Based on the book and verse of the Holy Scriptures, and the apocryphal text of the Assumption of Moses, which is referenced by Jude in the epistle.

Written By: Christopher S. Swan
Edited By: Nancy E. Head
Copyright © Christopher S. Swan. All Rights Reserved.

Cover of JUDE 9
Icon of Short Story

1451 B.C.

“…a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor…”
– Deuteronomy 34:6


As the sun sets along the distant horizon, an imperial eagle soars boldly through the dust-filled atmosphere.

Hot wind moves across the elegant animal’s wings, subtly ruffling its array of beige, brown, and black feathers.

The airborne predator’s black eyes scan for prey along the landscape of Flood-carved rock formations, endless hills, and shadowy ravines.

The eagle spies someone below, and instinctively lands atop the peak of a primordial rock formation.

The bird folds its wings, then watches the divine dignitary with supreme reverence.

Desert Floor

Strong shimmers of dying heat surround the lone figure as he treks across the graveled terrain toward a majestic tower of exposed bedrock jutting skyward.

He’s wearing a beige, salt-stained sudra around his head, face, and neck. A thin opening in the fabric exposes the vague shape of his eyes and the bridge of his broad nose.

A long, brown cloak shields his robed body from view.

Affixed vertically to the middle of his V-shaped back is the linen-wrapped body of a dead man, secured in an unseen way. Though the body is normal in size, it is small in comparison to the immense being bearing it.

A gust of wind presses the loose linen against the covered face of the body, revealing the subtle definition of the beloved, bearded Patriarch.

Rock Tower

The figure reaches the base of the monumental outcrop and strides through the wind-cut entrance into a circular escarpment.

Rock Escarpment

He walks into the crescent-shaped, rocky area like an orator striding into an ancient amphitheater.

Stopping in the middle of the stone stage, he stares up at the stars overhead as a meteorite streaks across the sky.

He looks over his shoulder at the body on his back. It releases. Hovers vertically in the air. Then rotates and reclines face-up until it’s parallel to the ground a few feet below it.

The cloaked figure steps away from the hovering body toward the tallest portion of the austere stonewall encircling him.

He lowers the sudra from his head, face, and neck onto his shoulders, revealing the distinguished face of the archangel Michael in human form.

He has long, black hair with silver highlights that carry down into his full beard. A jagged scar from the Dragon’s claw runs diagonally across the darker complexion of his face. His gold pupils stare into the rock wall in front of him, the way a sculptor looks into a block of uncut marble.

Controlling all subtle matter in his orbit, Michael brings forth the Sword of the Lord into his right hand.

The pommel is a lion’s head carved from ivory and coated in gold.

The handle is an aged Behemoth bone, long enough for two hands.

The guard is a flat, gold-trimmed Leviathan scale cut into a triangular shape, representing the Holy Trinity.

Forged from a tungsten-gray meteorite, the two-edged blade is honed into the shape of an elongated flame. Both the front and back edges are serrated, and in between them, running through the pulsating heart of the sword, is the fire of the Holy Spirit, radiating with an amber glow.

The archangel walks up to the rockface. Readies himself. Then unleashes a barrage of sword strikes against the boulders in front of the wall. Steaming shards of detonated rock spray everywhere.

When the last of the large stones are cleared away, he bends down onto a knee. Drives the blade deep into the base of the granite façade. Then stands up as he slices a magma-red, vertical laceration into the rock.

He stops cutting when the sword is a foot above his head. Then shifts his grip on the handle. Rotates it 90 degrees to his right. Makes a second cut through the rock.

He stops cutting when the horizontal gash is a foot wider than his shoulders. Regrips the sword handle. Rotates it another 90 degrees to his right. Pulls the blade down to the base of the wall.

He stops at the bottom. Drops to a knee. Changes his grip. Rotates the blade 90 more degrees to his right. Then carves a perfect horizontal line along the base of the wall.

As the blade moves between the wall and the gravel, it cauterizes the earth and releases a shower of steaming, white-hot sparks.

When the cut is complete, the archangel pulls the blade from the rockface and stands back.

Through the cloud of steam, he can see the vertical rectangular outline radiating in the dark.

He raises his empty left hand. Opens the palm toward the cut in the wall. Pushes the air, moving the rock within the rectangular cut further into the wall. The air fills with the sound of rock sliding over gravel.

Amber light emanating from the Holy Spirit within the blade of his sword reveals the simple entryway of a humble sepulcher hewn into the rock.

Michael turns around and stares at the hovering body, which floats toward the crypt’s opening.

The linen around the body billows from the air as it passes the archangel.

Within feet of the sepulcher, the body stops moving.

Michael immediately grips the Sword of the Lord with both hands. Takes a defensive stance. Stares into the blackened entrance as an evil voice whispers in ancient Aramaic from the gloom of the grave.

Voice of evil: “Mi……Cha……El……Who is like God?”

From the darkness of the burial chamber steps the devil.

Voice of evil: “That is the namesake question you asked long ago, is it not?”

A blood red energy emanates behind the fallen angel of light, silhouetting him in a black shadow.

The hooded phantom moves with an arrogant seductiveness as he steps along the wall to the right of the sepulcher entrance.

From the devil’s point of view, the world is in reverse, and he sees day for night as he eyes Michael.

Voice of evil: “Are you like God?”

The archangel sees the world as it is, and the blood red glare of his enemy’s evil energy casts the shadows of unsaved souls, male and female alike, against the rock wall behind him. The souls writhe in agony and clamor in desperation as they try to touch the devil, while he ignores them completely.

Voice of evil: “Was Moses……like God?”

Michael holds his tongue, and his ground.

The lost souls trail the devil as he glides slowly around the outside of the circular rock wall.

Voice of evil: “I am the lord of all matter on this planet……”

Michael keeps his sword up and at the ready, and locks his golden eyes on the evil presenting itself.

Voice of evil: “……and this man’s body belongs to me.”

Michael chooses to contend in ancient Aramaic, matching the language of the lie.

Michael: “All matter belongs to the Lord.”

Annoyance slithers through the devil. He continues moving around the perimeter of the escarpment as he formulates another lie. When one is found, he stops and stares at the archangel.

Voice of evil: “This man is a murderer……and his sin will cost him his soul.”

Michael: “His sin is forgiven.”

Voice of evil: “By what authority?”

Michael: “The authority of the messiah Jesus Christ…God’s only begotten son…whose blood will cleanse the sins of all mankind…past…present…and future.”

Frustration fills the devil and he lashes out at the souls around him, scattering them away from his body with quick motions of his arms.

Voice of evil: “I shall have this man’s body……present it to his idolatrous people……they will worship it……and receive what they deserve.”

Michael: “The Lord’s people shall have no idol. Nor shall you use this body to tempt them as you tempted the First Man and the First Woman through the serpent in the Garden.”

Anger seethes within the devil, swelling his hood like that of an agitated cobra.

For the first time, he steps away from the wall toward Moses’ hovering body.

As the devil does, his shadow is cast along the ground, revealing outstretched arms and skeletal hands tipped with iron thorns.

Michael disappears in human form, then instantly reappears in angelic form, levitating a few feet in the air between the devil and the body of Moses.

The archangel glows with an amber light that churns like a supernova within the layers of linen swirling around his body.

His chest, arms, and legs are encased in luminescent armor with a bluish-green patina.

His eyes are like torches; his face, like lightning.

In his left hand, a staff of gold-plated acacia wood topped with the Cross of Christ.

In his right hand, the flaming Sword of the Lord, ready for battle.

As he speaks, the air rumbles with the authority of the Living God.

Michael: “The Lord…”

Michael slashes his sword through the dusty air, sending forth the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Michael: “…rebuke thee!”

The outpouring of flame explodes across the escarpment, hits the wall, and splits into two streams that surge in opposite directions.

Both slivers of fire travel around the circular rock wall and meet on the opposite side, where they clash into a burning knot that sizzles out.

The presence of the Lord engulfs the scene with a serene cloud of thick smoke.

After a few seconds, the Sword of the Lord illuminates the area, revealing the archangel in human form, standing alone in front of Moses’ hovering body.

Michael slowly sweeps his luminous blade across the area in front of him, revealing that the devil and his hell-bound entourage are gone.

The archangel looks over at Moses’ body, which glides through the air into the unlit doorway of the sepulcher and disappears inside, where it will await the Transfiguration on the Mount.

Michael wills his sword back into the supernatural realm, then bends down. Picks up a handful of dirt and dust. Stands up. Throws the debris in the direction of the burial chamber. And walks out of the escarpment.

As he reaches the opening, he turns around and stares back at the moonlit sepulcher to see that it’s no longer visible to the human eye; the rock wall looks exactly as it did when he arrived.

Rock Tower

From its perch, the imperial eagle watches the archangel walk away from the prophet’s heavenly gravestone. As Michael disappears, the bird leaps off the granite peak and flies into the night, vanishing among the countless stars set into place by the Lord, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.


Icon of Archangel Michael

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