Demon possession may last for relatively brief periods of time for any one individual. The rest of the time, the victim of demon possession may appear normal by social standards. Only when a demon is in residence will its presence be detectable in terms of the behavior of the victim. The behavior of these short-term victims of demon possession is characterized by four basic symptoms.
These symptoms may appear alone or in groups, for just seconds of time, and in varying degrees of intensity.
The four basic symptoms are: violence, lust, greed, and an unnatural power of persuasion.
Satan, the Prince of Demons, seems to use three different activities or approaches in his attacks by demons. It is only at the last step that the subject has lost all his free-will and is totally under control of the Devil.
Oppression In Acts 10:38 we read that Jesus went about “healing all that were oppressed by the devil; for God with with him.” The original word means “to exercise dominion against one, to be overpowered.” The demons put pressure upon and exercise harsh control over one who is oppressed.
Obsession Secondly, we read of people who were “vexed with unclean spirits” and were healed (Lk. 6:18, Acts 5:16). Webster’s dictionary defines obsession as “to haunt or be troubled in mind to an abnormal degree; the state of being obsessed with an idea, desire, emotion – one that cannot be got rid of by reasoning.”
Possession Thirdly, Scripture speaks of some “possessed of demons” and indwelt by them (LK 8:36; Acts 8:7; 16:16). Possession means to be completely under the control of a demon. Those thus afflicted in the time of the Lord expressed the mind and consciousness of the demon or demons indwelling them.