I don’t think anyone’s calling attention to something that should be in the first place most obvious, but have never seen a commentator even question it. It’s like the emperor that had no clothes, or the forest that gets lost for the over focus on the trees. We should be shouting from the roof tops in the exegetical climate of our calm interpreters and linguistic specialists, “Antiochus was NEVER a little horn!!!
He was never king of a small power before coming into “the glory of the kingdom” (Dan 11:21). He rose to power in the place of his murdered older brother in one of the “notable” (sizable) horns of Alexander’s long since divided kingdom, the mighty Seleucid Empire. That’s NOT a little horn in the sense that scripture makes that distinction.
The Antichrist must be a little horn (actual king or leader of a smaller political power) in his beginnings. AFTER the league made with him, he “comes up and becomes strong with a small people (Dan 11:23) … at a time of security (Dan 11:24). At some point, he unites with the ten in common cause. The scripture says he comes up AMONG them, and rises AFTER them (Dan 7:8, 24). Three of the ten are forced into his orbit of power through conquest.
Just when this occurs in relation to the false peace that provides for temple and sacrifice is not as clear, but it is clear if the ‘little horn’ of Dan 7 & 8 is the ‘despicable person’ of Dan 11:21, then it seems very clear that the move from a little power to a much greater power in one of the four divisions of Alexander’s kingdom is significantly “AFTER the league made with him” Dan 11:23. If this “league” is the same or coincident with the covenant that the coming prince confirms with many in Dan 9:27, then the time of his ascent into the greater kingdom becomes plain. We shall see.
What is really fantastic scrambled eggs is what strikes me as the ridiculous, presupposition driven attempt of expositors to separate the “little horn” of Dan 7:8 from the “little horn” of Dan 8:9. Sorry if I sound a bit scrappy here, but they really should to be called on this. Here in twin chapters is a self exalting prince at the time of the “END”, both (as they were two) speaking boastful words against the prince of Princes, and both, by every expositor’s reckoning, taking away the regular sacrifice (Dan 8:11: 12:11), and we are to believe that Antiochus is the ‘little horn” in Dan 8 and the Antichrist is the “little horn” in Dan 7, and never the twain shall meet? Hardly!