I often speak with people who wonder if the seer gift sometimes runs in family. For instance, sometimes a grandparent will be able to see spiritual phenomena, and then it skips a generation, manifesting again in grandchildren. Other times, a parent can see spirits and then notices his or her child can as well. Sometimes this ability appears in siblings.
I’ve heard skeptics suggest this is because some kind of generational curse is running in a family. They say that the seer gift is evil and it must be the result of witchcraft or occultism or mental illness. The source of their skepticism is the Bible, they say. Because after all, no one in the Bible could see spiritual phenomena and God cursed people generationally for their sins.
It’s Not a Generational Curse
The skeptics are being ridiculous, of course. Even in the Old Testament, ideas about generational curses were misunderstood, and God attempted to correct them through the prophet Ezekiel:
“Yet you say, ‘Why does the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ And since the son does justice and righteousness and he keeps all of my statutes and does them, he shall surely live! The person, the one sinning, will die. A son shall not bear the guilt of the father, and a father shall not bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be on him; the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him.” Ezekiel 18:19–20 1
Moreover, huge portions of the Bible involve people witnessing spiritual phenomena.
But more to the point, a careful reading of the Bible indicates that the seer ability can run in families.
Seer Gift from Grandfather to Grandson
After securing his nation, King David appointed 3 seers as worship leaders in his emotionally expressive tabernacle worship service. One of them was Heman, grandson to Samuel, son of Elkanah:
Heman the singer, the son of Joel, son of Samuel, son of Elkanah. 1 Ch 6:33–34
Samuel was the famous seer who appointed first Saul and then David as king of Israel, and has two books of the Bible named in his honor. Here are two of the passages where Samuel is identified as a seer:
Samuel the seer… 1 Ch 26:28.
Then Saul approached Samuel in the middle of the gate and said, “Please tell me, where is the house of the seer?” Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer.” 1 Sa 9:18–19.
Heman, Samuel’s grandson, was also a seer.
…Heman, the seer of the king,… 1 Ch 25:5.
Interestingly, Heman named one of his sons “Hamani.”
Stewarding Spiritual Inheritance: From Father to Son
Later in the Old Testament, another man named Hamani was also a seer, who fathered the prophet Jehu.
And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah…, 2 Ch 16:7.
In the Israelite religion, prophets were synonymous with seers.
For the prophet of today was formerly called a seer. 1 Samuel 9:9.
Hanani stewarded his gift and it passed to his son Jehu, which had tremendous implications for the nation of Israel.
The Word of Yahweh visited Jehu the prophet with a message for the king. Jehu relayed to the king what the Word told him.
The word of Yahweh came to Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha… Moreover, the word of Yahweh came to Baasha and to his house by the hand of Jehu the son of Hanani the prophet,… 1 Ki 16:1, 7
Jehu also confronted King Jehoshaphat, after his strange victory, with a word from God, leading directly to a national revival.
Then Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned to his house in peace to Jerusalem. And Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him. And he said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you be a help to the wicked and love those who hate Yahweh? On account of this, wrath has come against you from Yahweh…” 2 Ch 19:1–3.
The king received the prophet’s message and led his nation into renewed devotion to God.
In these two instances, we see that the seer gift moved generationally. In the first instance, from Samuel, skipping his two sinful sons, to grandson. In the second case, from father to son.
The ability to see into the spirit realm isn’t the result of a curse, although it may feel that way to some seers. As mentioned in this post, the ability to see into the spirit realm is the variety of grace God has granted.
I sometimes wonder why the seer gift skips generations.
For Yahweh has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep,
and he has shut your eyes, the prophets,
and he has covered your heads, the seers. Isaiah 29:10.
Perhaps like Samuel’s sons, some generations receive a spirit of deep sleep, and squander the opportunity to serve God through selfish living.
Perhaps this spirit of deep sleep descends on young seers who are not taught to steward the gift for God’s purposes, and so the ability is removed.
For whatever the reason, the lesson is obvious: We can be like Samuel’s sons, and squander our spiritual inheritance, or we can be like Jehu, receive the gift God has granted generationally and lead the nation to revival.
- Emphasis added. All scripture references in this post are from W. Hall Harris III et al., eds., The Lexham English Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012) ↩