Miranda gains following in Massachusetts

Self-proclaimed Messiah has four churches in state

Daily Free Press/October 6, 2006
By Sarah Chandonnet

Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda calls himself "God" -- as well as "millions of followers, growing in numbers everyday," according to the self-proclaimed prophet's website. That includes those in Massachusetts, where there are four churches across the state in his honor.

Miranda, a 60-year-old Miami native, preaches the benefits of a lavish lifestyle for his followers, denouncing sin and claiming to disprove the existence of the devil and Hell.

According to an Oct. 2 CBS4 report, Miranda said his followers should indulge in food and luxuries including expensive clothing, jewelry and cars because sin "doesn't exist -- the devil was destroyed 2,000 years ago."

Pastor Ivan Lopez, Miranda's spokesman and translator, told The Daily Free Press that Miranda's identity as the Messiah was not revealed to him overnight.

"Like Jesus of Nazareth, they thought he was a carpenter's son, and he didn't realize until he was 30," he said. "Hebrews 9:28 said that the next Messiah will appear without relation to sin. We knew and he knew that he was the Messiah because he was the only person in 2,000 years to preach no sin -- it's evidence."

Lopez said that Miranda has been preaching as Jesus since 2000, the year theologians said the next messiah would appear.

According to the CBS4 report, Miranda's ministry -- called Growing in Grace -- encourages its member to burn documents of other religious denominations.

"Liars and deceivers teach what is not convenient," Lopez said. "Their mouths must be shut. We wouldn't use physical violence -- the message's purpose is to shut down what is not truth."

"We don't want to eliminate other faiths," he continued, adding that followers are not hateful toward other peoples. "We want to eliminate false teachings. We will get books of false teachings and statues -- since idolatry is forbidden -- and we'll get permits to burn them and throw them in the garbage."

Lopez explained there are chosen people and there are evil people on Earth, and the chosen do commit sin but are immediately forgiven.

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