Monday, October 8, 2007

Great Bible Scholar - Fedor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)

Though he was certainly not a Bible teacher, Dostoesvsky stands out as a most interesting personality in Russian history. He is best known for his book The Brothers Karamazov. Certain hints and indications in the book are that he was a true believer in Christ as his Savior. There are many such signs of his deep spirituality in this long and classic work that few can put down once they begin to read it!

In his early life Dostoevsky was very immature. As the years passed he became more wise and ended up the most outstanding author probably in all of Russian history! When the book The Brothers was published, Dostoevsky became instantly well-known and even wealthy. He was contemplating a new book when on the night of January 25, 1881, his favorite writing pen rolled under his bookcase. When he bent down to retrieve it the pulmonary artery burst and blood poured from his mouth. The next day a doctor was called though his hemorrhaging continued.

The next few days passed quietly. But on the 28th the hemorrhaging resumed. Dostoevsky called for his wife Anya to get a pastor and have communion brought to him. He predicted that he would die that day and asked his wife to give him a New Testament. Turing to Matthew 3 where John the Baptist said “Lord, I need to be baptized by You, and You are coming to me?” Jesus answered, “Suffer it to be so!”

When Dostoevsky read this he said calmly to his wife: “Do you hear—‘suffer it to be so’—That means I will die today.” This would certainly be seen as a certain mystical belief today, but Dostoevsky needs to be forgiven since he was a faithful member of the very mystical Russian Orthodox Church!

All the morning of the 28th, he called his daughter and his six year old son Fedya, and handing them his New Testament, he said after asking his daughter to read the story of the prodigal son:

Children, never forget what you just heard here. Keep your trust in God and
never despair of His forgiveness. Though I love you I do not love you as much
as God does. My love is nothing compared to the endless love of God for all
people He has created. Remember if you sin, do not lose your hope in God.
You are His children, be humble before Him as your heavenly Father, and
thank Him for His forgiveness. He will rejoice at your contrition and
repentance, as He rejoiced over the return of the prodigal son.

A few hours later the death agony began. Blood continued to pour from his mouth. Looking out his window he could see the church he belonged to. He went unconscious and it was over by 8:36 PM.

His funeral was unprecedented in Russian history. Some thirty thousand people attended his funeral. There were seventy carriages needed to carry the flower wreaths given in his honor. Some fifteen choirs sang at the church.

When Dostoevsky died, Russia was on the verge of revolution in an attempt to throw off the rule of Tsar Alexander II. Terrorist bombings were common, but he never joined in the revolt and upheavals that were about to destroy the nation. “He had gone against the current of his day and he never tired of fighting the liberals in the country.” He said that he “only served Christ.”