The Catholic Defender: The Seven Woes of Jesus

Posted by John Benko - October 13th, 2013

Matthew 23 is perhaps one of the most famous chapters in the Bible where Jesus gives the seven woes to the scribes and Pharisees.

A “woe” is a “condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief”.

Because of the disobedience of the Jewish people and the religious leaders Jesus lowers the boom against them.

Consider Leviticus 26, we see a clear warning God gives the Israelite’s.  The Lord says, “I will punish you with terrible woes” for refusing to obey His Commandments and breaking the Covenant.

Verse 17, “I will turn against you, till you are beaten down before your enemies and lorded over by your foes.

Verse 18, “…I will increase the chastisement for your sins sevenfold, to break your haughty confidence”

Verse 21, “…I will multiply my blows another sevenfold, as your sins deserve.”

Verse 25, “I will make the sword, the avenger of my covenant, sweep over you.  Though you then huddle together in your walled cities, I will send in pestilence among you, till you are forced to surrender to the enemy.”

Verse 26, “And as I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will need but one oven for baking all the bread they dole out to you in rations, not enough food to still your hunger.”

Verse 28-29, “I, also, will meet you with fiery defiance and will chastise you with sevenfold fiercer punishment for your sins, till you begin to eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters.”

Verse 30, “I will demolish your high places, overthrow your incense stands, and cast your corpses on those of your idols.”

Verse 31, “I will lay waste your cities and devastate your sanctuaries, refusing to accept your sweet-smelling offerings.”

Verse 32, “So devastated will I leave the land that your very enemies who come to live there will stand aghast at the sight of it.”

Those are some very important warnings that the Israelites  were given and yet, they fell flat on their faces over and over again.

Because the religious leaders did not recognize the true Messiah, because the people killed the prophets of God, Jesus  declares the woes of disobedience to the Scribes and Pharisees.

Matthew 23:13, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings.  You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.”

Verse 15, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.”

Verse 16, “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.”

Verse 23, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law.”

Verse 25, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.”

Verse 27, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.”

Verse 29, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets blood.”

Jesus would call the Pharisees, “brood of vipers” and warns, “Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:36)

Recall the warning God gives in Leviticus 26? Jesus states, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate.  I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37-39)

It is clear that Jesus is very familiar with the “woes” of Leviticus 26 and Jesus is clear that this will happen during this generation. (Matthew 23:36, Matthew 24:34)

The Fall of Jerusalem did in fact occur as Jesus forewarned and the Jewish Historian Josephus wrote the history of this epic siege.  He writes of a woman called Mary, the Daughter of Eleazar:

 “My poor baby, why should I keep you alive in this world of war and famine? Even if we live till the Romans come, they will make slaves of us; and anyway, hunger will get us before slavery does; and the rebels are crueler than both. Come, be food for me, and an avenging fury to the rebels, and a tale of cold horror to the world to complete the monstrous agony of the Jews.” With these words she killed her son, roasted the body, swallowed half of it, and stored the rest in a safe place. But the rebels were on her at once, smelling roasted meat, and threatening to kill her instantly if she did not produce it. She assured them she had saved them a share, and revealed the remains of her child. Seized with horror and stupefaction, they stood paralyzed at the sight. But she said, “This is my own child, and my own handiwork. Eat, for I have eaten already. Do not show yourselves weaker than a woman, or more pitiful than a mother. But if you have pious scruples, and shrink away from human sacrifice, then what I have eaten can count as your share, and I will eat what is left as well.”

Matthew laments as he quotes Jesus saying, “Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days.” (Matthew 24:19)

The Siege of Jerusalem was total devastation and the destruction was brutal.  More than a million people were killed.  Many crucified. 

So terrible was the plight of the Jewish people within the walls of Jerusalem.  Because of Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness, riding on the back of Rome, St. John would write of this in the 17th and 18th Chapter of Revelation.

Jerusalem would be the seven hill (mountain) city that would become known as the “Whore of Babylon”.  St. John simply spoke of Jerusalem as “The Great City”, ‘Where indeed their Lord was crucified.’ (Rev 11:8).  Because of the political ties between Jerusalem and Rome, St. John recognized the “Woman”represents the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth.”  (Rev 17:18)

It is interesting that St. John is giving a play on words here.  Something that he recognized from something Jesus once said, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (Mark 12:17) 

To St. John, obviously God is supreme and the people’s refusal to accept His sovereignty lands the seven woes of Jesus and the coming destruction of Jerusalem. 

Because the Jews failed in keeping the Commandments and the Covenant, St. John saw this rebellious spirit  regarding this woman (representing Israel) whom God called the “harlot”, the “prostitute”, the “adulterous wife”.  (Ezekiel 16)

As a result, the Old Testament Priesthood was obliterated and the sacrifice ceased on the 9th of Av, 70 A.D. exactly as Jesus foretold.

With this behind us, are we sure that in the United States we want to turn our gaze away from the Lord?


Home page
DTB facebook Page
You Tube
Blog Talk Radio Show

*BEST OF DTB #262* The Catholic Defender: Come Out Of Her

Posted by John Benko - June 12th, 2013

Revelation 18:4-8

Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

“‘Come out of her, my people,’ so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.  Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done.  Pour her a double portion from her own cup.  Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself.  In her heart she boasts,
‘I sit enthroned as queen.  I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’  Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine.  She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.


Certainly, the above is one of the most used scripture that is used to attack the Catholic Faith.  How wrong this is, it is like pointing a loaded gun at innocent bystanders.  But this is what the anti-Catholics are doing.  


St. John wrote the Book of Revelation while at the Island of Patmos.  This is important because all the data taken from the book of Revelation concerning the “Whore of Babylon”, the anti-Christ, the false Prophet, the golden cup, the scarlet beast all points to one source.


Jesus told the Apostles, “You see all these things, do you not? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down”.

Jesus was speaking of the Temple in Jerusalem.  A warning that Jesus provides should not go unnoticed, “See that no deceives you.  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not be the end.”

Jesus is describing the fall of Jerusalem, the major war Jesus is referring to here would be the Jewish Roman War (67-70 A.D.).  Jesus goes on saying, “All these are the beginning of the labor pains.  Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you.  You will be hated by all nations because of my name.  And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another.  Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Jesus is clearly giving the Apostles an overview of what is to happen, even until the end of the world.  St. John is concerned about the followers of Christ strengthening and encouraging them in the face of this persecution.  By the time of John’s writing of Revelation, the Church has already suffered great persecution first by the Jews and then by the Romans.

Jesus then speaks about a great tribulation that will take place, “When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand) then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, a person in the field must not return to get his cloak.  Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days.”

Jesus speaks of great tribulation, ”Pray that your flight not be in winter or on the Sabbath, for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be.  And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved: but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened.”

St. John’s warning in Revelation 18:4-8 is really speaking to the Fall of Jerusalem and the great tribulation that took place there.  This destroyed the Jewish priesthood.  Where was the Church at this time? The Church by this time was already building itself in Rome and so the early Christians did follow the warning of St. John.  

The Catholic Church effectively escaped the siege of Jerusalem.  According to Josephus, he claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish, and that 97,000 were captured and enslaved.  11,000 of them died of starvation, it was an ugly scene.

Josephus states, The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.”


Josephus states “that the Romans, having taken the city, brought their standards into the court of the temple, and placed them opposite the east gate, where they offered sacrifices to them. Many who survived were sold into slavery or taken to Rome for the wild beasts. The seven-branched candlestick, the golden table of the shew-bread and the golden trumpets were carried through the streets of Rome in triumph.”  This was prophesied by Daniel and Jesus.

Jesus told us what would happen and clearly this is what St. John was writing about.  He was living in the midst of this great tribulation.  Can it all happen again? Yes, tribulation will come most certainly as Jesus spoke of this as well, but it is not the Catholic Church that is the “beast” or the “whore”.

So as Catholics, when they warn us to come out of the Whore, we can respond saying that we already did. We left Jerusalem before 70 A.D.


Home page
DTB facebook Page
You Tube
Blog Talk Radio Show

*BEST OF DTB #185* The Catholic Defender: Spiritual Communion With The Whore

Posted by John Benko - May 13th, 2012

In the recent debates with Non-Catholics, some of them make the claim that the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” first described in Revelation 17:1-6. John quickly identifies who this Whore is in verse 18 saying, “The woman whom you saw represents the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth. To St. John, this could only be one city! In Revelation 11:9, St. John identifies where and who this great city is saying, “There corpses (the two witnesses) will lie in the main street of the great city, which has the symbolic names ‘Sodom’ and ‘Egypt’ where indeed their Lord was crucified. This is Jerusalem. The Whore of Babylon is Jerusalem and it is no great surprize that St. John recognized the Soverignty of God in Jerusalem.

As I considered this truth, another issue took center stage. Those who believe the Catholic church to be the Whore of Babylon are still awaiting for the Kingdom to be established by Jesus Christ. They are waiting for the establishment of His kingdom. This is an important difference. Jesus already established His Kingdom! He did this 2,000 years ago when he established His Church giving it His authority. This is why they see the Catholic Church as a worldly institution and they believe it comes from the anti-Christ.

Of this kingdom, the Prophet Daniel writes, In the lifetime of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people; rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and put an end to them” (Daniel 2:44). Did Jesus establish this kingdom when he first appeared in human history, or is this kingdom yet to come? This seems to be the question between Catholics and Protestants.

Daniel further writes, “One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

Daniel speaks of a kingdom and a king. This kingdom is founded by this king who has an everlasting reign with an everlasting kingdom. All the nations will serve him. The question remains, when is the establishment of this kingdom and the coronation of this king?

Daniel gives an important clue writing “One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship”, this is a prophetic utterance of the Ascension of Jesus.

Jesus said, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). It is interesting that Jesus identifies himself with a question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? Jesus is clearly identifying himself with Daniels prophecy. This is an important answer to the question of when Jesus established the kingdom!

It was Simon Peter who said in reply, “Your are the Messiah (the Christ), the Son of the living God.” Jesus as the Christ is truly the “Son of David”, who sits on the throne of his Father David. Jesus is the king that Daniel writes about. Jesus replies to Peter, You are Peter (Kapa) and upon this rock (Kapa) I will build my church (kingdom), and the gates of the netherworld (the jaws of death) shall not prevail against it. Jesus is establishing his Church, his kingdom right here and now! At this point, Jesus continues, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:13-19).

The question is often asked, “If the Catholic Faith is the Kingdom of God on earth, why is there sin and why have some Catholics done evil in the sight of the Lord”? This question disturbs me greatly, but there is an important answer to it. Matthew 13 Jesus gave the parable of the weeds among the wheat, after dismissing the crowds, Jesus explains, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man (remember Daniel’s “son of man”), the field is the world, the good seed the children OF THE KINGDOM. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all who caused others to sin and all evildoers. It is clear that the Kingdom of God has been established and there will come a judgment.

Of this Kingdom, Isaiah said, “No weapon fashioned against you shall prevail; every tongue you shall prove false that launches an accusation against you. This is the lot of the servants of the Lord, their vindication from me, says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17).

The Non-Catholic is trying to save Catholics calling the Church this “Whore of Babylon”. As you can see, this is not the case, the Catholic Faith is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ and set up as his kingdom that will never fall to anyone. The Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D., yet the Church remains. Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead and this kingdom will have no end.

This coming Friday, I will be standing up for the Catholic Church and her teaching on the Eucharist. Jeremiah 31:34 says, “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt (passover); for they broke my covenant and I had to show myself their master, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord”.

Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords fulfilled this prophecy of Jeremiah. On the night Jesus was betrayed, at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28).

For those of you who have a problem with the Catholic Church changing the Sabbath Day to the “Lord’s Day”, this is a discision of the Kingdom of God on earth. For those of you who want to restore the Old Testament law of Moses, the Catholic Church ruled on this at the Council of Jerusalem in 49 A.D. Jesus said, “You see all these things, do you not (refering to the Temple in Jerusalem)? Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” (Matthew 24:2). The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. fulfilled the Old Testament law, the priesthood of Levi was no more. Now it is the priesthood of Christ, a new and everlasting covenant, a new and everlasting kingdom.

Those of you who continue to cast your sword like Don Quixote at an invisible straw man, you can certainly share in the spiritual communion with the “Whore of Babylon”, you can continue to join her in rebellion against the Kingdom of God by refusing to submit to God’s authority, His Catholic Church. You can join those who support abortion, gay marriage, secularism, socialism, and what ever else you can join.

Those of you who are Catholic, I encourage you to deepertruth, to discover the depths of grace, the faith of the Apostles and Prophets, the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus is coming to judge the living and the dead, may your oil lanterns be full and ready, Amen.


Home page
DTB facebook Page
You Tube
Blog Talk Radio Show

The Catholic Defender: The Golden Cup

Posted by John Benko - August 3rd, 2011

Revelation 17 is a major chapter that the anti-Catholics refer to in their attacks on the Catholic Faith.
There are several groups out there that have developed their own systems of anti-Catholic rhetoric, but they all seem to come down to these basic scriptures in Revelation with the intent of giving a base for their own self existence.

No matter how far apart that these groups diversify in their own understanding, they still have this common agreement in attacking the Catholic Faith.

I recently took a look at the colors “purple and scarlet” because of the misrepresentation people use to attack the Catholic Faith. At this time, I want to continue with another point of scripture that is used to identify the Catholic Faith with the Whore of Babylon. Revelation 17:4 says in part, “She held in her hand a gold cup that was filled with the abominable and sordid deeds of her harlotry”. Does this verse properly describe or point to the Catholic Faith?

Jeremiah 51:7 says, “Babylon was a golden cup in the hand of the Lord which made the whole earth drunk; the nations drank its wine, with this they have become mad”. /div>

You can see why the anti-Catholic wants to tie the Catholic Faith to ancient Babylonian Paganism?

But who is this people that Jeremiah was speaking about? Who are the people of the “golden cup”?

Exodus 25:29 states, “Of pure gold you shall make its plates and cups, as well as its pitchers and bowls for poring libations”.
Was St. John aware of Jerusalem being identified with Babylon?

Revelation 11:8 He certainly identifies Jerusalem with “Sodom” and “Egypt” which were symbolic names concerning Jerusalem’s harlotry and idolatry.

The key is discovering who this “great city” is.
Revelation 16:19 states, “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath”.

Revelation 17:18, “And the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth.”

At the time of St. John, he would have recognized the authority of God so it is clear that he would have recognized the importance of Jerusalem to the world.

Revelation 18:10, “they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come.” Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, bedecked with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! And cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, what city was like the great city?” And they threw dust on their heads, as they wept and mourned, crying out, Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! In one hour she has been laid waste. Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more”.

The great city is Jerusalem. St. John is clearly recognizing Jerusalem as the “Whore of Babylon”.

We see St. John identifying Jerusalem because Jesus was crucified outside the gates of the “great city”.

St. John also refers to the great city as “Babylon” that was destroyed in one hour.

The people of the “golden cup” were the Jews. With all this said, Rome was also identified with “Babylon”, Rome would be identified with the “beast” whom the Whore of Babylon drank the cup of infirmity.

The following are footnotes coming from the New American Bible from Revelation 17:

Rev 17:1-19: The punishment of Babylon is now described as a past event and metaphorically, under the image of the great harlot who leads people astray into idolatry. (Editors note: Consider Revelation 13:11 and the false prophet who leads the world to the first beast (anti-Christ). He has two horns of a lamb which identifies him with Christ, yet he speaks like a dragon, clearly apostasy).

Rev 17:1-6 Babylon, the symbolic name of Rome, is graphically described as “the great harlot”.

Rev12:2: Intercourse… harlotry: Rev 14:4 footnote says, Virgins: metaphorically, because they never indulged in any idolatrous practices, which are considered in the Old Testament to be adultery and fornication (Rev 2:14-15, 20-22, Rev 17:1-6, Ez 16:1-58, 23:1-49). The parallel passages (Rev 7:3, 22:4) indicates that the 144,000 whose foreheads are sealed represent all Christian people. The pagan kings subjected to Rome adopted the cult of the emperor.

Rev 17:3: Blasphemous names: divine titles assumed by the Roman emperors.

Rev 14:4: Reference to the great wealth and idolatrous cults of Rome. (Editors note: This is why the anti-Catholics want you to believe that the Catholic Church worships the Pope and statues. This is why they believe the Pope makes blasphemous statements against Christ).

Rev:17:8: Allusion to the belief that the dead Nero would return to power.