|CURSES AND THE POWER OF FALSE JUDGMENT - Part 1
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Nov 14 2008 08:00AM
Falling under a Curse
Note: To curse is "...to call upon divine or supernatural power to send injury upon someone; to hex is to affect as if by
an evil spell or to practice witchcraft; to cast a spell is to repeat an incantation that is meant to have power to influence,
to charm, to bewitch someone - such as to put someone under a spell. For example, a man might cast a spell to get a
woman to fall in love with him, or vice versa."
If coming under demonic attack or being infested by a demon is not a currently acceptable concept in mostly mainline
Christian churches today, the idea of being cursed is seen as even more superstitious and primitive, even in many
fundamentalist or conservative churches that claim to be based solely on Scripture. So few churches consider the
possibility of the curse as a real pastoral concern, when so much traditional pagan religion not only believes in it but
concentrates on seeking blessings and avoiding curses through the rituals of their native priests(shamans). The
Christians in many third world countries still seek help instinctively, believing in the power of the curse. It has been
estimated that the majority of Hispanic Catholics in Latin America (and in the United States, too) seek help from
Santeria, voodoo, or other such groups when they feel cursed.
The Evidence of Scripture
Our abandonment of teaching on blessings and curses is all the more extraordinary when you consider what a
prominent place it occupies in the New as well as the Old Testament. Certainly Scripture's main emphasis is on God's
goodness and blessings coming on those who do His will, rather than on evil and curses. Blessing is mentioned in
Scripture some 410 times. Still, cursing in its various forms is mentioned 230 times.
One of the reasons given for Jesus' death on the cross was the transformation of the curse on the human race into a
EVERY ONE THAT HANGETH ON A TREE:" Galatians 3:13
Large sections of the Bible give lists of curses that descend on those who disobey God's commandments. Moses, for
example, divided the tribes of Israel into two groups and had six tribes stand on Mount Gerizim to pronounce the
blessings of God on those who follow His commandments. Then the other six tribes stood on Mount Ebal to pronounce
curses on the disobedient (Deuteronomy 27:12-14).
The Levites proclaimed the curses in a loud voice, beginning with this:
hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen."
In the next chapter Moses listed the blessings showered on the obedient, followed by a longer and very graphic list of
curses. Among them:
until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly: because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou
hast forsaken me.
thou goest to possess it.
burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
be destroyed." Deuteronomy 28:20-24
This list of disasters goes on and on: Your enemies will defeat you; your carcasses will lie unburied; you will be afflicted
with boils and tumors; you will go mad; your wife will be ravished; another nation will take everything that belongs to
you. These sufferings dramatize what the forces of evil will do to us once God's protection is removed through our
The book of Numbers devotes three chapters (22-24) to the fascinating struggle between Balak, the Moabite king, and
Balaam, the local prophet. Balak tried to bribe Balaam to curse the Israelites who had arrived at the border of Moab:
"Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away" (Numbers 22:
11). Balaam had sense enough to know he should not "go beyond the command of the the LORD my God" (verse
18). Still, King Balak persisted in trying to lure Balaam into joining the Moabite side.
Only Balaam's donkey could see the angel God sent to block the way, and it balked three times. Balaam beat the
donkey until at last Balaam also saw the angel and was convinced it was better to turn back and face Balak rather than
incur God's wrath. After that, each time King Balak commanded Balaam to curse the Israelites, Balaam would open his
mouth only to bless: "May those who bless you be blessed, and those who curse you be cursed!" (Numbers 24:9).
These and countless other scripture passages reveal the truth that words can convey spiritual power for either good or
evil, beyond mere human utterance.
Nor is this simply an Old Testament concept left behind in New Testament times. Remember, for example, the
mysterious incident of Jesus cursing the fig tree (Mark 11:14); the next day Peter was startled to see that the curse had
worked and that the fig tree, in one day, had withered to its roots (verse 20). In the early Church we find Paul cursing
the sorcerer Elymas, who was try to turn Sergius Paulus, the proconsul, against Paul.
cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the
Here again we see that early Christian preaching presented the Gospel primarily as an active struggle between the
Kingdom of God and kingdom of Satan - a conflict in which Jesus brings us a victory because He bears God's power to
overcome evil. At first glance it might seem that Paul was not acting in a Christian way, calling Elymas "a child of the
devil." then striking him blind. But then we notice that the blindness was only for a time; the curse was to stop Elymas'
interference and, Paul hoped, to lead to his conversion. The purpose of witchcraft is to gain power; and Elymas, a man
greedy for power, discovered a power stronger than his own. It was an argument Elymas could understand. Also, the
effectiveness of Paul's curse led to the procosul's conversion - a conversion story people in Africa today would
understand better than most of us, since they know by experience the power of witchcraft.
The curse on Elymas is clearly a New Testament exception, since Paul taught that we should bless those who curse us
and return blessings for evil (Romans 12:14); furthermore, when James and John wanted to call down fire on the
Samaritans who refused them hospitality, Jesus rebuked them (Luke 9:52-55).
Whenever we wish evil on others, in the worldview of the Bible, our words may carry not only the human freight of anger
and ill-wishing, but a spiritual power to block or hurt people.
How Do We know If Someone Is Cursed?
Whenever we try to decide whether a person has been demonized, the visible evidence is ambiguous. The only sure
way of knowing about these things - since the cause is in the spirit realm and therefore invisible - is when the minister of
deliverance has a true gift of discernment. But the effects of a curse can still often be observed, so that we can say,
"Probably this person, or this family is under some kind of curse."
Derek Prince, who has amassed years of experience in praying for deliverance, lists seven signs indicating that a
person or family may be suffering from a curse:
1) Mental or emotion breakdown. Derek's experience leads him to believe that chronic depression usually has its
source in some kind of occultic activity - either the person's own involvement or that of an ancestor. You do not need to
believe that most depression can be traced back to a curse, but it would be wise to consider, when you are trying to
help someone suffering from depression, whether a curse might be the root cause.
2) Repeated or chronic sickness, especially if it is hereditary. This is particularly true if physicians can find no
adequate cause for the illness.
3) Barrenness and a tendency to miscarry.
4) Breakdown of marriage and family.
5) Continuing financial insufficiency when a person's salary and education indicate that he/she should be financially
solvent, yet he/she never seems to be able to pay their bills.
6) Being accident-prone.
7) Family history of unnatural (e.g., suicide) or untimely deaths.
Note: Demonic powers can heal by simply removing the evil they have inflicted on people.
None of these very human problems is enough in itself, of course, to prove the presence of a curse. It is only when
several signs are present, or when one sign is particularly severe, that you may suspect a curse has been inflicted.
Even then you can be certain only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Yet we need to be aware that many
Christians who should be enjoying life are living under a curse. We should note, too, that these seven categories
correspond to the list of curses in Deuteronomy 28.
Let's take just one example. Almost everyone in the United States realizes that the breakdown of family life, especially
the alienation of children from their parents, is at the root of many of our problems. Human factors account for much of
this: greed (with one or both parents spending too much time at work), infidelity, adultery, racism (leading to minority
families suffering from the rage of failed hopes). Yet we need to recognize that, along with natural, human problems,
the force of a curse may underlie many of the problems destroying our society. As Deuteronomy predicts: "Your sons
and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day,
powerless to lift a hand (28:32); and "You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go
into captivity (28:41).
The literal fulfillment of these prophecies occurred, of course, when the Israelites were marched off into Babylonian
captivity; but Derek Prince believe this curse is being worked out today when parents see,
every form of the occult. ...We need to see it as the outworking of a curse, which is responsible for the agonies of
strife-torn homes, broken marriages and disintegrated families. Perhaps the most accurate word to describe the
force responsible for these results is alienation. It comes between husbands and wives, parents and children,
brothers and sisters, and all others who should be united by the bonds of family. It's goal is the destruction of the
This dissension and the breakup of family life has hit our churches. In newsletter after newsletter, pastors and
evangelists report the unprecedented destruction of churches and clergy marriages.
Friends of mine (Francis MacNutt) in direct contact with what goes on in satanic covens in various parts of the country
report that these covens target clergy marriages and churches, and direct curses to destroy them, in two ways:
their leaders, sometimes they actually send a member of the coven to stir up criticism and division within the
church or to seduce the pastor or pastor's spouse.
Again, Human weakness can account for many of our failing. But we also need to be aware of the reality of spiritual
warfare and the need to pray for protection - and perhaps to be freed from the effects of a curse. For this reason our
family prays daily for protection.
Curses That Come On Us From Outside
"As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come." Proverbs 26:2.
The New King James translation of Proverbs puts it, "A curse without cause shall not alight." In other words, we remain
free from curses unless there is some reason for the curse to settle on us. So whenever we need to remove a curse, it
helps to know its cause so we can pull it out by the root.
The cause for curses that come on us from outside, through no fault of our own, fall into two general categories:
1) curses that descend on us from past generations;
2) curses that come to us from some present cause.
Curses from the Past
Here we should emphasize that we can be innocent of wrongdoing, yet be the victim of a curse if we have not protected
ourselves and our families through prayer. The tragic reality is that curses can descend on us without any fault on our
part. The good news is that they can be broken through God's power, once we recognize their presence.
The most memorable example I can think of is a woman who wanted prayer for a relatively ordinary problem: She had
trouble being patient and was easily angered - a common human failing. She was a regular churchgoer; in fact, she
taught Sunday school. But once we started to pray, her face changed into a snarling mask of rage. Worse yet, this
ordinarily meek woman started speaking in an altered voice and insulting us. Fortunately someone in our group had a
gift of discernment and said, "This all started in a black mass said in England hundreds of years ago, when her family
was consecrated to Satan." As soon as he said this, the spirit responded indignantly, "Who told you that!"
In the first Commandment God declares,
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." Exodus 20:5-6.
If someone in our ancestry did something such as consecrate the family to Satan, the disastrous results continue even
beyond the fourth generation, until the curse is broken.
Three main causes of these generational curses are:
1) If the family has been involved in the occult, especially if there have been witches or warlocks in the family
tree. When we consider that we have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents and sixteen great-
great-grandparents-for a total of thirty in all - How many of us would be in a position to guarantee that none of our thirty
immediate ancestors was ever involved in any form of idolatry or the occult?
2) If the family itself has been cursed by someone else.
3) If the family has been deeply involved in some kind of sinful activity. Idolatry is specifically mentioned under the
first Commandment in Exodus 20.
These generational curses can have two effects. One, God's blessings may simply be blocked. The curse forms a
barrier that needs to be broken so that God's blessing can flow upon the family. Second, multiple disasters sometimes
seem to target a family. (Several families prominent in the United States probably come immediately to your mind when
you think of tragedy afflicting several generations.) The ancient Greeks even named a goddess, Nemesis, to represent
the personal force that haunts and pursues a family to destroy it. When we use words to describe this phenomenon,
words like uncanny, or when member of a family suffer from some foreboding or from a fear of death, they are
recognizing intuitively that a power beyond the normal seems to govern their family's "fate."
Curses from Some Present Cause
This is the second category of curses that affect us from the outside. Earlier in this chapter I mentioned the Anglican
priest in England who fell sick while he was a missionary in Africa through the hexes directed his way by a witch doctor.
Much voodoo (black magic) centers around cursing people and casting spells.
Many Christian leaders are targeted by local covens and are unwittingly afflicted - at times by ordinary symptoms like
heaviness or depression; at other times, more seriously; by various kinds of illness; or, worse yet, by obsessive
thoughts or desires tempting them toward divisive resentment or sexual promiscuity.
Many of the victims of these curses are, regrettably, unaware of the spiritual source of their problems; spiritual realities
are discerned only spiritually. These curses may aggravate existing human problems, so experts may study the human
dimension of the problem from a purely rational point of view but never identify the spiritual, supernatural component.
They might not ever think to have a curse removed.
Elements in Traditional Religions
What needs to be affirmed is the age-old Christian belief that many traditional religions mix good elements (for example,
moral teaching) along with the demonic, especially if the priests of those religions are witch doctors.
With regard to traditional religions, we should avoid taking one of two extreme positions. First, some Christians tend to
condemn anything unfamiliar that comes from a foreign culture - say, from India, China, or Africa. They are like those
Christians in Paul's time who were understandably afraid of eating food offered to idols (I Corinthians 8); yet Paul was
not afraid to eat such food, provided his eating did not offend those of a more tender conscience. (I have to admit I
probably would take the safer course and refuse to eat meat offered to idols if it were sold in our supermarkets today.)
At the other extreme, we have the more common problem of those who accept anything "spiritual" that comes from
another religion and automatically consider it valuable, simply because it is spiritual. Christian leaders who dismiss the
existence of the demonic realm as primitive superstition disregard the dangers of demonic influence in religions that are
not in the Judeo-Christian tradition - to their own peril. They seem to have lost the ability to discern the difference
between the Holy Spirit and the realm of evil spirits.
There are elements of witchcraft and the demonic in most traditional religions that need to be discerned, preferably by
someone who is deeply christian but who has grown up in the culture and understands it from the inside. They are
usually the ones best able to affirm the good and sift out the evil.
Christians need to rediscover the fact that Jesus is primarily our Savior, the Son of God who has the power to rescue us
from a very real, very personal world of evil that is present in traditional religion, whether it be Asian, African, Irish or
Native American. Jesus is not a great teacher or prophet standing on a level with Buddha and Confucius. He is our
Redeemer with healing in His wings, ready to free all of us from the evil that tries to drag us down.
Then there are popular superstitions. The superstition, for instance, that Friday the thirteenth is an unlucky, cursed
day seems to carry some validity. We know that Friday the thirteenth is a day sacred to satanic covens that meet to
send their curses and spells into the land. Any hospital worker, police officer or mental ward attendant will share the
common experience that crime, accidents, and generally crazy behavior increase around Friday the thirteenth or during
the Friday closest to a full moon.
It may not be just superstition. The rise in accidents may result from covens meeting and sending out evil spirits to
bedevil the land.
Nevertheless, we need not be afraid. The good news is that Jesus Christ has overcome the hosts of evil and will protect
What to Do
I (Francis MacNutt) do not want to overemphasize the power of the demonic realm, but we do need to be cautious, just
as we would if we were considering a midnight stroll through Central Park in New York City.
As part of our prayer for protection, we can build upon the phrase in the Lords Prayer Deliver us from evil. Most
Scripture scholars say that a more accurate translation is Deliver us from the evil one - namely, Satan. This should be
part of our own daily prayer. Consequently, every morning I pray a simple prayer:
accidents. If any of us has been subjected to any curses, hexes, or spells, I declare these curses, hexes, or
spells null and void in the name of Jesus Christ. If any evil spirits have been sent against us, I decommission you
in the name of Jesus Christ and I send you to Jesus to deal with as He will. Lord, I ask You to send Your holy
angels to guard and protect all of us."
In no way do I (Francis MacNutt) suggest that this is the prayer to say. I offer it only as an example of the kind of prayer
you can create if you have reason to believe you are the target of a local coven or someone who might be trying to
curse or pray against you. Also, because I am in charge of a ministry, I pray in the same way for our staff, their
immediate families and everyone associated with our work.
Having said this prayer at the beginning of the day, we do not keep focusing on possible dangers unless some special
need for protection presents itself.
Curses That Come On Us Through Our Own Fault
Now we come to those curses that people call down, sometimes unwittingly, on themselves. Here there is guilt involved,
though the person usually did not intend to fall under a curse.
Derek Prince list four primary categories of sin that he believes will ordinarily call down a curse upon us:
curse in its wake.)
Relating to the first category of sin, the worship of false gods, we find in our culture that involvement in spiritualism is the
most common example. Derek Prince believes that involvement with spiritualism invariably curses the descendants as
well as the person directly involved.
The involvement in the occult is connected to worshiping a false god, because we are either,
fate of our dead loved ones. This is called divination.
means is called witchcraft.
Often people do not understand what they are getting into when they go to a fortune-teller or seek to manipulate
someone through black magic by casting a spell. Without intending to worship a false god, the person is seeking
knowledge (for example, knowledge of the future) or power (for example, to manipulate and influence a loved one) that
comes legitimately only from God. A person turning to another source - for example, a palm-reader - is implicitly turning
to the demonic realm for hidden knowledge.
The popular game "Dungeons and Dragons" is particularly dangerous in that it teaches contestants to win by casting
spells on the other contestants. Some young people who have become immersed in the magical world of "Dungeons
and Dragon" have ended up committing suicide.
Again, how do you prove this connection to people who do not believe in the reality of this spiritual world.
In a thought-provoking judgment, Derek Prince equates legalism with worshiping a false god, in that legalism
encourages us to rely on our human abilities to accomplish what should be accomplished only by God's power.
departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but
shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited." Jeremiah 17:5-6
Prince says that legalism is particularly dangerous because it appeals to earnest, religious people and is, therefore,
Satan's favorite tool to divert Christians. He believes, furthermore, that most churches are under something like a curse
because of this legalism, which results in a barren spiritual wasteland:
Derek is not attacking churches but speaking honestly from his own experience in helping start a community in 1970 in
which the leaders relied on the Holy Spirit at the outset.
began to manifest themselves. Our decisions and actions were no longer initiated by the Holy Spirit, but were
based on an elaborate system of rules and concepts that had been devised. We continued to acknowledge the
Holy Spirit, but as guests in a restaurant might acknowledge a waiter. If we felt we needed something, we would
summon Him briefly. But for the most part we relied on methods and plans of our own devising."
During this time their community became the center of the so-called shepherding discipleship controversy, and they
became the target of severe criticism by several Christian leaders.
manifestations were characteristic of other similar developments throughout church history. Personal
relationships were ruptured; congregations were split and scattered; promising ministries were cut short or else
diverted from God's purpose; once-enthusiastic Christians were blighted by frustration and disillusionment. Many
abandoned their faith.
For me it would be hard to say that this sad development was the result of a curse, and not just the kind of decline that
often happens as a result of our human weakness and sin. But I (Francis MacNutt) have enough respect for Derek
Prince's opinion to want to share it with you. Is the barrenness in our churches just the result of our human weakness,
or is there something more? Does the renewal of our churches require that we pray to free them from the curse of
What to Do
Earlier I listed some sins that may bring a curse in their wake, such as:
To remove the curse we bring on ourselves, two other elements need to be added to what I have already said about
First, we need to repent of what we have done.
In addition, we need to renounce what we have done. This is different from repenting, in that repentance involves
turning to God, admitting our guilt and asking Him to forgive us, while renouncing involves turning away from our wrong
activity and taking a stand against the evil. Having done these two things, we can be cut free from the curse.
We can do this by ourselves, of course, since we are the only ones who can repent of our sins and take a stand against
our former involvement.
Next, if you possess any object connected with your involvement in occult activities, get rid of them. If you own a Ouija
board, for instance, get rid of it. Just as God can use certain objects (like consecrated oil or water) to bring blessing, so
Satan can use objects (like a ring or amulet) to bring evil on people, especially if the object has received a witch
doctor's version of a blessing.
Sorcery is the use of cursed objects to influence people. I (Francis MacNutt) remember praying for deliverance for a
man in Nigeria who had gone berserk in a prayer meeting. When we started to pray for him, one of his hands began to
shake uncontrollably. When we looked more closely, we found he was wearing a strange ring. He told us a ju-ju doctor
had given it to him. We asked him to take it off, and when he did, the shaking stopped.
All this grim material about curses need not depress us. Again, it is like taking out the garbage - unpleasant, but
somebody has to do it. The good news is that Jesus became a curse for us by hanging on the tree, dying outside
Jerusalem in order to free us from every curse, especially the curse of the Law. Jesus can transform every curse that
may have touched your life, changing it into love and blessing.
written, CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT HANGETH ON A TREE: That the blessing of
Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the
promise of the Spirit through faith." Galatians 3:13-14
Deliverance from Evil Spirits, by Francis MacNutt, Copyright 1995, Chosen Books.
Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose, by Derek Prince, Copyright 1990, Chosen Books.
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