Daniel’s vision “troubled” him (v. 15) so he asked a bystander what it meant (v. 16). His vision took place in heaven (v.13,14) so this bystander must have been part of the “cloud” of angels that brought the Lord to His Father (v. 13). He interpreted the vision, as another angel did in Zechariah 1:8,9.
The four beasts (v. 17) were kings who appeared 2,000 years ago (8:21, 22) and were supposed to produce the antichrist (7:8). “The first king” of Grecia was Alexander, who was “broken” when he died and four kings took over Greece, as history also affirms. But the mystery interrupted this prophecy and four more kings will arise in the Tribulation.
Verse 17 says these kings would “arise out of the earth,” making them human kings as opposed to angels who would descend from heaven. But 7:3 says they’d arise from the sea, a type of the Gentiles, so they’ll be Gentile human kings.
The “kingdom” that those Jewish kingdom “saints” will “take” (v. 18) is the kingdom of the four beasts. That’s when an angel will cry what we hear in Revelation 11:15.
After the angel gave Daniel an abbreviated version of his dream, Daniel asks for more information about the fourth kingdom (v.19), the one that will produce the antichrist (v. 20). One of the reasons that kingdom will be able to “stamp” the others is that the antichrist will be more “stout” than them. “Stout” means strong. King Saul was a type of the antichrist, and he was big (I Sam. 9:2) and strong (II Sam. 1:23). “Stout” can also mean proud (Isa. 9:9), and pride will be Antichrist’s fall, just as it was Lucifer’s.
After Antichrist conquers those kingdoms, he’ll begin to persecute the saints (Dan. 7:21 cf. 8:23, 24). We know this will begin mid-Trib, for that’s how long he lets the two witnesses preach (Rev. 11:3-7) as he tries to appear to be Israel’s Christ. This persecution will end when Christ returns (Dan. 7:22).
Judgment was “given” to the saints in the sense that they’ll be made the world’s judges (Rev. 20:4 cf. Mt. 19:28), judging the earth while we “judge angels” in heaven (I Cor. 6:3). Of course, they could only righteously “possess” the kingdom (Dan. 7:22) if it were given to them by the rightful possessor of heaven and earth, and that’s God. That’s what that phrase “the Most High” means in Scripture (v. 22 cf. Gen. 14:18-20).
The angel adds (v. 23) that Antichrist will be able to subdue “the whole earth” by subduing three of the ten kings (v. 24 cf. Zech. 11:8-17), after which the other seven and the world are intimidated by him. We know this because he begins his career with only one crown (Rev. 6:2) but later ends up with ten (Rev. 13:1), after which the world is intimidated (13:3, 4). After that he’ll speak “great words against the most High” (7:25) claiming to be God (II Thes. 2:3, 4)
He’ll “wear out the saints” (7:25) or weary them by issuing his mark and making it impossible to buy food or water (cf. Job 22:7). God will increase their strength with “eagle’s wings” (Isa. 40:29-31). That’s what God did in the wilder-ness (Ex. 19:4) by giving them manna from heaven and water from a rock, and that’s how He’ll “nourish” them in the Tribulation as well (Micah 7:14; Rev. 12:13, 14).
Antichrist won’t weary or wear out the saints just to make them tired, but to make it easier to kill them, as Amalek smote them when they were “weary” (Deut. 25:17, 18) after they thirsted for water (Ex. 17:3-8). A type of the antichrist named Absalom did the same to David (II Sam. 17:1-3), who was on the run from him, and David was a type of these persecuted Tribulation saints who’ll be on the run from Antichrist. Antichrist will also wear out the saints with his sorcerers (Isa. 47:13 cf. Rev. 18:21, 23). Satan always tries to wear us out, so we must keep Galatians 6:9 in mind.
Judgment will be given to those saints (Dan. 7:26) and the world will be theirs (v. 27). The times of the Gentiles will end and the time when God’s people in Israel are back in charge of the world will begin again and never end.
Daniel didn’t understand it all, so he did what Mary did when she didn’t understand it all (7:28 cf. Lu. 2:19, 51).