In Daniel 2:44, he said, ‘and in the days of these kings shall God of heaven set up a kingdom….’ Which kings is he referring to here? And when did (or will) this happen?
The kings Daniel had in mind were the four kings he had been talking about in his interpretation of Nebuchnezzar’s dream. We know them as Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. These kings represent a period of time known by scholars as Gentile Dominion. Jesus called it the Times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). By comparing Luke 21:24 with Rev. 11:2 we can see that the Times of the Gentiles will not end until after the Great Tribulation.
In Daniel 7 three of these kings were represented by animals; a lion for Babylon, a bear for Persia and a leopard for Greece. In Rev. 13:2 John said the anti-christ will have characteristics of these three beasts. That means his reign will be an extension of theirs.
At the time of the 7th Trumpet judgment voices in Heaven will declare that the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15) This declaration will lead to the Great Tribulation which ends with the anti-Christ being defeated and Lord ‘s return to set up His Kingdom on Earth.
Had Israel accepted the Messiah, I believe God’s Kingdom would have been established in its physical form when the Romans were the dominant empire of Gentile Dominion. But because they rejected Him the Kingdom is being now expressed through the Church and is in spiritual form only. When the Lord returns He will set up His Kingdom on Earth as the final fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.