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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : SCRIPTURAL TEACHING ON GENERATIONAL CURSES by Zac Poonen

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37223
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11


There is a very important verse in Ezekiel 18 that can help remove any confusion in our minds concerning “generational curses”. “What do you mean by using this proverb, ‘The fathers eat the sour grapes but the children’s teeth are set on edge’?” (Ezek. 18:1,2).

People were saying that children were suffering because of the sins of the parents. That is a very common understanding among the heathen and unfortunately among many Christians too who do not know their Bibles.

Preachers in Israel were misinterpreting Exodus 20:5 and bringing people into bondage and painting a picture of an unrighteous God Who punished children for the sins of their ancestors. But the Lord replied to that, then, by saying, “You are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. The soul who sins will die.” (Ezek. 18:3,4). The Lord made that very clear 2500 years ago.

But unfortunately there are well-known Christian preachers who have written books to prove that many Christians suffer today because their ancestors worshipped idols or engaged in witchcraft. They say that a curse that was on our great grandfather could have come down to us, and we have to get rid of it now by having it rebuked and cast out. That is absolute rubbish!

When we give our lives totally to Christ, we are cut off from our ancestry (and the tree of “Adam”) and grafted into another tree – “Christ”. Whatever curses we may have inherited from our forefathers are broken the moment we are grafted into Christ. Now there is no more curse for us, but only “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ” (Gal.3:13,14; Eph.1:3).

If your great grandfather worshipped idols or practised witchcraft, that cannot affect you in any way, once you have surrendered your life to Christ. If however you have not given yourself totally to Christ, then it’s another story. But once you are grafted into Christ, how can there be a curse upon you? Christ cannot be cursed and you are a part of Him. Yet there are many Christians today who believe that. Christ became a curse for us on Calvary’s tree, so that the blessing of God can come upon us.

It is true that the children of ungodly parents do suffer physically and materially, in many ways. For example, if a man is a drunkard, his children will suffer because there will not be enough money at home for their needs, but there will not be any curse on the children because of the sins of their father. They will not be punished for their father’s sins. Everyone is punished for his own sin.

This is what the Lord made clear to Ezekiel. So don’t allow any preacher to frighten you or to bring you into bondage through any such false teaching.

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2011/1/21 12:46Profile


Thank GOD for His Truth on this issue.

How we take away from what Christ has done in His Children - the Saints - those He indwells.

Zac's last line gives the reason for this destructive heresy - "to bring into bondage", normally to themselves, through "fear" and to water down the blood & cost of the Cross.
We have a New bloodline now.

Thank GOD!

 2011/1/21 15:01

Joined: 2011/1/21
Posts: 1


Many times I have also heard preachers quote only part of Exodus 20:5 "For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations..." then they conveniently leave out the next words- "of those who hate Me" Why? Because it would disprove what they are teaching. Thank God for clarity in the scripture. We only have to read it for ourselves and let the Holy Spirit guide us into the truth. Blessings to you for correcting this false teaching that the church has allowed to go on for way too long.

 2011/1/21 17:23Profile

Joined: 2006/9/13
Posts: 3156


Well, for whatever it is worth, one of the things that the LORD put before me shortly after He got a hold on me was the sins of my ancestors. I posted parts of a couple of the articles here on SermonIndex. It was a most horrifying thing to see what the Dutch had done to the black people and the poor children in Africa. I still have not been able to bring myself to wear any jewelry other than my wedding ring and a modest watch.

However, I do not think that the LORD did this to put me in bondage, but rather to free me, for I repented most vigorously for that which "my people" had done and I do not think the LORD would have put me through all of that if there was no purpose in it.

Additionally, recently I have become convinced that there must be some deep dark secret thing that happened in my "immediate family" because I have seen the same evil spirit manifest itself in four of them. It is most disconcerting.

 2011/1/22 0:53Profile

Joined: 2009/5/29
Posts: 146


praise God.sound biblical teaching.


 2011/1/22 9:15Profile

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3502


"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree." (Galatians 3:13).

"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." (Exodus 20:5)

"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me;

And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:

Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land." (Leviticus 26:40-42).

The truth of the matter is that generational curses are real and they are a result of the sins of the fathers. This has been made quite evident to me from working in prison ministry as well as ministering to many Christians over the years. In many families sins such as alcoholism, drugs and sexual abuse have been in families for generations.

Now the question is this: did Jesus break the curse that is passed onto family members from one generation to another? The answer is yes. The curse is broken over Christians, but this does not happen automatically. This does not stop the enemy from attempting to bring the curse from one generation to another. Christians must personally appropriate receive, and apply what Jesus has done for us. When we sin, we confess our sins and apply the blood of Jesus. The curse must be handled in the same way. The pattern is (Leviticus 26:40-42)The curse will not have any power over a Christian that confesses his sins and the sins of his fathers (identification repentance). Then we must appropriate what Jesus has done at the cross to break the power of the sin to continue to affect us. Even though Jesus Christ has paid the price for our sins, no one is automatically born again. The same is true for every area of the Christian's life. The promises of God must be appropriated by faith so that we may receive what Christ has provided for us.



 2011/1/22 9:28Profile


Mike, this is just not Scriptural teaching at all. What you see in prison is not a generational "curse" - but the affects upon a person due to their environmental circumstances and "choice". When any of us, saved or unsaved, stand before GOD, we will be judged by our "choices".
Multiple millions who were raised by alcoholics 'chose' to never touch a drop of alcohol because of the disgust they felt for what they had seen. The same goes for those who have been sexually or physically or psychologically abused as children --- multiple thousands grow up determined that they will never hurt another human being as long as they live and are wonderful husbands, wives and parents now.

You say that "no one is automatically born again" - Oh LORD, where did you get that teaching? That statement cannot be backed with any NT Scripture at all.
As long as our coming to Christ was sincere, at that moment we are totally born-again and made a new creature in Christ - all chains are broken - we are then heir and co-heirs with Christ.
If you mean "sanctification" is not complete the day we get saved - then maybe that was what you mean. We are overcoming as we submit to Him and be-ing perfected as we yield our members and thoughts to Him and coming into an increasing obedience as we seek to and do Love Him more.
The more obedience and surrendering self to Him, the more we "change".

No where in the N.T. are we held responsible to repent of the sins of our families.

The "promises of GOD" are appropriated by us, by our freewill, to work in obedience.

To the degree that our eyes are off of self and unto Christ alone, to that degree we grow. This can happen immediately in some people. How many testimonies have we heard of people being delivered the day they got saved, to the amazement of the worst family on earth.

I would recommend a study on John 9:2 and what the people of that time believed.

There is no Scriptural proof for this belief - none whatsoever. Far too many testimonies coming from those who experienced a dynamic deliverance(s) when they came to Christ - the eyes of their understanding fully opened and their love for Christ out weighed their love for "self".

Sin comes from love of "self" - the wanting of extra attention and an excuse for their own behavior - selfishness. That is the problem - not generational baggage not "curse". The abused only need to hear of the tender mercies of GOD and set their mind on things above, obey His Words and HE will Heal them!

The whole of human conduct is "choice" - even for the unsaved --- lest these would not stand guilty for their sin before GOD - if they could blame their sin on their families. Again, that applies to both the saved and unsaved on Judgment day. This teaching of "working off a curse" is worst than modern day psychiatry. I pray that we can search the New Covenant and see that.

To believe one is under a curse that they must work through or work out is Bondage not found in the New Covenant at all. No Scripture backing this belief whatsoever! Just "bondage to fear or the excuse for continuing in selfishness" - that is all this teaching is.
He did it all on the Cross - that is the New Covenant.

 2011/1/22 10:29

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3502



I don't believe that you understood a thing that I said, and yes generational cureses are a scriptural concept. We have seen too many people get help when God shined the light on what was holding them in captivity. It is the same thing with deliverance. Many Christians still believe that a Christian cannot have a demon, and we know from the Word and experience that this is not true. I was very skeptical of these things for many years until the Lord opened my eyes and gave me light as to why many Christians were suffering from demonic oppression.



 2011/1/22 10:47Profile


I too lean toward the idea of a generational curse. I don't want to take away from what brother Zac had preached about because what he is saying is true too. I want to be delicate here because it's in these instances the Holy Ghost with his precision cutting instrument is so needed. The gist of what Brother Zac was saying is that the children would not pay for the sins of the father. I believe that that was a prophetic utterance that never took affect until Jesus went to the cross. Why?

Well, these verses in the New Testament will reveal why.

Matthew 23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

Matthew 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

Matthew 23:35 That upon YOU (His listeners) may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

The sins of the fathers would come upon them because they were going to kill Jesus their Messiah the ultimate in killing of innocence.

But this is what I want to delicately say, there is a difference between taking on the responsibility of a families sin than having a particular generational problem which could be any number of things ranging from cancer to perversions and these are all spirit related.

 2011/1/22 11:12


Brother, may I ask if you believe in a man's "will", as in freewill - as in, are we able to choose our own actions?

Those who rejected Christ, rejected Him by their own choice, as Jesus many times told them this, in several ways, and not because they were related to those who killed the prophets, etc.
Those who chose to reject him were also called children of the devil or having Satan as their father. It wasn't the "sins of the fathers" that Caused their decision to reject Christ. It was their own choice and because they chose that path, they would suffer rejection by GOD 'as' their fathers who did the same. He's only stated that the punishment or banishment will be the same as the others before chose to reject GOD's representatives. The curse or rejection by GOD of these Pharisees could have been reversed by any of them who personally received Him - as some Pharisees did.

This teaching of Generational "curses" is one that has scared the daylights out of innocent believers. That is why I feel the need for this to be clarified.
And not only has it caused fear in some - in others it has caused them to make excuses to live unto themselves, catering to their own desires or retain their unGodlike dispositions, sin, unsound thinking or emotional irrationality/instability.

Brother, about "cancer and perversions" having any connection to "curses and spirit related" - if an unsaved father abuses his body and gets cancer - what does this have to do with their saved son?
If a Christian gets cancer and it doesn't run in their family history but because they've been exposed to toxins or viruses or some work related poisons, is this generational or "spirit related"?
If GOD doesn't heal a Godly person of cancer - what does that mean to you? To me it means He has a better plan for them - ie Heaven!

"Perversions" in a child of GOD CAN be dealt with by Loving GOD above all else.

All sin is self-centered-ness. Each individual is responsible for their own lives and whatever sins they 'choose' to indulge in, to satisfy their flesh or egos. It's self-love at it's worst.

To give these perversions an "excuse" or "an out" by blaming their family history cannot be backed by Scripture at all, and that is what we are contending over.

Every living man or woman has a choice. I don't believe in sinless perfection. I do believe that sanctification is a process, but is either hastened or delayed by our own choices/will. No one, family or not, and no 'spirit' can Make us sin. It is the act of our own will/choice and we'll be judged for our own individual behavior - whether we're saved or not - on That Day.

In the verses you gave, it's not "the sins of the fathers" that "came upon them" - but because they 'chose' to reject His Messenger(s) - so the 'same rejection by GOD' is on them, as long as they remain in unbelief. They still had a choice and some did get saved afterwards.

I don't mean to tell you anything that you already know - it's just the teaching that we have the sins of our family affecting us in ways that are not Scriptural.
Things such as abuse, which needs the Great Physician's healing, is different than blaming our family for our own sin. I'm pretty sure that you do not blame a person's family tree for our own personal choices.

GOD Bless you.

 2011/1/22 13:06

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