33B18. Daniel 12:1-3. The book of Daniel predicts that “there shall be a time unsurpassed in distress.” The wise and “those who lead many to justice” will live shining “like stars forever” but “others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.”
Mark 13:24-32. I think that to begin to make sense of this reading one must go to and read the whole of Mark 13. Jesus refers to a whole number of things that will happen in the future, combining them in a sort of stew as one that might be cooking over a hot fire. In Mark 13:2 Jesus, in roughly 33 AD referring to the temple, says, “There will not be one stone left upon another that will not be thrown down.” In fact the Jews, rebelling against the Romans, go to war against them in 66-70 AD and lose. The Romans destroy the temple in 71 AD. In time Jesus says there will be many disastrous events that will occur, but for followers of Christ, “these are the beginnings of the labor pains.” Christians will be imprisoned but he says do not worry about how to respond. Jesus says in Mark 13:11c, “For it will not be you who are speaking but the Holy Spirit” who speaks through you. He continues in Mark 13:13: “You will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.”
Then Jesus says in Mark 14:14a, “When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not” (Jesus does not say what or who this is, perhaps Satan himself), you must flee. In Mark 14:22-23, he continues: “False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders in order to mislead, if that were possible, the elect. Be watchful! I have told it all to you beforehand.” In the next verse which begins our Sunday reading, Jesus says in effect the whole universe will disintegrate, “and then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out his angels and gather [his] elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” In absolute contrast to his first coming as a helpless infant, Jesus, now in his second coming as the mighty King calling his own, his elect, who have been loyal to him to the end, up into heaven. Then Jesus seems to be at odds or variance with himself saying at first that he does know when these things will happen when he says, “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place” and then saying he does not know when these things will take place, saying, “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the only the Father.” My own understanding is that when Jesus says that these things will come to pass before this generation passes away is that each generation must think that the end may come before they pass away so that they may always be watchful and alert. The term ‘elect’ is that Jesus chooses those who choose him.