Thousands are expected to attend a prophecy conference in Southern California Friday that will examine what the Bible has to say about the End Times and the current economic crisis.
For Pastor Jack Hibbs, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Hills, host of the Southern California Prophecy Conference, the economic crisis recently hit closer to home when two visitors came to his church after their husbands committed suicide because of the financial crisis.
He said the purpose of the Feb. 20-22 conference, titled "Finding Hope in the Global Crisis," is not to frighten people but to offer them some hope.
"We are really in a crisis and we want people to hear some good news, to have some hope," Hibbs told The Christian Post. "It's a sad day when we decide to end our life because of our crisis."
The conference is expected to attract over 3,000 people this year, with many participants attending from out of the area, according to Hibbs. The event originally cost $50 to attend but the church made admission free after the economy took a turn for the worse.
People have a heightened interest in Bible prophecy whenever there is crisis or anomaly, said Hibbs, who will speak Saturday morning on the topic "What Are the Last Days and Why Should You Care?"
While he doesn't believe the world is going to end tomorrow, the evangelical pastor said there are signs that would indicate we are in the Last Days leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus.
"The Bible is clear. As we get closer to his return, there are going to be great global catastrophes," he said.
Speakers at the conference include Tim LaHaye, author of the best-selling Left Behind series; Ed Hindson, dean of the Institute of Biblical Studies at Liberty University; and former U.S. Congressman Bob McEwen.
Mark Hitchcock, senior pastor of Faith Bible Church in Edmond, Okla., will speak on his latest book The Late Great United States: What Bible Prophecy Reveals About America's Last Days.
In the book, Hitchcock writes that although America has historically enjoyed the blessings of God, that may not continue to be the case in the future.
"Unless we experience a moral revival and shake off the domination of the secular humanists who control our government, media, and public education, we will be a fifth-grade power in twenty to thirty years," writes Hitchcock, who notes in the book that he believes a revival is soon approaching.
Hibbs said the economic crisis today could lead to a weakening of the U.S. by hampering its ability to help Israel defend itself and against terrorism.
He added that evangelical preachers shouldn't be afraid to discuss Bible prophecy because much of the Bible is prophetic.
"Unlike the Koran, the Book of Mormon, or any other book in the world, 20 percent of the Bible is prophetic book," said Hibbs, who describes his church as "very contemporary, very current but very conservative."
He believes Jesus would want Christians to know about the Last Days to be prepared.
"Jesus said 'watch and be ready.'"