"The ideal being, perfect in every way."
He smiled, admiring his own form in the mirror.
"It's not egotistical if it's accurate." He winked at his reflection. "I have it confirmed on the ultimate authority - for now, anyway."
As he inspected his flowing hair, perfect skin, and well-sculpted physique, his grin widened and overtook his entire body. He seemed captivated - bewitched, perhaps - by the likeness he viewed.
"The model of perfection," he recited, as if from memory, "full of wisdom and perfect in beauty."*
A knock on his door interrupted his reverie.
"Who is it?" he barked.
"Michael here. You wanted to see me?"
He smirked and strode toward the door. He opened it, admitting a tall, strapping figure into his chamber. Michael looked at him inquisitively. In response, he gestured toward the couch, and the two sat and turned toward each other.
Michael shifted in his seat. "What do you need, favored one?"
He rested his hand on Michael's back. "I have been watching you, Michael, and I am impressed with what I see. You have been a hard worker, with a loyalty and devotion unrivaled."
Michael blushed. "Thank you. I do my best."
"I know you do. That is why I have a proposition for you."
He nodded and leaned toward him. "Michael, how would you like to be second in command?"
Michael scrunched up his face and looked at the favored one skeptically. "Excuse me, great light-bearer, but is that position yours to offer? Only the Father has that authority."
He snickered. "Perhaps now, Michael. But in the future? The future will be very different."
"What are you saying?"
"I am saying, dear Michael, that there is someone much more capable of getting the job done right, and perhaps it is time for him to take charge."
Michael gasped. "You, Lucifer? You suppose to overthrow the Most High? You presume to dethrone the King of the Universe, the Creator of all?" Michael closed his eyes briefly, and then sighed. "You are already the guardian cherub, my lord, and have the Father's ear. Your power is greater than any of us, save God himself."
Lucifer snarled. "But why 'save God himself?' Why can it not be me? I am beautiful and wise, Michael. I am destined for this role. I can be, should be, so much more than God has allowed."
The archangel shook his head in disgust and disbelief.
"I will ascend to heaven, Michael. I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."*
Michael sighed. "You will fail, Lucifer, and even if you did succeed, I would never serve you. Your pride and your corruption will be your downfall. You will lose all you have reaching for something you will never possess."
"That is where you are wrong, my friend."
"Don't call me friend, Lucifer. Anyone who opposes the Most High is my enemy." Michael rose from the couch.
"Leave - but know I am not alone. Many others will fight with me. This battle will not be as lopsided as you may think."
"Good bye, Lucifer. May God give me the privilege of standing against you personally in this battle."
Lucifer rose and stood eye to eye with the archangel. "Just remember, Michael, when you are defeated, that you could have been on the winning side, with the triumph."
Michael's face stiffened. "No. You, Lucifer, remember when you are defeated, that you will have lost the very position you are offering to me."
Lucifer dismissed Michael with a wave of the hand. "You will be the loser."
"I fear, Lucifer, that the loss will be all of ours to bear." Michael exited, closing the door behind him.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down - the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.*
Scripture references, in order (NIV):
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