Header-Sanctuary

Covenant Medallions

Our family story, the story of redemption, is told in the Bible through the overarching concept of the “covenant of grace”—God’s promise to call out an undeserving a people for Himself.  A covenant is a bond in blood sovereignly administered. 

Throughout Scripture then we see the unfolding of this one covenant of grace through various administrations—through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and finally and ultimately through Christ Himself.

In each case, the covenant is administered by God as the Sovereign One, and the covenant is sealed with blood. The promise of the good news of a savior in Genesis 3:15 after the fall of humanity is consummated when we see the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven in Revelation 21 and 22.

We have come full circle with a God who created a people for Himself to live with Him, but who in Adam sinned and died, but who in Christ are made alive and indwelt by His Spirit until His return to live among us.  It is a grand story of epic proportions that now is visible around our balcony facade.

SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT WITH ADAM

Symbol of the Covenant with Adam

The first symbol in the southwest corner is a depiction of Garden of Eden suggesting the “covenant of works” with Adam.  The tree of life, a river and the sun are all suggestive of God’s creation of which man was the crown.  Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect harmony with God, with their environment, and with each other.

SYMBOL OF THE PROTOEVANGEL

Symbol of the Protoevangel

Adam and Eve broke God’s commandment and fell tragically from their exalted status.  Due to the impossible separation between God and His people caused by their sin, God graciously promised a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15).  This promise is called “the protoevangel” because it tells of a Messiah for the first time.  The battle between God and Satan is depicted by the triumphant Lion (Christ as the Lion of Judah) crushing the head of the serpent.  Still visible in the symbol is a branch of the tree of life suggesting that eternal life is possible because of the triumph of the Lion.

SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT WITH NOAH

Symbol of the Covenant with Noah

This symbol depicts the covenant made with Noah.  The ark is visible with the floodwaters having receded.  The dove with the olive branch suggests life and peace and an end to judgment.  The rainbow is a promise of God’s grace in never destroying all life by flood again (Genesis 9).  In the story of the ark, we can also see the story of redemption in the one who was sent to save us “in Him from the flood of God’s wrath.

SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM

Symbol of the Covenant with Abraham

In Genesis 15, God promises Abraham a son and descendants as numerous as the stars.  The covenant is solemnized by a ritual common in that day of cutting animals in two and placing the pieces so as to create a path between them.  The “inferior” party of the covenant would typically walk through the pieces swearing to his own death if he were not true to the covenant.  While Abraham was asleep, God, seen as a smoking firepot and a torch, walks through the pieces Himself swearing to His own death if the covenant is broken!  Christ’s death on Calvary was the ultimate and final payment for the broken covenant—broken by His people, but kept by God.

SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT WITH MOSES

Symbol of the Covenant with Moses

In the northeast corner is a symbol of the covenant made with Moses.  Mount Sinai appears in the background with smoke shrouding its peak symbolizing the presence of the great “I AM” (Exodus 19:16).  In the foreground are the two tablets of the law—the first prescribing man’s relationship to God and the second detailing the duties of one human to another.  Jesus, the embodiment of this law in the flesh, summarized these commandments into simple principles:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40).  In Christ, “a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known.” (Hebrews 7:22)  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3: 21-22).

SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT WITH DAVID

Symbol of the Covenant with David

Moving south along the east balcony façade, the next symbol is expressive of the covenant with David—a promise to establish a throne for him forever.  “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish His kingdom.  He is the one who will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever.  (II Samuel 7:12)  This promise was fulfilled in Christ, of the house and lineage of David and clarifies the idea that the Redeemer is also a king whose kingdom is forever.

SYMBOL OF THE NEW COVENANT

Symbol of the New Covenant

This symbol represents the new covenant and is depicted here by the ancient symbol of the victorious Lamb.  Although this covenant found its consummation in the death, resurrection and ascension and session of Christ, it is an Old Testament concept as can be seen by the writer of Hebrews quoting the prophet Jeremiah:  “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with house of Judah.  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant and I turned away from them.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  In John 1:29, John the Baptist points to Jesus and says,” “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  In this symbol, Christ, the mediator of a new covenant, is seen as the victorious Lamb who has conquered sin and death through the shedding of His own blood—thus He carries the banner of the cross.  The three-rayed nimbus appears around His head indicating His deity.

SYMBOL OF THE CONSUMMATION OF THE COVENANT

Symbol of the Consummation of the Covenant

This last symbol in the series depicting the entire story of redemption, shows the New Jerusalem—the promised destination of God’s people (Revelation 22:1-8)  This symbol represents the consummation of God’s plan for His people.  “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them and be their God.’”  (Revelation 21:3)  In this symbol, the same elements contained in the first symbol reappear—the branches of the tree of life, the river, the sun, but they have reached their full and glorified expression in the city of God.  From the beginning, God promised a Redeemer so that He might dwell together forever with His people in unity.  This final symbol displays the ultimate fulfillment of all the promises of the covenant of grace God has made with His people, and it elicits the hope we have in our eternal inheritance.

SYMBOL OF THE ETERNALITY OF GOD:  THE ALPHA
SYMBOL OF THE ETERNALITY OF GOD: THE OMEGA

Symbols of the Eternality of God:  The Alpha and the Omega

Along the north balcony are the symbols of the eternality of Christ depicted by the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet:  the Alpha and Omega.  Between them is an inscription of the classic covenantal promise found in Leviticus 26:12:  “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.”   These symbols and the inscription bring together the entire story of redemption designed by God whose firm intention was to live with His people and whose faithfulness secured our hope.  Christ says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  (Revelation 22:13)  It is in Christ we belong to God.  It is in Christ that all God’s promises are fulfilled:  “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.  And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (II Corinthians 1:20)

 

The Covenant Symbols, like the Apostles' Shields, were expertly crafted by J. Wippell & Co. Ltd., a 200-year-old church furnishing and supply company based in England. The design ideas for these symbols, as well as the shields, were finalized by Gerald Miller, the director of Wippell. Bryan Marshall, our U.S. representative for Wippell, has worked diligently with us for the addition of our liturgical paraments, shields and symbols.