Let’s consider the topic of “Christian superstition”. Perhaps some of us would not be too keen to admit that we are superstitious, but again recently I’ve encountered quite a number of people that have been influenced by this teaching of “blood line curses”, “generational curses” and so on. In my opinion, there are two reasons why this type of thing has an appeal.
People are fascinated and intrigued by the supernatural; spooks, goblins, spells and curses and this kind of thing are big sellers nowadays. If you look at the big selling books and the big selling films, it’s often to do with the supernatural. So people have an inclination towards this kind of thing.
Man is forever trying to lay the blame on someone else or something else for his sin. Modern psychology is testimony of the fact that people don’t like accepting blame. Blame your father, blame your mother, blame the environment for why you are what you are, and as I’ve mentioned before this has its root right back in the book of Genesis in the creation. Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent did not have a leg to stand on! So man is inclined to not want to accept responsibility for his sin.
Salvation plus “something else”
This whole thing about curses etc seems to have some kind of attraction for certain people. Often people who get converted amongst the black community that have practiced ancestral worship, are accused of bringing in their ancestral worship and mingling it with Christianity. But westerners who bring all this superstition and fear into Christianity and get people to believe that the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary is not sufficient to deal with their past and to deal with their sin, are no better off. They preach that “something extra” is needed, that you have to go through some extra process or go and see someone who has had specialised training, so that they can get blood line curses and generational curses etc broken.
1 Corinthians 5:17 says:
“If any man is in Christ he is a new creature, old things have passed away behold all things, all things, have become new.”
Years back there was a doctrine that had a similar kind of appeal - where you didn’t have to accept responsibility for your own choices and your own sins. That was the doctrine of Christians being demon possessed. People would go and have the demon of nicotine cast out of them and the demon of alcohol. Everywhere you looked there was suddenly a demon to account for why people were doing what they were doing. So these kinds of fads go through the church periodically. The Bible says that we need to become mature so that we’re not blown about by every wind of doctrine. Yet you still find that every time there’s a new teaching in the church, it seems to appeal to certain Christians who do not know the Word of God, people who do not have a good firm grounding in the Scripture. Many Christians today do not read the Bible and those who do read the Bible perhaps read a verse or two out of some devotional book. But very few people read and study the Bible and really get grounded in the Word of God. That is why these types of doctrine find a root and a base in people’s hearts and lives.
Is it possible for a Christian to be demon possessed?
2 Corinthians 6:14 says:
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers, for what does righteousness and wickedness have in common? What fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
Now this is an admonition and a command for us not to get married to unbelievers or to go into business with unbelievers. “What fellowship can light have with darkness?” And yet people have this doctrine which suggests that a demon can cohabit our body with the Holy Spirit. Would the Holy Spirit and the Word of God charge us to live holy and separate lives - not to have anything to do with the darkness and unbelievers - and yet the same Holy Spirit is prepared to cohabit with a demon? I think not!
Now I would like to touch on some of the spiritual lucky charms (or rabbit’s feet) that people use,
The name of Jesus.
Now you might be surprised that I classify the name of Jesus as a lucky charm, but many people use the name of Jesus in this manner. Jesus did not give us his name; he gave us authority in his name - and there is a big difference between the two.
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out. Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you? Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
Why? Because Jesus did not give us his name; he gave us authority in his name - and to have authority, you have to be in submission.
The name of Jesus.
People say: Resist the devil and he will flee from you. What is Scriptural is:
Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. You can resist the devil as much as you like, but if you are not in submission to God he will not flee from you. When the centurion sent for Jesus to pray for his servant’s healing, he said:
I am a man under authority.” He did not say, “I am a man with authority,” but: “For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
You see to have authority you have to be under authority - and so to be able to have authority over Satan, we have to be under authority. There are many people who are not under authority. They are not under a spiritual authority of a local Assembly; they are not under authority in their home situation. If you are not under authority, you have no authority.
Pleading the blood.
Pleading the blood
The second “lucky charm” though not as prevalent as it used to be, is still encountered, and that is “Pleading the Blood”. People have gone around pleading the blood over their homes, over their rooms and all over the garden - as if it is some kind of lucky charm. The blood is to protect us against the wrath of God, not against Satan. When the angel of the Lord passed over the land of Egypt, killing the firstborn of the Egyptians, the firstborn amongst the Israelites were protected by the blood. The Lord says:
When I (the Lord) see the blood I will pass over you.
Applying the blood of Jesus protects us from the wrath of God.
Those who have not applied the blood of Jesus to the door of their hearts will one day experience the wrath of God. People take one particular Scripture which they don’t understand and misapply it.
For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…
How do you overcome Satan’s accusations? By the blood of the Lamb. When he tells us how sinful we are, we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. The blood of Jesus has washed our sins away. It’s not a charm to save you from harm because it goes on to say:
“They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
So these people were prepared to die for their faith and that’s how they overcame.
Binding and loosing.
Binding and Loosing is another form of “lucky charm” that is used.
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
First and foremost: “You are Peter” i.e. “You are Petros” – a little stone. “…and on this Petra” - this rock - the rock of your confession – “I will build my church”. Peter is not the foundation of the church as the Catholic Church teaches; Peter’s confession is the foundation on which Jesus built His church.
If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Upon that confession, Jesus Christ builds His church.
“I will build my church and the gates of hell” The original in the Greek is “the gates of Hades will not prevail against it” Hades is not a place where Satan is. Hades is a place where the righteous dead used to go before Jesus died and where the wicked dead still go. You’ll find that when Jesus spoke about Hades, he said that the rich man died and went to Hades, while Lazarus died and he was carried to Abraham’s bosom. Abraham’s bosom was part of Hades because the rich man could see Lazarus and begged Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water and to put it on the tip of his tongue. Both of these people were in Hades but there was a great gulf, the Bible says, that separated the two of them.
The people of the Old Covenant had to go to Hades because Jesus had not yet died for their sins. Before Jesus died on the cross and paid for our sins, when the righteous died they also went down to Hades. So when Jesus said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against his Church, he was speaking about the “New Covenant church” that he was going to build who would not pass through the gates of Hades.
I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
When Jesus died, he descended to the lower regions. Jesus went to Hades (Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise) and not to hell. He was not beaten up and tortured by demons (who aren’t in hell yet anyway) and spat upon and all the rest. That’s another unbiblical, doctrine that went around a number of years ago.
But to each of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” This is why it says: “when he ascended on high he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.
So when Jesus ascended on high, it says that he led captives in his train - in his procession. Paul continues:
What does he ascended mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.
Jesus told the thief on the cross. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus said on the cross: “It is finished.” John 19:29.
Matt 27:51. “the veil in the temple was torn in two” showing that the way into the Holy of Holies was made open. The redemptive work was complete, our sins were paid for. There was no need for Jesus to go down and be tortured in hell as some teach. If we do not know the Scriptures, it’s easy to fall prey to some of these false doctrines that go around the church. So Jesus went down to Hades, and when he ascended, he led captives in his train. So now Abraham’s bosom (or paradise) is no longer in the heart of the earth. Remember Jesus when He died on the cross, said to the thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Where was Jesus going? He was not going up; he was going down (Matt 12:40)
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Paradise was down, but in
2 Corinthians 12:4. (Paul)
“was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.”
Paradise is no longer down in Hades it is up in Heaven. The price of sin had been paid for those who believe and those who were in Hades have been set free.
So Jesus is in effect saying:
I will build my church on the foundation of the confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ - and this church will not have to go to Hades. The gates of Hades will not prevail against this church. The gates of Hades prevailed against the Old Covenant people, but it will not prevail against the New Covenant people.
People talk about hell as if it’s some place where the devil is – but the devil is not in hell. People have this idea of the devil poking people with a fork in hell. You get that out of the comics; you won’t find one scripture that support this notion. Oh! Yes I know that people have come back from the dead supposedly and they’ve had all these wonderful revelations of what happened, but we don’t build our doctrine on anyone’s experience or visions which are not supported by the Word of God.
The Bible says this about Satan.
John 12:31. & Eph 2:2.
He is “the prince of this world” / “the ruler of the kingdom of the air”
In Revelation 12 it says that in the time of the tribulation he’s going to be cast out of heaven where he now accuses the brethren before the throne of God day and night. So if Satan has got access in heaven to God’s ear, he has got better things to do than go around pricking people with a fork in hell. The time will come when he will be cast down to the earth (Rev 12) and chained in the Abyss (Rev 20). One of the most terrible things about the tribulation period is that the Bible says that he that restrains will be taken out of the way (2 Thess 2:7)
Who is restraining the wickedness in this world? It is the Holy Spirit. Remember when Jesus said that the Father would send the Holy Spirit who would go with us forever (John 14:16) If the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, the church has to be taken out of the way! So during the tribulation period, the Church will not be here as some teach, but the church will be raptured.
Then God will pour out His wrath and the terrible thing is that the demons and these Satanic forces will operate on earth without the Holy Spirit to restrain them. What a terrible, wicked world we are going to see at this time! I pity those who are going to be left behind and those who have to deal with that period of time. If “binding and loosing”, “pleading the blood” and all that type of thing were legitimate tools in our spiritual warfare and so effective, why didn’t the apostles ever use them? You won’t find one instance with Peter or Paul or one of the apostles “pleading the blood” or “binding and loosing” and all these other wonderful things that Christians in modern spiritual warfare do. They are not part of the weapons that are laid out in Ephesians 6 when it speaks about the armour of God.
Now concerning “binding and loosing” - in the KJV it says:
“Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
NIV: “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The NIV footnote indicates that “will be bound” can also be translated “will have been bound”. Young’s Literal Translation renders it:
“…whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.”
Both Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 use an unusual Greek verbal construction (a periphrastic future perfect). It is best translated by the NASB (New American Standard Bible):
“Whatever you shall bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
Thus the binding and loosing by God in heaven precedes the binding and loosing on earth by the church. The church’s action on earth reflects God’s judgment in heaven. The church follows God, not the other way around.
Binding and loosing is simply this.
The Pharisees used to bind and loose - they used to tell people that certain things were allowed and certain things were forbidden. What Jesus was doing was the following. The church at that stage did not have complete Bibles. You and I have got complete Bibles; the early church only had the Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets). They didn’t yet have the New Testament and they were going into a new dispensation of grace, where some thought you could do as you please. But no! Jesus said to the apostles:
“I give you authority, I give you the keys of the Kingdom, whatever you say is allowed, is allowed and whatever you say is forbidden, is forbidden.”
Simply put: just like the Pharisees used to bind and loose, Jesus gave the apostles authority to bind and loose. They never went around binding the devil or demons. The devil is going to be bound for a thousand years in the Abyss (Rev 20), but up until that time he is roaming around seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8). No spiritual ceremony that you or I do will stop that.
We can stop Satan’s influence in our own lives and to a certain degree in our own family, because there is sanctification that comes for a unbeliever when they are married to a believer (1 Cor 7:14)
Jesus was simply saying that it is not a free for all. People cannot just say, “I’m not under law anymore so I’m going to do what I please.” The apostles had the keys of the Kingdom to declare what is forbidden and what is allowed. And we see that they exercised this authority. In Acts 15:28-29 it says that when the apostles were presented with the question of circumcision:
“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.”
They were loosed from the law of circumcision and even more at a later stage. You’ll find that when Paul writes to the Corinthian church he effectively says that if you are eating meat and you don’t know that it has been offered to an idol, then don’t worry about it.
1 Cor 10:25-30.
Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience’ sake — the other man’s conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another’s conscience? If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
So as the church grew they were released from certain things, but initially the church was told that they were not allowed to eat meat offered to idols. You will find that Paul exercises his apostolic authority later on years down the line to even release them from not eating meat offered to idols. So hopefully that clears a few things up in your mind about binding and loosing. Binding and loosing was simply the authority given to the apostles to declare certain things allowed and certain things forbidden
* Grudem W, Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994
Let us now look at blood line curses and generational curses. Deuteronomy 5:9. is where the root of this issue starts and it’s also mentioned in Exodus 20. Both of these are accounts of the Ten commandments being given.
“visiting the iniquities of the father upon the children until the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”
What is overlooked in this passage of Scripture is the fact that it is visited upon those that hate God. An iniquity is a sin that shows up at a later stage.
Isaiah 53:5. says that Jesus was “bruised for our iniquities” A bruise does not show up straight away. Somebody can hit you on the arm and you will look at your arm and you won’t see anything. It may hurt, but you won’t see anything. The next day you will notice that you have a bruise there and that is what iniquity is. It’s a sin that’s in your family, that if you do not serve the Lord, will almost surely show up in your own life. You will find that often when husbands beat their wives, their sons beat their wives. Often when people abuse alcohol, their children become alcoholics etc, etc. There is a very strong possibility that whatever your father does, you will end up doing - if you hate God.
NB: the iniquities will be visited upon the children up until the third and fourth generation of them that hate God. *Parental influence is huge.
The Jews started believing that this actually meant that if something was wrong with them, it was because their father sinned. People still believed this in Jesus day.
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. Why did the disciples say “Who sinned, this man or his parents”? It was because the people believed that if something was wrong with you, either you or your parents had sinned.
The Lord tells Ezekiel to correct this proverb which he hated.
The fathers eat sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.
The word of the LORD came to me:
Ezekiel 18:1-3 & 5-9 & 10-13.
“What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?”
“As surely as I live,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel.”
And yet people today quote that proverb and people today use that proverb as a basis for teaching generational curses and blood line curses. God hated that proverb then and I can guarantee you that he still hates it now.
The Lord goes to great lengths to clarify this:
“Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right. He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Israel. …He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
“Suppose he has a violent son, who sheds blood or does any of these other things (though the father has done none of them): “He eats at the mountain shrines. He defiles his neighbor’s wife. He oppresses the poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not return what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does detestable things. He lends at usury and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He will not! Because he has done all these detestable things, he will surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head.”
“But suppose this son has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things: “He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house of Israel. He does not defile his neighbor’s wife… He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live.” (Ezekiel 18:14-17)
So God goes through three generations to teach that each and every person is responsible for his own choices, it has nothing to do with what your ancestors did. It says here:
“He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was wrong among his people.
Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’
Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
“But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:17-23)
So if anybody shows you Exodus 20 or Deuteronomy 9 to prove that the iniquity of the father shall be punished to the third and fourth generation, just remind them that it says “of them that hate God”.
In Ezekiel we see clearly that the iniquities of the father shall not be visited down upon the son. Everyone will be dealt with according to his own righteousness or unrighteousness. So this is a false teaching. Now we are living in a day and age in which some people have this attitude that it doesn’t really matter what you believe; doctrine is not really important - what’s important is that we all love one another. Doctrine is important, Paul says that there are those going around teaching certain things and it says they must be silenced.
1 Tim 1:3 … stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer.
1 Tim 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Titus 1: 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
We have been given the Word of God so that we may refute those who teach wrong doctrine. Paul says there are those going around teaching things they ought not to teach destroying the faith of some. What is so sad is that when I searched on Google for “blood line curses” there were only one or two decent sites for every twenty or thirty “nonsense” sites. The sad thing is that young Christians get into churches where this kind of stuff is taught. We need to be very careful because it is unscriptural and it just stirs up superstition and fear in people’s hearts. Paul writes to Timothy and he says:
2 Tim 1:7. KJV
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
These things get a foothold in our minds and we need to have our mind renewed according to the word of God.
So my encouragement to you folks is get into the word of God; don’t just accept what people teach you.
The church in Berea was commended because they didn’t just accept what Paul taught, but they went and they checked it out against the Word of God to make sure that it was true.
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
You have a responsibility to check what I teach. You have a responsibility to check anyone who teaches the Word of God. It does not matter who they are and it does not matter what authority they have over you. The authority of God’s Word is far higher and far greater. Check it out against God’s Word and if it lines up with God’s Word - accept it. If it does not - reject it.