Much of Christianity in America has either rejected or forfeited its spiritual vitality and strength. Christians must seek the Lord’s full anointing.



The following is a study of every occurrence of the word “Woe” in the four gospels. We will look closely at this list to see who the Lord directed His “Woes” against and why.

This word “Woe” occurs in 27 gospel verses.

It occurs a total of 31 times.

Each time it is spoken by the Lord Jesus.

Each time it is spoken by Him in great intensity and emotion in His powerful anointing.

He speaks it against His wicked enemies, against wayward cities, and against errant clueless Israelites.

The word “Woe” is from the Greek word οὐαί (oo-ah’-ee): Alas! Woe!

It is defined as “a primary exclamation of grief” and “an interjection of grief or of denunciation.”


He used this word primarily against evil Israelite religionists.

Of the 31 total occurrences in the gospels, 14 Woes were directed in strong rebuke against religious leaders. They are listed as follows as they appear in Scripture:

  • Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites [7 occurrences]
  • Pharisees [3 occurrences]
  • Lawyers (Torah teachers) [3 occurrences]
  • Blind guides [1 occurrence]

In addition to the preceding 14 Woes, 3 more Woes were directed against Judas Iscariot—the apostle who betrayed Him—the duplicitous deceitful man who took a bribe and joined up with the religious leaders and played a major part working in concert with their diabolical conspiracy to murder the Lord.

These 3 bring the total to 17 Woes.

17 out of the 31 are thus directed toward religious authoritarians and their supporters. This accounts for more than half the total (55%).

These facts should ring a bell.

They should ring church bells.

They should ring every conceivable bell, buzzer, and alarm all across the country.


He also spoke Woes against those who act as stumbling blocks against the innocent, against small children, and against His spiritual children, tripping up the ones seeking and living for the Lord:

  • The world [1 occurrence]
  • That man through whom the stumbling block comes [1 occurrence]
  • Him through whom they (stumbling blocks) come [1 occurrence]


The Lord likewise spoke a number of Woes against those Israelites who would suffer from the severe judgment coming upon the nation at the very end when all would be destroyed including the temple and the city of Jerusalem less than forty years into the future.

Remember, His Woes were also exclamations of grief. The Lord was pouring His heart out.

Those people would also be guilty and deserved such strong rebuke since they supported the wicked primary instigators who brought on the destruction or never did anything to stop them.

The people may otherwise have prevented it or at least saved themselves if not for their cowardice and great fear of the religious authoritarians, their refusal to repent, and their rejection of their Messiah.

The following recipients of Woes are listed as they appear in Scripture:

  • “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!” [Matthew 24:19 and Mark 13:17] “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people!” [Luke 21:23] [3 occurrences]
  • “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.” [Luke 6:24] [1 occurrence]
  • “Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry.” [Luke 6:25] [1 occurrence]
  • “Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” [Luke 6:25] [1 occurrence]
  • “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.” [Luke 6:26] [1 occurrence]


The Lord also singled out three particular Israelite cities located at the northern area of the Sea of Galilee for severe rebuke, pronouncing Woe’s against:

  • Chorazin [2 occurrences]
  • Bethsaida [2 occurrences]
  • (Capernaum) [2 occurrences]

These three Israelite cities, though they had experienced the Lord’s complete ministry, refused to repent.

He said the first two cities were worse than the sinful Phoenician port cities of Tyre and Sidon.

He said Capernaum was worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. Imagine that.

The Lord said the non-Israelite cities of Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, and Gomorrah all would have repented if they had been blessed with the Lord’s ministry.

Scripture also states that first-century Jerusalem was mystically called Sodom and Egypt (See Revelation 11:8).

What kind of hell holes were these? —Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusalem?

What would He say about many American cities of the present?

He could obviously also say the same thing about many “Christian” churches, ministries, groups, and institutions of today that, regardless of outward beauty-is-skin-deep faux appearances, have apparently partnered with Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, and Gomorrah as sister cities and are candidates for Woe proclamations as well as the following:

And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” [John 2:14-16][1]

© 2023 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued…]

[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on February 15, 2023, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Lord, help people to repent and get on the right side of history (His Story). For You desire that none should perish. You desire that none should be bound by “woes” or by their foolish words. Help people to seek You today, while You may be found and to call upon You while You are near. I lift up every doubtful, fearing, unbelieving, unrepentant and wayward soul today before Your throne of grace, and pray for Your divine rescue to reach them. All glory to God, Amen and amen

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting study! The word “woe” in the Greek certainly sounds like a cry of mourning and doom. Looking forward to the next chapter 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Linda. The Lord was not only also a prophet, but obviously the greatest Prophet, greater than Elijah or Isaiah or Jeremiah or John. These “Woe” pronouncements were of the highest echelon prophesying expressing not just rebuke, but grief, sadness, pain, anger, and hurt for what could have been that He knew would never be. It had to be painful for Him seeing both what was happening to His nation and knowing its eventual end. But again, though He always had a plan for a good future regarding His nation and essentially anything else or any individual, such plans must be applied and carried out for said good future, and human nature being what it is, most refuse His plans and thus cause and receive destruction. Lives become what they were never intended to be. This is cause for great Woe.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. When will we ever begin to hear and heed the words of the Lord?


    • The collective “we” never will but many real Christians do their best and succeed to varying degrees as they mature spiritually. It reminds me of the Parable of the Talents. Real Christianity is based first on individuals and their union and individual walk with the Lord and secondly on their spiritual union and ministering fellowship with one another. Regarding these Woe proclamations, American Christianity in general, in these times of growing crisis and subversion, would be greatly edified to hear and heed them as applicable.

      Thank you Donna. Blessings to you

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Language has changed so much over the centuries, words spoken back in the day had more meaning. People’s names had specific meaning, just one name. Not 3 names like we have now. Where now everything wants to have our last name. He will call me by my name, that phrase gives me goosebumps when I say it. A neighbor here just told us about a set of movies that people are talking about called the Chosen. We started watching them, it is a new series about Jesus and His beginning. Part of it is showing how the 12 disciples started writing about what was going on at the time along with how the Pharisees were so adamant about the 613 Jewish commandments, which I did not know about. To understand the language of old is a daunting study, I read the Hebrew interlinear bible on line. Its words are so different than the standard bible. But yet I sometimes understand them better in certain passages.


    • Thanks Sandra. Gaining a little better understanding of ancient languages is certainly a daunting study at first but is richly rewarding in that we primarily gain greater understanding of the Lord and His teachings. There was an original Hebrew gospel which was later translated into Greek, the primary written language of the New Testament. We know this in part because some of the deeper meaning and nuances of the Hebrew is lost in the Greek and a tad more so translating the Greek into English. Of course, the great bulk of it is there. It helps, though, to seek out a more Hebraic understanding of the NT and a few stalwart scholars have been working on this to date, starting roughly about a half century ago.

      I watched the first season of The Chosen and was impressed. The authors take their liberties, though, in inventing scenarios at times not supported by Scripture or history. It is certainly well done though, and while entertaining, can also be edifying. The actors to a great job.

      Though the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the time were adamant about the 613 commandments of the Torah, they were much more concerned with their created “Oral Law,” which was basically a rabbinical commentary on the Torah and OT and that which the Lord said was pure tradition. He also said it actually invalidated the Law (see Mark 7:8-13). Therefore, we must do our best to differentiate fact from fiction and strive to get the best rendering of Scripture we can.

      And that takes reading, study, and research. As Christians, we remain extremely blessed to have access to so many Bible versions and study materials which can be used relatively easily through our use of computer software and the internet.

      Be Blessed


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