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The Generational Curse Breaker: A to Z Info You DON'T Want to Miss!

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Jamey Escamilla

One popular concept among the church is that of generational curses.

 

Whenever some believers are facing constant, complex challenges, they wonder if they’re somehow “cursed” because of something their family has done in the past.

 

This is the primary, present-day idea of a generational curse, but is this indeed something that can happen to a believer today?

 

What Is a Generational Curse?

 

There is confusion among the Body of Christ concerning generational curses. Can we inherit them? Does God cause them? How bad are they? What are they?

 

I would like to submit that the leading cause of confusion concerning this matter is that there are multiple definitions and explanations of ‘generational curses.’

 

If you were to ask each Christian in a church what a generational curse is, you’re going to get a different answer from everyone.

 

So, before we can discuss the details of this matter, we need first to discuss definitions and determine precisely what a generational curse is according to the Bible.

 

The best description and verse for what we call a “generational curse” is found here:

 

Exodus 20:5 ESV

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

 

Immediately when the law is given, and the Ten Commandments expressed, generational curses are introduced.

 

As you can see, if a person experienced judgment from God for something their ancestors did, it would be as if a curse was upon them.

 

“Curses” developed in an ancient Israelite’s life because they would not keep the law:

 

Deuteronomy 28:15

But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

 

The Hebrew word for “curse” is qelala (קְלָלָה), which means “the invoking of divine harm under certain conditions, with a focus on the content of the oath.” [1]

 

The Israelites had a covenant with God (the Old Covenant). If they didn’t do what it said, they would be under “divine harm.”

 

For example, one famous verse about the curses that come from the law is this one:

 

Malachi 3:9

You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you.

 

God cursed the Israelites because they were not obeying the law, which said to give 10% to the Lord.

 

Generational curses are a bit different from the misfortune that comes into a person’s life because they themselves did not obey the law.

 

In ancient Israel, judgment would often come to the entire land or a particular tribe or household because of what one person did.

 

According to Exodus 20:5, God would even judge people for something their ancestors did years ago.

 

A generational curse is often more of a collective judgment.

 

We can define it as judgment and misfortune that happened in an ancient Israelite’s life because of something their ancestors did.

 

Jesus Ended Generational Curses - The Cross Made a Difference

 

Many believers think they might be “under a generational curse” or use language that implies that generational curses are still a thing for people today.

 

But before we move forward with our study, we need to be 100% sure of one thing: Jesus ended generational curses.

 

The ancient Israelites had a common saying about generational curses:

 

Ezekiel 18:1-4

1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge’? 3 As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

 

The ancient Israelites knew that God visited sin to the third and fourth generations. And this was an interesting proverb to speak of it.

 

“If a parent eats sour grapes, their children’s teeth are set on edge.”

 

Other instances say, “The children’s teeth are blunted,” or, “The children’s mouths pucker.”

 

The idea is that sour grapes contain some acid or ingredient that ruins teeth when a person eats them. This is what happens when we drink soda.

 

However, a generational curse is like a father eating sour grapes, and his children’s teeth are damaged!

 

But God makes it clear that a day was coming when the language of generational curses “shall no more be used”:

 

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

 

Each person would be responsible for their actions. Jeremiah amplifies this:

 

Jeremiah 31:27-30

27 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the Lord. 29 In those days they shall no longer say: “‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.’ 30 But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Notice that the “house of Israel” would be “with the seed of man and the seed of beast.” This says God would extend his salvation to non-Israelites (Gentiles; see Romans 11).

 

There would be a church - Jew and Gentile in one body.

 

Then, in those same days, generational curses would be a thing of the past (sour grapes). This all points to the New Covenant brought in by Jesus:

 

Jeremiah 31:31

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,

 

It is great to see that the ending of generational curses is explained right before the New Covenant is mentioned.

 

This New Covenant would not be like the old one, and God would forgive and remember their sins no more (verses 31-34)

 

All of this - the ending of generational curses, the ushering in of a New Covenant, and the forgiveness of sins - was done at Jesus’ death on the cross:

 

John 19:28-30

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Notice that while Jesus was hanging on the cross, he was “fulfilling scripture” by taking the “sour wine.”

 

And once he drank the sour wine, it became “finished.”

 

The fulfilled scriptures were the ones we just read about sour grapes (sour wine). Jesus took the generational curses and nailed them to the cross.

 

The sour wine he drank represents generational curses. He became a curse for us:

 

Galatians 3:13-14

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

 

We can see that generational curses are a thing of the past. So, before we move on, let me bring out these two facts:

 

1. Generational curses were for the ancient Israelites, who had an Old Covenant with God.

 

Generational curses resulted from not keeping the law. You and I (anyone living today) are not under that covenant.

 

God never gave that Old Covenant to us; therefore, generational curses don’t apply to 21st-century believers.

 

2. The Bible says that Jesus specifically ended generational curses.

 

Since the Bible explicitly mentions the ending of generational curses on several occasions, God must think we must understand this concept.

 

Why Is There Such a Focus on Generational Curses in the Church Today?

 

Despite everything we just learned, it seems that “generational curses” are still highly talked about and believed in the church today.

 

Again, most of our confusion stems from different explanations of generational curses floating around the church.

 

Some in the church believe this about generational curses:

 

“They still exist today for unbelievers, but when you come to Christ, they end over your life.”

 

I personally don’t hold this view simply because the Bible teaches that generational curses specifically ended at the cross.

 

Also, generational curses were a “law thing” for the ancient Israelites, and that’s not anyone living today, believer or unbeliever.

 

But I can see why a person would think this.

 

The scripture we read in Galatians 3 says that the blessings come on those in Christ.

 

This is true. God’s blessings, favor, and righteousness are not on everyone; only the believer has inherited these blessings.

 

So, it’s natural to think that a person who isn’t in Christ has “curses” (the opposite of blessings), which could contain generational curses.

 

But Jesus eradicated generational curses at the cross, and forgiveness was given to all people when he died. God is not counting men’s sins against them (2 Cor. 5:19).

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone is saved. They have to receive that forgiveness.

 

And that also doesn’t mean that they have the “blessings of Abraham.”

 

It simply means that although the blessings don’t apply to unbelievers, neither do generational curses. They are merely people existing in sin and need deliverance.

 

You see, the curses only came from not obeying the law for the people under the law.

 

However, Paul made it clear that no one was able to keep the law, so in a sense, they were all under a curse:

 

Galatians 3:10

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

 

Only people trying to keep the law today for righteousness could be “cursed.”

 

Ultimately, I respect the view which says that there are still generational curses for unbelievers, and I think it’s more logical than the view we’re about to discuss.

 

Even if generational curses still exist for unbelievers today, I’m glad this view acknowledges that they end when these people become believers.

 

The other view, which is the seemingly more widespread view in the church, is this:

 

“Generational curses still exist today for believers, and you have to “let Christ break them over your life” or “break them yourself.”

 

This view is very strange to me. It defines generational curses in many different ways:

 

  • Cancer

  • Sicknesses

  • Tumors

  • Depression

  • Mental attacks

  • Problems with children

  • Hereditary diseases

  • Constant misfortune

  • And many, many more

 

I once heard someone say there was a “generational curse” over his family because they were not spending time with each other.

 

When we use the term like this, we can make a generational curse mean anything and apply it to anyone.

 

Who doesn’t have problems in life? Or problems with kids? Or health problems? Who doesn’t wish that their family would spend more time together?

 

These are American, pop-culture Christian views of “generational curses,” but they aren’t Biblical.

 

For example, I know everyone likes Vlad Savchuk. He’s a mighty man of God. However, he is incorrect in his views on generational curses. [2]

 

He says, “The majority of demons we deal with come through the ancestral line because demons don’t die with our ancestors; they get passed on.”

 

I mean, where is the scripture to prove that?

 

He then says that a lot of people get their generational curse at the cemetery when they’re burying their loved ones.

 

The grief that they feel afterward (something that they can’t explain) is actually a generational curse that got on them.

 

Third, Vlad uses scripture passages to bolster his preconceived ideas about generational curses.

 

For example, he states that there was a generational curse on Abraham’s family. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lied, and this was actually a curse passed on to each generation.

 

This resulted in misfortune and troubles (such as infertility) that ultimately passed onto Joseph when he was sold into slavery by his brothers.

 

So, Joseph inherited a generational curse, even though he did nothing wrong.

 

However, the “curse” was broken by Joseph when he yielded to God and became influential in the land of Egypt.

 

Again, this might sound powerful and revelatory, as if there is something spiritual going on behind the scenes of Joseph’s family. But let’s slow down and ask:

 

“Where is any of that in scripture?”

 

 We cannot “imply” things upon the text that aren’t there and then use that text to prove our idea.

 

This is what’s called eisegesis:

 

We start with a belief and then find scriptures to “prove” it that don’t say anything about our belief to begin with but convey it in a way that leans toward our definition.

 

No commentary or translation will tell you that all these things happening in Abraham’s family were caused by a generational curse brought on by lying.

 

It is best to simply look at Joseph’s misfortune the way he looked at it and leave it at that:

 

Genesis 50:20

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

 

Vlad then ends by getting the audience to repeat after him, saying, “It ends with me!”

 

I often hear advocates of this view saying that both “Christ will break them over your life” and “you can break them over your life.”

 

In Charismatic circles, this is usually done by coming to the altar at the end of a service, wailing, fasting, praying, getting prayed for, etc.

 

But why not just believe that the generational curse ended with Christ, not me?

 

Why not just believe that we are already victorious, seated with him in heavenly places with every spiritual blessing because Christ broke the curse and forgave us of sins?

 

At times, it may feel like you are under a curse or are suffering because of something you or your family did in the past.

 

You might feel this way because you’re constantly going through something. Believe me, when it rains, it pours (“It rains on the just and the unjust”).

 

But let’s stop calling these “generational curses” and just believe that we will have trouble in this life (John 16:33).

 

What to Do if it Seems Like You’re Suffering Because of a Generational Curse

 

“But Jamey, isn’t it possible to suffer for something our family did in the past?”

 

Sure, it is. But again, is that a Biblical generational curse? No, it isn’t.

 

Examples of bad things that can happen to you because of your family:

 

  • Hereditary diseases

  • Bad genetic characteristics

  • Money issues passed on to you

  • Bad blood with other people (relationship problems)

  • Bad traits and habits you develop because you’ve seen your family do them

 

If these things happen to you as a Christian, the wrong thing to do is chalk it up to a generational curse and say, “I’m suffering because of something my family did.”

 

The right thing to do is believe that Jesus already paid for that suffering, and it has no right over you.

 

You are already blessed and delivered, and now, it’s time to see this manifest by bringing it to the Lord.

 

As a Christian, you might start drinking because you saw your mother drink. You might want to mistreat your spouse because you saw your father do it.

 

At one time in my own life, I thought that I was inheriting mental problems from my mother, which were manifesting later in my life.

 

My mother had depression and other mental attacks, as well as my brother. Sometimes, I felt like these were coming to me.

 

I sometimes felt weird around people, as if something was inwardly wrong with me. Maybe it was my mother’s side coming out?

 

But I never received it or gave in to it. Praise God, there is nothing wrong with me, and I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ!

 

Conclusion

 

Today, believe that Jesus has ended generational curses and be victorious in life!

 

Bibliography

 

[1] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

 

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6FMVXuqx3w&t=188s

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LAST UPDATED: 04/23/24

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About Pastor Jamey

Jamey is the co-pastor of New Covenant Church in El Campo, Texas. He has served in ministry for over 10 years, teaching and preaching the Gospel of grace. He is the author of How to Understand the Bible in 30 Days, a simple guide that helps Christians everywhere understand the bigger picture of the Bible, along with how to study it properly and foundational truths. He continues to serve as a pastor and run newcovenantway.com.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NEW COVENANT CHURCH

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