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Generational Curses and the Bible.
By Rev. John Cuthbert, in England.

John Cuthbert holds credentials with the Elim Pentecostal Church, UK. John’s preaching and teaching have taken him to many parts of the world, including Brazil, Africa, USA, and Europe. His specialised subject is “Apologetics - defence of the Faith”. This includes equipping Christians with knowledge and understanding of the major cults, so that they can effectively witness to those held captive by false religion. He has studied Mormonism in Salt Lake City, and regularly witnesses to cult members representing the major cults. In recent years, John has been very concerned with what he calls “back door deception” influencing Pentecostal and charismatic churches.

More and more Christian publications, conferences and television programmes are presenting the subject of generational curses and how they can be broken. Preachers, some famous, have recently warned Christian audiences of the possibility of a curse being attached to their family because of the evil committed by an ancestor – perhaps centuries ago. The curse, we are told, can show itself in recurring illness, addiction, poverty, depression, anger, and much more. This teaching does offer consolation and excuses to those struggling with such problems. It’s not their fault. They are the victims of an unwanted inherited family curse.

Parents and Grandparents can affect children in the family by their example and attitudes. This can help or hinder in later life. Paul’s epistles to Timothy reveal a young man who was emotionally scarred by his upbringing in a divided home. Why would Timothy’s mother, a Jewess who believed in one God, break a commandment and marry a Greek whose religion was polytheistic? We are not told, but the repercussions touched the life of their son. His lack of assurance and confidence, often addressed in Paul’s letters to him, suggest this. Notice that the Apostle never referred to this emotional frailty as the result of a curse.

Where did the generational curses teaching come from? Those who believe it and preach it often cite Old Testament verses that tell of sons being cursed because of their fathers’ sins. Usually the devil gets the blame for promoting this bondage affecting generation after generation of innocent victims right up to the present day. Should we be worried about this warning of a demonic contagion of evil planted by those related to us, recently or in the distant past? Can a curse ride the centuries and land on you? What does the Bible say?

It was the God of Israel who promised retribution to succeeding generations of those who hated him, the guilty ones. No one was condemned merely because of the family connection; they were all God-haters and rebels. It was a divine decree and promise of judgment.

See: Exodus 20:4-6; 34:5-7. If it was God who placed a curse on these people who rejected and opposed him, how could any anointed prophet or national leader in Israel question that pronouncement and break the curse? They didn’t.

However, God’s merciful promise was that all judgement and condemnation would end immediately if a son repented and renounced the sinful lifestyle that had been a feature of his family line.

Bible references, and the Bible is our final authority, indicate that sin and its consequences were not automatically transferred from father to son. Every individual was held personally accountable to God. Evidently, some people in the Old Testament expected sons to be punished for the sins of their fathers and said so. They were corrected by God himself.

See: Ezekiel 18:19, 20 The Living Bible. “‘What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn't the son pay for his father's sins?’ No! For if the son does what is right and keeps my laws, he shall surely live.

The one who sins is the one who dies. The son shall not be punished for his father's sins, nor the father for his son's. The righteous person will be rewarded for his own goodness and the wicked person for his wickedness. See: Ezekiel 18:1-4;14-22; Jeremiah 31:29-32.

Every true Christian is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). A New Covenant is operative.

Our “citizenship” is in heaven – we are registered! (Philippians 3:20). The followers of Jesus Christ have a new family and genealogy – the “seed of Abraham”. Amazingly, the Bible teaches that every Christian; Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, black or white – or any other colour, has a faith ancestry that traces back to Abraham, the father of the faithful. See: Romans 4:16-17; Romans 9:8; Galatians 3:28-29. We read Church history and feel an affinity and family tie with all followers of Jesus throughout the centuries. We are “all one in Christ Jesus,” (Galatians 3:28).

Some of our great hymns were written hundreds of years ago. When we sing them today we sense a family bond with the writers and their declared love for the Christ of the Cross. We read the last recorded testimony of a Christian martyr as he stood by the execution stake and declared his faith in Jesus, and we know he is our brother. His God is our God; His Saviour is our Saviour; His New Birth experience is the same as ours; His eternal Home is where we belong too. We are all in the family of God. For two thousand years Christians all over the world have prayed the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, the Lord’s Prayer. It is addressed to “Our Father”. This term acknowledges not only The Father, our God, but also our brothers and sisters in the Christian family.

What did the New Testament Apostles teach about generational curses? The answer is: Nothing! Absolutely nothing! So be encouraged. Enjoy belonging to God’s worldwide eternal family. This family is blessed and protected by God – forever!

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