I returned from a week off the internet in Mexico to find news of the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral.
I have mostly seen two reactions to this event from fellow Christians, both of which I believe miss the true significance of this building.
The first reaction is a mourning for the destruction of the cathedral as a great church and symbol of the faith.
The second reaction is that it is just a building and should not be mourned because there was no loss of life.
What is Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame is a cultural icon of France. It is pivotal in the development of Paris and the world of Art. It serves as the first major example of the Gothic style of architecture. It was also the setting of the famous novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.
Its full name is Notre-Dame de Paris, or in English Our Lady of Paris. Who could imagine a Paris without this structure.
But what is its religious significance?
What are we to think of this great building from a biblical perspective?
To answer these questions lets look more generally at what cathedral is.
What is a Cathedral?
The word cathedral comes from cathedra, the Latin word for seat. So a cathedral is literally the place of the seat.
While there may or may not be a physical chair the seat in question is the seat from which a bishop or archbishop presides over his geographic area of responsibility, called a diocese or archdiocese.
From there the Bishop rules over the clergy and people standing vicariously in the place of Christ.
Jesus warns us in Revelation 2 about the doctrines of the Nicolaitans. The word Nicolaitans literally means those who have victory over the people.
You see Christ came, in part, to break the boundary between man and God. He said that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” and that every believer belongs to a holy priesthood.
Anyone who attempts to stand between God and the christian is acting as a Nicolaitan, that includes the so-called Bishops of the Roman religion.
As Nicolaitans Roman Bishops have indeed taught doctrine. That doctrine includes the adoration of ancestors (whom they call saints) and objects (which they call relics). They presume both to forgive sin and to proscribe penance for it as if the works of man were any better than filthy rags before a Holy God. They demand payment of monies or works (called indulgences) as conditions of Gods grace. Worst of all they teach people to trust in the clergy, in works, and in the “saints” treasury of merit for the forgiveness of sins, which only the blood of Christ can forgive.
The Bishops have presumptuously sat in the seat of Christ and taught these doctrines of Nicolaitanism to the harm of Billions of congregants. These beliefs are literally damnable as salvation comes only by trusting Christ completely.
Notre Dame Must Continue!
In addition to its artistic and cultural value as I noted above Notre Dame Cathedral must be preserved for its historical significance.
Just as France preserves the history of the Holocaust and the evils of the Reign of Terror, so must it preserve the history of the evils perpetrated on it by the Roman religion. Only by remembering the evil of the past can evil be avoided in the future.