Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass…
Of all the subjects on which we may speculate as to our own state and destination, perhaps none is so mysterious, none so difficult to form a definite idea of, as the condition of the dead after the act of death; on the other hand nothing is more simple and clear, than their state after the coming of the Lord. There is, then, this consideration, which is worthy at least of our notice; that the looking for and waiting unto the day of the Lord brings us something more definite, something immediately following it of a more tangible kind, more calculated to make a deep impression on us, than the contemplation of the day of our own death. The realities consequent on the one are and must be, even to the strongest faith, shrouded in a mist which is to us impenetrable; the other, with its realities, stands forth boldly before us, marked out in all its features by the hand of Christ Himself. So that the man who waits for the Lord's coming is likely to be more definite, more assured, more manly and determined in whatever effects on his character such anticipation may have, than he who merely looks forward to his own death. Moreover, when we compare the two as to the question, which best befits the Christian as an object of thought and expectation — we cannot, I think, hesitate a moment. The New Testament is full of exhortations to watch and prepare for the Lord's coming. From His own discourses while on earth in the flesh, through those of the apostles in the Acts, through the Epistles of St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, St. John, St. Jude, even to the latest written words of the Spirit in the Revelation, no command is more frequent, none more solemnly impressed on us, than that we should keep that great event constantly in view, and be ever ready for it. Whereas we shall hardly find one exhortation, addressed directly to us as Christians, to be ready for the day of our own death. And why so? clearly not because such readiness is not necessary — far from it indeed — but because the greater absorbs the less: because the promise of our ascended Saviour — His return to us — His coming to take account of His servants — includes in it all that the other possibly could do, and very much more; because death is at the best but a gloomy thing, bearing trace of the curse, accompanied with pain and sorrow, whereas the Lord's coming is to His people a thought full of joy — the completion of their redemption, the beginning of their reign of glory.
Parallel VersesKJV: Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.