Herberger presents a Christological interpretation of Leviticus, focusing on the Christian understanding of holiness. Translator Matthew Carver captures the wisdom and wit of Herberger’s insightful writing which always keeps Jesus Christ front and center and often blurs the line between commentary and sermon. Both preachers and laymen alike will find this volume helpful in interpreting the Scriptures and beneficial in learning how to live a life that bears much fruit.

As Carver notes, Herberger “writes mainly for the average educated layperson, with a very personal style. He mostly avoids technical or theological jargon and offers interesting insights….It is useful as a devotional since nothing exactly like this exists today.” Furthermore, Carver explains the book’s wide appeal: “It can be used theologically for perspectives on biblical interpretation and typology, devotionally for personal spiritual enrichment, and homiletically as an example of historical models of applying interpretation.”

Pre-order your copy today!

*Leading up to the book’s release in mid-April 2024, we’ll be posting more details and excerpts. See the right sidebar to sign up for emails or Like us on Facebook to keep updated. 

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The Altar: An Excerpt from Ceremony and Celebration

“Long before churches were built, the church’s worship was carried out at or around an altar. In Gen. 8:20 we read that ‘Noah builded an altar unto the Lord.’ Even before that, ‘Cain brought of the fruits of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof’ (Gen. 4:3, 4). These sacrifices must have been offered on an altar. Therefore, the altar was the place of worship before there were church buildings, and the altar is more than an ornament or piece of furnishing in a church. It is a monument or object around which and in which the church’s worship is centered.

“We may regard the altar as: 1. the Lord’s table, 2. an emblem of sacrifice, and 3. a symbol of God’s presence.

“In one of its aspects the Holy Communion Service is a fellowship meal in which we are united with Christ and all fellow believers in a holy union or communion. As such it is celebrated at a table. This table is the altar, which for that reason is called the Lord’s table (1. Cor. 10:21).

“The altar is also an emblem of sacrifice. The word altar itself indicates this. It comes from the Latin altare ara, which means an elevated place for sacrifice. In the church’s worship the altar represents by association Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for the redemption of the world, and the place where the benefits of this sacrifice and all the blessings of God are conveyed to the believers. But the sacrificial aspect of the altar does not end there. It is the monument on which we offer in response to God’s mercy our sacrifices to God, that is, our sacrifices of prayer, praise, thanksgiving, and such material tokens of the offering of ourselves with all we are and have as money, bread, and wine.

“Thirdly, the altar is a symbol of God’s presence. It symbolizes the place where God and His people meet. Our Lord Himself refers to the altar as a symbol of God in Matt. 5:23 and 23:18-20. The altar stands for God as our flag stands for our country. That is why we direct our worship to the altar and reverence it by bowing, genuflecting, and kneeling. That is also the reason why the altar itself, and not any of its surroundings or ornaments, such as crucifixes, reredos, pulpit, or any other object, is in matter of location and all other considerations the focal point and center of the church’s worship and the church building.”

-Paul H.D. Lang in Ceremony and Celebration

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Thy Kingdom Come: An Excerpt from Septuagesima

“The main point of the parable is that entrance into the kingdom comes by grace. The workers are rewarded for work they did not perform. This is hardly a surprise to us; in fact, we practically expect it.

“G.K. Chesterton once said, ‘Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked…It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal and that you are a paralytic.’

“Chesterton has in mind immoral things. He means, ‘Don’t think you are more sophisticated than your grandmother because you watch television shows full of vulgarities and aren’t bothered by them. It could be that she was highly intelligent and sensitive and you have been paralyzed by evil so much that you don’t even notice it.’

“The same sort of numbness applies to the Gospel as well. I fear that it is even worse. We’re not just numb, but we’ve crossed over the line drawn by Bonhoeffer into ‘cheap grace.’ I fear we’re now guilty of thinking grace is worse than cheap; it is a right, an entitlement, as though God owed us salvation. Repent.”

These are the first 4 paragraphs from the sermon for Septuagesima, based on Matthew 20:1-16. Find Thy Kingdom Come here.

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The Advent Wreath: An Excerpt

“The lighting of an Advent wreath during the Advent season is a Christian ceremony which has come down to us from about the time of Martin Luther. As before the birth of Christ the light of prophecy concerning His advent and His redemptive work became brighter and brighter, so the nearer we come in the church year to the feast of His nativity, the greater the amount of light from the Advent wreath. This ceremony is helpful for recalling, discussing, and teaching the significance of Advent.”

-An excerpt from Ceremony and Celebration, in which Rev. Paul H.D. Lang describes the theological significance and historic, confessional Lutheran position on liturgy, ritual, and ceremony.

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Save on EVERYTHING during our 4-day Thanksgiving sale!

Looking for Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, or a little something for yourself? Starting today, save up to 20% on all books and cards. Prices are valid through Saturday, November 25, which happens to be Small Business Saturday. Browse our selection of titles using the Books tab above.

A few highlights:

*Share the joy of Christ’s birth with your family and friends with our stunning Christmas cards. Each one pairs beautiful artwork with the words of Scripture or the timeless poetry of hymns. “Messiah” is pictured here.

*God With Us by David H. Petersen is a collection of brief sermons that are perfect for personal devotion. Pr. Petersen explains how Christ’s incarnation is the basis of all Christian preaching and the essence of every celebration of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, every proclamation of Absolution to repentant sinners.

*The Great Works of God: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Exodus contains more than 120 Christocentric, devotional meditations in which Valerius Herberger shows his fervent belief that Jesus Christ is the center of every part of Scripture. Matthew Carver’s translation of this work is outstanding.

*Wherever you fall on the spectrum of Latin — a scholar, a teacher or student of classical education, or a novice — you will find Liber Hymnorum: The Latin Hymns of the Lutheran Church to be an absolute treasure. Liber Hymnorum is two hymnals in one, the first half being English, the second Latin, exactly mirroring the first half in content and numbering.

*In The Word RemainsWilhelm Löhe gives insight into the confessional Lutheran understanding of the church year, the Word of God, and matters related to the Christian life. Readings begin with Advent, the start of the Church Year.

*What an Altar Guild Should Know gives details about church services, rubrics, altar care, sacred vessels, and other topics related to liturgical worship. However, anyone who is interested in liturgical worship will appreciate Lang’s keen theological insight into why reverence and beauty and the externals of worship matter.

A blessed Thanksgiving to you!

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Introducing our newest Christmas card…God Most High

Share the good news of our Savior’s birth with Christmas cards that combine beautiful art with words of Scripture and beloved hymns.

This year we are pleased to add a new Christmas card to our collection: God Most High. Here the holy family is depicted in stunning stained glass, gathered together with shepherds in adoration of the Christ child. The inside text is Stanza 3 of Martin Luther’s Christmas hymn, “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come”:

This is the Christ, our God Most High,
Who hears your sad and bitter cry;
He will Himself your Savior be
From all your sins to set you free.

Luther wrote the text of this hymn in 1534 as a sort of pageant or Christmas devotion for his own family. In fact, this particular stanza is addressed to the shepherds as part of “an extended paraphrase of the words of the angel from Luke 2:11–12. Luther goes beyond a simple retelling of the story to emphasize the great joy that comes from knowing that Jesus came ‘from all your sins to set you free,'” as Pr. W.H. Otto observes in a Lutheran Witness article from 2009. His entire article is worth reading to understand the hymn’s structure and how its writing was influenced by the 14th-century medieval folk tradition of the garland song.

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Seed-Grains of Prayer: Prayer for Blessing and Prosperity in One’s Calling

seed-grains-grid“My Lord, and my God, I realize that man’s work does not depend upon his own powers nor is it in any man’s province to ordain his walks and ways. So rule and govern me at all times, by Thy Holy Spirit, that I may keep mine eyes straight before me in my calling, and faithfully perform my duty. Guide me evermore in the right paths, that I turn neither to the right nor to the left there-from.

“Direct me always by Thy good pleasure, and let Thy Spirit lead me in the true paths, for Thou art my God. I realize also that Thou hast called me to labor in Thy vineyard, and how, even in my Baptism, I promised Thee that I would labor. To this end, I beseech Thee, grant me a healthy body, and strengthen me, O Lord, cheerfully to bear the heat and labor of my calling, always ready and faithful unto Thee. And since I know not the hour when my labors shall cease, teach me to be ready at all times unto a blessed departure, willingly to leave this world, and to fall asleep in peace and joy; that I may celebrate the eternal day of rest with Thee and all Thine elect. Amen.”

Wilhelm Loehe, Seed-Grains of Prayer, p. 67

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“Reverence matters”: An endorsement from Dr. Geoffrey Boyle

Regarding The Conduct of the Service:

“Everything we do in the liturgy teaches. But does what we do actually teach that it matters? Both Piepkorn and McClean call their contributions ‘manuals,’ convenient handbooks offered to clarify how we do what we do in the liturgy. The detail, care, and precision they offer assume that what we do matters. Reverence matters—not to earn salvation, but to extol Christ and His gifts. They call for a humble, prepared, and calm reverence and describe what that looks like at every point in the Divine Service. Relying on The Lutheran Hymnal and its accompanying The Lutheran Liturgy, they highlight the rubrics and offer suggestions based on the historic practice of the Lutheran Church. This continues to serve parish pastors, even as Lutheran Service Book fills our pews. At the Seminary, we work hard to train our future pastors to know why we do what we do because we believe that it matters. This book provides the much needed ‘how,’ tying all that we do in the liturgy to Christ and His care for His people.”
_____
Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Boyle
Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions, Concordia Theological Seminary
Fort Wayne, Indiana

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