A Thousand Generations: A Bible Study

When I was a child, I had a terrible temper. Not just a little bit of a bad disposition, but white hot rages that struck as deadly and as violently as a snake. My mother had the same kind of temper. Her father had that kind of a temper. His mother had that kind of temper. My brother and sister have that same kind of temper, and my son has that kind of temper.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of my parents fighting and my mother was screaming and throwing things against the wall. My dad stood there and just calmly handed her plates and jars of peanut butter and other things that she shattered against the wall.

There were other incidents not quite as vivid, but throughout it all the rage ran rampant through the family bloodline unchecked. Not only the rage, but a terrible poverty ran throughout the kin. I used to joke that I did exactly what my family expected me to do. I got pregnant, married the baby’s father and dropped out of high school. Except it wasn’t funny, and it held more truth to it than I wanted to admit.

When I first heard about generational curses I scoffed because the blood of Jesus covered me so no curse could have a hold of me. However, I didn’t take into account the persistence of the enemy of God’s people.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy … ” John 10:10

This is the first part of this verse. Satan will do whatever he can to take us out, including attaching himself to our parents and their parents.

Praise God, the second part of that verse is the most important part.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

These are the words of Jesus Christ and because of him and his sacrifice we now have the tools to overcome a curse place on our families. The buck can stop here.

There is a flip side to this issue also. The family that has been cursed for all generations can also be blessed for generations. God’s first blessing came to Noah, right after he landed the ark and the floodwaters receded.

“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you-the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you-every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9:8-13

Some people believe that Noah’s son Ham was the first homosexual and that because of Ham’s sin, we were all cursed. This is not entirely true. According to Hope Restored: Biblical Truths about Homosexuality by Jo Ann Brandon:

“In Genesis 9:21, the word rendered as uncovered is the Hebrew word galah (Strong’s # 1540). It means to denude or reveal, especially in a disgraceful sense. When Ham saw his father’s nudity, he may or may not have said or done something of a homosexual nature (which would also then have been incestuous). Whatever it was, it got him cursed and exiled from the chosen people, to become the father of the Canaanites.”

The Canaanites included same-sex acts in their pagan temple prostitution and rituals. Thus the connection. To say that any of the words in Genesis 9 mean homosexual, homosexuality, or anything else so explicit is just plain wrong. But — “And this is a big but” — this was the first instance of same-sex perversion that we know of. It may also have been the same instance of incest. We really don’t know because we don’t know if Ham actually did anything other than see his father drunk and naked.

“Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brethren.”

Genesis 9:25

So it actually was not homosexuals who were cursed, it was the Canaanites. Homosexuality is not a curse that is handed down through our families, although it is genetic for some of us.

It was the second curse God handed down that has had repercussions even today, on both sides. First came the blessings.

” I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:2-8

So, Abraham fathered Isaac and Isaac fathered Jacob and Esau. Jacob had 12 sons, who became the 12 tribes of Israel. When Isaac was old he was going to pass on his blessings to his eldest son Esau, but Jacob tricked him out of it. Esau ended up being cursed and Jacob ended up with everything. See Genesis 27 for a detailed description of the entire episode.

Esau left in anger and shame and eventually his descendants, the Edomites, along with the Ishmaelites and the Canaanites ended up being at war with Jacob’s descendants, the Israelites. The Israelites were blessed because of their father’s faithfulness to God while the rest of them were cursed because of their father’s rebellion. The present day Arabic countries of the Middle East, i.e. Afghanistan, are descended from these tribes and to this very day, remain at war with Israel.

You might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with me, and the fact that I am depressed or angry or living in poverty? These are examples of how a curse can down from generation to generation. Scoff if you will, but your spiritual and your emotional DNA have been just as coded as your physical DNA.

Why is it possible for the sins of someone else to bring down curses upon you? Because if Satan attaches one of his demons to your family and no one takes the steps to ask God to remove it, then it will stay. It means that if someone in your biological family tree committed some sin or iniquity and never repented you could possibly be suffering the consequences. Sin is breaking the law of God. Iniquity is a spiritual weakness toward a sin in a family line brought about by unrepentant sin. In other words, if someone in your family goes down a certain path, you may have to walk on that path for a certain distance even if it leads to a destination that is not good for you. You have to make the decision to get off the path and onto another one.

Fortunately for us, Jesus Christ became the curse for us. We can move to another path just by acknowledging that Jesus Christ died for us, by confessing our sins, and by believing God raised him from the dead. When we do that, we are no longer the children of our flesh and blood parents, but the children of God.

“… because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:14-16

If you go to the book of Matthew or Mark and trace the lineage back from Jesus Christ to Adam, you will find that Abraham and Noah were in that bloodline. Because we have been adopted into that family our spiritual DNA comes from the line of Jacob. Our ancestors are now the same men that God made the covenant with and promised to keep that covenant with all their descendants. That would be us — the children of God.

Because of this we can break any curse the devil has placed upon us. We can cancel the assignments of the devil. By trying to live our lives more like Jesus and maintaining a higher standard of morality we put the devil right in his place, which is as far away from us as God can put him.

When I feel my temper about to reach the point of no return, I go to the word. I pray. I put on some really good rockin’ contemporary Christian music, get out my bongos and bang the heck out of them. A couple of songs later and I’ll be lying on the floor, crying and praying to God to forgive me for my anger. It is a good way to spend that rage.

There are patterns that you can use to detect a generational curse in your own family. If you notice a pattern of depression, divorce, greed, alcoholism, or sexual promiscuity, it could be something that has attached itself to your family. This could be what is called a familial spirit. Familial spirits are evil demonic spirits that are assigned to a family because of unrepentant sin. Sin opens the door to let those spirits in and they stay. Sometimes they stay for generation after generation. They know the family and they know the weaknesses where they can come in and tempt you to commit the same sin your mother, grandmother, or whoever committed.

There are several things that might indicate a curse: chronic financial problems, chronic sickness or disease, barrenness or lack of fruitfulness (also female problems), accident prone, marital problems, premature deaths and mental illness. If one or more of these things is prevalent in your family you might have a curse.

Another effect might be a stronghold. Spiritual strongholds are a mind-set that leads to hopelessness. Without hope we see no way out. We know because of our status as children of God that this is a lie.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Accepting Satan’s lies produces strongholds. We can fight them, but we must fight them on a spiritual realm not a physical.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

If you are feeling hopeless about an area of your life, either depression, sickness, anger or whatever that is a stronghold and may in part be there because of a generational curse. Look for patterns in your own family. Start asking questions.

Then you can take the steps to break the curse. Because your sins are covered with the blood of Jesus you can break your way out of this mess that sin has gotten you into.

1. Ask God to forgive you and repent for your own sins.

2. Identify the generational sins, curses, familial spirits and strongholds. This process may require the help of some prayer warriors. If you can’t discover it in the natural world, you’ll have to go to the spiritual world and diligently seek the answer in prayer.

3. Forgive your family members and the generations. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:23.

4. Repent for the root of sin in your generation. We have the right and the authority to ask God to forgive someone in our generational line for their sin. That individual will still be held accountable before God, however we can transfuse the blood of Jesus Christ into our natural bloodline where the sin has been committed.

5. Fast. “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and that you break every yoke.” Isaiah 58:6.

6. Pray the word of God, the sword of the spirit. Open your Bible and read it aloud during your prayers. Let the spirits know that you know beyond any shadow of a doubt your rights and privileges as a child of God.

7. Hold onto the promise the God will deliver you from the curse. “Being confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

8. Claim God’s blessings over you life instead of curses. In the time of the children of Israel when these curses and blessing were a common thing, the people would divide up into two groups. One had the blessing written on stones and the other had the curses. They would take turns shouting out the blessings as they tossed the stones down. It may sound silly, but it works. “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean.” Matthew 15:18 Shout out those blessings when and toss them around yourself. Or take those curses and toss them into the sea. It lets the demonic spirits know that your are willing to do what is physically necessary to break the curse.

There are several books on generational curses. Many of them condemn homosexuality, so they might not be right for everyone. However, if you can get past that then you can get some very useful and helpful advice on how to break curses. Many of those books also offer prayers to help. I would recommend when you pray to lift your hands. The Hebrew word for “confess” is “yadah,” which means to hold out your hands. Show the devil you mean business and put some action behind those words.

Break the curse and live in the freedom God has provided for you.