What is their Scriptural Basis for This Doctrine?
One cause of the damage I have seen in the church today is a lack of proper interpretation of God’s word. Many practices and teaching have been from the wrong premise of God’s word because the preacher failed to interpret scripture in context. What is context in this sense? This is the text in which a word or passage appears and which help ascertain its meaning (Wiktionary). Once we miss the text in which that passage happens then we are going to interpret the passage wrongly. The best way to avoid this is to read the preceding verses and the verses after.
The doctrine of Generational curses can also be traced to the error of not reading scripture in context. What I want us to do is to examine the supposed scriptural references where this doctrine was derived and see if that is what the Bible really says.
There are four Old Testament passages that speak of God *‘visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations’* (Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18 and Deuteronomy 5:9).
“You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN TO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATIONS OF THOSE WHO HATE ME, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:5-6 (NKJV)
“keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN AND THE CHILDREN’S CHILDREN TO THE THIRD AND THE FOURTH GENERATION.” Exodus 34:7 (NKJV)
‘The LORD is long-suffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS ON THE CHILDREN TO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATION.’ Numbers 14:18 (NKJV)
… He said: ‘I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, VISITING THE INIQUITY OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN TO THE THIRD AND FOURTH GENERATIONS OF THOSE WHO HATE ME, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Deuteronomy 5:5-10 (NKJV)
I will like us to make few observations here:
1. Looking at this Scriptures critically you will observe that all the four references have: ‘visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations’.
2. When it was first mentioned in Exodus 20; it was God who spoke directly to Moses when He was giving him what we called the 10 commandment in the tablet of two stones. And in Deuteronomy 5, Moses was simply recounting what was his experience and what was written in the tablets of two stones to the children of Israel.
3. Exodus 34, was when God called Moses the second time about the same 10 commandment because Moses broke the first one because of his displeasure as regarding the attitudes of the children of Israel when he came back from where he received the first (Exodus 32:15-19).
4. When the words were used in Numbers 14; it was Moses that used it when he was interceding on behalf of the children of Israel because of their rebellion.
5. There was a phrase that was added by God in Exodus 20 and repeated by Moses in Deuteronomy 5 which was not in Exodus 34 and Numbers 14, which is actually a twist to the whole thing *“THOSE WHO HATE ME”*
The question in your heart may be why it was not included in the other two passages.
Looking at Exodus 34, Moses was summarizing what God said, the whole thing was not repeated but one thing is certain, verse one tells us it was the same things that were written in the first tablets of two stones that God gave to Moses that were also in the second one. So if *“those who hate me”* was on the first tablets of two stones then it should also be in the second.
And the LORD said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. Exodus 34:1 (NKJV)
Then in Numbers 14, Moses was the one that was using the words as a plea to God on behalf of the children of Israel.
Why did I go through this route? It is simply to help us see how this scripture has been misinterpreted to say something that it is not really saying.
Let’s examine this Scripture critically;
Who are those that God will visit the sins of their fathers to their children and to the third and fourth generation?
To be continued…