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Generational Curses

Updated: Feb 3

July 23, 2023— Chances are, you have heard of blessings and curses, but have you ever heard of generational curses? The thought is that someone or something cursed your parents or grandparents, which carries on to you or perhaps even your children. Are generational curses real or fictional stories of our imaginations? Today, we will explore the Holy Bible to determine if it is biblical. To do this, we will start on top of a mountain.


Moses at Mount Sinai

After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he came to Mount Sinai to speak to God. God had informed the Israelites that they were not allowed at the top of the mountain. After some conversation, God tells Moses to return to the people at the mountain's base. It was here that God gave the ten commandments to Moses. One of the commandments applies to generational curses:


You shall not make for yourself a carved image- any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. 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 of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands to those who love me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20:4-6


Verse 5 speaks to God visiting the fathers' iniquities to the third and fourth generations. Exodus 20:5 is repeated from the LORD to Moses in Exodus 34:7 when God tells Moses to write the commandments on stone tablets after he broke the original ones. Here is what that verse says:


keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.

If you wonder if this appears anywhere else in the Holy Bible, you are being led by the Holy Spirit. These verses are also in Numbers 14:18 and Deuteronomy 5:9. Therefore, we mainly see these verses in the Old Testament. Specifically, we see them in the Torah, which are the five books of Moses:

  1. Genesis

  2. Exodus

  3. Leviticus

  4. Numbers

  5. Deuteronomy

Of the five books, God visiting the father's iniquities to the third and fourth generations is repeated four times in three books. You may be wondering why the father is mentioned instead of the mother. Even if you are not considering this, it is essential to note. God puts the responsibility on the man of the household. When Eve sinned and gave the fruit to Adam, God came to them. They hid from God, but He called Adam to Him, not Eve (Genesis 3:9). The actions of God calling Adam and visiting the iniquity of the fathers outline the consistency of God, for He never changes. The Holy Bible says God and Jesus are the same and do not change (Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8).



Grandparent holding a grandchild's hand.
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash


What Happens with a Generational Curse?

How does God visit the iniquity of the fathers? God lets you go your own way. How many times has that worked out for you? God gives us the Holy Spirit, who helps us on our Christian journey, but we fall back from that path when we sin. Suddenly, the devil's voice rings louder than the voice of the Holy Spirit. When this happens, this sets an example for those around you.


Children learn from their parents. If parents sin doing idolatry, their children will worship those idols as well. Remember that idolatry is the only sin that causes generational curses. Deuteronomy 7:25-26 describes idols as an abomination before the Lord so much that God curses generations and even destroys cities.


During the time of Abraham (often associated with the mid-Bronze Age period), there was a city called Sodom. According to Ezekiel 16:46, it was located south of Jerusalem. The Holy Bible says that Sodom committed various sins before the Lord, including the following:

  • Pride

  • Fullness of food

  • Abundance of idleness

  • Negligence to the poor and the needy

  • Haughty

  • Abomination before the Lord


So, what did God do to Sodom? According to Ezekiel 16:50, God took them away because they committed these sins as He saw fit. When you read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, you will see that the LORD rained brimstone and fire from the heavens on the two cities (Genesis 19:24). Jerusalem committed the same offense of idolatry and more. God had warned the Jewish people for four hundred years to repent and return to God. They never did. God let the city fall to the Babylonians. Many Jewish people were killed, and some were brought captive to Babylon. A few were allowed to remain in the region. For those in captivity, this period would last seventy years.


The Holy Bible says that the mercy of God endures forever (Psalm 136:1). Let us put it into context here. For four hundred years, God warned the Jewish people through the prophets to repent from idolatry and wicked ways. The Jewish people did not listen. He lets them go into captivity for seventy years in Babylon but also allows them to return to Jerusalem in waves after that period. When someone commits an offense against you, do you let it go or let it agitate you? Chances are, you won’t wait a few years for an apology or forgiveness.


My Generational Curse

One day, I went to a church my husband was invited to. They had a guest pastor that night. Toward the end of the service, the pastor wanted to speak with me. He told me that my great-grandfather worshipped an idol bringing on a generational curse to my family on my mother’s side. My mother tried to find an answer to why things were the way they were, but she went to others that were not Christian. In turn, she consecrated me to an evil spirit. The preacher told me that the curse ended with me.


This is because God is so good! The only way you can break a generational curse is by repenting. Only one name can help you repent— Jesus Christ of Nazareth, your savior. Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh (John 1:14). Allow me to explain this: the Holy Bible is broken into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the laws and the prophets, and the New Testament is how those were fulfilled. Jesus Christ fulfilled those things, saying, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”(Matthew 5:17).


In a very brief description of sin, death, and life, know that God tells us that there is sin, and the wage for sin is death (Romans 6:23), but Jesus took your weight of sin. He paid the price through his crucifixion. Those that believe in Jesus Christ are gifted peace (John 14:27), the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17), and salvation (Romans 6:22).

Accepting Jesus

Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your savior today? If so, say this prayer aloud:


God, I confess that Jesus came in the flesh and blood, paid the price for my sins, died on the cross, rose on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and sent the Holy Spirit to help me understand Your Ways. For that, I accept Jesus Christ as my savior and Lord, and I welcome the Holy Spirit in my life. In Jesus’s name, I pray, amen!


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