Ryrie Memorial

What is Dispensationalism and how does it relate to the End Times? Find out with guest Dr. Charles Ryrie on the show Christ in Prophecy.

Air Date: May 15, 2016.


Dr. Reagan: On February 16th of this year, a great man of God was called home to his eternal reward. I’m speaking of Dr. Charles Ryrie, the renowned author of the Ryrie Study Bible. I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Dr. Ryrie for an hour back in 2007, and I would like to share with you some remarkable excerpts from that interview. Stay tuned.

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Part 1

Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. On February 16th, one of my spiritual heroes was called home to be with the Lord. He was Dr. Charles Ryrie, the remarkable man who produced the Ryrie Study Bible. During his lifetime of nearly 91 years, Dr. Ryrie earned two doctor’s degrees, one at Dallas Theological Seminary, and the other from the University of Edinburgh. And he spent many years teaching systematic theology at Dallas Theological. I read several of his books and heard him lecture a couple of times, but I did not get to know him personally until the turn of this century when he became a strong supporter of this ministry and a personal encourager to me. In 2007 I invited him to record two television programs with us, and he agreed. That was my first opportunity to meet him personally, and I was very surprised by his demeanor. I had expected him to be an aloof academician. But he proved to be just the opposite. He turned out to be a very down-to-earth, practical theologian with a great sense of humor. He had me laughing constantly, just as I did when I read his obituary, which I suspect he had a hand in writing. Listen to these words from the middle of his obituary: “Dr. Ryrie authored over 50 books, including the “Ryrie Study Bible,” and he loved his Lord, he loved the Bible, his church, and his family, as well as Blue Bell ice cream and Magnum bars.”

Part 2

Dr. Reagan: I began my interview with Dr. Ryrie back in 2007 by springing a surprise on him regarding his famous study Bible. Now, I’ve got a surprise for you. And that is that my wife recently wore out her Bible. I mean she just wore it out, and she came to me and she said, “Dave, I need a new Bible would you go get me one.” I said, “Yeah what kind do you want?” She looked at me like I was nuts. And she said, “Well the only kind I’ll use, that’s the Ryrie Study Bible.

Dr. Ryrie: You have the most wonderful wife in the world.

Dr. Reagan: Here, this is her Ryrie Study Bible.

Dr. Ryrie: Oh, look at that.

Dr. Reagan: I mean it is worn to a frazzle.

Dr. Ryrie: I love to see that kind of Bible.

Dr. Reagan: So what I did is I went out and bought her a brand new one. Look there, Ryrie Study Bible.

Dr. Ryrie: That’s great.

Dr. Reagan: And it is in the New American Standard Version and I would just appreciate it so much if you would inscribe this to her, because I tell you what, it would thrill her to death and it would get me a whole lot of brownie points, ok, and I need them! Her name is Ann, A-N-N.

Dr. Ryrie: A-N-N.

Dr. Reagan: Yes, A-N-N, just Ann. And I’ll tell you that would be a real great blessing. And while you’re doing that let me say that I wore out my copy of your study Bible a long time ago. But you know what I replaced it with? I replaced it with the electronic version. And so I’m not sure that all of our viewers are aware of the fact that just about any electronic Bible study software that you can get will have as an add-on your notes for an additional price. I think that would be true of just about any of them and so I use it that way all the time when I’m doing serious Bible study I’ve just got the text on one side and I’ve got your study notes on the other. And also, you told me something about this new study Bible that really astounded me because when my wife looked in it she said, “Hey, here’s a map, here’s a chart, here’s a diagram, I’ve never seen that before. Are you sure you got me a Ryrie Study Bible? Didn’t you tell me you added 2,000 notes from the original addition?

Dr. Ryrie: Yeah, in ’93 and ’94 I expanded it and there are more notes and more in text helps like maps and charts.

Dr. Reagan: So I understand it’s about 20 percent more material. Well, I highly recommend it.

Dr. Ryrie: I wrote a little bit that’s what took me so long.

Dr. Reagan: Oh, ok, thanks. That will thrill her to death.

Dr. Ryrie: I want to give you a bonus.

Dr. Reagan: Ok, that’s great. How long did it take you from the time you started on that project until the time it was published?

Dr. Ryrie: The original took my part about seven years.

Dr. Reagan: Seven years, wow.

Dr. Ryrie: But I was teaching some too.

Dr. Reagan: Yes.

Dr. Ryrie: And the actual production took about ten.

Dr. Reagan: Yes.

Dr. Ryrie: Because they had to put things together. Now, I think that time can be reduced because of computers and so on.

Dr. Reagan: You know, when I asked…

Dr. Ryrie: I did it on a typewriter.

Dr. Reagan: On a typewriter?

Dr. Ryrie: Yeah.

Dr. Reagan: Wow.

Dr. Ryrie: I did it in B.C., before computers.

Dr. Reagan: Before computers. Well you know, when I asked you that question how long did it take you, it reminded me of one time when I bought a beautiful painting, a southwestern painting. And then I had the opportunity to meet the artist. And I asked the artist, I said “How long did it take you to do this painting?” And he looked at it and he said, “65 years.” And that’s really it. I mean, you can talk about a seven year period of time, but it’s really a product of a lifetime of study.

Dr. Ryrie: A lifetime of teaching and study, yeah that’s true.

Dr. Reagan: Amen.

Dr. Ryrie: I almost said it that way.

Dr. Reagan: At this point in our interview, I turned to a rather heavy theological point and Dr. Ryrie could have responded in a way that would have put everyone to sleep, but he did not. I want you to notice how down-to-earth he is with his answer to my question. What in the world is a dispensational viewpoint? What does that mean?

Dr. Ryrie: It just recognizes a very simple truth. And that is God has dispensed, dispensational, dispensed the way the rules by which He’s governed the world differently at different times.

Dr. Reagan: Ok.

Dr. Ryrie: Just like when our kids are growing up we dispense the rule about bedtime at different times as they grow throughout their childhood.

Dr. Reagan: And you don’t have the same rules for a 2 year old that you do for a 17 year old.

Dr. Ryrie: No, you don’t tell a two year old they can stay up until midnight. Some of them do, but. And you don’t tell a 17 year old that they have to go to bed at 9 o’ clock. That’s what this Dispensationalism is all about. Just God has dispensed the way the package of guidelines and rules that He wants to run the world at different times.

Dr. Reagan: So give us an example of two different dispensations.

Dr. Ryrie: Well, I think the clearest example is the set of rules that we call the Law, the Mosaic Law. There are 613 commandments.

Dr. Reagan: Right.

Dr. Ryrie: They govern almost every area of a Jewish person’s life, not only how he worshipped but the things he gave, what he ate. Just everything was governed that way. For example, you and I are probably violating the Mosaic Law. I’m not sure about you but I know about me, because I’m wearing a shirt of mixed material.

Dr. Reagan: Oh, yes.

Dr. Ryrie: And that was a violation, you didn’t do that. You had to wear clothing that was not.

Dr. Reagan: All wool, all cotton, whatever.

Dr. Ryrie: Not mixed at all.

Dr. Reagan: Yeah.

Dr. Ryrie: And I don’t know what you had for breakfast, but if you had bacon you are a double sinner.

Dr. Reagan: Reminds me of the prayer of Moody, Lord if you can bless what you have cursed, bless it.

Dr. Ryrie: If you can bless what you’ve cursed under the Law then bless it.

Dr. Reagan: Ok.

Dr. Ryrie: So those are requirements.

Dr. Reagan: Alright.

Dr. Ryrie: And they were for a purpose, I’m not sure I understand all the purpose but God gave them that way. Now today, God has given us all meats to enjoy with thanksgiving, that’s a wonderful verse.

Dr. Reagan: Yes.

Dr. Ryrie: Because I happen to like bacon. And I can eat it and feel that I am not disobeying God.

Dr. Reagan: Yes. So we’re in a different dispensation.

Dr. Ryrie: He’s dispensing food laws in a different way, at different times.

Dr. Reagan: One of the questions I was anxious to ask Dr. Ryrie was what did he think was the greatest proof that the Bible is the Word of God? His answer delighted me. Well, if you were talking to a person who did not believe this was the Word of God, what would you point to to try to convince them it really is God’s Word, it came from God?

Dr. Ryrie: Well, you will appreciate this because of the emphasis of your ministry. I would point them to fulfilled prophecy. And I would compare it to the possibility of fulfilled prophecy being fulfilled by chance.

Dr. Reagan: Yes.

Dr. Ryrie: And I’m no expert in probability but I did major in mathematics in college.

Dr. Reagan: Is that right?

Dr. Ryrie: Yes, strangely enough. And, I’ve done some of that comparison. How could the ten prophecies be fulfilled by chance? Then if you talk about 50 prophecies, of course the chance gets much less.

Dr. Reagan: Yes.

Dr. Ryrie: If you talk about just let’s say, 100 prophecies about the First Coming of Christ. The probability of that happening by chance is always one out of something. Probability is expressed in a fraction. But the one out of something is so minor, so minute, so little that the mathematical would say, it’s zero.

Dr. Reagan: Right.

Dr. Ryrie: Now, the person who wants to grab on the one, as a possibility for it happening by chance will say the 1 out of whatever it is, a billion, 2 or 3 billion, is the one I’m holding to. Well, good luck, that’s all I can say. Good luck, because these prophecies could not be fulfilled by chance.

Dr. Reagan: And furthermore you don’t find any fulfilled prophecies in books like the Hindu Vedas or in the book of Mormon or even in the Koran. No fulfilled prophecies and here they are, one after another after another.

Dr. Ryrie: And you can test them.

Dr. Reagan: Yes. At this point in our interview, I decided to bring up a very controversial question namely, what would be his response to those who argue that the only valid translation of the Bible is the King James Version? This gets kind of controversial with some people, I mean, they get really, really emotional about it. You are a person who has dealt with biblical manuscripts for years and years and you know, have produced your own study Bible. And so, I think you would be one that people would like to hear respond to this questions. And that is, there are some good folks out there, I mean really good Christian folks who take the position that if you use anything other than the King James Version, you’re going straight to Hell. I get letters from them all the time. Now, what is your attitude about the King James only folk, who are really sincere, but what do you think about that?

Dr. Ryrie: Well, that’s too restrictive and the language is too 17th Century. And you need to, even for your own sake, you need to update some of the language in the King James.

Dr. Reagan: Well, they have, they revised it many, many times haven’t they?

Dr. Ryrie: Yes. And the last major revision of the King James was in 1769. That sort of startles them if they want to have the Original King James, just like it came from the translations in 1611. There have been four major revisions, the last one being in 1769.

Dr. Reagan: So you’re basically saying that there are some modern translations that are good for use.

Dr. Ryrie: Of course.

Dr. Reagan: Like the New American Standard, or something of that nature.

Dr. Ryrie: They’re better for use because they’re more accurate and the New American is one of them, certainly.

Dr. Reagan: You know, when I was growing up in the church back in the 40’s about the only translation we had was the King James and I really didn’t enjoy reading the Bible because to me it was like reading Shakespeare. I had great difficulty with it. And then when I was a freshman in college my mother and dad sent me one year for Christmas a copy of the J.B. Phillips paraphrase of the New Testament. Dr. Ryrie I picked that up and started reading it and it was like something exploded inside of me. I read all day, I read all night. I read all the next day. I couldn’t put it down. And suddenly I became interested in studying the Bible like I never had before. And yet, I find quite often people just thoroughly condemn paraphrases and say there’s no use to them whatsoever.

Dr. Ryrie: Well, I think paraphrases have a use, especially with young people or young Christians. It helps them to see what the Bible is saying and gets them interested just like they did in your case. But if you stay only with a paraphrase then you’re missing out on something.

Dr. Reagan: Yes, you’re in trouble.

Dr. Ryrie: Well, you’ve got to grow, and grow toward a more accurate, literal, plain, reliable translation.

Dr. Reagan: Especially for very serious study, yes.

Dr. Ryrie: You don’t teach Sunday School, you don’t prepare for Sunday school class with a paraphrase

Part 3

Dr. Reagan: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and the highlights of my 2007 interview with Dr. Charles Ryrie who was called home to be with the Lord in February of this year. My favorite part of the interview was when we turned to Bible prophecy questions. I asked him to respond to the question that I always ask all my guests. That question is, “Do you believe we are living in the season of the Lord’s return?” Well let me get to the question that so many people have sent in. And that question is this: Do you believe that we are living in the season of the Lord’s return?

Dr. Ryrie: Yes. Now, people all through the ages have expected the Lord to return in their generation that was true in the First Century. It was true in the well, let’s see, the 16th century, people identified the Antichrist, usually as one of the reigning popes. But they were looking about the future. It was true at the time the Pilgrims came. One of their motivations to leave Holland was that they thought the Millennium was about to happen and they were going to be a part of the people who conquered evil. And it was true when the first atomic bomb was exploded. I don’t know how many articles I read saying that this is the fulfillment of Revelation 16, the judgments described under the seals in that chapter. But there are things that are true today that were not true 60 years ago.

Dr. Reagan: Well, I would say a hearty amen to that, and what would you point to?

Dr. Ryrie: Well, just happen to have an object lesson. Do you believe in object lessons?

Dr. Reagan: I do, I love them.

Dr. Ryrie: I do too. First book I ever wrote was for children, did you know that?

Dr. Reagan: No, I didn’t know that.

Dr. Ryrie: Well, here’s an object lesson. This is?

Dr. Reagan: A twenty shekel.

Dr. Ryrie: Twenty shekel bill. Shekel, shekel, doesn’t that ring any bells?

Dr. Reagan: Yes it does, right out of the Bible.

Dr. Ryrie: Right out of the Bible. But that’s not an old bill.

Dr. Reagan: No.

Dr. Ryrie: That was printed in Israel, that’s the currency. Israel! Israel! Now, if the Antichrist was going to make a treaty with Israel as the Bible says, 60 years ago, where would he have gone to do it? Answer London. Because Palestine was under the control, after the Second World War, of Britain. Where could he go today? Jerusalem, the parliament, the buildings there, the area of the government offices is in Jerusalem. So, the existence, the continued existence of the nation Israel for 59 years now is something that is very, very significant.

Dr. Reagan: And you know, Dr. Ryrie, it thrills me to death to go back and read books written in the 19th Century that say very clearly the Bible says that in the end times God is going to re-gather the children of Israel in unbelief from the four corners of the earth and reestablish them in that land. And there are books in the 19th century saying this. The Puritans said it 400 years ago. And people laughed and scoffed and ridiculed. And yet, that’s what happened.

Dr. Ryrie: Well, the nation of Israel, the existence of it, is an embarrassment to Replacement Theology.

Dr. Reagan: That’s for sure.

Dr. Ryrie: Because they don’t think there’s any future for Israel. I’ve got another one here.

Dr. Reagan: Alright.

Dr. Ryrie: I’ll let you tell them what that is.

Dr. Reagan: Oh! That’s a ten Euro.

Dr. Ryrie: Yeah, that’s a Euro bill.

Dr. Reagan: Yes, a Euro.

Dr. Ryrie: Euro! Euro! Can you imagine France giving up its franks? And Germany giving up its marks? And Italy giving up its lira? And Greece giving up its drachmas? And all of them using the Euro? And that that unity, that financial unity, that banking unity took place in less than two years?

Dr. Reagan: Wow.

Dr. Ryrie: When they started? Now, that’s significant because in the end times there will be blocks of nations geographically related to Israel. A block in the west, there’s the Euro. A block in the north. A block in the east. And Egypt in the south. And the block in the east, who could have imagined 10 years ago that that part of the world would be so important and prominent commercially?

Dr. Reagan: That’s right.

Dr. Ryrie: Not only China, and Japan, and Singapore, but now India. All these eastern countries have just risen almost suddenly over night to become powers to be reckoned with. And that unification, that making of blocks, in relation to Israel in the middle is I think something we haven’t seen before.

Dr. Reagan: Well, I’d say you’ve really driven the point home beautifully with this illustration here. And I would agree with you 100%. I used to teach International Law and Politics for 20 years before I went into the ministry. And all that time I was running from the Lord. Then when I finally surrendered and said, “Ok, Lord I’m tired of running I’ll do what you want me to do.” He handed me a ministry that really teaches international politics from a biblical viewpoint. I wish I could go back to the university I graduated from and teach international politics from the viewpoint of Daniel and what the Bible has to say because it’s so much more accurate. But you’re so right, we have things today that have never existed before. The most important being the existence of the nation of Israel. Because all of end time Bible prophecy focuses on Israel. They’ll be re-gathered, their state will be reestablished. They’ll be put back in their city. And then that final thing there, the whole world will come against them over the control of Jerusalem. That’s where we are Dr. Ryrie.

Dr. Ryrie: Exactly.

Dr. Reagan: The whole world is coming.

Dr. Ryrie: Exactly.

Dr. Reagan: And then the European Union, Daniel talked about how the Old Roman Empire was going to be revived in the end times. And they tried it, I mean, think about it throughout history. All the times that people like Napoleon and others tried to do that through war and it never worked. But when it was God’s timing, bang, just like that. A guy gets up in Europe and says, “Hey, the only way we can recover from World War II is we’ve got to get together and cooperate.” And it leads into a super state because it was God’s timing. The other Bible prophecy question that I presented to Dr. Ryrie had to do with the Rapture of the Church. Specifically, I asked him, “When is the Rapture most likely to occur?”

Dr. Reagan: Now we come to the most controversial question of all, and this is the one that you’ve had more people call and say ask him this question than any other one and that of course has to do with the Rapture. For those who don’t know what the Rapture is, it’s a teaching that the Lord is going to appear in the heavens and the Church, all those who are true believers, are going to be taken out of the world. The question, the real tough question is, when is that gonna happen? When is it most likely to occur? Before the Tribulation, middle of the Tribulation, near the end? Combined with the Second Coming? What is your opinion?

Dr. Ryrie: My opinion is the same as what the Bible teaches. That is, it’s before the Tribulation.

Dr. Reagan: What argument would you give to support that?

Dr. Ryrie: I’m really dogmatic on this one.

Dr. Reagan: Okay, alright. Let’s tell us the reasons now.

Dr. Ryrie: Well, I think there are several reasons. One is, comparing two verses, 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 end of the chapter. The tenth verse I think it is, 1:10.

Dr. Reagan: I know what that is.

Dr. Ryrie: We know the Deliverer from the wrath to come.

Dr. Reagan: We’re waiting on Jesus who will deliver us from the wrath that is to come.

Dr. Ryrie: Yeah.

Dr. Reagan: Yes.

Dr. Ryrie: You know, incidentally that word wait kind of means wait up.

Dr. Reagan: Oh I didn’t know that.

Dr. Ryrie: Just wait expectantly.

Dr. Reagan: Okay.

Dr. Ryrie: The Deliverer from the wrath to come. People sometimes read that and think that means Hell. But wrath generally, almost always talks about wrath on living people.

Dr. Reagan: Yes.

Dr. Ryrie: It does so in Romans 1, for example. Now, if you compare that with Revelation 6, where it says, and the Sixth Seal that the great day of His wrath has come. And that verb has come means it’s already here.

Dr. Reagan: Ok.

Dr. Ryrie: Who is able to stand?

Dr. Reagan: That’s right.

Dr. Ryrie: Well, if I’m delivered from the wrath, and the wrath is at the beginning of the Tribulation, then I’m not going to be here during the Tribulation.

Dr. Reagan: Well, that’s a pretty solid argument right there.

Dr. Ryrie: The other one I think that’s so good is revelation 3:10 which says, to the church at Philadelphia, I will keep you from the hour of trouble, temptation, trial, that will come upon the whole world to try those who go upon the earth. Well, people say, well that’s just in a short letter to Philadelphia, and it doesn’t apply to us. Well, Philippians is a short letter. Philemon is a short letter. But you don’t rule them out of the Canon.

Dr. Reagan: That’s right.

Dr. Ryrie: And that is a promise to the whole church because every one of those letters ends with, hear what the Spirit says to the churches, plural. So, what is said to Philadelphia is said to the churches.

Dr. Reagan: I would think that you would also mention another argument being a Dispensationalist and that is that the Great Tribulation is a period where God is dealing with Israel, not with the Church. And again we’re keeping Israel and the Church separate here.

Dr. Ryrie: I was going to link that with Daniel 9 because the 70 7’s are for Israel upon your people and your holy city and we are not, the Church is not His people in that day. We are his people now. But back to Revelation 3:10 a moment if you don’t mind. The promise is very specific, it relates to the Tribulation that comes upon the whole world.

Dr. Reagan: That’s right.

Dr. Ryrie: There were troubled times and persecution in lots of parts of the world today. But look at the promise. I will keep you. I will keep you, not in the time, but from the time, and I will keep you from the hour. Now the only place we could be is somewhere where time isn’t ticking. And that’s Heaven.

Dr. Reagan: Well, that reminds me of Luke 21 where it says pray that you may escape these things. Because I often have people attack me because I believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture by saying, “You’re just an escapist, you just wanna get out of here and not suffer for the Lord.” I say, “Well that’s true.”

Dr. Ryrie: I don’t deny that.

Dr. Reagan: But Noah was an escapist. And Lot was an escapist. And Jesus said, “Pray that you can escape these things.”

Dr. Ryrie: Yeah, and if they read what’s going to happen, they’d be thankful they could escape. I don’t use that, I just think that’s a ridiculous statement because ask them, would you be willing to die for Christ right now, today? And the answer would be well, not sure.

Dr. Reagan: But they want to die for Him and suffer for Him during the Tribulation.

Dr. Ryrie: Yeah. Yeah.

Part 4

Dr. Reagan: You have been watching excerpts from a one hour interview that I did with Dr. Charles Ryrie back in 2007. He was called home to the Lord at age 90 this year on February 16th, and this program is a tribute to his memory.

I concluded my interview with him 9 years ago by asking him to respond to the popular idea that a person can be saved by living a good life and doing good works.

Well, we only have about a minute and a half left and I wanted to use that time to give you an opportunity to speak to any viewer who maybe watching right now who does not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and maybe have convinced themselves that they can earn their way to Heaven through good works. So many people believe that. Would you look right into that camera and just address some remarks to them for a moment.

Dr. Ryrie: I’d be happy to because there’s nothing more important we could talk about. It’s more important to know your personal, individual destiny for eternity, not just for tomorrow or the rest of your life but for eternity. And the only way to know that you will be in Heaven with the Lord forever and ever is to know that you have received Him personally as your Savior from sin. He died for your sins. You may believe that. But until you connect, until you say, “Yes Lord, you died for my sins and I’m trusting that to take care of the whole sin problem.” And believe me it’s a problem. I’ve never been able to take care of it. Oh, I can sort of form some good habits. But eternal forgiveness, and freedom from eternal damnation that depends on whether you have said “Lord, I take, I accept you as my personal, personal Savior from the judgment, the penalty of sin. And I know then I have eternal life.

Dr. Reagan: Well folks, that’s our program for this week. I hope it has been a blessing to you, and I hope you will be back with us next week. Until then, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”

End of Program

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