15 Because of this, my spirit was anguished and I, Daniel, was terrified by my visions. 16 I approached one of those present and asked him the truth of all this; in answer, he made known to me its meaning: 17 “These four great beasts stand for four kings which shall arise on the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingship, to possess it forever and ever.”
19 Then I wished to make certain about the fourth beast, so very terrible and my company different from the others, devouring and crushing with its iron teeth and bronze claws, and trampling with its feet what was left; 20 and about the ten horns on its head, and the other one that sprang up, before which three horns fell; and about the horn with the eyes and the mouth that spoke arrogantly, which appeared greater than its fellows. 21 For, as I watched, that horn made war against the holy ones and was victorious 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was pronounced in favor of the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived for the holy ones to possess the kingship.
23 He answered me thus: “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the others; The whole earth it shall devour, trample down and crush. 24 The ten horns shall be ten kings rising out of that kingdom; another shall rise up after them, Different from those before him, who shall lay low three kings. 25 He shall speak against the Most High and wear down the holy ones of the Most High, intending to change the feast days and the law. 26 But when the court is convened, and his dominion is taken away to be abolished and completely destroyed, 27 Then the kingship and dominion and majesty of all the kingdoms under the heavens shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High, Whose kingship shall be an everlasting kingship, whom all dominions shall serve and obey.”
28 This is the end of the report. I, Daniel, was greatly terrified by my thoughts, and my face became pale, but I kept the matter to myself.
Technically the phrase “kingdom of God” does not appear in this chapter, but the kingdom of the holy ones of God develops into the idea of the kingdom of God. The idea that God was about to create God’s own kingdom in contrast to the wicked empires of the day was tremendously influential. Some Jews used this to justify revolting against the Seleucids and Romans. The Jews who followed Jesus adapted the idea to an internal reality in addition to a prediction of the future.
The most influential of those leaders is Jesus of Nazareth
Notice that the titles “Son of God” and “Son of Man” are confusing and may appear to be reversed. The “Son of God” was originally a title of the human king, signifying that the king’s relationship to God was like that of an adopted son to a father. “Son of Man” originally meant a human but in this allegorical chapter starts to mean the opposite, an angel or cosmic being sent from heaven. Brace yourself for ongoing confusion because Christians will say Jesus is both a divine being sent from heaven as ruler of the kingdom of God (Son of Man) and a human descendant of King David (son of God).
3.3. Who is Jesus of Nazareth?
During the Roman occupation of Palestine many Jews looked for and found charismatic leaders who might lead them to bringing about God’s kingdom on earth.