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A New Take On Generational Curses

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As many of you know, there is a doctrine being taught that people can be living under a generational curse.  If your Grandfather was a thief, the idea is that you can be suffering under a curse because of his sins.  If your Great Grandmother was a witch, you can be under a curse because of her sin.  What we are taught is that we must renounce those sins in the name of Jesus Christ to be free from the curse.  I am with the majority view that there is no such doctrine in the Bible, at least no such remedy for a generational curse.  At the same time, a particular situation came to mind, and I wanted others opinion about it.  I am speaking of how Jacob prophesied concerning the 12 tribes of Israel, and much was based on actions of the original patriarchs.  You will find this in Genesis chapter 49.  I won't go through the entire passage, but will give you an example. 


Genesis 49:3,4


Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.  Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defilest thou it:  he went up to my couch. 


Reuben had sexual relations with one of his Father's concubines, and it appears this led to a type of curse upon the entire tribe of Reuben.  You will find similar things mentioned about the rest of the tribes, both good and bad, based on things these men who the tribes were named for did.  Next you see Simeon and Levi and references to how they slaughtered a large group of people to avenge the defiling of their sister Dinah.  My question is whether or not anyone would consider this a type of generational curse?  In addition, do you believe that those who are part of the individual tribes are going to continue to live under curses and blessings according to the original prophetic words given by Jacob?  Do these individuals have a remedy, like simply renouncing the sins of their forefathers.  In the case of Reuben, it would be renouncing his sin with his Father's concubine, or will they always be unstable as water and unable to excel?  What are your thoughts concerning this, and other examples in scripture where a curse was pronounced, as in the case of Eli in the book of 1 Samuel, where he failed to restrain his sons for their sins, and a curse came upon him and his children.  Was there any remedy for them?  Was this a type of generational curse?  I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. 

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I  don't believe in generational curses either.   I do think that our sins have consequences and sometimes those consequences affect more people than just us.  A father who commits adultery or is a thief or whatever will bring down consequences that will affect his children.  Those are not, in my opinion "curses," but "fruit." 


I think that what some people label as generational curses are nothing more than the unintended consequences of sin.  The leaven of sin infects the whole family and future family members maybe stuck with having to deal with the consequences of the sins of their parents or grand parents.


I think the story of Reuben that you mentioned illustrates what happens when fathers are not good examples for their children.

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I don't think there are generational curses, but there are generational Satanist Families....   but I think it's the result of the parents teaching thier offspring the ways of the dark side and thier children seeing the short term gains that can result.

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I absolutely believe that curses are still in effect.  Those who are not saved are certainly living under a curse and whatever other curses that their ancestors, parents or they themselves have brought down on themself.


Just one answer for that:


Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE   Galatians 3:13


God cursed a number of things when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden....have those curses been revoked?  


Generational curses are in the Bible whether someone believes in them  or not.


As Christians, we accept that Christ became a curse for us and bore all our sins and all that we could ever commit.


Disobedience to God invokes curses.  See the OT

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I think you may be right Sevenseas.  I was thinking about the answer Shiloh gave.  There is no question that the actions of one person effects his children in the natural, so I am not disagreeing with that, but that can't be the entire answer to curses.  Again, lets look at the house of Levi and the curse on them.  1 Samuel 2:31-33


Behold the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.  And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth that God shall give Israel:  and there shall not be an old man in thine house forever.  And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine alter, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart:  and in all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of thine age. 


This would seem to be more than just natural consequences of sin, but a curse.  Those who teach about generational curses would say that a descendant of Eli could simply renounce the sins of his fathers in Jesus name and shake off the curse.  I suppose the same thing would apply to the descendants of people like Reuben.  I haven't seen any scripture that indicates that to be true.  Is it your position Sevenseas that when someone is a faithful follower of Christ, they are automatically free from those curses, and when we disobey God, it brings curses?  Is it your position that through faith in Christ, the curses are broken by faith, but for the sinner under a generational curse, they have to live under the curse? 

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Whoah...I was expecting disagreement.... LOL!


I believe the Bible indicates that curses come via disobedience to God which God calls sin....which as we know is us missing the 'mark' ie God's holiness.


Here is a great intro to curses vs blessings:



When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lordyour God disperses you among the nations, 2and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3then the Lord your God will restore your fortunesa and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.  Deut 30: 1-4


Notice the 'when', not 'if'...I think it is safe to conclude (still remembering this is the OT) that one way or another both blessing and curses will be incurred


Moving along:


Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach12It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

15See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lordyour God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.



Seems simple enough...if we obey the Lords words we are blessed and if not, we bring curses upon ourselves


This is basically the state of the world...choose God and live or rebel and die


Yes I know about various teachings on this subject and understand your question.



I believe scripture indicates that every single negative thing that could ever be upon our person or that we are living in or allowing room for in our lives or our families, has been dealt with by Jesus

upon the cross and He has already secured our freedom and we must believe that and rather than focus on the negative, demonic or curses, we should walk in obedience and that would even

include recognizing who the Bibles SAYS we are and believing that we are THAT person that God says we are.


We believe God has accomplished a complete work for us through His Son.  We believe that we are a new creation and old things have passed away.  We believe that the devil is defeated and

that we have the victory in the name of Christ.



Having said all of that, I believe we must continue to walk in obedience as God instructed the Israelites.  It's no secret that many many Christians suffer all kinds of things in their lives and admittedly

things they are not first person responsible for.  For example, if a Christian is attacked by a knife wielding thug, and injured, it is the sin of the attacker that the Christian suffers.  Even so, children

are born into families wherein they suffer BECAUSE of the sins of their parents.


Jesus came to break that cycle.  We find evidence for that in the OT.


The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals. 28Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord. 29“In those days people will no longer say,

‘The parents have eaten sour grapes,

and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’

30Instead, everyone will die for their own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—their own teeth will be set on edge.  Jeremiah 31


We know that Jesus was out of communion with His Father as He cried "My God why have you forsaken me?"


There really is alot to the concept of blessing and curses and it is a great study.  Understanding these things (as much as I do at the moment) has been somewhat of a breakthrough for me

and some of my family and it has nothing to do with superstition or the like, but simply a study based on what Scripture has to say on the subject and how to release our self from the

consequences of both our sins and our ancestors sins.


And yes I know Jesus has removed from us our sins, but the laws God has set into motion have not changed and neither have the consequences for breaking them.  By laws here, I mean 

as described in Deuteronomy.


Not everyone agrees with what I have outlined here and I'm not here to argue.  I say simply check it out in the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you (anyone) what is true


I guess you'll let me know what you think.......


To answer the last of yr post above...yes I do believe that sinners are reaping what has been sown by ancestors, parents and themself

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I agree with much of what you said Sevenseas.  I do have a follow up for you.  I mentioned Eli, and the curse that seemed to come on his family.  Lets suppose you have a living descendant of Eli today.  Would he be under that curse?  If yes why and if no why?  If he lives for Jesus, does that automatically mean he is not under that curse?  If yes why and if no why?  I am only looking for an opinion, so I recognize it is possible you may not have a certain answer.  Thanks in advance.  

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Well, if it's a generational curse, then 3rd or 4th generation?  And if the same actions are continually repeated by ensuing generations, do the math?  


I think that might explain why some people seem 'doomed' to make the same mistakes over and over or the same type of accident keeps over and over or runs in families.


I guess the outworking of a curse can be different from person to person...unless the curse is very specific


If I understand curses or the way they can work,  they operate in the spiritual realm and so require a spiritual solution....again, not something we can acomplish


However, as I posted earlier, there is most definately a way to be free of these things


This brought to mind the curse spoken by Joshua when the city of Jericho was destroyed so I googled it


'And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it'-Joshua 6:26

'In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun' -1 Kings 16:34

There they stood in the smoking ruins of what was left of Jericho. The Israelites had marched, shouted, blown, slaughtered, and burned. What does God want them to do now? Actually, it is what He does not want them to do that is important. He commands them to never rebuild the city that He had destroyed.1 Jericho was very pleasantly situated, and its nearness to Jordan was an advantage which would tempt succeeding generations to build on the same spot. Nonetheless, they are warned of what would happen to one who decided to rebuild the city. His oldest son would die when he began the work, and if he persisted, he would attend the funeral of his youngest son when he finished it.2

About five hundred and thirty years later (ca. 850 B.C.), during the reign of King Ahab, a man named Hiel3 of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. Just as God had said, when he laid the foundation, he lost his firstborn son (Abiram); and when he set up the gates, he lost his youngest son (Segub) (1 Kgs. 16:34). What a sacrifice to make for a city!

It is interesting, and instructive, to place ourselves mentally in the position of this man from Bethel. What possibly could have been behind Hiel's tragic mistake?

HIEL TEACHES US…THE DANGER OF IGNORANCE. Hiel could have been ignorant of this warning. He might have grown up in a family where the Bible was not read. He could have slept during Sabbath classes and misbehaved during temple worship services. He might have been sick the day that Joshua 6:26 was studied. Nobody may have cared enough to warn him when he started building on the old Jericho site. They might have reasoned, 'Well, I don't want to get involved. I'm sure he's read Joshua's curse. He's made up his mind. It's none of my business anyway. He can make his own mistakes.'

Spiritual ignorance is dangerous (Hosea 4:12 Chronicles 15:3Proverbs 19:2Matthew 15:14). There are threats the Bible makes which apply to people living today, and if we do not learn of them, and avoid breaking God's laws, we, too, will be punished. We can see, therefore, the urgency of studying the Bible and learning what God has commanded (2 Timothy 2:15Acts 17:11). 


I'm not familar with this site, but the reference to the curse seems well explained


And I most certainly agree with the statement: Spiritual ignorance is dangerous (Hosea 4:12 Chronicles 15:3Proverbs 19:2Matthew 15:14


I don't think we should be afraid of making a blunder that will lead to a curse....that would be contrary to all the promises we have and the new life in Christ that we have


But I do believe we, as Christians, can have some very vague ideas on certain spiritual issues and possibly those who have had to study these things, have a different understanding


There are reasons for everything.  I don't believe things happen in a vacumn


There was, actually, a time when I had no concept of these things and as a result, through ignorance, suffered from things that alot of people would say Christians cannot have in their life


I don't think that everything is 'fixed' the moment one is saved...I believe you are saved if you are saved...(genuinely) but a person may still wrestle with the unseen world if God allows

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As many of you know, there is a doctrine being taught that people can be living under a generational curse. 


If your Grandfather was a thief, the idea is that you can be suffering under a curse because of his sins. 


If your Great Grandmother was a witch, you can be under a curse because of her sin. 


What we are taught is that we must renounce those sins in the name of Jesus Christ to be free from the curse. 


I am with the majority view that there is no such doctrine in the Bible....




In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.


But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.



Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Jeremiah 31:29-31

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I guess what you are saying is that while there may have been generational curses in the past, that was while people were living under the Old Covenant, but now that we are living under the New Covenant, they no longer exist.  As Sevenseas has indicated, we open ourselves up to curses when we sin, but as Christians, are not under curses because of the sins of our fathers? 


I do have one question though.  This passage speaks of a new covenant with Israel and Judah.  Can we be sure this is speaking of the day we are living in?  Is it possible this could be speaking of the Millenial reign of Christ?  I am not saying it is, but since it mentions Israel and Judah specifically, and doesn't just mention a new covenant, I am just wondering. 


Anyway, thanks for all the good responses.  It certainly gives me something to consider.  I don't think the teachings we hear on generational curses today are right, but there definitely are examples of generational curses in the Bible, at least in the Old Testament.  If anyone else has any thoughts on this topic, feel free to add them. 

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