a generational curse…is this concept biblical?

For years now I have been hearing people mention generational curses as a way of accounting for our weaknesses and sins. The idea goes something like this: God said (presumably – more on this later) “I will curse you unto the 3rd and 4th generation” somewhere in the old testament. From there we have many people without the energy or interest to find out what God really said (by reading the text in the bible) saying that when we have generational curses we are somehow needing to uncover why we are sinning – since it is probably some kind of curse from God because of a perverted great grandfather, his sins are passed to me and – hey – if it is a curse from God I better find out the magic solution, right? Wrong. The concept of generational curses is bad theology, and sloppy exegesis. So – what does the bible say? Well, to begin with you might be surprised to know that the verse that is often quoted to support generational curses does not itself mention curses at all.

Exodus 34:7 reads;

Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

In this verse what is said is that iniquity of the fathers is visited on the following generations. You can better say perversity, or bad habits. If dad drank himself silly every night getting drunk the children will be taking notice (which does not at all guarantee they will be drunkards). How exactly this iniquity is visited is open for discussion – I gave you my view, in any case it is not a curse.

A better reference for cursing is Deuteronomy 11:26-28;

Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
In other words – you choose to be blessed or cursed by virtue of your obedience to God.

Ezekiel 18 is a great chapter which clearly outlines that we are responsible for our choices, and the judgment or blessing is for each of us individually based on our choices. It also makes it clear that the judgment of a fathers sin will not be placed on a son.

Galatians 3:10 says cursed is everyone that does not keep the law.

But – the great news is that Jesus Christ set us free from being cursed by his marvelous sacrifice on the cross. His blood frees us forever from every and all curses because He himself became a curse.

Galatians 3:13-14;

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:

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

So – no matter what the origin of the curse is – Christ has freed us once and for all by his death on the cross. Also of great importance is the fact that we are all blessed by his death and resurrection, and the Spirit is made available to all who repent and ask. You want freedom from sin and cursing? Accept Christ as your savior, and invite the Holy Spirit into your life, read your bible and do it (be obedient).

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