The Five “I Wills” of Satan
This week I am going to continue my look at Satan’s fall but rather than quoting from Pastor Barnhouse’s book “The Invisible War” I am going to provide a quote from Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s work on Satanology. Certainly all Christians have heard of Satan (whether they believe that he is real is another question all together) but from what I can tell every culture in the world has their version of Satan. He goes by many names and it seems to me as if everyone in the world who is over the age of five has heard of Satan.
If this powerful creature is real, and he is, then what do we know about him? I cannot speak about what non-Christians believe regarding their version of Satan but I can write with confidence that most Christians know little of what the Bible says about Satan. Most Christians know that Satan is our adversary but they probably cannot say much else beyond that which I think is too bad. It is important to know God (of course) but it is also important to know what has been revealed about Satan. Know your friends and your enemies!
At any rate I want to provide a short quote from Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s on Satan’s five “I will” statements because they provide so much insight into what motivates Satan (I encourage you to follow the link I provided above and read it all). Satan really isn’t interested in us, capturing our souls, or causing us to sin. We really don’t amount to a hill of beans in his sight but he is willing to use us if it suits his purposes.
The five “I Wills” are found in the Book of Isaiah:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations!
13 And thou saidst in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.
Here is what Dr. Fruchtenbaum has to say about this passage:
First: I will ascend into heaven. Satan was not satisfied with the high position God had already given him as the guardian of God’s throne, with authority over who had access to God’s presence, and his position as the possessor of the earth in its original creation. He wanted a higher position than he already had, and the only higher position was God’s throne, a right that belongs only to the Messiah (Eph. 1:20–21). With the first I will, he desired to usurp God’s throne and sit on it himself in place of the Messiah.
Secondly: I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. Whenever the word star is used symbolically, it is always a symbol of angels, whether fallen or unfallen (Job 38:7; Jude 13; Rev. 1:20; 9:1; 12:4). It was used of Satan in verse 12. With this I will, he expressed his desire to become the sole authority over each individual angel. This meant that he wished to depose Michael from his position of archangel to become the archangel himself.
Thirdly: I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north. These terms are used elsewhere to describe the Millennial Kingdom (Ps. 48:2; Is. 2:2; 4:5-6). He knew that God’s program was for the Son of God to rule as the Messiah over Israel. With this I will, Satan expressed his desire to become the messianic ruler over Israel himself.
Fourthly: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. Whenever the word cloud is used symbolically, it is always a symbol of the Shechinah Glory (Ex. 16:10; 40:34-38; I Kg. 8:10-11; Mat. 26:64). This unique glory, a glory that belongs only to God, is something Satan desired for himself.
Fifth: I will make myself like the Most High. Whenever God is referred to as the Most High, it emphasizes God as the possessor of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 14:18-19). With this I will, Satan expressed his desire to become the sole possessor of everything that God created in Genesis 1:1, he wished to be like God in authority, and power, and control.
With these five I wills, he led a revolt in Heaven, brought violence to Heaven, and was judged and cast down.
Satanology: The Doctrine of Satan
There is only one thing that I have a question about and if I ever meet Dr. Fruchtenbaum I am going to try and remember to ask him about his explanation of the third “I will.” While the exact timing of Satan’s fall can be debated it is certain that he had fallen by the time he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Since Israel didn’t even exist yet how could Satan want to be the millennial ruler of Israel? How could he want to rule something that didn’t exist? Dr. Fruchtenbaum believes that Satan knew many details about God’s program for history (which is probably correct) but I don’t know how he can be sure.
None the less this is fascinating stuff!