The Second Commandment – The Four Generation Curse
This is my ninth post on the Ten Commandments using Buddy Dano’s study: FOR THE LAND OF THE FREE: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF FREEDOM and the second post of two dealing with the second commandment. This post deals exclusively with what is called “the four generation curse.”
Teaching the four generation curse doesn’t seem to be very popular right now. In fact, it has probably never been a very popular topic. I mean, really, who wants to hear about cursing when there is so much to learn about blessing? I can see how people would think that but the Bible does teach about both so it must be important. The one principle that comes through in this excerpt, and that we believers should always keep in mind, is that God always provides grace before judgment. There is always an opportunity to repent before God judges.
The concept of grace before judgment applies to both individuals and nations. The four generation curse applies to individuals and when the concept is applied to nations it is called the five cycles of discipline which I have posted on before.
I often try to provide additional material on topics that I post about. Bob DeWaay has an excellent article on Generational Curses and I recommend following the link and reading his article. Pastor DeWaay is reformed in theology (I am dispensationalist) so I am going to provide my usual caveat and state that I do not agree with every doctrine he teaches and do not necessarily endorse everything he says in any particular article. However, in order to give credit where it is due, reformed scholars are some of the few that have actually taken the time to study the Old Testament and they have done some excellent work in that respect.
Here is Pastor Dano:
THE FOUR GENERATION CURSE
1. This doctrine is directly stated in the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:4-6, ‘‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is inHeaven above, or that is in the Earth beneath, or that is in the water under the Earth. 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; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.’’ And in Deuteronomy 5:8-10, ‘‘Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above, or that is in the waters beneath the Earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto 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. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.’’
2. The four generation curse occurred as a part of the rejection of God’s GRACE.
Exodus 34:6, 7, ‘‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and Truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.’’ Numbers 14:18, ‘‘The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.’’
You will never have the four generation curse where people respond to the GRACE of God.
3. The mechanics of the four generation curse are given in Proverbs 30:11-17.
‘‘THERE IS A GENERATION that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. THERE IS A GENERATION that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. THERE IS A GENERATION, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. THERE IS A GENERATION, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the Earth, and the needy from among men. The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough. The grave; and the barren womb; the Earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.’’
4. The four generation curse cannot be understood apart from the law of culpability.
Deuteronomy 24:16, ‘‘The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.’’ Jeremiah 31:29, 30, ‘‘In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.’’
This law simply states that children are not responsible for their parents’ sins without culpability of their own.
5. The principle of God’s fairness to children is given in Deuteronomy 21:15-17. ‘‘If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be her’s that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.’’
It is incompatible with God’s character for Him to be unfair. God is sovereign, righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, immutability and veracity. It is impossible for a righteous and just God to be anything other than His essence, immutability and veracity adds up to fairness.
6. A principle existed in the Old Testament times which is not in effect during the present Church Age. Namely, maximum discipline for a negative or a rebellious son. There were some teenagers in the Old Testament who would never accept authority and were permanently in a state of rebellion. They were put on trial, and if they were convicted, they were executed, capital punishment was used. They were a part of a revolution, and all revolutions are never condoned by God. The war we fought to establish America as a free, independent nation was a war for independence and WAS NOT based on revolutionary principles. It was not the Revolutionary War. It was a war for freedom.
7. The Word of God breaks the four generation curse. Deuteronomy 6:4-13, ‘‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which He sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His Name.’’
Verse 4, ‘‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God (ELOHIM) is one Lord (JEHOVAH).’’ ELOHIM is plural, indicating that the Jews believed in the Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all are co-equal and coeternal, possessing the same essence. When all Three are mentioned together the word ‘‘ELOHIM,’’ or God, is used. When one Person specifically is mentioned, the word ‘‘JEHOVAH,’’ Lord, is used.”
‘‘The Lord our God is one Lord’’ refers to the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of Israel. There is only one God, One Lord in the sense of the King or the Ruler of Israel. Verse 6, ‘‘And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart.’’ The heart refers to the mentality of the soul, which is the authority of the soul. Literally, ‘‘with all thy soul.’’ You cannot love God with your soul until the commander of the soul loves, because it is the mind that contains the Word and all that is necessary for the capacity to love.
‘‘And with all thy might.’’ Literally, ‘‘all thy excess.’’ This is the Word of God producing to the maximum capacity in the life. ‘‘And these words I command thee this day, shall be’’… where? In your emotions? NO! The emotions do not contain the Word. ‘‘These words shall be in your mind,’’ verse 6.
Verse 7, ‘‘And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way and when thou liest down, and when thou riseth up.’’ The intake of the Word of God should be part of your daily routine at home.
Verse 8, ‘‘And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.’’ Carried around the head, they just pulled it out, unrolled it, and read it. It was the original Jewish training aid.
Verse 9, ‘‘And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.’’ A place where everyone could meet, see, and talk about it. And think about it. This is one of several passages that shows how the Word of God breaks the four generation curse. Others: Deuteronomy 7:9, ‘‘Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.’’ Psalm 100:5, ‘‘For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His Truth endureth to all generations.’’ Jeremiah 31:15, 16, ‘‘Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.’’
8. In the Millennium maximum knowledge of the Word breaks the four generation curse, Jeremiah 31:29-34. ‘‘In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an Husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.’’
In this passage Jeremiah looks ahead to the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, at which time the four generation curse will be broken under the New Covenant to Israel. THE PERSONAL REIGN OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ON EARTH WILL GIVE THE WORLD THE GREATEST FREEDOM IT HAS EVER KNOWN.
9. In the time of Jeremiah the four generation curse on idolatry reached its peak, and the fifth cycle of discipline was administered by God. Jeremiah 16:10-13, ‘‘And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? Or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God? Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken Me, saith the Lord, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshiped them, and have forsaken Me, and have not kept My law.’’
Exodus 20:6, continuing with the second commandment.
THE MANUFACTURE OF GRACE. We see the GRACE of God toward those who break away. ‘‘Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.’’ The word ‘‘showing’’ does not mean to show. But what it does say is MANUFACTURE something out of something else. In this passage it means to manufacture GRACE out of the character of God. The Hebrew word here is actually not ‘‘mercy,’’ but GRACE. Literally, ‘‘MANUFACTURING GRACE UNTO THOUSANDS OF THEM THAT LOVE ME.’’ The word ‘‘love’’ is the basic word for love, but here it refers to the constant presence and reception of the Word of God into the mind. The word ‘‘keep’’ is literally translated ‘‘to guard,’’ to guard something that is important that belongs to you.
Therefore this portion of Scripture should be read this way. ‘‘Manufacturing GRACE unto thousands of them that keep on loving Me, and keep on guarding My commandments.’’ How do we guard God’s commandments? By a system of morality? NO! You guard them through the continuous intake of the Word of God as you establish your mind as the authority of your soul for life.