Ready to Rebuild
By Thomas Lee and Randall Price
: Harvest House
Reviewed by Dr. Richard Mayhue
3.2 (Fall 1992) : 225-227
Ever since John MacArthur and I explored an intriguing underground tunnel north of Wilson's Arch along the Western Wall in November, 1983, I have been fascinated by attempts to relocate the actual site of Solomon's ancient temple. This ancient tunnel area adjacent to the temple mount is now open to the public. However, on the occasion of our visit, Israel Lippel, then minister of religious affairs, and Dr. Joseph Ginot, distinguished professor of anthropology at the University of Haifa, assured us that few people up to 1983 had ventured beyond the black iron gates just to the north of Wilson's Arch along the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Thomas Ice and Randall Price have thrown fuel on the fire of my curiosity with their new book.
Quite a frenzy over the temple mount exists in Israel these days, stirred up by the Jewish organization, the Temple Mount Faithful, and by the Arab paranoia that somehow the Jews will take over the Temple Mount in order to desecrate their sacred site, "The Dome of the Rock." The authors have sanely and informatively handled what could be a subject that invites unscholarly speculation. Anyone interested in the history of the temple and what the Bible says about its future should make Ready to Rebuild a must in their reading.
The book divides into four parts. The first section deals with the current controversies over the temple mount with part two looking to the Temple's past. Then in section three, the authors review what is currently transpiring at the Temple Mount site, and finally in part four what the Bible says about the future of the Temple. Ready To Rebuild is very well laid out and quite readable for both the interested layman and the informed student. This reviewer was pleased to see the commendable amount of research that went into the book that is well documented with over nine pages of notes (280-88).
For someone who has not kept up with the history of the Temple Mount, this book will quickly make them current. The historical chronology of the temple on pp. 250-66 will be especially helpful. It begins with Abraham offering Isaac on Mount Moriah and continues until October 31, 1991.
The authors are decidedly futuristic premillennialists and thus believe that when Christ returns He will set up a literal, earthly 1000- year kingdom whose capital is Jerusalem, whose King is Jesus Christ, and whose throne has been promised from the days of David (2 Samuel 7).
Nineteen pictures located between pp. 140 and 141 will help to give the reader a visual orientation to the geographical site that the authors discuss. The most interesting section for this reviewer (pp. 154-70) evaluated the various theories concerning the possible site of the ancient holy of holies. They thoroughly discuss the northern site to the northwest of the Dome of the Rock, near the Western Wall, where Asher Kaufman has possibly identified the holy of holies as being located under a small cupola that is traditionally called the Dome of the Spirits (or tablets). They also review the southern theory that would place the ancient site somewhere between the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque on the southern end of the Temple Mount. However, the authors support the traditional location which would be the current site of the Rock within the Islamic holy place, "The Dome of the Rock." Readers will find the discussion and reasoning fascinating, if not convincing.
For those wishing to find a biblical substantiation for the third or tribulation temple, pp. 197-201 tell where all the biblical texts referring to this Temple are. A brief discussion follows concerning the biblical basis for the millennial or fourth Temple in Ezekiel 40-48 (pp. 205-7). The authors refrain from excess speculation on whether the lost ark of the covenant even exists, and if it does, where it might be located. A brief discussion, including an analysis of the possible Ethiopian location, is on pp. 145-49.
Though the book is certainly not the last word to be written on the subject and does not purport to be unabridged, it definitely is interesting, informative, and, in a good sense, provocative. The writers firmly believe that what the twentieth century church looks for in Christ's return was that which the early church also anticipated. Irenaeus, a second century church father, wrote, "But when this Anti- Christ shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, and the glory of the father sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom" (25). This reviewer affirms Irenaeus' hope as that taught in Scripture and about which Ice and Price write.