This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are the LORD’s people may go there for this task. And may the LORD your God be with you!
2 Chronicles 36:23 NLT
This is the last verse in the Old Testament. But you say, “Wait a minute, Malachi 4:6 is the last verse.” Yes, it is in the English order, which is borrowed from the Greek order. But in the Hebrew order of books, Chronicles is the last book, and this, of course, is the last verse. Is that intentional? I think so. What is Chronicles (1 and 2) about? It is about the history of Israel in the light of the worship of Yahweh, especially temple worship.
Is temple worship important to God? Yes, it is. Think about the book of Exodus. What is the climax? 16 chapters having to do with the Tabernacle! Then what about Leviticus? Worship in the Tabernacle. Samuel? Worship in the Tabernacle, and then the loss of the Ark and ensuing religious chaos. Kings? The building of the Temple (chaps. 5-8); the periodic rebuilding of the Temple after neglect (2 Kgs 12, 22); and the destruction of the Temple as Judah heads into exile (25). Ezekiel? The concluding eight chapters focus on a glorious new Temple. And then, of course, there is this final verse in the Book.
What’s going on? It is this: the Tabernacle/Temple represents the heart of Biblical Theology. This heart is expressed in two ways. The first is this: The eternal, transcendent (holy) Creator, the one self-existent Being in the Universe, from whom all other existence derives, wants to live in intimate fellowship with his human creatures! He does not want to live in isolation on the mountain; he wants to reside right in the midst of us.
But that’s not enough! God is not a building and cannot be contained in a building. He is a Person; so, he has come in Jesus Christ to be with us. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “If you destroy this temple I will raise it up in three days” (John 2:19). He is the temple in our midst. But the truth is even better: we are invited to live in him, in the temple (John 15:7).