How to deal with familiar spirits
Familiar or “family” spirits are demonic entities that have lodged themselves in a family tree taking on the identity of a deceased relative. Communication with these spirits forms the basis for most indigenous religions around the world. Contact with these spirits can occur through occult practices or imperceptibly through spiritual inheritance or the passing down of behaviors, dramatic episodes, sicknesses, accidents, etc.
Even though these familiar spirits are real, they are also lying spirits, through these deceiving spirits the devil has established one of his most successful tools of deceit. He has created an entire religious system based on the consultation of ancestors.
TWO FUNDAMENTAL LAWS
Concerning familiar spirits, the Bible suggests two fundamental laws or principles: the law of inheritance and the law of responsibility. The law of inheritance says:
“For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate me” . . . (Exodus 20:5)
The law of responsibility says:
“The person who sins will die. The sun will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
You can see that these passages present two very distinct laws. Is there a contradiction between them? Which one is right: inheritance or responsibility? I suggest that such a question is not helpful. If we pit one scripture passage against another, we may develop a fallacious, unbalanced vision of spiritual warfare that will result in serious spiritual and emotional damage in families when we should be leading them to freedom and healing. Taking sides on this matter creates an imbalance in which we exalt one principle to the detriment of the other. This is how we lose the battle.
Unfortunately, today we see these two laws polarizing the body of Christ into two opposing camps of extreme positions. On one hand, we have those on the law of inheritance team. These “spiritual zealots” often see demons behind every bush, spiritualizing the natural, embracing spiritual terrorism, giving demons credit for things they didn’t do and often disregarding the lifestyle of the person in question. This is actually the type of propaganda that the devil wants to make in respect to the ministry of deliverance. We need to break this curse that is over the breaking of curses.
We also have those on the team of the law of responsibility. Usually these people have never ministered deliverance and have never proved their ability through practical experience in deliverance, which is fundamental in ministry. Unfortunately, the winner in this theological debate, which usually demonstrates the lack of wisdom in the church, is the spirit of division and pride.
The two laws appear to contradict one another, but actually, they work hand-in-hand. God is not incoherent. We cannot attack one spiritual principle with another. Whenever we follow one principle to the detriment of the other or attack one principle with the other, we show a lack of wisdom.
The Bible expresses a spiritual inheritance as an influence or a “visitation”, passed down through succeeding generations. Responsibility is a choice that is above any influence. Therefore no influence can ever become a moral obligation. We can never use our spiritual inheritance as an excuse for our moral irresponsibility. Ezekiel addressed this error of Israel in chapter 18.
The Bible never teaches that the law of inheritance implies that we bear the guilt of our parent’s sins, but that we suffer the consequences of them. One person may have been born to a father who wasted his livelihood gambling, thus was born into poverty to no fault of his own. Another person may have been born to a billionaire due to no choice of his own. This is the law of inheritance. The law of spiritual inheritance seems like a strange concept of righteousness without merit. If there is such a thing as physical inheritance there most certainly is also such a thing as spiritual heritage.
God always deals with his people through the perspective of generations. The promises and covenants that God made to Abraham, David and others, referred to these men’s descendants and future generations. All of these promises had conditions that would determine whether God would fulfill them or not. All covenants have terms and sanctions which have benefits if they are fulfilled, and penalties or curses if they aren’t. This is how the law of hereditary harmonizes with the law of responsibility and establishes a legacy that spans generations.
The law of heredity in detriment to the law of responsibility
When we emphasize spiritual inheritance and ignore personal responsibility, we are being fatalistic. In other words, we act as if we are predestined to a specific karma. The fault or rather, the excuse is that we have certain characteristics that we have inherited from our ancestors and we have no any way to change the situation. This is the basis for occultism.
In this attempt to escape God’s judgment, we become victims of Satan’s terrible deception as well as God’s swift judgment. John the Baptist confronted the Pharisees and Sadducees with the law of responsibility when they attempted to flee their spiritual responsibilities saying they were children of Abraham.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father. ‘For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:7-10)
If we fatalistically accept a curse or number of curses, we tragically oppose our own intrinsic ability to choose and take responsibility to choose. The law of responsibility is above the law of inheritance seeing that spiritual inheritance is simply an influence. The law of responsibility teaches that our choices determine our character and our destiny. We have the power and the duty to make right choices independently of any outside influences that come at us.
The law of responsibility in detriment to the law of heredity
If we emphasize our responsibility while ignoring our spiritual heritage, we may experience unnecessary suffering and misfortune. However, this disregard of our spiritual heritage will not compromise our salvation. We can live with curses in our inner life, whether we are saved or not. In such situations, we simply become victims of our own ignorance. But to ignore a curse is a serious mistake.
In practice, what usually happens is that people who go to this extreme, even though they have an austere moral life, when they go through a moment of weakness they are easily overcome by family curses and, in the end, repeat the sins that their parents failed to deal with.
More than 80% of the most serious problems people experience are repetitions of the same problems that their parents and ancestors also experienced. If we ignore the influential power of the family legacy, in more than a few cases, we will certainly continue living without the experience of satisfactory results. As we value spiritual inheritance as well as personal responsibility, we move towards the position of spiritual victory. As we responsibly deal with the consequences of our choices and deal with the demonic influences we have inherited, we give evidence of our sincere repentance.
|Law of inheritance||Law of responsibility|
|Emphasizes spiritual visitation or influence in the form of punishment of successive generations.“Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.” Exodus 32:34||Emphasizes our moral duty and our individual responsibility for our choices.“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20|
|Curses passed down from past generations represent visitations that have “legal” rights over us due to the iniquities of our ancestors. A devastated past interferes with the present.“Oh Lord, according to all your righteousness, I pray, let your anger and your fury be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people are a reproach to all those around us.” Daniel 9:16||Curses due to our present situation emphasize God’s judgment as consequence of our own sin and hardness of heart.“For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them.” 1 Samuel 3:13|
|The individual suffers the consequences. Emphasizes the consequences of sins which have not yet been confessed or dealt with.“Prepare slaughter for his children because of the iniquity of their fathers.” Isaiah 14:21||The individual bears the guilt.Emphasizes the righteousness or guilt of personal choices regarding sin.“The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Ezekiel 18:20b|
|The law of inheritance is collective exercising influence over all descendants. The consequence of a curse and the breaking of a curse affect all those under the person who unleashed the legacy through their actions.“But any of your men whom I do not cut off from my altar shall consume your eyes and grieve your heart. And all the descendants of your house shall die in the flowering of their age.” 1 Samuel 2:33||The law of responsibility is personal. God makes us intrinsically responsible for our actions. Even if we are influenced by a family legacy of a curse, the Bible does not exempt us from making right decisions. God is personal and relates to us on a personal level. We are accountable to God for all the decisions we make.|
The effects of the spiritual covering of our parents
A family legacy represents the consequences of our parent’s choices that directly affect the successive generations relative to three fundamental areas of life:
The family covering can build up or tear down a person’s healthy self-esteem and sense of protection. The type of spiritual covering left by the parents directly influences the child’s ability to assimilate properly the truth about God.
The family covering may build up or destroy a person’s confidence, trust and intimacy. Trust and trustworthiness are fruit of emotional investment and, above all, the spiritual protection provided by the parents.
The ability to materialize ideas, to be fruitful and live according to the purpose for which God created us can either be cultivated or aborted, depending on our family covering. Gifts and vocations can either be locked up or released.
We receive these three interdependent values: identity, relationships and heritage directly from our family. We have either all of them or none of them. We cannot sacrifice one to keep the others. We are a product, or sometimes unfortunately, a byproduct, of our family and of the type of relationship we choose to adopt with respect to it, primarily in relation to our parents. Heritage and responsibility are two laws that walk hand in hand.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
This blessing shows the connection between the ability to relate and the ability to know and enjoy our own identity. The practice of peace endorses the ability to relate as and to be called a child of God, indicating the possession of a true identity.
Therefore, the revelation of our identity depends on the state of reconciliation of our family. If you are a peacemaker, then you are a child and you know who you are in God. If you are a destroyer of relationships, then your identity will be obscured by a cloak of orphan hood.
Consequently, when a person abandons his identity as a son and sacrifices sonship because of wounds that he has suffered, his heritage is also plundered. You cannot cease to be a child and still be an heir. This was the conclusion of the prodigal son:
“I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.” (Luke 15:18-19)
He realized that in rebelling against his father he became unworthy to be considered his son; he lost his identity and thus lost his inheritance.
Legacies due to family curses produce wounds. Wounds from our parents which have not been dealt with interfere in the formation of our own family. Because of these roots, many Christians lose God’s blessing over their homes, which is the seal of approval for ministry, as I will demonstrate in later articles.