In Numbers 1: 2 in the bible, Joshua was told to lead the people into the Promised Land, to go in and take position of what the lord was giving them. The present-day ministry of deliverance in the church is similar in many ways and this article explores that connection.
In the bible, Joshua led the people in to a new territory to take possession of the land. Someone else lived there, and they needed to be routed deliverance ministry out, but the reality was that God had already purposed to give it to them. They had to be obedient, do warfare and expend time and energy in the natural but in the spirit realm the victory had already been won.
Deliverance, or the driving out of demons, (as demonstrated by Jesus and given to the church in Mark 16: 17) has many similarities to the passages in Numbers:
We must cross over and take possession of our inheritance. Jesus has defeated the enemy of our souls on the cross (1 John 3: 8). His work is finished and eternal life is a gift, received by grace, through faith (Eph 2: 8-9), but individuals must appropriate the spoils of that victory. Believers, upon salvation, become children of God and are “God-possessed” but we must take hold of all God has for us so we can be blessed and prosper according to His plan (Jer. 29: 11).
Deliverance ministry is an aspect of spiritual warfare that involves kicking out the unwelcome residents. The inhabitants of Canaan did not flee on their own just because the Israelites crossed over the Jordan. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6: 19). Demonic spirits in like manner do not automatically leave just because of our salvation or the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.
The demonic kingdom is afraid of us! Demons, like the residents of Canaan, are aware of the power of God and are truly fearful of him and his people! The account of Rahab (the prostitute who was spared when Jericho fell), in Joshua 2 (NIV) is especially telling: she told the spies that “I know that the lord has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. ” (emphasis added). The demonic realm is well aware from the bible that Jesus has given his church power and authority over them but most of the church does not walk in that reality.
When the enemy is kicked out, we can prosper. God told Joshua to drive out the inhabitants so that the nation of Israel could thrive and grow in His grace, power and provision alone and not be seduced by idols.
The kingdom of God is to advance against the kingdom of darkness and that its gates will not prevail against it (Matt 16: 18). Deliverance ministry is one aspect of taking hold of our full inheritance and is a sorely needed, yet much maligned, activity in the body of Christ.