Narkissos....Collins in his critical commentary has this to say about the passage in question:
"II. The kind of symbolism involved. In the context of Daniel 7, it is quite clear that the four beasts are viewed as allegorical symbols; hence the angel's interpretation in v 17 identifies them as four kings or kingdoms. The interpretation does not necessarily exhaust the sense of the symbols, but it gives their reference. The beasts stand for entities that are more familiarly recognized as kings. Because there is an evident contrast between the beasts from the sea and the human figure who comes with the clouds, many scholars have assumed that this figure too must be an allegorical symbol. However, the apparition of the "one like a human being" is separated from the beasts in the text by the description of the Ancient of Days, which is generally accepted as a mythic-realistic symbol for God. The Ancient One is assumed to exist outside the dream, and there is no more appropriate or familiar language by which he might be described. Accordingly, we are subsequently given no identification of the Ancient of Days by the angel. It is highly significant that the "one like a human being" is not interpreted either. He is associated with "the holy ones of the Most High" insofar as they too are said to receive the kingdom, but there is no one-to-one equation, such as we have with the beasts and the kings. If an argument is to be drawn from the nature of the symbolism, then, it should favor the view that the "one like a human being" is a symbol of the same order as the Ancient of Days -- a mythic-realistic depiction of a being who was believed to exist outside the vision" (John J. Collins, "Daniel: A Commentary on the Book of Daniel", Hermeneia Series, Fortress Press: 1993, p. 305).
So while the four beasts are explicitly interpreted as four kings (7:17) or four kingdoms (7:23), we do not find the same kind of identification between the "one like a son of man" and the "holy ones" in v. 18, tho there is an association since both receive the kingdom (cf. also Rowland, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity, p. 180). The visional "one like a son of man" is not identified in the interpretation of v. 25-27, but neither is the visional "Ancient of Days" who certainly is a real character corresponding to the "Most High" of v. 25. Rather than saying that Michael represents the holy ones, it would be better to say that Michael is a holy one, for the "holy ones" is an expression denoting angelic beings (cf. 4:10, 14, 20, 8:13; compare 1QH 3:21-22, which equates the "army of the holy ones" with the "congregation of the sons of heaven", 1 Enoch 14:23-25, Sirach 42:17, 45:2, Jubilees 17:11, 31:14; Tobit 8:15; Psalms of Solomon 17:43, Wisdom 5:5, 10:10), and significantly, earlier texts such as Deuteronomy 33:2 refers to the theophanic "coming" of Yahweh accompanied with his "holy ones" as his heavenly host, and Zechariah 14:5 and 1 Enoch 1:9 similarly refer to this eschatological coming of "holy ones" as at a time of divine judgment. Michael is the leader of the heavenly host which had suffered attack by Antiochus and his angelic Prince, the "Prince of Greece" (cf. 8:25, 10:20-21), as 8:10-13 makes clear: "It grew great up to the host of heaven, and it threw down some of the host and some of the stars to the earth and trampled on them. He grew great even to the Prince of the host (i.e. Michael), from whom the daily offering was taken away and whose sanctuary place was cast down". This trampling of the host of heaven parallels the following statement in the interpretation of the Ancient Days vision: "This was the horn I had watched making war on the holy ones and proving stronger...He shall speak words against the Most High and shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High" (7:21, 25). Similarly, the holy ones are "given into his hand" for 3 1/2 years in 7:25, just as the "host is trampled" by the little horn for 2,300 half-days (=3 years, 2 months) in 8:14. So when the kingdom is given to the "holy ones", it is given to the angelic host and its leader, Michael.
The picture would thus be similar to that in the Qumran War Scroll, which depicts the final battle between Michael and his forces against the forces of darkness, and which declares that God "will raise among the angels the authority (mshrt) of Michael and the dominion (mmshlt) of Israel among all flesh" (1QM 17:7-8). This has the same two-tiered conception as Daniel of earthly battles being paralleled as heavenly battles, and has the dominion being given to Michael at the heavenly level and the kingdom being given to Israel (= "the people of the holy ones" of 7:27) at the earthly level.
Another point that is made is that in the interpretation of the four beasts, there is an ambiguity between the beasts as symbols of "four kings (mlkyn)" or "four kingdoms (mlkw)" (7:17, 23), and elsewhere in Daniel, we read of the metals in Nebuchadnezzer's statue being symbolic of "kingdoms" (2:39, 40, 41) and "kings" (2:27-28, 44), and while "horns" were used in the visions to distinguish the kings from the kingdoms, there was still a blurring between the two; see, for instance, 8:20 in which the "hairy he-goat" is "the king of Greece" and its horn "is its first king". The indeterminacy between the kingdom and the king ruling it may be compared to the ambiguity between the "holy ones" who receive the kingdom and the "one like a son of man" who receives it as an individual. There is also an indeterminancy between the kingdom being given to the "holy ones of the Most High" in 7:22 and to the "people of the holy ones of the Most High" in 7:27. The wording in 7:22, 27 can also be compared to 5:28: "The time came for the holy ones to possess (hchsnr) the kingdom (mlkwt')....The kingdom (mlkwth) and dominion ... will be given (yhybt) to people of the holy ones of the Most High" (7:22, 27); "Your kingdom (mltwtr) has been divided and given (yhybt) to the Medes and Persians" (5:28). In both cases, there is giving of the kingdom to a collective entity, yet 5:30-31 goes on to name an individual as receiving the kingdom: "That same night, the Chaldean king Belshazzar was murdered, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom (qbl mlkwt'), at the age of sixty-two". Here an individual and the collective people he leads is given the kingdom. Regarding the differing statements in ch. 7 among whom the kingdom is given to ("the one like a son of man", "the holy ones", "the people of the holy ones"), Collins states: "That the kingdom is variously given to an individual, to the holy ones, or to the people of the holy ones is analogous to the vacillation that we find between kings and kingdoms in the interpretation of the beasts...The references to the giving of the kingdom are nicely complementary. The first, in v 13, refers to the leader of the host, the second and third to the host itself (vv 18, 22) to the host itself, and the final reference (v 27) to the people on earth".
The "people of the holy ones of the Most High" in 7:27 parallels the "holy people" of 12:7 persecuted by Antiochus Epiphanes, and it is possible (tho not entirely clear) that the holy people martyred by Antiochus join the holy ones in heaven in the resurrection; in 8:10-13, the host of heaven is described in astral terms (cf. Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:13), and in 12:3 the resurrected martyrs (and virtuous ones) are described as "shining as brightly as the vault of heaven" and "bright as stars for all eternity". There is also the parallel noted above in 1QH 3:19-23 which claims that the members of the Qumran community as exalted to the angels even in the present life: "I give thanks to you, O Lord, for you have redeemed me from the pit, and from Sheol Abaddon you have lifted me up to an eternal height ... to be stationed with the host of the holy ones and to enter into fellowship with the congregation of the children of heaven". The "Parables of Enoch" also interpret Daniel 7 in a similar light. 1 Enoch 46-49 has a throne scene obviously modelled on that described in ch. 7 of Daniel, which refers to "the holy ones dwelling in the heights of heaven" (1 Enoch 47:2), and claims that the righteous dead have "their dwelling with the angels and their resting places with the holy ones" (39:5) and "all will become angels in heaven" on Judgment Day (51:4), and the righteous would take part in the judgment of the wicked (38:1-5). The throne scene of the Ancient of Days chosing the Son of Man is borrowed from Daniel, and it designates the Chosen One as an individual who "causes the house of his congregation to appear" (53:6), and "when the congregation of the righteous appears, the sinners are judged for their sins ... then the kings and the mighty will perish, and they will be given into the hand of the righteous and the holy ones" (38:2, 5).