The concept of the “generational curse” is [often an integral focus] of deliverance ministries. Generational curses are mentioned only in the Old Testament:
“You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands who love me and keep My commandments.” Exo 20:5-6.
The generational curse mentioned in the Bible, then, was a warning given to the Hebrews that they were to worship only the Lord, not idols. If one generation fell away from God and worshiped pagan gods, God warned that He would “visit the iniquity” on several future generations. How is this fair? Everything an Israelite did affected the entire nation (see Joshua 7). Since the Messiah of the was to come out of Israel, all of Israel needed to follow the Lord.
What the Bible says
But God did not leave the Israelites with no hope (Lev 26:39-42). Numbers 14:19-20 shows that forgiveness was available to all Israelites. And Exodus 20:6 explains that God’s loving-kindness to those who repented and followed the Lord would be granted for thousands of generations. This clearly infers that the generations being punished for their fathers’ sins did not repent and seek forgiveness, but continued their fathers’ evil ways.
In Christ we are free
The threat of the generational curse is over, however. Jeremiah 31:29-31 and Ezekiel 18:1-4, 14-20 all say that under the New Covenant the son will not be punished for his father’s sin. We are freed from the generational curse. Jesus’ sacrifice heralded the coming of the New Covenant (Luke 22:20), and we enjoy the benefits. So how is the concept of “generational curses” used today if the Bible so thoroughly explains it is no longer valid? Some deliverance advocates seem to just ignore the evidence. Others believe that a generational curse is only handed down to non-Christian family members; once a person accepts Christ, he is free. But a sin or hardship can be passed down from generation to generation via a demon that stays with the family.
Such a family may have a history of cancer or unfortunate luck with finances. They teach that a child can be inhabited by the family demon, which can remain dormant until awakened by sin. Accepting Christ for salvation breaks the generational curse, because we are under the New Covenant, but it does not remove the demon, which can still wreak havoc. The cure is to repent of any sin affiliated with the curse and rebuke the demon.
The bondage of sin
There are issues with this. Generational curses were never said to involve demonic forces. Exodus 20:5-6 and the other verses clearly state that God punished the generations. There is no mention of “bondage” or illness or even the curse of a sin passed down by the work of a demon.
Are there generational curses today? Not in the sense mentioned in the Old Testament. It is true that whether by influence or genetic predisposition, families can see sins like addiction or rage pass through several generations. “Bondage” issues such as ill health or misfortune can be explained the same way. A demon is not necessarily the cause of heart disease in the children of parents who don’t know how to eat healthily.
“Deliverance” from such a situation is straightforward for the most part. We take our sin to Christ, ask Him to heal us, and work with Him by refusing to continue sinning. For health issues, we can ask for healing, but it doesn’t mean God will see fit to cure us. If one generation rejects God, it doesn’t mean a demon will give the next four generations diabetes.
By Got Questions
How should you pray when under demonic attacks? Here are a number of guidelines that we trust will be useful.
Carefully study each of them and apply it to your life. Much more can be said, but these few pointers are sufficient to lead you into victory.
People often experience heaviness, darkness, despondency, confusion, discouragement. Too often we do not recognise it as demonic attack.
The opposite may also be true: people start to rebuke satan, but the main cause is not demonic attacks. First and foremost you must make sure it is a demonic attack or not. So often people think that their situations are caused by demonic attacks, while there may be very logical explanations for it.
In many situations it is God that is dealing with us to show us some fleshly behaviour, un-brokenness, un-forgiveness, bitterness or self-pity in our lives. In every situation it is important to ask the Holy Spirit to show you what is going on. He alone can show us what the real situation is.
Satan works through feelings, especially through relationships with the people in our lives. Many times there will be friction between people - misunderstanding, resentment, etc. Too often however we do not recognise the involvement of demons because the ‘friction’ looks so ‘human’.
Christ has the victory
Jesus gained victory over the devil on the Cross. In 1 John 3:8 we read: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”...”and that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
Confess the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. What is equally important is to know that through the Resurrection you have the Resurrection power of God in you. Remember that the Holy Spirit lives in you. Our victory is through the finished work on the Cross and the power of His Resurrection.
Take your stand in Ephesians 2:5-6 where we read that as Christ-ians, “we are seated with God in Christ. He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
“...That you may know what is the hope of His calling...and what is the exceeding greatness of His power in us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the Heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Eph 1:18-21.
We are sitting with Christ in the Heavens far above all powers.
Praise and prayer
Make much of praise and worship. Praise and worship ignores the devil and focuses on God. It builds our faith. It complies with God’s command that we must praise and worship Him. Make much of thanksgiving, which brings trust, faith and hope. It helps us to see God’s constant provision and trustworthiness. In Psalm 8:2 we read: “Out of the mouth of babies and infants You have established strength because of Your foes to still the enemy and the avenger.”
Persevere in prayer until you gain the victory. Much too often we pray and win a small battle, but do not pray through to complete victory. We see something of this when Aaron and Hur were lifting the hands of Moses in Exodus 17:12. As long as they held up the hands of Moses, there was victory. Sometimes we come into a position of victory, but do not continue until the enemy is fully conquered.
Be on your guard and ready to fight with God’s armour
Remember: eventually satan will come back to attack you again. Sometimes he will focus on the same thing, but other times he will come from a different angle.
Victory does not always come in the same way. Use the sword of the Spirit - the Word of God. Our weapon can be Romans 6:5-6: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.”
Another time victory may come through Revelation 12:11: “They overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Listen to the Holy Spirit. He will direct you to some definite Scripture verses to pray over your situation.
Christ is our fortress
It may be that someone cursed you or tried to put a spell on you. Make sure there is not any known and un-confessed sin in your life. It is only when there is definite sin in your life that satan can get a foothold. Do not fear curses or witchcraft: “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.” Prov 26:2.
Make sure you walk in holiness before God. We are protected against all attacks of the evil one to the extent that we walk in holiness and being cleansed by the Blood of Jesus. Take His Name as a place of refuge: “The Name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe.” Prov 18:10.
Take your thoughts captive
There is always a battle for your mind: We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:4-5).
Give attention to the words of human reasoning, false arguments and rebellious thoughts. Satan gains much of his victory through false and unbiblical arguments. Bring your feelings and thoughts and ask the Holy Spirit if they are in line with the teaching of the Scripture. His lies and false arguments always lead us into bondage. His arguments will always lead you away from the truth and through this he will gain spiritual victory.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your sin to you
Be careful of vague accusations. Satan will come and tell you that you are too unholy to be saved and because you are sinning so often you must accept the fact that you will always be a second-class Christian and that spiritual victory is not for you. He will come and accuse you of sin, but not of something specific.
When satan tells us about our sin, it is always accusations or vague and general feelings of sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. He is always very specific and will show you a definite sin. Be careful to be introspective. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the things that hinders His work in you.
You must resist satan. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. Too often people will say: “O, I am so weak. I cannot resist him. I do not have power to fight him.”
Remember it is not about your power. It is the power of the Holy Spirit in you and the Resurrection power of Christ that raised you from spiritual death.
JERICHO WALLS is an interdenominational Christ-ian prayer ministry committed to building a strong prayer network to support the Church to fulfil its calling as a “house of prayer for the nations”. www.jwipn.com