Book Review: “Islam: The Cloak of the Antichrist” by Jack Smith
Islam: The Cloak of the Antichrist is bound to be extremely controversial. The title alone is enough to set people off. Writing under the pseudonym of “Jack Smith,” the author’s main argument is that Islam matches the Biblical prophecies concerning the Antichrist.
Smith starts the book by defining terms and outlining his method. “Antichrist has two meanings in the Bible. First, ‘antichrist’ is a demonic influence that may or may not be incarnate… Second, in the last days, ‘Antichrist’ is an incarnate satanic spirit possessing supernatural powers that will lead a false religion in its quest for dominion of the entire world (see Rev. 13:7-8, 11-18; 17:8, 11)” (XIII). Smith notes his argument is that “Islam’s prophesied ‘Mahdi’ will be interpreted as the Antichrist in the last days” (ibid.). As far as method goes, Smith notes the importance of reading many prophecies as apocalyptic literature–steeped in metaphor (XVII). “Bible prophecy,” writes Smith, “is like a giant jigsaw puzzle; except, there is no picture on the box. Each piece can only be confirmed to be the ‘right piece’ if it fits with the pieces around it, which must fit the pieces around them, and so on” (XVIII). Finally, Smith notes that he is not trying to enter into discussion about different methods of interpretation or to discuss all the variant interpretations of each passage (XIX).
Smith’s argument is quite robust. Chapter by chapter, he puts together the pieces of the “jigsaw puzzle”–arguing directly from prophecy to specific areas of Islam. The Qur’an, Smith argues, fulfills many parts of the prophesied Antichrist–for it denies that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and denigrates his role to that of a mere prophet (16ff). Islam, argues Smith, also fulfills the role of the Antichrist due to its history of holy war and jihad (47ff).
Smith quickly turns to even more specific prophecies when he surveys Daniel’s prophecies regarding the kingdoms to come (Daniel 2 and 7). He argues that Islam fulfills the requirements of the “final kingdom” which will come to attack God’s children. Specifically, these include that Islam is divided (62ff); it will not adhere to itself (66-67); it will have a leader who will rise at the last days (81-82); etc. (82ff).
Against the more traditional interpretation that the final kingdom will be a new Roman Empire, Smith argues that Rome would fail to fulfill various prophetic characteristics (101ff). He also counters notions found on various online sources that the European Union could be the Antichrist.
The Dome of the Rock, argues Smith, is the abomination of desolation prophesied in Matthew 24:15 (142ff). Furthermore, Shariah Law is interpreted as the overthrow of religious and political realms. Because Shariah Law is unchanging it cannot adapt to cultural situations (151ff). Furthermore, Shariah Law is interpreted as the authority given to the “Beast” (158ff). Finally and specifically, Smith seeks to show that the coming al-Mahdi is the Biblical Antichrist (184ff).
The latter third of the book focuses upon holy wars; Israel (specifically whether the prophesied “Gog” will be the Antichrist (244ff); and the Judgment Day (284ff).
How does one evaluate a book like this? One area of importance to note is that Smith explicitly noted his avoidance of the debate about differing methods and/or variant interpretations. It is clear, however, that particularly the method is extremely important. There is a vast array of methods regarding interpretation, but interpreting Revelation and prophecies in particular is highly controversial (cf. Zondervan published “Counterpoints”: Four Views on the Book of Revelation). Smith avoided these issues because of a written desire to “help the reader comprehend a very complicated area of the Bible…” (XIX), but one may urge that in only putting forward one method, Smith skirted around a central issue. Some may argue that a different method would yield entirely different results. As just one example, one may hold to a “preterist” view of Revelation–wherein the prophesies found in the Book have almost all been fulfilled in the 1st century (see again the book noted earlier in this paragraph). Of course, if this is the case, then we should hardly be worried about the al-Mahdi or Islam generally being a prophesied Antichrist–for the events have already been fulfilled. Other methodological approaches could similarly discredit Smith’s account. While he did note that he was not going to enter into a debate over the method, it still seems that Smith needs to defend his own methodological approach in order to effectively make his argument.
However, the strength of Smith’s book is the astounding amount of details he finds. He leaves few stones unturned in his pursuit of the “puzzle pieces” and shows cogently how they fit together. Again, those who operate with a different methodological approach will not be convinced, but they still have a significant amount of argumentation they will be forced to rebut in order to justify their own position. Smith’s arguments are compelling, and he continually grounds them in historical facts about Islam. Even those who do, in fact, differ on methodology may agree with Smith that Islam, at the least, reflects varied aspects of the Antichrist.
However, with all the exegesis going on, Smith offers little in the way of guidance. What are Christians supposed to do about the Antichrist, if indeed it is the coming al-Mahdi (if the al-Mahdi is coming at all!?)? Granted, this is not at all the focus of the book, but one wonders–if Smith’s arguments are sound, what are we supposed to do about them? That, I charge, is the area which will generate the most controversy. The strengths of Smith’s account lie in his ability to draw out parallels between Islam and the Biblical prophecies. Whether the reader is convinced by these arguments or not, they will have to deal with the extremely detailed account Smith provides. But then one will be left wondering: what should I do? Again, this isn’t a major strike against the book’s theses–that was not Smith’s focus–but it seems that some Christians, at least, may unfortunately just use this as ammunition to attack Muslims, when in fact we are called to love our neighbors, our friends, and our enemies. Perhaps Smith can follow up his work here with an exhortation to Christians to witness to Muslims and to honestly share their faith with their neighbors.
Overall, Islam: The Cloak of the Antichrist is a riveting read. Those who are interested in end-times prophecy will want to dive in with both feet. Smith’s arguments are detailed and cogent, and even those who disagree with his methodological approach must contend with the content of his formidable argument. He has indeed pieced together a puzzle which, at the very least, will require serous thought. The book will be exciting for anyone with even a passing interest in the meaning of end-times prophecies, regardless of their own methodological approach. Unfortunately, those convinced by the arguments are left wondering: what should we do? To those, I only advise (and I think Smith would agree) they take up Jesus’ words: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jack Smith, Islam: The Cloak of the Antichrist (Winepress, 2011).
Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy from Winepress Publishers.
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