The Bible

The Five “I Wills” of Rebellion

Isaiah points us to five “I wills” coming from the proud and boastful heart of Satan that describe the nature of his aspiration (Isa. 14:13-14).

In each of these “I wills” Satan pitted his will against the will of God. He substituted his will for God’s will and, significantly, these five statements expressed by Satan manifest the very essence of sin (or glory for some): it is the will of the creature set against the will and appointment of the Creator.

I will ascend to heaven.

I will raise my throne above the stars of God.

I will sit on the mount of the assembly in the recesses of the north.

This describes Satan’s ambition to control all the affairs of the universe as the assembly of Babylonian gods supposedly did. Often in Scripture, mountain and hills refer to authority or the right to rule.

Isaiah 2:2 reads, “Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.”

 This anticipates Messiah’s rule or kingdom, called here “the mountain of the house of the Lord,” and all the other kingdoms, mountains and hills, will be under His kingdom (see also Ps. 48:2). So this third “I will” of Satan expressed his determination to rule over the affairs of the entire created universe.

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.

According to Exodus 16:10 and Revelation 19:1, clouds are often associated with God’s glory and presence. This “I will” expressed Satan’s desire to usurp the glory that belonged to God. Pentecost writes:

“When Lucifer said, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,” he was saying, “I will take to myself a greater glory than belongs to God Himself.” You will remember that Ezekiel described the beauty and the glory that belonged to Lucifer in terms of the sun shining on polished gems. But the glory that belonged to Lucifer was not inherently his; it was a reflected glory. God, who is the author of glory, God, who is the all glorious One, revealed his glory through the work that came from His hand.… How insane the thinking of this one that he could add glory to the infinite glory of God. It suggests that there was a deficiency in the glory of God and that Lucifer could complete that which was lacking.…”

 I will make myself like the Most High.

Lucifer was not satisfied with the exalted place he had in the creation of God. Ezekiel says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezek. 28:17). So he purposed to exalt himself and his throne and aimed to be like God Himself. Note the contradiction in Satan’s own thinking here. To become like God was first of all to admit that he was not God. He was only a created being, one created by the Creator.

Here his counterfeit is crystal clear. Satan wanted to be like, not unlike, God. The name Elyon for God stresses God’s strength and sovereignty (Gen. 14:18). Satan wanted to be as powerful as God. He wanted to exercise the authority and control in this world that rightfully belongs only to God. His sin was a direct challenge to the power and authority of God.