Biblical history unfolds a series of covenants: with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and finally, Jesus Christ. These covenants are related to each other like concentric circles, each understood within the context of those before it. The covenants show the message of God’s grace, which may be summarized as this: sinners who are righteous by faith will walk in holiness before God and inherit the everlasting kingdom. In 2003, Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church commissioned artist Kathryn Schnabel to design stained glass windows for us, to reflect these six covenants. The main colors which represent each covenant are: black for Adam and Eve, blue for Noah, green for Abraham, red for Moses, purple for David, and gold for Christ.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “ You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2: 16-17
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant be- tween me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” Genesis 9:12-16
Within the context of the sinful nature of all mankind, the covenant with Noah reminds us that God will graciously preserve His world despite man’s sin. The window shows the ark sailing on a stormy sea headed toward land, and the rainbow overhead.
And, behold, the word of the LORD came to him: ‘”This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he took him outside and said, “Look toward the heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. . . . So shall your off- spring be.” And he believed the LORD , and he counted it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15: 4-6
Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. . . . And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of our sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. Genesis 17:4,8
God's covenant dealings with Abraham established that sinners, preserved by grace, can only have right standing with God by faith in His promise of life. The stained glass shows twelve stars, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, scattered across the promised land and the sky.
Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient..” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold, the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Exodus 24: 7-8
The sinners who are preserved by grace and who have faith are to walk in holiness as taught by the law given to Moses. The red ribbon in the window represents the blood of the plague, the Passover, and the sacrifices taught in the Law. The tablets of the Ten Commandments are on the upper left, and the gray ribbon stands for the forty years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. Manna is shown at the bottom of the window.
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-13
Within the context of all previous covenants between God and man, the LORD promised David an everlasting kingdom, ruled by his heir. This window depicts a crowd of Philistines at the lower left, and a tent representing the Tabernacle. In the upper half of the window, we see a city, representing both the city of Jerusalem which David built, and the New Jerusalem to come, with the crown overhead.
In the same way also he took the cup after supper, saying, “This is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 11:25
The history of the covenants shows that men are sinners and unbelievers who do not walk in holiness, and, therefore, cannot inherit the everlasting kingdom. God Himself has to remedy the fall with a new covenant in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the one faithful over His house as Moses was, the son of David, the Son of God. He came as the obedient last Adam to call men to faith and, after making a perfect atonement for sin on the cross, gave the Holy Spirit for our obedience and assured entrance into the kingdom of resurrection life.
The window shows light emanating from the tomb, and swirling up into a flame containing the colors of all the covenants, because Jesus fulfilled them all.