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The Law of God discuss Sins of fathers to 3rd/4th generation in the Theological Forum forums; How do I interpret the commandment saying that God will visit "the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth ...

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    nwink is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    Sins of fathers to 3rd/4th generation

    How do I interpret the commandment saying that God will visit "the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me"? When I used to have a dispensational study Bible when I was younger, the author pointed to Ezekiel 18:2 to say people now only bear their own, individual sins.

    What does it mean that God will "visit the iniquity" of the fathers on the children? Is this command applied the same way today OR do people just bear their own individual sins? Please help me clear up this confusion.
    Nathan
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    Claudiu is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    I'm curious to see what others have to say about this because I'm interested. I've been told by some family members that this is about 'generational curses'. They were really big on this; and they would tell me that if we don't break the generational curse of our grandmother I would still be under the curse. They even had a book suggested for me to read about generational curses that goes into more detail, but I've haven't seen it or read it. Has anyone else come across this 'generational curse' idea?
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    earl40's Avatar
    earl40 is offline. Puritanboard Junior
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    I believe it means the effects of those sins hang around a long time.
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    Peairtach is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
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    I believe Calvin says it is because the sins of one generation have a bad effect on, and can be copied by, subsequent generations (?)
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    Wayne is offline. Tempus faciendi, Domine.
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    The context provides a clue to the proper interpretation:

    Exodus 20:5
    Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;
    Idolatry, as one Puritan notes, is a sin based on tradition, and in demonstration, he pointed to John 4:20:

    John 4:20
    Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
    It's also interesting to note that all pursuit of false gods amounts to hatred [them that hate Me] of the one true and living God. See No God But God, edited by Os Guiness and John Seel (1992) for further on that point.
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    nwink is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    bump...
    Nathan
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    nwink is offline. Puritanboard Sophomore
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    More thoughts?
    Nathan
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    Rich Koster's Avatar
    Rich Koster is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustine View Post
    I'm curious to see what others have to say about this because I'm interested. I've been told by some family members that this is about 'generational curses'. They were really big on this; and they would tell me that if we don't break the generational curse of our grandmother I would still be under the curse. They even had a book suggested for me to read about generational curses that goes into more detail, but I've haven't seen it or read it. Has anyone else come across this 'generational curse' idea?
    This generational curse stuff is big in charismania and a lot of so called deliverance ministries. I would steer clear of it.

    Does a believer hate God? I would say no. Therefore, how can a believer be under a curse?

    Exodus 20:4“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (NAS / emphasis mine)
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    Caroline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustine View Post
    I'm curious to see what others have to say about this because I'm interested. I've been told by some family members that this is about 'generational curses'. They were really big on this; and they would tell me that if we don't break the generational curse of our grandmother I would still be under the curse. They even had a book suggested for me to read about generational curses that goes into more detail, but I've haven't seen it or read it. Has anyone else come across this 'generational curse' idea?
    Yes. This is best known as the hoax promoted by Bob Larson, who made a lot of money conning Christians into believing that (1) they have curses on them and (2) he can sell them a book or video informing them how to rid themselves of those curses. Bob had a radio program for a while in which he supposedly cast out demons. People would call into this program saying that they had problems like illness or depression, and then suddenly, they would manifest demons, hissing and talking funny and wailing about how much trouble Bob's radio program was for Satan's empire. Despite how much the 'demons' hated Bob, they were always very thoughtful in that they complied with FCC regulations about obscenity and profanity, and so Bob was able to carry on throwing them out for years.

    But the idea of generational curses ... I don't know whether it actually originated with Bob or he just made it much more popular. It was all the rage for a while. One was supposed to go deep into prayer and fasting until it was revealed what event far back in generational history had generated a curse that was still affecting you today. It was often quite racist also, in that if you had mixed blood of any kind, that was definitely a sign that you had multiple curses on you. And female ancestors were by far more likely to have bewitched the family tree.

    As my family is as mixed as an old stray dog, we had quite the range of curses. My father's side has some ancestry from India, and there was this story, which turned out to be a very common story for someone with ancestors from India--supposedly back in the day, a female ancestor was about to be burned to death on a suttee, and as that did not appeal to her, she murdered the people holding her captive and escaped ... thereby putting a curse of murder and fear on the family tree.

    Of course, one could not speak out against this sort of thing back then, but I always thought in my heart that if that were true, then I quite admire that ancestor. If there is a curse that puts that kind of spunk in you, then (as Tevya would say) may God curse me with it, and may I never recover.

    But the short story here (although it is far too late for that) is .... avoid books about generational curses. It is all a lot of nonsense in which people sit around and think up fantastic excuses for the current condition of their lives so that they do not have to take any actual responsibility.
    Caroline
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