Jesus says of Satan—”the Spirit that is ruling the world”—that “he has nothing in common with me” (John 14:30 John 14:30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.
American King James Version×, Twentieth Century New Testament). The Scriptures draw sharp contrasts between God and Satan that help us better understand the profound differences between their character, motivations, goals and actions.
Much of what we learn about Satan is summed up in his name, which means adversary. Peter calls him “your enemy the devil” (1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
American King James Version×, NIV). Satan’s actions and motivations are those of an enemy. God’s character, in contrast, is summarized by the word love —a deep, outgoing concern for the welfare and well-being others.”God is love,” John tells us (1 John 4:8-16 1 John 4:8-16 8 He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
American King James Version×).
In John 8:43-44 John 8:43-44 43 Why do you not understand my speech? even because you cannot hear my word.
44 You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×Christ says Satan is a murderer and liar. Later, in John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
American King James Version×, Jesus refers to Himself as “the way, the truth, and the life.” As a liar and murderer, Satan is the exact opposite of “the truth and the life.” Christ is the truth; Satan is a liar. Christ is the life; Satan is a murderer —one who takes away life. Clearly, Satan is the exact opposite of God and Jesus Christ in his intents, motivation and character.
Emphasizing this stark contrast, Paul asks a series of questions in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 14 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?
15 And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel?
American King James Version×: “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial?” The thrust of this is that the ways of Christ and Satan are as opposite as day and night, light and darkness (see also John 3:19-21 John 3:19-21 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God.
American King James Version×; John 8:12 John 8:12Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
American King James Version×; Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
American King James Version×).
The essence of Christ’s character is revealed in His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He gave His life in sacrifice: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42 Luke 22:42Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.
American King James Version×). Satan’s attitude is diametrically opposite. Rather than submitting to God’s perfect will, he became self -willed and determined to have his way at any cost. That attitude led to his initial rebellion against his Creator as described in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Regrettably, Satan has been remarkably successful at infusing a me-first, self-willed attitude among all human beings, with the one exception of Jesus, who perfectly resisted him.
Another aspect of Satan’s nature that sharply contrasts with that of God is brought out in Revelation 9:11 Revelation 9:11And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon.
American King James Version×. Here we read of a powerful force of attackers that goes forth like locusts to torment mankind. “And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon”—names meaning “destruction” and “destroyer,” respectively.
We might say that Destroyer is his name and destruction is his game. These titles sum up Satan’s character, goals and purpose. They summarize the end result of everything he strives for—absolute destruction. If the devil can’t have it all, as he comes to realize at the point in history described here, his intent is to destroy it all.
So again we see a major contrast. Compare Satan, the destroyer, with God, whose greatest attribute is that He is the Creator. God is the one who creates, builds, makes and gives us so many beautiful and wonderful things. Satan, on the other hand, is the ultimate destroyer.
What does he destroy? He ruins basically everything he can get his hands on. Read all of Revelation 9 and Revelation 12:7-12 Revelation 12:7-12 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.
American King James Version×. Everywhere he is mentioned, Satan is destroying—trying to murder God’s people, fighting Jesus Christ, lashing out in anger because he knows his time is almost up.
Even after losing the war, and being restrained for 1,000 years, has he learned his lesson? Far from it. In Revelation 20:7-10 Revelation 20:7-10 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
American King James Version×we read that when he is released he will go out to deceive the nations again and bring them to battle against Jerusalem. But he and those who follow him will be defeated. He will finally be taken out of the picture for good, all his efforts brought to nothing.
Eventually every destructive thing Satan has tried to achieve throughout history will be reversed and defeated, and all that God has set out to achieve will be accomplished. This is made clear in the Scriptures. God has ultimate control over His creation, and Satan can do no more than God allows as He works out His great purpose, allowing humanity to learn important lessons.