Site Index



Associated Websites



Teaching Pages



Lesson 7 - Intergenerational Problems and Deliverance

Intergenerational and Familiar Spirits

In Lesson 7 of the Intercession and Spiritual Warfare Course we describe how demons can be inherited from parents, grandparents and ancestors - they can come down the blood line. (Exodus 20:5) These spirits, from the practice of family sins; sexual sins; occult practices, can continue to enter subsequent generations unless there is true repentance and the commanding of that demon to go. (1 Peter 1:18,19)

This is a common way for Christians to be demonised.

"Spirits that are passed down through the generations within a family are often called 'family' or 'familiar' spirits. Typically, they have gained entrance through the commitment of or curse put on an ancestor. Such generational spirits tend to cause similar emotional problems, sins, illnesses or compulsions from generation to generation. Suspect a generational spirit if you see both in someone being ministered to and in past generations of that person, such problems as alcoholism, depression, ... or almost any other emotional or physical problem or besetting sin." (Charles Kraft, Defeating dark angels, pp 74-75)

Such demonisation is the consequence of sin and the outworking of the laws of the universe.

The Law of Sowing and Reaping

We question why we seem to keep repeating the pattern of family fears and failings, even though we repeatedly try to change. It is because we are under God's moral law for His creation of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7,8). Whatever we sow, or has been sown into past generations (whether good or bad), that is what we reap. God's laws are intended to be used for good, but if we disobey, we come from the covering of His covenant, and they may become a curse (Deuteronomy 28). The biblical principle of sowing and reaping has consequences not only for individuals, but also for succeeding descendants, families and nations. The children may receive the consequences of punishment stemming from their father's sins, but not the blame (Ezekiel 18:20). A punishment however, that cannot be compared with the blessings promised to those "who love God and keep His commandments".

The Law of Reaping Blessings

A first generation Christian has the responsible task of being freed from and of breaking unresolved spiritual bondages, but also has the amazing privilege of commencing a flow of blessing to their children and their children's children. (Exodus 34:6,7; Deuteronomy 7: 28:1-14; Psalm 103:17,18; Proverbs 20:7)

The Law of Reaping Curses

Wherever we look we see that the consequences of sin pass down the generational family lines and may result in illnesses, curses, blindness, madness, confusion of mind. (Leviticus 26:14-16; Deuteronomy 15+; 27)

Sin - falling short, missing the mark, a failing, independence from God.

Transgression - carries the meaning of breaking a specific rule or law.

Trespass - going into forbidden territory, rebellion.

Iniquity - has to do with generational sin. It has the meaning of perversity, lawlessness - the idea of some sin or sins resulting from a wrong desire or lawlessness, which causes a weakness in our make-up and that of our descendants, or sin as the result of the sins of our ancestors. Iniquity is collective and transferable. (Leviticus 26:39)

Examples from Scripture

Murder - Cain killed Abel, his descendant Lamech also a murderer (Genesis 4:8; 23,24; 27:40,41).

Idolatry - Solomon and the kingdom divided (Exodus 20:4,5; 1 Kings 11:4,5).

Deception - Abraham lied about Sarah (Genesis 12:11,12; 20:11,12); Isaac lied about Rebekah (Genesis 26:6,7); Jacob lied to get Esau's blessing (Genesis 27:35,36); Jacob's sons deceived him about Joseph (Genesis 37:31).

Sexual Sin - David with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:4); his son Ammon raped his half sister (2 Samuel 13:14); Absolom took David's concubines in full view of Israel (2 Samuel 16:22).

Acknowledged by God's servants in the Old Testament - "Our Fathers sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment" (Lamentations 5:7). Ezra, Nehemiah and Daniel each mourn and cry for forgiveness as they confess their sins and the sins of their forefathers, (Leviticus 26:40,41; Ezra 9:7; Nehemiah 1:6; Daniel 9:10,11).

Acknowledged in the New Testament - Jesus to the Pharisees re generational iniquity (Matthew 23:31,32,34-36); and later to the women (Luke 27:24,25), "Do not weep for Me; weep for yourselves and for your children". The terrible words of Pilate and the people's response, "I am innocent of this man's blood, it is your responsibility!" Let His blood be upon us and upon our children" (Matthew 27:24,25).

Transmitted Effects

Physical - family likeness and structure; genetic defects and family illnesses.

Emotional - traits and temperaments; inappropriate emotional reactions, extreme outbursts.

Mental - intellectual abilities, academic, practical; hereditary mental weakness and illnesses.

Spiritual - a heart toward the Lord; propensity to sin, oppression, demonic bondages, addictions.

Familiar or Family Spirit - These are demonic spirits that attach themselves to a curse or to a person who has given them access. The foothold gained by that spirit will remain in the family line, fastening on an individual's sin and rebellion. The person is now not only struggling against the general family traits, but also is contending against the familiar/family spirit.

Inherited Problems

As we have seen, spiritual, emotional and physical problems can be passed on. Charles Kraft writes

We have found that almost every type of demon can be passed on through inheritance. Frequently, when people manifest the negative emotional characterisitics or even the physical illnesses of their parents, these have been passed on demonically. We have found inherited spirits of fear, death, pornography, rejection, hate, rage, homosexuality, cancer and diabetes. (Deep wounds, deep healing. p263)

Specifically, curses can contaminate the whole family line with demons. This is particularly true through the oaths taken by Freemasons. These are actually curses, affecting themselves and their family. Refer back to Lesson 5 - Inner Healing - Reclaiming the Mind and Will from Vows, Curses and Deception. Specific teaching on Freemasonry will be another lesson.

Through their own sin, a person may have given legal rights to a demon. However, when teaching in Defeating dark angels on getting demons out, p188, Charles Kraft instructs, "Go for intergenerational spirits or curses first... I will often say, 'In the name of Jesus I command you to tell me if you have any grip through inheritance.'" A person's coming to Christ does not necessarily deal with their inherited demons. Always check for inherited demons which will have been working to tempt the person to sin. Deliverance will be much harder if authority is not taken over these during ministry.

The Power of the Cross

The sinless (no original, generational or personal sin) Lord Jesus Christ, through His death for us and our sins, has redeemed us from, and will restore to us all the enemy has taken and defiled (Isaiah 53:4,5). On the day of Atonement, Moses was told to take two goats, one was to be slain for sins committed, the other to be sent into the wilderness bearing Israel's iniquity and rebellion. It gives us a remarkable picture of Jesus at the cross, taking on Himself both the punishment and consequences of our personal sins and the effects of the sins and iniquities of our ancestors (Leviticus 16:7-9; 15,16; 20-22).

The place where we find cleansing and release is always at the feet of Jesus at the cross. We deal with generational sin the same way as we deal with personal sin.

Release from the Effects of Generational Sin and Rebellion

Prepare a family tree, called a genogram - tracking the generations as far as you know, showing the background, nationalities, family baggage, witchcraft, occult, freemasonry. Note any recurring patterns - addictions, compulsions, fascination with New Age, psychic phenomena, history of early deaths, miscarriages, painful emotions such as rejection, fear, depression, anger, and violence. If for any reason you have no knowledge of your family history, ask the Lord to show you why you react in certain ways and to give you revelation of any generational sins He wants to heal. (See Resource Sheet 11 - Sample Genogram)

Acknowledge what the iniquities are, take responsibility for them as a member of your family line (Leviticus 26:40-42). Confess and repent on their behalf, knowing that the Lord's desire and will is to free you (1 Peter 1:18). Pray deliverance from all demonic spirits that have come down the family line. Cut off all ungodly soul ties that still link you to parents, grandparents and great grandparents to the third or fourth generation, or, for some sin, to the tenth generation (Deuteronomy 23:2). Depending on knowledge gained from demons of the Holy Spirit you might go even further back.

Praise and thank God that we now belong to His family and so inherit all the blessings of our new family line (Ezekiel 36:35-37; Romans 8:15-17; Ephesians 1:3-5, 2:4-6).

Practical Suggestions for Deliverance Ministry

See also Resource Sheet 12 - Demon Groupings and Resource Sheet 13 - Deliverance Ministry Consensus. You will notice that those preparing the Consensus Statement would not agree with some of our teaching. There is much controversity about the demonic and deliverance ministry. These represent but two approaches and opinions.

There are no set rules for deliverance ministry, each person must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. However, we offer the following as suggestions:

  1. Pray for God's protection over all present, their families and possessions. Bring them under the covenant of the Blood of Christ.

  2. In the Name of Jesus bind any and all lying spirits that would cause fear, confusion or unbelief. Forbid any demon to harass the person or anyone present, or to cause any harm or disturbance, particularly familial spirits.

  3. Cut generational bondages or curses, through the redeeming blood of Jesus, to the third and fourth generation of each person's family line, and further back if necessary.

  4. Ask the person receiving ministry:

    • To surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    • To confess any unforgiveness, know sin or occult activity.

  5. Wait on the Lord, seeking him until discernment of the spirit/demon is given by the Holy Spirit. Challenge it by name or function, e.g. pride.

  6. Bind the spirit by name.

  7. Unless led otherwise, have the person deal with all sin that gave the spirit access and renounce the spirit in Jesus' name.

  8. Ask the person to command the spirit (by name) to leave them. It is sometimes difficult for a person to respond, due to blocking by the enemy. It is important that their will is involved and they are given the opportunity to tell any demons to leave.

  9. When commanding spirits to go in Jesus' name, use their name or the effect they have, if their name is not known ("the spirit of fear", "the spirit you inherited from your grandmother", or "the spirit that is causing depression").

  10. It is not necessary to shout at demons. They have no eardrums and are not deaf. Shouting can be very frightening for the one receiving prayer. Know your authority in Christ and speak quietly and definitely, not allowing any demon to take over the ministry.

  11. Should the spirit/demon resist leaving:

    • Ask the Lord or demon what legal ground allows the spirit to remain, dealing with any sin as in point 4 above.

    • Ask the person to step-by-step surrender every part of his/her body and life to the Lordship of Christ.

    • Sing praise songs to the Lord; declaring his truth and victory; exalt his Name and proclaim his triumph over Satan.

    • Use the Blood of Jesus to break the evil spirit's hold on the person. The hymn chorus "There is power, power, wonder-working power in the Blood of the Lamb" is very effective in unsettling the evil spirit and causing it to leave (Revelation 5:12; 12:11).

    • Pray quietly in your prayer language, for when we pray in tongues our spirit prays (1 Corinthians 14:14). Spirits often respond to tongues, or discernment is given as to what is preventing deliverance.

  12. The following check-list from "Demons defeated" by Bill Subrtizky can be helpful if there is still resistance:

    • Ensure that they have renounced all forms of unbelief and made Jesus their Lord and Saviour.

    • Ensure they repent from any occult activity, and renounce occult involvement on the part of parents and ancestors.

    • Check the area of forgiveness, with particular relvance to parents, relatives, etc.

    • Ensure that they honour their parents.

    • Ensure that they have renounced all sexual sin, including abortion, adultery, homosexuality.

    • Ensure that they are really repentant.

  13. Sometimes, when being cast out, a spirit will try to manifest in some way. Extreme manifestations can be a little scary: someone once said it is the sign of a spirit having a temper tantrum, angry at being uncovered and commanded to go. (There may be coughing, sighing, shaking, rigidity, facial distortion, etc.) Jesus has given us his authority to always be in charge. There is no place for the demon to show off or embarrass the person. Command the demon not to harm, cause violence or distress the person. If necessary command the demon to be silent.

  14. Send the evil spirit to Jesus to deal with as he wills. Only at the end of time will Satan and his associates be cast into the pit (Revelation 20:1-3), and finally be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10).

  15. Press through until the person is at peace and rest. Sometimes a member of the prayer ministry team may have a word of knowledge to share with the one receiving prayer.

  16. If you sense there are other entities present but have no time to deal with them, seal all entrances with the Blood of Jesus and bind the spirits, forbidding them to cause the person any harm until further ministry is possible.

  17. If psychic powers, telepathy, etc., have been involved, close the psychic door into their spirit and seal it by the power of the Holy Spirit and place it under the Blood of Jesus, so that the person will no longer be open to psychic spirit influences, but only to the influence of the Holy Spirit.

  18. Encourage the person to take every destructive habit to the Cross.

  19. Pray for the person to be filled with the love of Jesus, and with the power of the Holy Spirit.

  20. Pray for the Holy Spirit to come in power, burning up every vestige of evil and washing the person clean.

  21. Pray for the Spirit of Jesus to fill every place that has been vacated by an evil spirit: e.g. replace the spirit of hatred with his love, etc.

  22. Pray for physical and emotional healing, and mental wholeness. A person's mind, emotions, and spirit are often harmed through demonic activity and take time to heal.

  23. At the close of ministry, give thanks and praise to God. Through the Cross and the Blood of Jesus cut off any defilement or oppression received by the ministry team from evil spirits that have been cast out.

A spirit/demon can leave a person during step no. 8 in this process. The other suggestions are given for difficult or resistant situations only. If there seem to be a lot of steps in this process that is just for completeness. As you gain experience and confidence you will find yourself compressing the process to just what is needed for a particular case. The Spirit will guide you in order to make your ministry more effective, nore efficient, and less demanding on you and the person receiving ministry.

Charles Kraft has found that it is possible to speak to the demons seeking information from them - for example,. what legal ground they hold; when they entered; what lies and accusations they are using. If this method is used caution must be taken:

  • Always take authority in Jesus' Name, commanding them to speak the truth.

  • Never trust anything a demon says without checking it out. They are liars by nature. However, when commanded by a follower of Jesus they will speak truth, but it can be cryptic and require sorting out.

  • Don't let demons take command or distract at any time.

Demonstration videos of Dr Kraft's ministry of deep healing and deliverance are available from Beth Tephillah Ministries and Roaring Mouse Publishing in Australia (PAL format) or from Dr Kraft himself in the USA (NTSC format). These illustrate the effectiveness of such ministry. The key is not in our own ability but in knowing our authority in Christ and the complete sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring freedom to the captives. You can do this too.

Whatever method is used, never lose sight of the most important part in any healing ministry - that there is no substitute for listening to the Holy Spirit and being directed moment by moment by him. Our greatest effectiveness results from our intimacy with the Father, as we pray in the authority of the resurrected Lord Jesus, by the power and leading of the Holy Spirit.

Bibliography and Suggested Reading

  • Anderson, Neil T., The Bondage Breaker: Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings, Habitual Sins. Harvest House Publishers, 2006.
  • Hammond, Frank and Ida Mae, Pigs in the parlor: a practical guide to deliverance. Kirkwood, MO: Impact Books. Nd.
  • Horrobin, Peter, Healing through deliverance: the biblical basis. Chichester: Sovereign World, 1991.
  • Horrobin, Peter, Healing through deliverance: the practical ministry. Chichester: Sovereign World, 1995.
  • Kraft, Charles H., Deep wounds, deep healing. Tonbridge, Kent: Sovereign World, 1994.
  • Kraft, Charles H., Defeating dark angels. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1992.
  • Kraft, Charles H., Healing in the kingdom videos. Williamstown, Victoria, Australia: Roaring Mouse publishing, 2000, 2001, 2003.
  • McAll, Kenneth, Healing the family tree. London: Sheldon Press, 1986.
  • Sandford, John and Sandford, Mark, A comprehensive guide to deliverance and inner healing. Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 1992.