(CBS4) DORAL — If you thought it was shocking when we first introduced you to a local preacher who claims to be Jesus Christ, you’ll want to sit down for this.
More than 12 members of a Doral based church showed up at a South Beach tattoo parlor to get the numbers 666 tattooed on themselves, all as a show of faith to preacher Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, who is now sporting a 666 tattoo of his own.
“I am Jesus Christ man,” he said in front of our cameras. “The second coming of Christ.”
In September 2006, which was less than 6 months ago, the founder of the “Growing in Grace Ministry” was billing himself as the second coming of Christ. However, now Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda says he’s the Antichrist.
At a recent church gathering at its headquarters in Doral, Miranda rolled up his sleeves and showed off the mark of the Antichrist. He had tattoos of three S’s on one arm and the number 666 on the other, which is considered by many to be the devil’s number.
When we asked his daughter and follower, Joann de Jesus, if it was the sign of the devil, she said no.
“Jesus of Nazareth , when he died on the cross, he killed the devil,” she said, all while getting her own ’666′ tattoo done.
But de Jesus, who preaches that the devil and sin do not exist, isn’t necessarily declaring himself the devil. FIU religion professor Daniel Alvarez thinks he may be playing on an ambiguity of the word Antichrist, meaning taking the place of Christ. In other words, because he claims to be the second coming of Christ, he rejects the continued worship of the old Christ: Jesus of Nazareth.
Amid applause CBS4’s Ileana Varela attended one of his worship meetings. Our camera captured Miranda preaching the following:
“Anyone who doesn’t believe in me will be miserable.”
Critics say this is yet another publicity ploy by the flamboyant preacher known to sport Rolex watches and drive fancy cars, paid for by generous donations from followers around the world. And we know at least one former member who feels the number 666 fits de Jesus to a “t”.
“He’s the devil,” said former member Regina Albarracin.
Ileana Varela: But he says the devil doesn’t exist.
“It’s him,” she answered.
Thousands of worldwide members of this church are expected to follow the trend of getting the tattoos.