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Generational Curses


By Charmaine Tomè

john 17 17.jpg




A generational curse is commonly believed to be a curse that is passed down from generation to generation. For example, because the grandmother was a witch, God was angry at her and He cursed her and now that curse was passed down to her daughter and then to the grandmother’s grand-daughter and so forth.


Well it had its basis formed from Christianity. There are about four passages of Scripture in the Old Testament that people draw this idea of “generational curses” from. Two of them are found in Exodus; and are basically the same as in Numbers 14:18 and in Deuteronomy 5:9.

Let’s have a look into Exodus 20 where God was first giving the ten commandments. From verse number 4:

“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. (Ex 20:4-6)

This is the basis from where the whole generational curse idea originated.



The answer is No, and for a number of reasons:

The idea of a generational curse does not fit the whole Bible. The very first rule of Bible interpretation is that the interpretation of any single verse has to harmonise with what the rest of the Bible says. It always amazes me how people will find one little Scripture and get some bizarre interpretation of it that contradicts the rest of Scriptures. But that interpretation cannot be the truth if it contradicts other verses in the Bible. Your interpretation needs to be in harmony of what the rest of the Bible is saying about a matter (D Servant)                                                                                                       

Take for example a whole chapter in the Bible, namely Ezekiel 18.

“Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:19-20) KJV


"But you ask, 'Why shouldn't the son suffer because of his father's sins?' The answer is that the son did what was right and good. He kept my laws and followed them carefully, and so he will certainly live. 

It is the one who sins who will die. A son is not to suffer because of his father's sins, nor a father because of the sins of his son. Good people will be rewarded for doing good, and evil people will suffer for the evil they do.” (Ezekiel 18:19-20) GNB


Over and over again, God refutes the idea that some people had back in Ezekiel’s day that it was right to punish children for the sins of their parents. And God said that He would not do that. It is not His character. He is just and fair. Everybody gets what THEY deserve, they don’t get what their parents of grand-parents deserved.


“…I will judge you everyone after his (own) ways” (Ezekiel 33:20).


Let’s look at Deuteronomy 24:16:

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” 

God says to His people Israel, under the Mosaic law, don’t be punishing anybody for the sins of their parents. That’s fundamentally wrong and unjust.



Of course not! So, let’s go back to Exodus 20 and ask ourselves what God is saying. God is not talking about putting a generational curse on somebody, because then the verses in Ezekiel and in Deut 24:16 would be contradicting it. He is talking about doing something that, when you consider it, is completely just and fair.


Here is what God is saying:

He is not saying I am going to punish the children for the father’s sins, He is saying “I am going to VISIT the iniquity of the fathers”. Who’s iniquity? The iniquity of the fathers. And what kind of iniquity is God referring to here? The iniquity of the fathers on the children. So, this is the iniquity (sins) that parents commit against their own children. God was going to be visiting that to the third and fourth generation. So, God is saying here that He was not just going to hold the father accountable for only his own sin but also for the sins that he passed (or caused) on his children. And if his children pass that same sin on to their children, God will hold the father responsible for that as well. Now this is perfectly fair and let us think about on how holy God is. And that is what the verse is saying; visiting the iniquities of the father on the children to the third and fourth generation of those (the fathers, NOT the children) who hate Him. God will hold the father accountable for his own sin and the sin he passed on to his descendants. God is not saying that He will punish (curse) the father’s descendants for his sins!! There are no generational curses, not even on the unsaved. And it is made very clear in the other verses that we discussed.





Even if you do not accept this teaching, you must remember what Jesus died for on the cross:

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”   (Isaiah 53:5)


“…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

(John 10:10b)

 Jesus died so that we can LIVE in ABUNDANCE!

A born-again believer that believe that he or she could have a generational curse, is deceived because of lack of knowledge of God’s Word.


And ministers of the Word should know Scripture and stop “breaking generational curses” over believers. They should seek and teach the Truth.


“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:32



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