Image by AgnieszkaMonk from Pixabay

The generational curse

4When Christians pray against a generational curse, they usually pray that the curse will be broken and pray against any demonic influence. 

Some people deduce Christians can be cursed because of the sins of their forefathers. They believe that this may take the form of sickness or some persistent sin that cannot be driven out.

For instance, one site says:

“Many people are exposed to living with the bondage of sins given to them by their forefathers. This can continue on for generations until repentance is sought. Here is a look at some great prayers for breaking generational curses that will help to put you on a path to heal any generational transgressions.”  (site visited on 28/06/2020)

and on another site:

“1. You read vs:15 in Deuteronomy Ch:27.

2. You then say, “I rebuke this curse on”

3. You now state your fathers full name and your mothers maiden name.

4. Say “And all their ancestors, in the Mighty Name Of God The Father.”

5. Say “I take this curse and cover it in The Mighty Name Of God The Father.” (It is now covered.)

6. Read vs:16 and repeat steps 2- 5.

7. Follow this procedure with all the other verses up to 26.  Then have your Spouse do the same thing you did.” (site visited on 28/06/2020)

There are many other places where you can find similar teaching both on the internet, in courses and in books or magazines


See if these things are so

Image by AgnieszkaMonk from Pixabay

To understand this doctrine I have looked at the subject from the scriptures to ‘see if those things were so'(Acts 17:11) because the word of God is our only plumbline for truth or error. Thus to start, let’s look at:

Exodus 20:4-6.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Deuteronomy 5:8-10 is a repeat of the above.

This is the first place that the ‘generational curse’ is mentioned in scripture.

There are some crucial points to consider regarding the above passage at the outset of our study.

  1. The ‘generational curse’ is linked to the second commandment, which tells us not to worship an image or serve another god. It also appears to be connected to demeaning the nature of God.
  1. God Himself initiates the curse.
  1. God, Himself visits the iniquity of the fathers unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Him.
  1. He shows mercy unto thousands of them that love Him and keep His commandments.

What is a person position before he is born again?

  1. We are told in the scriptures that before people are born again, they are in Adam since they are descended from the first couple, Adam and Eve. 1 Cor 15:22
  1. Due to being ‘in Adam’, we inherit the sins committed by our forefather. Thus are classed as dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1
  1. Those who are not born of God walk according to the ways of the world and the prince of the power of the air. Ephesians 2:2
  1. The sinful nature loves unrighteousness more than God. Romans 3
  1. Therefore the sinful nature is under God’s judgement. John 3:18A

What is their position after being ‘born again’?

The first thing to consider is that if a person is born again (John 3:3) can he be afflicted by God through this generational judgement?  In response to this question, we will be considering the above five points.


Since this generational curse is linked to the second commandment, it is evident that this judgement upon the generations is a judgement from God for worshipping false gods.


This judgement passes from generation to generation as false worship continues. If you reason about it, this judgement continues in perpetuity, since as each descendant worships a false god the judgement of God passes onto his or her descendants.


Because of the above, let’s consider further that the generational curse was instituted by God as a judgement upon those who rejected Him and followed other gods. There are several places in the scriptures where someone’s descendants were judged as a result of unrighteousness. 

Let’s look at a couple of these passages.

2 Samuel 21:1-14. This passage tells of Saul’s breaking of the covenant with the Gibeonites. This covenant had been instituted many years earlier, in the times of Joshua. 

Although it is a difficult passage to understand for many believers, the facts of this historical account are apparent. One man was disobedient to God. This disobedience displeased God, who showed His displeasure through a famine.

When David prayed about this, he was showed the problem. When the situation was dealt with the scripture says in verse 14 that ‘God was entreated for the land’. Some important points to notice here are that:

The judgement was instituted by God.

David did not take authority over the curse and try to ‘break it’ in prayer.

Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, was protected from judgement. This was due to another covenant made between David and Jonathan.

The king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the LORD’S covenant that was between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.     2 Sam 21:7.

Matthew Henry: Those who love Christ as their own souls will be willing to join themselves to him in an everlasting covenant.

Those outside of the covenant can be touched.

Saul, the king who initiated this slaughter of the Gibeonites, was a man whose heart was not entirely right with God.  God saw fit to punish his descendants for this crime. Notice in the passage that the scripture says that Saul’s house was a bloody house (v.1).

His zeal was not for the Lord, but to the children of Israel and Judah. Since the crime was committed by his ‘bloody house’, this house had to pay for it.

God’s promise of protection was broken, and so His nature of faithfulness was compromised.

Repentance and cutting out the root of the problem was what was needed, not prayer meetings to break a generational curse. This scripture has significance for the believer today since Christ Himself became a curse for us by hanging on the cross, but we shall look at that later.

2 Kings 5:27  This chapter tells us of the greed of the servant of Elisha. This greed brought upon him and his descendants the judgement of God.

This judgement was not demonic in nature.  Anyone who tried to break this generational curse would be praying against God Himself. Praying against such a thing would be an absurdity.

Notice that these scriptures are in the Old Testament. Old Testament believers did not enter into the same covenant as New Testament believers. They were not born again and therefore, did not have a new nature.

In Christ, our generational root has been changed

There may be other scriptures which speak of this generational judgement. Still, I want to now focus upon the New Testament to see what that has to say to us.

1 Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

(See also, Galatians 2:20; Romans 5:14-19; Romans 6:3 – 7

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

When a person turns in repentance to God, relying solely upon the work of Christ upon the cross, he or she becomes a new creature. The old self died upon the cross, and the person is new in Christ.

Old things are passed away

The apostle doesn’t warn us that we need to seek the Lord as to some remnant of generational sins out fathers committed that may be hanging around in the background somewhere. We have been justified.


Our generational root has been changed. Our old man (in Adam) is dead; we are now in Christ. This doctrine that states that Christians can be afflicted by the sins of their fathers is not only unscriptural, but it also tampers with what Christ achieved upon the cross.  


He not only dealt with sin, but he also dealt with the sinner. He wiped the slate completely clean. The word of God says emphatically, ‘ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power’. Colossians 2:10.


Peter tells us that we have been redeemed from the vain conversation of our fathers. 1 Peter 1:18-19. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:


Now obviously the above facts do not mean that believers do not face problems with the world, the flesh and the devil. Still, these have to be placed into the context of the Christian walk, and not generational curses.


Blaming generational curses – easy option

Once, quite a while ago, we visited a friend. She had a few other visitors at her house when we arrived. During our stay, I received a text from another friend, asking for prayer for her son. He had suffered from severe mental problems throughout his life and was having a particularly ad attack. Since we were all Christians, I asked everyone is we could pray for this boy. We had no sooner started to pray when a lady said that she had had a ‘word from the Lord’ that this illness was due to a generational curse. This opened up a debate that lasted for over an hour. By the end of the discussion, many of the people present could see that the generational view regarding a believer being affected was ill-founded. I am afraid that a generational curse could be an easy option instead of praying through a situation.


Where do the problems that face Christians come from

We are not saying that generational curses do not exist, they obviously do. What we are saying is that the curse is broken when a person turns to Christ. So where do the problems come from that affect Christians?

There are different stages in the salvation of the believer, according to the scriptures.

The Bible says:

  1. We are saved

When we were born again, Christ came and dwelt in our hearts. Our spirits were made alive.

(See 1 Corinthians 1:18; John 6:541 John 5:13)

  1. We are being saved

Daily we are to overcome our enemies, and the Lord saves and delivers us from these constantly. These enemies are the world, the flesh and the devil. We are being sanctified daily and are becoming more like Jesus by His grace.

(See 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2: 12 – 13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3)

  1. We will be saved

One day the Lord will come back. Every believer shall receive their new resurrection bodies, and the last enemy (death) shall be destroyed. We shall enter fully into our salvation.


(See 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 John 3:2)

The struggle against sin

It is essential to realise that when we are personally struggling against sin, our fight is not against generational spirits or curses. We have to reckon ourselves dead to sin, we do have warfare against the devil, and the world tries to mould us into its image.


These problems that Christians face cannot be put down to generational curses, but the walk of the normal Christian walk.      


Let’s go back to our original scripture in Exodus 20. The critical point to notice is that the text says clearly, ” visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”


The judgement of God is upon those who hate him. When a person is born again, can they really be said to be a hater of God? The scripture states clearly that He shows mercy to those who love him and keep His commandments.  As we have seen, the scriptures teach that when a person is born again, he or she becomes a new person who not only loves God but seeks to please Him.


If God initiates and brings to pass the curse in a believer, He would be saying that the cross was not enough.

If God did seek to punish believers for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generation, this would be unjust of a holy God.  Christ has already become a curse for us by coming to earth to die upon the cross.

Galatians 3:12 – 14

Jesus has already suffered for our sins and been punished for them. He cried upon the cross, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). Thus we do not have to take any other judgement for sin because  Christ has done it all.

(See also Hebrews 1:3)

Abraham was not cursed

In finishing, let’s look at Abraham since believers have entered into the ‘blessing of Abraham’. Abraham’s fathers worshipped false gods. Nevertheless, when Abraham turned to the living God, you do not read anywhere that God judged him or reprimanded him for his sins. If anyone should have suffered from a generational curse, it should have been Abraham!

(See Joshua 24:2; 1 Peter 1:18)

Abraham came to love God. He does not punish those who love him with His wrath. We, in turn, have entered into this blessing through Christ, who became a curse for us. Thus, the generational curse does still apply today. The way to break it is to turn to God in repentance through Christ. Once this is done, the curse no longer applies. The believer has turned away from the sins of his or her fathers.  They are now a new creature in Christ Jesus.


Many people object to the above stance. They know a believer who has received some kind of ‘blessing’ because they dealt with a generational curse. I have friends who say that they benefited from such prayer. People have reported that they were healed from recurring pain, depression, marital issues and a plethora of other problems.

To such people, may I humbly point to the scripture that says, in Isaiah 8:20 ‘ To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’

Paul also warns the Corinthians not to go beyond that which is written (1 Corinthians 4:6). In every circumstance and situation, our experience must bow to the word of God – without exception. May the Lord give His grace to each one of us to understand His word and walk accordingly.

Scripture quotations are taken from the KJV and NKJV. Strong’s Concordance and have been used in the preparation of this Bible study.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.