This is a post I wrote back in 2010. I would probably say a few things differently today, and I would probably add a whole lot more to it, but it’s still 100% true. I believed in generational curses for years but in 2009 I was challenged on my belief regarding them and studied it out finding that it really is just an “excuse theology”. The finished work of Jesus has to be bigger than all of that junk. Since then I have seen much greater fruit in my life and in the lives of those who I minister to, without having to dig into “was your granny a witch?” Or “your grandfather a Freemason?” I encourage you to be humble enough to reconsider what you believe. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) It is knowledge of the truth (revelation not intellectualism) that makes us free, not your repentance for what your great-great-granddaddy did. Thank You, Jesus!
Are they just a religious myth?
“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Psalms 103:1-5 KJV
We can take many awesome truths from this passage, but I would like to focus on just one point here today. “Bless the Lord…” David is worshipping God and praising Him simply because He is God, and He is holy. After this, he says not to forget the benefits of God. Relationship with God has benefits! It’s not just a one-way ticket to heaven when you die and a “get-out-of-hell-free” card; there is more to Christianity than forgiveness of sins. If that’s all we got, that would be awesome and far more than we deserved. However, through Jesus’ sacrifice we can enjoy friendship with the Living God (John 17:3); we die to and are freed from sin, and are made completely righteous in Christ independent of our performance (Romans 5:17, 6:1-7, 6:18, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21); and we have access to physical and emotional healing (Isaiah 53:4-5; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; 1 Peter 2:24); and there are many more benefits! This Psalm encourages us to remember that God forgives ALL our sins and heals ALL our diseases. It’s quite profound that in the Hebrew the word “all” means “all”; it leaves no room for “God doesn’t always heal, or forgive”. Through Jesus, God has forgiven every sin; past, present and future. Sin no longer separates us from God!
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
John 1:29 KJV
If something is taken away it’s pretty much gone. Through the cross, Jesus forever removed the sin barrier that was separating us from God!
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 2:2 KJV
The word “propitiation” is basically speaking of payment and is speaking about how Jesus’ sacrifice satisfied the payment, or punishment that was due because of our sin. This scripture is saying that Jesus paid not only for our sins but every sin of the whole world!
What sends people to hell isn’t their sin but the fact that they haven’t received payment for their sin; they haven’t received Jesus and been born-again. Hitler had his sin paid for as much as any born-again believer. What determined Hitler’s eternity wasn’t that he murdered millions of people, but rather whether he received Jesus or not.
God’s love for us is amazing and far greater than any of us realize! Praise God for Jesus!
So, God loves us and isn’t holding our sin against us; why then would he hold your father’s sin against you? Or your grandfather’s sin? Or your great-grandfather’s sin? I’m speaking about “generational curses.”
I grew up in church circles which taught that every believer has to break “generational curses” over them which they may have as a result of the sin of their father, or grandparents. They tell you that it is the cause of many sicknesses and bondages and the reason why so many things go wrong in your life. I believed this for many years. I was prayed over (probably more than 5 times) to break generational curses. Seems like you never know if it’s really broken, so you do it every opportunity you get. I am also ashamed to say that I taught on “generational curses” and wasted time counselling people through them – thankfully it was out of ignorance! I believe that the whole “generational curses” teaching is a deception of the enemy to distract believers from focusing on what Jesus has accomplished for us through the cross.
One of the things “generational curses” does is find reasons for the way we are and the problems we have, and puts blame on someone else; “I am an alcoholic… or I have this sickness because my grandfather was a freemason…” All it is is blame-shifting. There might be reasons you are struggling with what you’re struggling with but there are no excuses! You are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17) and have the fruit of the Spirit in you (Galatians 5:22). You also have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead living in you (Romans 8:11). There is no excuse for defeat! You are more than a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:37).
Generally, the “generational curses” teaching magnifies sin and the devil and gets people to focus on the problems. Now I am sure some of you are upset with me round about now, especially if you are into “deliverance ministry”. While we’re on that topic; in all of Scripture I never see anything like a “deliverance ministry.” Jesus said to go preach the Gospel (the GOOD NEWS of what Jesus has done) and that driving out demons and other signs would follow the believer. The believer doesn’t follow the signs, but the signs follow the believer. I hope you caught that, but the point is that there are no scriptural grounds for a deliverance specific ministry. ALL believers are called to preach the Gospel with signs (including deliverance) following.
In my first week of being at Charis Bible College in Colorado Springs, U.S.A. as I was getting a deeper revelation of grace, I was confronted with this truth about “generational curses.” I didn’t just accept it at first, but after studying it a bit I got angry that I had believed a lie for so long. If you are struggling to receive what I am saying don’t just go ask pastor-so-and-so what he thinks, go to the Word and study it out for yourself.
SOUR GRAPES AND TEETH ON EDGE
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. “
Exodus 34:6-7 KJV
This is where people mostly get their backing to teach “generational curses.” This is an awesome scripture, showing us the character and nature of God. God is passing by Moses in the cleft of the rock and revealing His glory to him (Exodus 33:21-23), and God says of Himself “I am merciful (not giving you what you do deserve) and gracious (giving you what you don’t deserve), longsuffering (patient), and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin – this is who I am!” and then the Scripture continues, “and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”
I am going to deal with this from a couple of different angles.
“What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?”
Ezekiel 18:2 NKJV
You’re probably thinking, “huh?!” Let me explain; God is saying that this is a proverb, and He’s asking what they mean by using it. The title of the Chapter (which the translators of the King James Version gave) is “A False Proverb Refuted”. What this proverb is saying is that, “the fathers ate sour grapes – which would naturally cause a negative physical reaction, but it also caused their children to have a negative physical reaction.” Basically its blame-shifting; saying that it’s the father’s fault that the children’s “teeth are set on edge”. God says something profound in the next verse,
“As I live, saith the Lord GOD, you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.”
Ezekiel 18:3 NKJV
That’s pretty plain. God is saying you cannot say that the children will pay for their father’s sin, and goes onto explain how everyone is accountable for their own actions. This also raises the issue of widespread “repentance for the sins of the land.” I won’t go into detail here, but let me just ask; how many times do we as South African’s need to repent for apartheid? (a rigid system of segregation which discriminated against non-Whites between 1948 and 1994, with reforms starting in 1990) I started school in 1991 and had a very mixed class from grade 1. As I grew up the majority of my friends were Black and Indian (I grew up in Durban). I had nothing to do with apartheid.
If we did have to repent for apartheid, how many times would we need to until God forgave us? It seems like every year people organize large prayer meetings in which they can repent for the same thing, again! It’s ridiculous! That time, effort and money could have helped to fund taking the Gospel around the world and seeing people saved; which is actually what Jesus commanded us to do. The church (in general) has really deviated from its true calling and focus! Back to “generational curses…”
Jeremiah gave this same prophecy in Ezekiel 18:2 in Jeremiah 31:29-30;
“In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
Jeremiah 31:29-30 KJV
This isn’t rocket science! Every person is accountable for their own actions. If you eat sour grapes your own teeth will be set on edge.
GOD DOESN’T CHANGE!
If that is not enough to convince you, let’s go back to Exodus 34:6-7;
“…Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children…”
God is saying “I am merciful (not giving you what you do deserve) and gracious (giving you what you don’t deserve), longsuffering (patient), and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sin – this is who I am!” and then the Scripture continues, “and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children...” When I read this I get confused and think wonder if God is schizophrenic? Is God saying, “I am good, loving, gracious and merciful; I forgive your sins, but I will punish you for your father’s sin!” Obviously God isn’t schizophrenic! And that doesn’t sound like the character and nature of God, so we must be missing it somewhere here?
If you have a good Bible you’ll notice that certain words are italicized. I am using the King James and New King James Version, which have certain words in italics. If you read the “preface” to your Bible you’ll see that these words in italics are not in the original manuscripts. The Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek, which are both complex languages and as such, in translation, there was a need for additional English words for further clarification. I believe that in some instances translators interpreted scripture instead of translating it; they tried to communicate their doctrine and beliefs, and not simply translate God’s Word to us. In cases where scripture is conflicting within itself (like Exodus 34:7) we need to go back to the original text and see what is being communicated. Since the italicized words were added, let’s remove them;
“…Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children…”
God is saying, “This is who I am: I am good, loving, gracious and merciful, and I forgive your sin, and that will by no means clear or void for me to punish you for your father’s sin” or, “…If I wasn’t like this I would visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and the children’s children…” The character and goodness of God will “by no means clear”! God doesn’t change! Praise God! He is so good!
If that is not enough for you;
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV
When you got born-again old things “passed away”, or died, and you became a new creation; or as one translation put it “a new species of being.” God’s grace is far bigger than we realize! The devil has nothing on us! In Christ, we are new creations; righteous, holy, and blameless!
You may be asking, “So why then is their so much fruit in breaking generational curses?” Well, that’s simple; let’s look at an example. You have some issues in your life – your businesses constantly fail or you struggle with homosexual tendencies, or you’re barren and can’t have children. You find out that your father, grandfather or great-great-grandfather (or whatever) was a freemason, a druid, a Satanist or something like that, so you go for counselling to “break any” “generational curses”.
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Mark 11:24 KJV
Simply, you have what you believe for. You can believe that renouncing everything your ancestors did wrong, and going through some sort of deliverance will set you free, and it might, but you can also not accept your negative situation, take responsibility for your own actions, use your authority and believe for change without going through all the junk of dealing with “generational curses.”
I know I have been pretty hard on this topic but I believe this truth will set many people free if they embrace it!
Jesus plus anything equals nothing! Jesus plus nothing equals everything!