Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a Puerto Rican leader referring to himself as both the Christ and the Antichrist (Growing in Grace). He has a large number of followers, publicizes his faith fervently, and yet he is known among the religious folk as essentially a crackpot. “Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a 60-year-old former heroin addict and convict who believes that he is the living incarnation of ‘Jesus Christ, the Man . . . the second coming of Christ’” – reports a website on cults (“Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda: Million Dollar Messiah”).
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has angered Christian leaders who claim that he is a fraud, while religious experts believe that the man may be much more dangerous as a cult leader who truly believes that he is God. The man reminds many of David Koresh and Jim Jones (Zarrella and Oppmann). And, even though Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda claims to be Christ, he believes that Satan, Hell, and sin are complete lies; that prayer is a waste of time; and that the Ten Commandments as moral or ethical guidelines are absolutely irrelevant (“Million Dollar Messiah”).
The man who considers himself divine, and yet disbelieves in some of the most important Biblical principles, further claims that he had an epiphany in the year 1973. This is when the resurrected Christ is said to have integrated himself within Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda. The man does not know why he was chosen for the divine mission. He began the Growing in Grace Ministries in the mid-1980s anyway, and says that the ministry has a presence in at least twenty nations. Moreover, he claims to have at least thirty teaching centers across the United States (“Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda”).
In Puerto Rico, the denomination of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has opened centers in many areas including Guaynabo, Arecibo, Yabucoa, Ponce and Hormigueros (“Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda”). What is more, the man’s ministry has its own 24-hour cable channel today, complete with sermons as well as news programs and music videos that reportedly reach more than two million homes (Plocek). Arian Campo-Flores of Newsweek attended one of the congregations in Florida organized for Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda. He reports:
At first glance, the congregation gathered in a warehouse in Doral, Fla., seems like a typical Hispanic evangelical group. There’s the 10-piece band, the singing and swaying, the whooping and hollering. But look a little more closely. There’s not a cross in sight. The lectern is emblazoned with a near replica of the U.S. presidential seal, except that it reads in Spanish, government of god on earth. Off to the side stand three burly guys in dark suits with Secret Service-style earpieces. When a door by the stage opens, the guards leap into action. They surround the man with slicked-back hair who emerges and escort him to his seat. When the crowd spots him, it goes wild. People chant, “Lord! Lord! Lord!” It quickly becomes clear that they’re referring to him. “It’s Jesus Christ himself!” a preacher onstage announces. “Let’s welcome Jesus Christ Man!”
The Growing in Grace ministry of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is presently busy growing with new believers in Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda. In the year 2005, the central office of the ministry is said to have gathered more than $1.4 million and added over one hundred churches. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is basically asking his believers to disbelieve in the personality of Jesus to boot. “Believing in Jesus of Nazareth does not make you a Christian,” he says. “Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. He wasn’t a Christian; he was a Jewish man…People who put their eyes on Jesus of Nazareth become Jews, and they don’t know” (Plocek). Hence, the believers of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda must believe in him alone – the new Jesus. Even so, the disbelievers in him trust that Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is just one of the signs of the end times, namely, the appearance of one of the false Messiahs before the Christ’s actual second coming.
- Campo-Flores, Arian. “He Calls Himself God.” Newsweek (2007, February 5).
- Growing in Grace. Retrieved from http://www.cegenglish.com/. (27 February 2007).
- “Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda: Million Dollar Messiah.” All About Cults (2007). Retrieved from http://www.allaboutcults.org/. (27 February 2007).
- Zarrella, John, and Patrick Oppmann. “Pastor with 666 tattoo claims to be divine.” CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/16/miami.preacher/index.html. (27 February 2007).
- “Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda.” Wikipedia (2007). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Luis_de_Jesus_Miranda. (27 February 2007).
- Plocek, Keith. “This Man Thinks He’s Jesus H. Christ!” Houston Press (2006, November 30). Retrieved from http://news.houstonpress.com/. (27 February 2007).