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DROP OUT OF THE “HOLIDAY” MADNESS!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 6, 2015

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).


Some time ago I bought a used copy of Portraits of Christ in Genesis by Dr. M. R. DeHaan (Zondervan Publishing House, 1966). It was published a few months after Dr. DeHaan died on December 13, 1965. Dr. DeHaan (1891-1965) was an extremely popular Bible teacher. He was listened to by millions of people on the radio every Sunday afternoon in the 1950s and early 60s. I found it very interesting to read a message, on the inside jacket of the book, that Billy Graham wrote to Dr. DeHaan’s son, which was read at Dr. DeHaan’s funeral. Graham said that he had just heard of Dr. DeHaan’s death. Then Graham said,

I have listened to him almost every Sunday for many years. A great deal of my Bible knowledge came from his teaching.

I disagree with Billy Graham on a number of subjects, as those who read my sermons well know, especially on the subject of “decisionism.” But on one point Graham never changed. He never deviated from Dr. DeHaan’s view of the “signs” of Christ’s coming. His very last “crusade” sermon was on the “sign” of the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37). It closely paralleled what Dr. DeHaan taught on that subject. What Billy Graham said about Daniel 12:4 could have been written by Dr. DeHaan himself. In his book World Aflame (Doubleday & Company, 1965, pp. 224-225) Billy Graham gave the following comments on our text,

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

Billy Graham said,

      The meaning of Daniel’s words could not possibly have been understood until this generation. Indeed, the Scripture says that [“the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end,” Daniel 12:9].
      Today we know what Daniel meant. This is surely the age of speed and travel and knowledge…Until the coming of the automobile and the airplane, it was hard to understand what Daniel meant when he said, “Many shall run to and fro.” But now there are millions of cars on the highways and countless planes in the air at all hours of every day and night…For the first time since [the prophecies of] the Scriptures were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we can understand many parts of them in the light of current world events.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

Commenting on Daniel 12:4, Dr. DeHaan said that “many shall run to and fro” is a sign that we are approaching the end of the world, the end of this age. Dr. DeHaan started out as a medical doctor. He said that when he began practicing medicine he travelled in a horse-drawn buggy. He said,

Automobiles were still a novelty. Airplanes were unknown. Few people traveled more than a few miles from their own homes. Then began the travel age, and many began to run to and fro…Our highways are jammed, airplane reservations are sold out, men running to and fro on every hand. This, says the Word of God, indicates the time of the end. One simply cannot ignore the significance of the words, “many shall run to and fro” (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., Signs of the Times, Kregel Publications, 1996 reprint, p. 43).

None of my four grandparents ever flew on an airplane. My father never flew on an airplane. My mother only travelled on an airplane one time in her entire life. All of them could have, but it just never entered their minds to do so. In those days people didn’t hurl themselves through the sky like they do today! Travel remained quite limited until well after World War II. Now it has exploded. Everyone seems to be running around like cockroaches!

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

Again, Dr. DeHaan said,

There are many other signs of Christ’s soon return…Sinners, if you knew how soon you will have to answer before God for your rejection of Christ, how you would flee from the wrath to come! (DeHaan, ibid., p. 45).

Today, especially during Christmas and New Year’s, people everywhere run “to and fro.” When I was a child, in the 1940s, people stayed at home and most of them went to church on these “holidays.” But now they run “to and fro,” back and forth, in the madness of the “holiday” season.

In his book, God Tells the Man Who Cares (Christian Publications, 1970, p. 127) Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) has an essay titled “Midsummer Madness.” Dr. Tozer wrote about the excessive amount of time and money people now spend on summer vacations. What he said about summer vacations applies equally, if not more so, to Christmas and New Year’s.

A kind of madness grips the populace, and then begins that… frenzied effort on everybody’s part to get somewhere other than where he is. No one stops to ask what it is all about, but practically everyone who is not in the hospital or in jail joins the general stampede from everywhere to anywhere and return. An irresistible impulse picks most of us up like grains of dust caught in the wind, and spins and churns us about dizzily and dangerously… (A. W. Tozer, D.D., “Midsummer Madness,” in God Tells the Man Who Cares, Christian Publications, 1970 edition, p. 127). To read about Dr. Tozer click here.

Then Dr. Tozer said,

      The sad truth is that the vacation habit, plus the habit of making weekend trips…has worked practically to paralyze the church of God for several months out of the year…It is an ironic fact that in the very months of the year when Satan is the busiest [church people] are the laziest. Hell reaps her harvest…while the [church people] crisscross the continent at eighty miles an hour in a grim effort to relax…
      That the church of Christ should so completely succumb to this [holiday] madness is proof enough of our low spiritual condition. It is little wonder that the people of the world smile cynically when we come back and go to work on them…They do not take us seriously, and we have ourselves to thank for their attitude…
      We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the [stress] and burden of the [holidays]. We are too much influenced by the world and too little controlled by the [Holy] Spirit...we are in danger of becoming a generation of pleasure lovers…
      Any who disagree with these conclusions are within their rights, and I would be the last to deny them the privilege. But in the name of a thousand struggling churches and disheartened pastors, may I not plead for a little more loyalty to the local church during this season of difficulty? May God raise up a people who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more…May God multiply such men and women among us till the reproach of Egypt is rolled away and man’s confidence in us is restored (A. W. Tozer, D.D., ibid., pp. 129, 130).

I wish that all our preachers had the conviction and courage to speak against “holiday madness,” as Dr. A. W. Tozer did! Our government is failing. Our homes are failing. Our churches are, for the most part, failing. Our very culture is failing! I see no hope at all unless we decide to return to the values of “a saner if slower age” (ibid.), as Dr. Tozer said.

I wish that all of us would drop out of the frenzied madness of the coming “holidays.” Why not stay where you are? Why not be in church every Sunday, morning and evening, in December? Be in church for the Christmas banquet on Sunday night, December 20! Be in church on Christmas Eve, on Thursday evening, December 24! Be in church on New Year’s Eve, Thursday evening, December 31! In a time of terrorism like this, it makes good sense to take a firm stand on God’s side! Also, why “blow” your money when you could stay for the wonderful programs in the church? Why go running away when you could have an even better time here at church?

Down with Las Vegas! Down with San Francisco! Yes, and down with San Diego as well! Sodom and Gomorrah, “and the cities about them” (Jude 7) are no place to run off to on Christmas or New Year’s! Avoid running “to and fro.” Drop out of the coming “holiday” madness! Just sayno!”

Instead, let us give our hearts and our lives to Jesus during the “holidays”! Let us say, with Dr. John R. Rice,

What shall I give Him? What shall I render?
   How shall I repay my Lord’s sacrifice?
Not all earth’s riches, not all its treasure,
   But heart’s devotion and love beyond price!
All my heart’s love, All my fond dreams –
   Make them, Lord Jesus, only for Thee.
All that I am, All I could be –
   Take me, Lord Jesus, Thine e’er to be.

Oh, what investment, how much we cost Him!
   How much the Saviour has paid for His own!
Then what glad service, what heart allegiance
   May He expect from us for all He’s done!
All my heart’s love, All my fond dreams –
   Make them, Lord Jesus, only for Thee.
All that I am, All I could be –
   Take me, Lord Jesus, Thine e’er to be.

Why should I murmur, hold back from sorrow,
   Dread to lose money or friends in His name?
Oh, I should welcome prison or scourging
   If I might thus have some part in His shame!
All my heart’s love, All my fond dreams –
   Make them, Lord Jesus, only for Thee.
All that I am, All I could be –
   Take me, Lord Jesus, Thine e’er to be.
(“All My Heart’s Love” by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

And one more thing – I pray that you will give serious thought to the salvation of your soul. While others are running here and there, I pray that you will spend a few minutes of quiet time thinking about your sin, and your need for salvation through Christ.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:8-10).

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(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Daniel 12:4-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“All My Heart’s Love” (by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).