WORD CURSES IN SCRIPTURE: Both a tool of Spiritual Warfare and Perverted for Satanic Purposes

One of the more famous curses in scripture comes from Joshua chapter six and demonstrates the very great power of our words for good or ill.  In righteous anger and with a prophetic sense of how places retain the stamp of evil Joshua gathered his compatriots around him to agree upon a curse which he then pronounced.  This practice, not taken lightly nor entered into thoughtlessly, has always been a tool of spiritual warfare.  Perhaps you have a daughter being exploited by the sex trade industry.  An example: Has it occurred to you to gather your praying friends and unreservedly curse that evil stronghold over which demons are assigned to interrupt her destiny as a child of God?

Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, "Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of  his youngest son he shall set up its gates."  So the Lord was with Joshua and his fame was in all the land (Joshua 6: 26, 27).

 What we notice is that this word-curse which was bound in heaven under the authority of Father God, so that it could be loosed on earth did not occur in the heat of battle.  The words are well chosen and specific.  This curse was not impulsive, nor was it driven by personal agenda.  The evil of Jericho was so great that Joshua never wanted to deal with it again. 

Generations hence this curse came true: 1st Kings 16: 34.  Words spoken in the material world matter in the supernatural realm.  King Ahab... as though it were a trivial thing, married Jezebel the daughter of a pagan king and priest and... went to serve Baal and worshipped him.  So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria.  Ahab also made the Asherah.  Thus Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before (1st Kings 16: 31b-33). 

Ahab authorized the rebuilding of the city of Jericho almost as a challenge at the start of his reign.  Joshua's curse would have been a legend by this time, generally known as an urban legend.  It would also have been celebrated by the Jewish faithful familiar with the canonical record of the Hebrew Bible.  At the start of his evil reign and his unhealthy, symbiotic reliance on Jezebel, rebuilding Jericho was one of Ahab's first acts as king, sending a man named Hiel to oversee construction.  This act reveals Ahab's passive reliance on his wife who later went on to murder or imprison nearly all of the Hebrew priests in the land.  To say that Jezebel came to power and then went to war with Jehovah-God would be an understatement.  The outcome: In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun (1st Kings 16: 34). 

Curses are spoken.  The tongue is a powerful tool and scripture has much to say about it for both good and ill.  David said about his relationship with Father God: "He is a tower of deliverance to His king, and shows loving kindness to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever (2nd Samuel 22: 51). 

The last recorded Psalm of David was spoken and recorded as he lay dying and is called, David's Last Song.  Among these last words were: The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word is on my tongue (2nd Samuel 23: 2). 
Think about that for just a minute.  What a privilege and a blessing that we can speak such powerful words, which reflect God's majesty, righteousness, favor, and blessing.   

David went on to write about how God worked through him to effect righteousness, favor and protection over the times that defined his rule as King.  We can adapt this concept to whatever sphere of influence and calling we may have as God's children.  We can only accomplish this by knowing what the word teaches for ourselves.  This power is not absorbed by osmosis as we sit in a pew each Sunday or watch a TV evangelist. This is a deeply powerful and personal journey between us and God's Son, Jesus Christ. 

The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me, He who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises; a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through sunshine after rain (2nd Samuel 23: 3, 4). 

We want this to be our legacy to our families, loved ones, and to the people whom, by no coincidence, we come into contact with.  David instructs and blesses his descendants and then writes:

But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like thorns, because they cannot be taken in hand; but the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they will be completely burned with fire in their place (2nd Samuel 23: 6, 7). 

A word-curse is very different from speaking the word of God in judgment, calling the lost back to Jesus, or ministering healing through confession. 

We see in these last words of David how much he loved God. Praise was often on his lips. Talking to God was a daily practice. The many psalms he wrote give us a picture of how he turned to God at every juncture of his life. David praises God for speaking through him, allowing him to be an effective and godly leader. We also hear the wisdom of what David learned through a life time of fighting against what was evil and protecting his kingdom from the dangerous infringement of paganism.   King David did not mince words.  He often invoked curses against the enemies of God. 

The word of God is imbued with supernatural power and is called in Ephesians chapter six, "our sword."  It is called by David, "the shaft of the spear," in the previous verse.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).  

It is the calling of each Christian to stand in defense of the weak and hurting, to advocate for justice which reflects God's righteousness.  This means that we may also, if we truly love someone, care enough to call out sin, inviting confession and fellowship, showing mercy and generosity.  Doing so is not a word curse.  A word curse from a Christian perspective is a very specific supernatural tool of warfare directed toward the unsaved whom are intent on perpetrating evil actions against other people.  An example of this is Galatians 1: 6-12.  Paul challenges the Galatian church... I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ (Galatians 6). 

Paul is outraged that this is happening.  His response is to send off into the heavens, to bind in heaven and loose on earth a curse which sets warrior angels on the path of avenging a wrong, protecting the weak.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (Matthew 16: 19).  Also: Matthew 18: 18. 

How does this work?  The Holy Spirit stirs up the righteous anger in us.  We seek clarity through prayer and then we formally and deliberately pronounce a specific curse against the evil actions, process, or spirit.  All assuming we are pronouncing this curse in the context of God's will and not our own.  This requires Discernment.  Read my new book: Discerning Spirits: Visionary Gifts in Practice.   It's a serious thing to invoke a Holy curse upon any person or practice.  This isn't an impulsive action, but with the rise of paganism and overt satanism making inroads into culture this is a tool of warfare in the arsenal of believers that can be utilized.  Doing so could make all the difference in standing against or dismantling powerful strongholds.

Paul speaks and writes this curse; making it known in the unseen realms, but also to those that have been impacted by this false prophet.  In doing so he's asking for their cooperation, to reverse course and turn away from what is wrong.  If we invoke and pronounce a curse it is important to curse the evil spirits that have inspired the wrong, in this case the evil spirits that inspire the false prophet.  Paul curses the false teaching itself, and also the actual person doing this teaching.   But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accused!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1: 8, 9).  

Paul then establishes his supernatural authority to impact destiny via a curse upon evil outcomes and the chain of heart-breaking loss that comes with false teaching.  Paul sets off a chain of events... binding in heaven and loosing on earth.   By example all believers have this same authority. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1: 11, 12).  

This chain of events actually being powerfully "loosed" in response to our prayers requires that we recognize the satanic stronghold for what it is.  In prayer we formally curse it's hold, asking Jesus to  dismantle and destroy the evil, including any backups and replacement spirits.  Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.  Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.  For where two or three have gathered in My name, I am there in their midst (Matthew 18: 18-20).   

When we hear the word "curse" today, we do not see how curses cut both ways and how they are meant to be a tool of spiritual warfare.  Satan mimics every good thing and today has absconded with the use of this word.  Looking at curses from the satanic side we understand that scripture identifies six kinds of evil curses from which people, even Christian people, need deliverance.  These are also the strongholds we are to tear down... in ourselves and mercifully in those we love as we model by example Christ's love.  Overturning a satanic curse is about taking back territory for Jesus Christ.  We should all be so well versed in doing this that it becomes part of our prayer life and ministry on  a daily basis.  Sadly these teachings are not in most churches. Satanic curses are serious. We can't defend ourselves against what we won't recognize. 

We are all surrounded by people who don't know Jesus.  Opposition comes in many forms. Sorting through the dross so we can pray effectively and with powerful words in the will of Jesus Christ is a matter of spiritual discernment.  Listen to what He is saying to you.  Ask, Listen, Hear, Act.  People may not understand why they are constantly defeated, but all curse strongholds can be dismantled, thrown off and destroyed and remember this: when you pray against curses use your words like a sword, quote scripture as your authority and destroy not only what is actively working against you in the present, but also anticipate and destroy all back ups and replacements... In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who came in the flesh.  It's called warfare for a reason. 

Satanic curses fall into the following categories. 
  • Generational curses / Today can be thought of as inherited diseases. Also... life stealing addictions as patterns of learned behavior or deeply embedded scripts of inherited practice.  Generational curses can come through the blood line or are mentally charged scripts over which demons are given legal access because of past generational sin.
  • Personal sin curses
  • Items or places that are cursed / polluted by pagan practice and therefore carry a demonic imprint.
  • Founding father's curses / Systems founded on the authority of demons like false gods.
  • Witchcraft curses. 
  • Word-Curses
The most common kind of satanically inspired curses are those we speak and hear each day in everyday life. They come so easily and may be such an ingrained habit that we hardly realize the potential impact.  These word-curses speak ill of others agreeing with a negative claim.  Sometimes we are invited to commiserate with those who are sick, confirming their illness.  It doesn't occur to us to pray silently or invite prayer for this persons healing.  Those with a spiritual gift of mercy are often called to embrace a ministry of healing prayer.  We might ask that person if we can pray for their healing right there and then.  In doing so we reach for our sword, the word of God.  Banishing the curse of a negative claim or conviction that a situation is hopeless we ask God for the blessings and miracles that were so evident in the life of Christ.        

After the apostles God commissioned the seventy to go out and share the gospel.  Healing and miracles were the substance of God working through believers.  Like us, the seventy loosed the power of prayer,  as they stood in as proxy for the Almighty; letting His power flow through them.     

Behold I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing will injure you (Luke 10: 19, 20).   

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it (John 14: 11-15). 

Does not the ear test words, as the palate tastes food? (Job 12: 11). 

The context of this verse was a theme throughout the book of Job.  Those friends who came to supposedly commiserate and "comfort" Job in his physical illness and grief actually ended up speaking many word-curses. Job needed to weigh their pronouncements against the rock of His faith and, although he was invited by his wife to, "curse God and die," he never did.  Oh, yes, Job poured his heart out to God, he questioned God, but he never denied nor cursed God.     

It is interesting that Elihu, one of Job's "friends" spoke these very same words later in Job: 34: 3; repeating this verse word for word.  For the ear tests words as the palate tastes food.  In the same way we are to test negative or false pronouncements; rejecting any that the Holy Spirit confirms as false and outside the will of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are to "discern" in the spiritual power of faith the truth behind the words. We do this when we ask God for clarity, listen and receive what He says and only then do we act in His authority.  It is far better for well meaning, but immature Christians to remain silent as we work to resolve our feelings rather that speak or agree with predictions like: He'll never make anything of himself.  She is just like her mother and her mother is a drunk so she/he is doomed.  He/she is not smart enough to make it in life.  That marriage will fail.  It's God's will that you are sick...   These and other, ignorant pronouncements like them, are satanic word-curses.  Nothing we say goes unheeded in the supernatural realm... good or ill. 

Each of these prejudgements deny the power of God to reverse any circumstance, to change hearts and  minds, to patiently mature, restore, save, and deliver.    

God tells us that unless we pray for our enemies we very likely will not have our own prayers answered.  Very real cause and effect links between a failure to forgive and confess our sins and physical illness, even early death is very clearly expressed in Paul's instructions regarding the sacrament of Communion. 

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.  For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number have fallen asleep (1st Corinthians 11: 27-30). 

Why is it so hard to take the log out of our own eye?  I ask myself this question just as I pose it here.  Sometimes I'll keep a blog in draft status giving me time to reflect on what I've written.  Other times I should have left a blog there and didn't because I find myself going back to change elements previously written.  I'm grateful to readers who give me feedback on this. 

What is the marvelous answer that reverses all failure, delivers and restores to the power of faith working through us to His glory and excellence?    

But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged (1st Corinthians 11: 31 NAS). 

Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 4: 16, 17). 

He whose ear listens to the life giving reproof will dwell among the wise (Proverbs 15: 31). 

This direct cause and effect link of not having our prayers answered because of unforgiveness is a caveat to one of the greatest promises in God's word. 

"Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.  Whenever you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions" (Mark 11: 24-26).

Word-curses are: 
  • Gossip
  • Virulent pronouncements in the guise of fact and certainty that failure, death, and destruction will come over another life. 
  • Speaking a past hurt done to us by a Christian brother or sister as if it occurred yesterday, failing to forgive and pray for that person, and forgetting that in time God is working and changing that person.   
  • Formal invocations; not prayers to God, but binding horrible outcomes in the unseen realm; prayers to satan. 
  • Wanting something and praying judgment or punishment rather than blessing in order to get it. 
  • Any damaging pronouncement a parent or step-parent speaks over a child who has yet to claim God's calling and destiny. 
  • Predictions and pronouncements (invocations) of death, suffering, or hopelessness that discourages us or others from petitioning the throne of grace for a miracle. 
  • Any pronouncement we speak to ourselves that stands in the way of us doing good; what we are called to do as we talk ourselves out of healing acts of mercy. 
Word curses are sin because they...
  • Are a manifestation of a lack of faith that opens the door to demonic power having sway in spiritual battle. 
  • Fail to invoke the power of God and His angels to fight battles in the unseen realm of peoples hearts and minds that we can not see. 
  • Laugh in the face of God's power and might.
  • Undermines the power of love in ourselves and others. 
  • Undermines faith.
  • Influences others to give up on prayer or well doing. 
  • Gives satan legal access to kill those who are physically ill or dying or struggling with a behavioural addiction.
Why do people of faith far too often invoke the satanic power of a word-curse rather than blessings? 

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being my priest.  Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children (Hosea 4: 6). 

Our salvation is a gift of grace.  We can accept that gift, grasp it with our heart, but never untie the bow and open the box.  We rely on others to interpret the word of God for us and don't open it's power and riches for ourselves.   

Many will be in heaven, but will be judged for having lived without the power of Christ working through them.  In word, which inspires action, they will have bypassed the priesthood of the believer they were personally called to.  This failure will carry on a generational curse seen in family patterns that they, by their faith, were mandated to break, shatter, and destroy for the present and the future.  Decide today that you will forsake all word-curses even as you break their power over your own life.  

For more on this topic read my new book (May 2013) Discerning Spirits: Visionary Gifts in Practice.  Soft cover at Amazon.  E-version for download on Nook, Kindle, or at:


Lord Jesus, I pray for myself and all others reading this; let our words reflect Your character in righteous anger.  Call us to repentance so that Your power can work through us to its fullest and most glorious outcome.  Let us step into the full power of our faith in the significance of prayer as warfare; using our words like shinning swords according to Your will... impacting destiny for Your glory and holy purposes.  Let our words be a light of rescue in dark places, sending forth your angels, representing your power, grace, and goodness and banishing forever every evil obstruction destroying all back ups and replacement curses... 

Use your words.  They are yours given by God, laid over your heart, stirring up your thoughts, desiring goodness over evil... so speak them out to the throne of grace and to the God who loves you better than any other.  Jesus Christ will lift you up, cover you with His wings and send you forth in the company of angels. Psalm 91        

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of the sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12: 18). 

Like apples of Gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.  Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear (Proverbs 25: 11, 12). 

Let us speak life.  Pray about everything: tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank Him for His answers.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace (Philippians 4: 6-7). 

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