While the Rapture Index hasn't made much of an uptick yet--it's at 157, nowhere near the all-time high of 182 on September 24, 2001--talk of the Second Coming of the Lord is back in vogue with Armageddon-fixated Christian weirdos who see the new chaos in the Middle East as promising. But it's not the book of revelations that gets these folks excited; it's Zechariah 14: “For I [Jesus Christ] will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.”
"You need to watch Jerusalem as never before," said this fella back in March. "We are going to see half of that city fall very soon. It could happen this year—2006!
Even Newt Gingrich is getting apocalyptic: he calls the battle in Israel and Lebanon World War III and urges Bush to do the same. He says the president should get the US involved with "a militancy that says 'We're not going to lose a city'." But Gingrich, who has his own presidential ambitions, is more likely worried about the End Times for the GOP's two-house rule in the upcoming elections. Admitting such fears and their political implications, he says, "The minute you use the language [World War III, the message becomes] 'OK, if we're in the third world war, which side do you think should win?'"
Visit Beliefnet for less kooky Christiaqn coverage of the conflict.