I can remember the preacher of the Eleventh Street Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, preaching a sermon on this subject when I was just a child. What he had to say about it is the common thing that is still said today. Most people are taught, and then unhappily believe, that the sins of the fathers are still visited on their children to the third and fourth generation as stated in the second commandment. Of course this same preacher ignored the rest of the commandments such as the ones about adultery, lying, and keeping the shabbath, just as do the preachers in the mainstream "churches" of today.
The verses below are for your convenience in finding all mentions of "sins of the fathers" in the Scriptures. Read and study the scripture surrounding these verses for the full and true context of the subject matter.
This principle applies to all quoted references, on any scriptural subject, and should be adhered to rigorously. Always check what you are told, or what you read, against the source to make sure that you are getting the true and correct information. We have been lied to previously, and before it's over, we will be lied to again.
Remember that satan is called a "liar and a murderer from the beginning."
The section of verses immediately below show some of the places in the Old Covenant (Law of Mosheh) where our Eloah, whose name is Yahuwah, promised that the sins of the fathers, under certain conditions, would be handed down to the children for several generations, and also how He would show mercy under other circumstances.
Shemot (Exodus) 20:5-6 You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, for I Yahuwah your Eloah am a jealous Eloah, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.
Shemot 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the children's children, to the third and to the fourth generation.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 14:18 Yahuwah is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.
Dabariym (Deuteronomy) 5:9-10 You shall not bow down yourself to them nor serve them, for I Yahuwah your Eloah am a jealous Eloah, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.
The passage below from the Greek text is one that many people do not understand at all. They seem to get the part about this man being blind so that Yahushua can heal him to demonstrate the power of Yahuwah, but they miss the part about him being BORN blind. How could this man have sinned BEFORE he was born? Note that Yahushua did NOT comment on the question, except to explain the reason why the man was BORN blind. Some have said this was evidence of the sins of the fathers, and the question does have that inquiry in it. Yahushua, however, said that was NOT the reason.
Yahuchanan (John) 9:1-5 And as Yahushua passed by, He saw a man who was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked Him saying, "Master, who sinned? This man or his parents that he was born blind?" Yahushua answered, "Neither has this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of Yahuwah should be shown in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day. The night comes, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
The precepts of the Ten Words (Commandments), as modified by Yahuwah, are the law of Yahuwah for all time. This law of Yahuwah is in effect today as the Law of Grace, just as it was in effect BEFORE the Law of Mosheh was given. The Law of Mosheh contained the sacrifices, blood atonement, etc., that was done away with when Yahushua shed His blood. (See Ibriym [Hebrews] chapter 9) The Law of Mosheh was comprised of a multitude of laws and absolute obedience without faith was required in that law. The ten were the foundation of that law, just as they are the foundation of the Law of Grace. The difference in manner of obedience is that now we must be obedient because we want to be, out of love for Yahuwah, whereas the people of Yisra'el were expected to be obedient out of fear of the consequences. The Law of Grace can be summed up in the two commandments that Yahushua stated when asked which of the commandments was the greatest. (See MattitYahuw (Matthew) 22:35-40, Markos (Mark) 12:28-31, Rhomaios (Romans) 13:9-10)
Since Yahuwah is the One who made the law, He is also the ONLY One that has the authority to change the law. This He has done. One of the changes is quite obvious. He put the old covenant aside in favor of a new and better covenant through our Savior, Yahushua. Another change was to the foundation of those covenants. When He established the new contract (testament or covenant) through the blood of Yahushua, He also put aside the part of the second commandment dealing with visiting the sins of the fathers on their children.
Below are some of the Scripture passaages that show under the promises of the New Covenant that each individual will be responsible for only his own sin.
YirmeYahuw (Jeremiah) 31:27-30 "Behold, the days come," says Yahuwah, "that I will sow the house of Yisra'el and the house of Yahudah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass that like I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to throw down and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant," says Yahuwah. "In those days they shall no more say, 'The fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children's teeth are set on edge.' But every one shall die for his own iniquity. Every man that eats the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge."
Yechezqe'l (Ezekiel) 18:14-18 ¶ And behold, he has begotten a son who sees all the sins that his father has done and considers and does not do likewise, who has not eaten on the mountains, or lifted his eyes to the idols of the house of Yisra'el, or defiled his neighbor's wife, has not oppressed anyone, or withheld a pledge, or robbed by violence, and has given his bread to the hungry and covered the naked with clothing, has returned his hand from the poor and not received interest or usury, has done My judgments, has gone in My statutes, he will not die for the iniquity of his father. He will surely live! His father, because he used oppression, robbed his brother by violence and did what is not good among his people, behold, he will die for his iniquity.
Iyowb (Job) 4:7-9 Remember, I pray you, who ever perished, being innocent? Or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of Yahuwah they perish and by the breath of his nostrils they are consumed.
Proverbs 22:8-9 He that sows iniquity shall reap vanity and the rod of his anger shall fail. He that has a bountiful eye shall be blessed for he gives of his bread to the poor.
That is the gist of the new contract, and the verses below are some of the references in the Greek language portion of the Scriptures that show when the contract became of force.
Rhomaios 2:5-6 But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasures up to yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of Yahuwah who will render to every man according to his deeds.
Rhomaios 2:11-16 For there is no respect of persons with Yahuwah. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law (For not the hearers of the law are just before Yahuwah but the doers of the law shall be justified.) For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves that show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing (or else excusing one another) in the day when Yahuwah shall judge the secrets of men by Yahushua the Anointed according to my gospel.
Galates (Galatians) 6:4-8 But let every man prove his own work and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate to him that teaches in all good things. Do not be deceived. Yahuwah is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Kolossaeus (Colossians) 3:23-25 And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to Yahuwah, and not to men. Knowing that of Yahuwah you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Master the Anointed. But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done and there is no respect of persons.
The new contract (covenant) that Yahuwah promised us is now a reality and was placed in full force when the death of the Testator occurred. The Testator was and is Yahushua the Anointed and of course the new covenant is the New Testament. When He died, the old was put aside while the new was put in place. For details on how and why He put it aside, see Ibriym (Hebrews) chapters 7 through 10. This section of the Scriptures is just about the clearest and easiest understood statements concerning the business of our Sovereign that can be found. It is strongly recommended that you read and study it at your very first opportunity. For details on how to partake of that contract, see Markos 16:16 or Acts 2:38, or read the entire book of Acts, and you'll be shown many examples of how to enter the Kingdom of Yahuwah.
Something else to think about.
If these people mentioned in the beginning of this treatise are so adamant about obeying the ten words (ten commandments), and especially about taking literally what was said by Yahuwah in the second commandment, why do they ignore the fourth? Do they really think the "pope" of the Roman Catholic Church had the authority to modify that commandment of Yahuwah? Think about it.