In our natural understanding it seems extremely unfair that God would punish children for their previous generations’ iniquities, so the best way to understand generational sins, curses and spirits is to realize that your heart, mind and soul have been forged through your upbringing. From generation to generation, parents to children, naturally passing down the consequences of sin through family practices that usually have a massive influence over heart-sets and mind-sets. Your view of right, wrong and “normal” is literally “your view!” We often justify ourselves by what we believe is “normal” and familiar behaviour, but even dysfunctional families can’t recognize their learned behaviour and also justify themselves by their familiarity. So unconsciously our learned behaviour grants access to familiar spirits to move through our generations.
The Bible refers to familiar spirits as unclean spirits which have had an intimate association with a family line, using this family line as hosts (see, Lev 19:31; Deut 18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; Isa 8:19, etc.). Sometimes these are misunderstood as actual spirits of the dead, but according to Scripture, they are clearly not, as the human spirits of the dead do not remain on earth after the host has died, so these familiar spirits are actually demonic spirits which have attached themselves to people and are then left homeless after the death of the host.
Eccl 9:5 But the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.
Familiar spirits can get so attached to families that they can assume that even the family property is their own, and sometimes when the generational line ends these “ghosts” have been known to linger there. I’ve been to many houses to pray over them and it’s amazing how the atmosphere can change when you bring the presence of God into a place. Once the governing authority over the area I live granted permission for a paranormal conference to be held in our town centre market place, including a public séance and table tilting! I was so enraged that my home group and I went there to pray against it and they couldn’t do anything. The whole thing was a disaster for them because absolutely nothing happened. So there is nothing to be afraid of; you who are in Christ have been given all authority, and all spirits can only use what you allow them.
About six months into my walk with God, He showed me that I had a generational spirit of anger that had gained access through a familiar learned behaviour (that at the time I thought was acceptable and “normal”). He showed me that it had actually come into my great grandfather through the effects of the Second World War and had travelled down the generations and, yes, it could easily be prayed out, but it was my responsibility to change my “normal” behaviour and mind-set to keep it out. By the strength of the Holy Spirit and my consciousness of going where He wants to take me, my behaviour changed with my renewed mind-set. Behaviour and old habits don’t change by trying and striving through the consciousness of sin but by yielding to the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes, spirits and curses are actually inherited through no fault of our own; for example, once I was asked to pray for a lady with an issue of fear. As we prayed for her, I was shown that there was an issue with sexual abuse from her childhood. The Holy Spirit guided me in sharing different testimonies of a similar nature. After about an hour of sharing, all of a sudden she started to cry. The ministry time was so important, because the stories led by the Spirit had opened up her heart and mind to receive the Spirit’s conviction. And as she opened up, I heard the most disturbing story of how her parents had in fact dedicated her to Satan as a baby and had involved her in satanic rituals. The knock-on effect of sexual abuse and fear of the opposite sex had destroyed her relationships and life. Now, lots of people had prayed for this fear problem to go, but I was shown by the Spirit that, in order for her to be delivered, we must first break off the generational curse placed upon her through her parents. And as we asked her to acknowledge and repent of the sins of her parents, then forgive her parents, this tore out the root that was enabling the spirit of fear a foothold. So eventually we cast it out and she was completely healed of her fear of men.
The Bible mentions that “generational curses” are brought on by the sins of our ancestors and they can actually go back to the 3rd, the 4th even to the 10th generation and possibly beyond (Ex20:5, Ex34:7, Num14:18, Deut23:2, 1Sam2:30-33, 1Sam3:12-14, Jer2:9, Mt27:24-25) Now, Jesus paid the price for the sin of the world, so our sin was paid for in full, but in order to come into the new covenant you must acknowledge the purchase price (Jesus) and repent of your sin. But as previously mentioned, when the Holy Spirit revealed my behaviour that allowed a spirit of anger to have legal access to my life, as I acknowledged and repented of my sin (that I didn’t know I had until the conviction by the Spirit), God forgave me and the spirit then had no legal access and was cast out. It could only return if I returned to that same behaviour; then it would have a legal right. So, in the same sense, the Holy Spirit can also reveal a generational sin (that you also may be unaware of until that moment), that also needs to be repented of and acknowledged to receive the fullness of walking in the new man.
Another example of the effects of generational curses was when someone asked me to come and pray for him for asthma. I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that something terrible had happened to him as a child which had allowed a spirit of grief to enter him. When questioned, he confirmed it by explaining how his father had passed away when he was eight years old and his grief was so bad that his mind had actually blanked out all his previous memories before this incident, to the point that he had no memories of his father at all, and it wasn’t long after that he developed asthma. So his wife and myself started to pray against this spirit of grief and then all of a sudden he said that something was manifesting in his stomach area and rising up inside him!
Well, as we kept praying, this unclean spirit moved up his body to about the heart, but then stopped moving. At this moment, his wife mentioned that the Holy Spirit was revealing to her that there was some kind of ancestral oath to do with a Scottish clan that needed breaking. So as he repented and we started praying and declaring against generational “clan oaths”, the unclean spirit then moved into his neck. At this point the Holy Spirit told me that he needed to repent of ill feeling towards his brothers who’d attended his father’s funeral (because, being younger, he’d not been allowed to go) and then straight after his confession the unclean spirit moved from his throat and he coughed it out! Amen.
Then as he stood there bewildered, thinking it was all over, I placed my hands upon his head and started praying for a renewing of his mind and memories. Then suddenly, the man burst into uncontrollable crying as he shouted out, “I can see my father! I can see my father!!!! My memories are coming back!!!!” I looked over at his wife, who had a smile ear to ear and her eyes now watering too – such a powerful and emotional encounter of God’s restoration and a great testimony of how these things work together to form strongholds and the importance of being led by the Holy Spirit.
Well, just the following week, I had a guest come round to my house and all of a sudden the Holy Spirit told me that he had Scottish roots, which he confirmed. So, pondering why the Holy Spirit would want me to know about his ancestry, I remembered the generational “clan covenant” thing in the previous guy’s story. So I told him the testimony and mentioned, as this seemed too much a coincidence, why don’t I pray for him for it anyway? So he repented from any generational sins from “clan oaths” and as I prayed, would you believe it, he convulsed and started coughing.
So I decided to do some research, and it turned out that both of their Scottish family lineages traced back from the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde (the lowlands of Scotland). And when the Scottish highland kingdom invaded the Scottish lowland kingdom, the defeated clan members who’d lost all their titles and lands ended up offering their services in aiding the Duke of Normandy to invade England in the battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. This was in exchange for a piece of the newly acquired land and titles. But in doing so, William the Conqueror demanded that everyone he permitted land must commit to his ceremonial ritual where they had to place their hand upon a religious sacrament, which happened to be a “bound firm knot” and, while presenting themselves submissively, swore an oath declaring William as their sovereign lord and all their children henceforth!!! How amazing that my friend’s wife mentioned that the Holy Spirit had revealed to her that there was some kind of ancestral oath to do with a Scottish clan that needed breaking – and even more incredible that I managed to stumble across it.
Some time ago, while speaking at a gospel outreach in India, I witnessed God do some amazing miracles, and at the end of one of the evenings a lady came and asked me if I would go back to her house and pray for her son. So I went to her house and as she opened the door to this darkly lit room. There was a mattress lying in the middle of the room and, lying there, was a man, probably in his thirties. He was mute, and probably the most double-jointed, deformed person I’d ever seen in my life. The woman said with a smile on her face, "This is my son. Please can you help him” and even though I’d witnessed lots of healings that night, this situation was just heart breaking. So as I kneeled down beside him and prayed against any generational curses on his family line and against any dumb spirits, amongst many other things, and although I’d witnessed many miracles earlier that evening, I never witnessed anything happen to this man, in any way whatsoever. I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I was praying and praying without listening, then as I realized I stayed quiet trying to focus, but I didn’t seem to receive anything, I did feel the presence of the Holy Spirit over him, and so I just believed that God was doing something!
As I stopped, I looked over at his mum, who I knew had also witnessed all the healings that night, I almost felt lost for words. I can't tell you how emotional it was, my faith was really being stretched this time, so I just said exactly what I felt, that the Holy Spirit was all over him and that he’s in God’s hands now. But I could just imagine her thinking “Why not my son?” But then, to my surprise she wasn’t fazed by it and she also asked for prayer, for her back and then at that moment I felt the Spirit tell me that she also had knee pains and slight deafness, which she acknowledged. And When I prayed over her, God healed all of her sicknesses (knees, back and even the slight deafness in one ear). Hallelujah! So while we were rejoicing over the healing, the son was still just lying on the mattress, and seemed to be in exactly the same state as when we arrived. The lady was in tears, hugging me, but my mind was trying to analyse it all. It didn’t make any sense; I just couldn’t help but wonder “why?”
The next night during the outreach, the lady came rushing up to me, flung her arms around me with tears running down her face, and said that her son used to have fits every half an hour, but since that morning all of his fits had stopped and he’d started to speak for the first time in his whole life. She said that he was talking like a baby. Wow! Amen. I went back to see him the following week and, yes, he was still doubled over on the mattress but in a completely calm state with cognition, and as I knelt at his side he wanted to shake my hand and was smiling at me. I can't tell you how moving it was. So even though you don’t fully understand the “whys” or see the manifested evidence of what you are praying for, never stop believing by faith. But I will say that when I felt it on my heart to put something together to try and help people understand the importance of dealing with generational behaviour, sins and curses, while in my quiet time with God, I asked Him which testimonies I should use and to my surprise, that’s when He showed me that the man on the mattress in India had a generational curse that ran from his father’s side, and although the man couldn’t speak to do any kind of repentance, the fact I recognized and named it, enabled the healing process, which was why I didn’t receive anything else at the time, and why his mum was so receptive. So there must be many more generational illnesses out there to be aware of as we pray for the sick.
So when you look at it, Adam and Eve’s sin introduced sickness, death and murder into their family, then one son murders the other and we still live in a world and witness the effects of the results of that curse. Noah’s drunkenness led to his son dishonouring him, which resulted in an entire lineage of people who were and are still under a curse in the land of Canaan. Abraham went against God’s will for him and fathered a son in the flesh and thus robbed the birthright from the firstborn son, which then went on for the next three generations. Also, when Abraham lied, Jacob lied to Abraham then Jacob’s children lied to Jacob. When David fell into sexual sin and murder, you can see the results of murder, incest, rape, rebellion and womanising in his children, and there are many more.
So by one man’s sin (which leads to death) the curse that entered the world through disobedience made everyone sinners, and in many different areas, some sins worse than others (1Jn 5:16, Mk3:28-30, Jn 19:11), But the good news is that Jesus has hung this curse of sin in His own body upon a tree that we might receive His Spirit and crucify our old nature, transforming us into the “new man”, a unique opportunity to become the righteousness in Him and join the battle against the Devil and the ripple effects of sin upon mankind.
1 Jn3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
Kevin Dexter, Derby UK