Sin is never fair, but it is predictable. Sins that are repeatedly committed are like weeds planted in the heart. You can mow them down, but until they are understood and dealt with, they will crop back up. Iniquities are like the seeds of weeds—they may die, as your forefathers have, but they will return. Whether the seeds are planted by you, your parents, or your forefathers, the result is a crop of inherited weaknesses or family iniquities:
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. (Proverbs 26:2)
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. (Exodus 20:5)
Remember, the law of iniquity states that the sins of the fathers will continue to the third and fourth generation for those who hate God. But what about those of us who love God? For us, God has made a provision to reverse the curse of iniquities. Just as iniquities are passed through the bloodline, your exemption from the law of iniquity is through blood, the blood sacrifice of your covenant with God. In the old covenant that sacrifice was of bulls and goats, but in the new covenant the perfect, precious blood of Jesus cleanses you from sin and iniquity.
You no longer have to live bound by iniquities and generational curses, being defeated by sin, because Jesus became both your “sin offering” and the “scapegoat” for your iniquities. His physical body was sacrificed, and His perfect blood was offered to God for your sins and iniquities. He took your iniquities and buried them in the sea of forgetfulness. You have something better than the “types” and “shadows” of the Old Testament; you have a better covenant in Jesus:
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20)
Jesus took on Himself the curse of your iniquity. He became cursed that you could be set free and blessed:
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. (Galatians 3:13)
The declaration of your freedom and deliverance from generational curses and iniquities, is found in Isaiah 53:5,11:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. He [God] shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant [Jesus] justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Why was Jesus “bruised” for our iniquities? Because our iniquities, our inherent weaknesses, are like bruises. As we’ve already seen, natural bruises leave a discoloration. They usually hurt the most when you first get them, then they become discolored. Bruises can go very deep, even to the bone. Bruises of the heart—iniquities—can begin with a crisis such as death, abuse, or trauma that may begin a pattern of sin which is passed on to the next generation. Unlike broken bones that can be set or a wound that can be sown up, bruises can’t be treated. A medical doctor will tell you to live with the bruise and it will eventually go away. What the doctor means is that your body will repair itself. Your blood provides nourishment to the body’s cells and takes away the waste. Just as your natural blood brings health to areas that are bruised and moves waste, the blood of Jesus is required to heal your heart bruises and carry away your iniquities. Bruises of the heart don’t heal by themselves and go away; you must apply the blood of Christ for complete recovery.
Maybe a better example is what happens to a piece of fruit that gets bruised. If you drop an apple, it bruises. In fact, when an apple is bruised, it discolors, it begins to rot, and eventually the entire apple spoils. Without the help of Jesus, the bruises you receive from your iniquities, if not dealt with, will cause your heart to rot and will affect your entire life. Jesus, however, bore your bruises—your iniquities:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. (Luke 4:18)
Physical Afflictions and General Iniquities
Doctors are aware that physical afflictions can be a result of a generational iniquity. When you show signs of certain diseases, they want to know if you have a family history of that disease. Maybe arthritis, diabetes, or heart problems run in your family.
I was only twenty-three years old when the doctor told me: “You have an enlarged heart; there’s nothing you can do about it.” The doctor’s words tore away at my faith. Immediately the devil reminded me that my father had had a heart attack and now the same thing was going to happen to me.
I’m sure that the devil held his breath as he waited to see how I would respond to his lie. I was a young Christian at that time, but I knew enough of God’s Word to stand in faith for physical healing. While it is true that my dad did have a heart attack, I knew that Jesus had come to replace family iniquities with blessings and to set me free from every life-threatening sickness.
My husband prayed with me, and we stood on the promises found in Isaiah 53:5 and Psalm 103:3,4:
The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
[Bless the Lord,] who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases. (Psalm 103:3,4)
That same year I was miraculously healed of an enlarged heart! Just recently I had my yearly checkup; the doctor said, “Your heart is excellent.” God reversed the curse that Satan tried to pass down to me from my father. I have a “fixed” heart. You don’t have to live under physical curses because Christ has redeemed you from the curse.
Roots of Iniquity
The roots of iniquity are pulled up through the blood of Jesus. Isaiah 53 says that Jesus bore our sin; He was wounded for our trespasses and bruised for our iniquities. The blood of Jesus is all sufficient, powerful, and devastating to family iniquities in your bloodline. To be effective, however, the blood of Jesus must be applied to your situation. Positive thinking, psychological counseling—even doing “religious” things like singing in the choir—while good, will not solve the problem.
They may provide temporary relief, but only the blood of Jesus is the permanent answer, transforming your curse into a blessing.
The blood of Jesus has purchased your freedom from iniquity, and the witness of the Holy Spirit applies the anointing that breaks the yoke—freeing you of the shackles of your family iniquities:
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing. (Isaiah 10:27)
Types and Shadows
The Old Testament is full of types and shadows of things to come. To really understand the provisions of the new covenant, we need to understand what God provided for Old Testament believers. He has made a way for His people to have freedom from generational iniquities.
The Jewish ceremony of the Day of Atonement gives us a picture of redemption. Through this ceremony you can see how Jesus purchased your freedom from iniquities. When this ceremony was reenacted in heaven on your behalf, Jesus became your High Priest and blood sacrifice.
Picture with me the most important day of the Jewish year, the tenth day of the seventh month, Tishri—the Day of Atonement. On that day the sins, trespasses, and iniquities of the people were cleansed. On the eve of the Day of Atonement, the people fasted and humbled themselves and repented. The next morning they gathered before the gates of the outer court in solemn assembly.
While the hushed crowd waited outside the temple grounds, inside the high priest, having already selected two goats, seven rams, and a bull, began the ceremony by washing (purifying) himself and dressing in the holy, linen robes of his office. All but one of the animals, a goat, would be sacrificed. The high priest offered blood sacrifices for the atonement, which means “reconciliation” of the guilt by divine sacrifice,1 for the sanctuary, tabernacle, brazen altar, and his fellow priests.
Then he killed the goat of the sin offering for the sins, trespasses, and iniquities of all the people of Israel. The blood from the goat chosen to be the sin offering was sprinkled on the mercy seat for the sins the people. (The mercy seat was the place where the presence of God dwelled—the golden center area on the lid of the ark of the covenant cased between the two cherubim.)
The high priest placed both hands upon the head of the remaining goat, the scapegoat, and confessed over it all the sins, transgressions, and iniquities of the people. Then the scapegoat was released into the wilderness. God had accepted the blood of the goat sacrifice as a sin offering, cleansed them of all their sins, and removed their iniquities. Likewise, the blood of Jesus has cleansed you and your family tree of generational iniquities:
And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:22)
A Heroine of the Old Covenant
I believe on one such Day of Atonement that waiting for cleansing from iniquities with the others was a young woman named Jehosheba. She was the bride of a young priest, and the daughter and granddaughter of two of the most evil and wicked women in the Bible—Jezebel and Athalia.
Jehosheba had possibly the worst family tree of anyone in the Bible; yet God, even in Old Testament times, redeemed her from the iniquities of her family. The book of 1 Kings tells her family history.
Omri, Jehosheba’s great-grandfather, was a “bad” king of the Northern Kingdom called Israel. He was a shrewd politician and sought to make peace with the nation of Zidon by marrying his son to Jezebel, who became the wife of Ahab. Jezebel introduced the nation of Israel to the worship of Baal—the most despicable, demonic religion of that day.
The prophet Elijah opposed Ahab and Jezebel and pronounced that there would be a drought in the land. After three years Elijah faced down the prophets of Baal by calling down fire to consume his sacrifice to God. He then called upon the Lord to end the drought. Elijah also prophesied a curse upon Ahab and Jezebel and their descendants. He told them their family would be extinguished.
That was only the beginning of the bad news for Jehosheba. In an attempt to bring peace between the Northern and Southern kingdoms, the “good” king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, accepted a marriage between his son and the daughter of Jezebel, Athalia. Like her mother, Athalia introduced the worship of Baal to her husband and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. After her husband died in battle, his son, Ahaziah, became king. After a few years he was killed. Athalia saw her son’s death as an opportunity to take the throne of Judah and sent assassins to murder her grandchildren. She believed that she could gain the throne of Judah by eliminating all her son’s heirs. What a grandmother! She became the only woman to reign in both the Northern and Southern kingdoms. Had she succeeded in killing all of her grandchildren, the seed of David would have ended and there would have been no Messiah because Jesus had to come through the seed of David.
When Jehosheba heard what her mother was doing, she slipped into the nursery and saved the youngest child from the assassin’s blade. She and her husband guarded the child until he was seven years old. Then her husband brought him to the temple to be crowned king, and Athalia was killed.
Jehosheba became one of the little-known heroines of the Bible despite her family tree. God doesn’t care how rotten your family tree is. When you receive His cleansing, your family iniquities are broken! If God could deliver Jehosheba under the old covenant, just think what He can do through a new and better covenant for you, your children, and the next generation.
If you are concerned about your family because, unlike Jehosheba, your mate isn’t a priest or even a believer yet and you see family iniquities wreaking havoc in your home, then take heart. Remember, it takes only one believing mate to sanctify a house. If you are that one believing person in your home, it’s enough. You can end the generational curse and establish the blessing for your family tree, as we already read in 1 Corinthians 7:14.
The Curse Reversed
Before I was saved and Spirit-filled, I attended a Sunday school class, and everything the teacher said, I challenged. It’s rather embarrassing now to recall some of the ridiculous things I said back then. I certainly never mentioned them to my daughter, Sarah.
When Sarah was a junior at Oral Roberts University, she spent a summer in Germany at a university. When she returned to the United States, she told me that she wasn’t sure that she believed in Jesus. My heart went down to my feet as I listened to her say some of the very things I had said so long ago in that Sunday school class. Sarah was raised in a Spirit-filled home, brought up on the Word of God, and had received the Lord at an early age.
The Lord spoke to me and said, “Don’t fall apart—be cool!” So I told her, “The enemy is trying to steal your faith, but Jesus will make Himself real to you.” Needless to say, my husband, Wally, and I prayed. After returning to ORU, Sarah called me one night. She had recommitted her life to the Lord. When I asked her how it happened, she told me about a young man at school with whom she was studying. He had experienced a similar loss of faith while studying at Harvard. His father insisted that he attend ORU for a year; and, consequently, he regained the truth of his salvation. This young man, having himself just returned to the Lord, led her back to the truth.
Coincidence? No, God had reversed the curse and had begun the blessing, and He will do the same thing in your life and for your next generation!