Nawa oh, the end has indeed come. How can a church brand its members with 666!!!
666 is a sign most Christians would shun, because for centuries the
numbers have been associated with Satan. But for the 30 or so church
members who branded themselves with 666 and SSS, the initials of De
Jesus’ motto, “salvo siempre salvo,” or “saved always saved”, it’s a
mark of their absolute faith in De Jesus.
The Members of Growing in Grace, a controversial religious sect
headquartered in Doral, are following the example of their
leader, Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, who has claimed to be Jesus and
recently declared himself the Antichrist. (God have mercy)
Critics have called De Jesus a cult leader who manipulates followers, however,
Church members say he has brought them happiness and spiritual
Church members say the symbol doesn’t connect them to Satan but
rather to De Jesus’ claim that he has replaced Christ’s teachings with a
new gospel. (What???)
“This is backing up what I truly believe,” said Alvaro Albarracin, 38,
who heads a film production company and joined the church more than a
decade ago. He showed a bandage that covered the freshly tattooed “666″
on his forearm. “It’s like a brand. It’s like a sign.”
De Jesus, who preaches that sin and the devil were destroyed when Jesus
died on the cross and that God’s chosen already have been saved has
built a massive movement around his claim to divinity. Followers call
him “Daddy” and “God” and lavish him with $5,000 Rolexes and sometimes
40 percent or more of their salaries.
De Jesus had just a few hundred followers when he launched his church in
a Hialeah warehouse about 20 years ago. Today, he commands a global
movement from his Doral headquarters that boasts 335 education centers,
200 pastors, 287 radio programs and a 24-hour Spanish-language TV
network that’s available to 2 million homes — including by special
request from some U.S. cable companies.
In his sermons, De Jesus emphasizes wealth and success as a sign of
God’s favor. Many of his members are business owners who give a
percentage of their corporate profits to De Jesus, said
In 1988, De Jesus announced he was the reincarnation of the Apostle
Paul. In 1999, he dubbed himself “the Other,” a spiritual superbeing who
would pave the way for Christ’s second coming. In 2004, he proclaimed
himself to be Jesus Christ. That claim caused some prominent members to
defect from the movement, including De Jesus’ first wife, Nydia, and
his son Jose Luis Jr., who started his own church in Puerto Rico.
In January, during a packed worship service at the church, De Jesus
took off his coat and revealed the numbers 666 on his forearm.
“This is a congregation of Antichrists,” De Jesus said, drawing whistles and cheers.
Oh God, have mercy!