Born in 1946, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a man who claims to be Jesus Christ. He is the leader of Creciendo en Gracia, a cult movement based in Miami, Florida. His name is surrounded by controversy, as his followers assert that he is the living incarnation of Jesus Christ and his opponents accuse him of being a heretic, a former criminal, and a heroin addict. Miranda has been quoted as claiming to be both God in the flesh and the Antichrist; he has a tattoo of the number 666 on his arm.
Miranda’s earliest days were quite different from what one might expect from God in the flesh. He lived in Puerto Rico in impoverished conditions as a child, going on to be arrested for drug use. He was also imprisoned for petty theft. He claims that the power of God delivered him from the grips of his heroin addiction, resulting in his ordainment as a Pentecostal minister and his membership in the Southern Baptist Church before he founded his own ministry.
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda doesn’t tend to shrink from the controversy surrounding his assertions. Instead, he seeks to explain them away. For example, he does not dispute calling himself the Antichrist. Instead, he says the term applies to him because people are supposed to reject the Jewish teachings concerning Jesus of Nazareth and follow the teachings of Paul the apostle. As such, Miranda claims that he is the Antichrist because he does not follow the Jewish teachings; he denies any satanic relationship.
Miranda has even shown himself to be adept at explain the “666” tattoo that is displayed on his forearm. He says the number does not represent Satan. Instead, he states that “666” represents the Antichrist, which he claims is actually the non-Jewish Jesus Christ. Miranda has even turned the tables on such religious icons as the Catholic Church, calling it evil and instructing his followers to burn and destroy pictures of the Pope. He also asserts that sin does not exist, stating that crime is only wrong in the eyes of society, not necessarily in the eyes of God.
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda has followers in more than 30 different countries. He considers Miami the center of his religious organization. Miranda refers to the children in his church as the super race because they are pure and lacking what he calls the stain of religion. However, he also has many detractors who call him a con man, cult leader, blasphemer, and the devil himself.