The purpose of vetting for marriage is to find a wife that is suitable for marriage.
We are in the engagement period of Christ and the Church, with the Holy Spirit as our seal of engagement (Eph 1:13-14) much like an engagement ring signifies that now. However, Christ has not married His Church yet (Revelation 21).
Revelation 2 and 3 accurately represents Jesus’ process of vetting His bride, to weed out those who do not pursue Him wholeheartedly in the sanctification process. Each of the Churches have their own praises and their own admonishments/rebukes.
Revelation 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. 6 Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
If the Church does not come after Christ wholeheartedly — much like Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength — then he’ll remove their lampstand. The 7 golden lampstands are the Churches, and removal of the Church unless they repent is dire.
John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Eternal life is not about doing things for God which the Ephesians were but knowing God and Jesus Christ. It’s the relationship.
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’
Be faithful unto death. Another tough word for the Churches that seems most applicable to the persecuted Churches of today.
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
The amazing part of ‘take up your cross and follow Me’ is that Jesus used the cross prior to His crucifixion. What a crazy statement to make to the crowds: follow me until death, even death on a cross. We have the hindsight of knowing that Jesus would go to die on a cross for our sins, but the crowds and disciples only knew that the cross was reserved for the worst of criminals.
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:
13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’
Here’s the background for this passage:
However, later on Balaam figured out a way to get his reward from Balak. Balaam advised the Moabites on how to entice the people of Israel with prostitutes and idolatry. He could not curse Israel directly, so he came up with a plan for Israel to bring a curse upon themselves. Balak followed Balaam’s advice, and Israel fell into sin, worshiping Baal of Peor and committing fornication with Midianite women. For this God plagued them, and 24,000 men died (Numbers 25:1–9; Deuteronomy 23:3–6).
Balaam’s name and story became infamous, and he is referred to several times in the New Testament. Peter compares false teachers to Balaam, “who loved the wages of wickedness” (2 Peter 2:15). Jude echoes this sentiment, associating Balaam with the selling of one’s soul for financial gain (Jude 1:11). Finally, Jesus speaks of Balaam when He warns the church in Pergamum of their sin: “There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality” (Revelation 2:14). Satan’s tactics haven’t changed all that much. If he cannot curse God’s people directly, he will try the back-door approach, and idolatry and sexual immorality are his go-to temptations.
The Nicolaitans, according to Irenaeus, led lives of unrestrained indulgence. The teachings of the Nicolaitans therefore could mean something along the lines of antinomian heresy (rejection of or advocating that Christians are not bound by moral law anymore).
Basically, in our day this can refer to people who are teaching for the love of money (prosperity gospel) as well as those who cause others to stumble to fall into idolatry and sin.
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:
19 ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. 24 But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. 25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Of course, Jezebel refers to Ahab’s wife who used her authority to do much evil to the prophets of God, the innocent, and seduced the people into sexual immorality and idolatry.
In our time, this likely refers to much of the feminist, liberalist, and progressive ideologies that use their power to encourage that which deviate from the Scripture: fornication, abortion, sexual deviancy, etc.
I also think it is likely that the ‘deep things of Satan’ refer to the seductive nature of the ‘equality’ (no distinction between the sexes) and ‘progressivism’ (the Scripture is old and outdated and we’re continually improving) and how that has infested much of the Church because it sounds good but is not.
- acts of immorality: fornication, adultery, sexual deviancy, etc.
- eat things sacrificed to idols: hold anything as idols above God- 7 deadly sins.
- bed of sickness: STDs?
- kill her children with pestilence: abortion?
- Satan’s deep teachings: deception of equality and progressivism?
No one can deny these destructive aspects on Christians and marraiges.
Revelation 3:1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. 3 So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 4 But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
This again refers to prior Scriptures.
Jesus refers to the second coming as a ‘thief in the night’ in the gospels and Paul in the epistles to give us a warning to be prepared. The parable of the 10 virgins and parable of the talents who weren’t prepared when the bridegroom (Jesus) comes for the wedding is similar.
This is similar to James’ pronouncement that works without faith is dead. Becoming a Christian is more than cheap grace (or a get out of hell free card), it’s about being transformed in Jesus Christ and partnering with the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel, use your spiritual gifts, and be an effective worker for Jesus. Christians should be careful to engage in good works in order to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling.’
7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:
8 ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to [est those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
The Church in Philadelphia was doing what was right, also according to their namesake (brotherly “adelphos” love “philia”). They are mainly told to hold fast to continue what they are doing.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
Those in Laodicea were ‘rich and had need of nothing’ and became neither hot or cold in their pursuit of Jesus. This goes back to Jesus and our commitment to Him.
Luke 21:And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
As cliche as it is to say, we are to be “sold out” or “on fire” for Jesus. We shouldn’t be “Sunday only Christians” or “go through the motions” of going to Church and praying the sinners prayer. God’s mission is our mission and that’s the Great Commission and building up the body of Christ.
The white garments consistently described in all these passages are about ‘taking off the old’ (the stained garments) and ‘putting on the new’ (the white clothes) which is the sanctification process. Becoming less like the world and more like Jesus.
Jesus through John on the Island of Patmos, admonishes and encourages the various Churches who are to be His eventual bride at the wedding of the Lamb. The various way that Jesus admonishes the Churches are a good guide for vetting a wife (or husband for that matter).
- Ephesus — Jesus admonishes the Church that they have left their first love. They need to go after God with their whole hearts again.
- Smyrna — Be faithful in suffering, even to the point of death.
- Pergamum — Avoid loving money and prosperity gospel, avoid causing others to stumble into sin, and understand that we are to crucify our desires of the flesh and not sin so that grace may abound.
- Thyatira — Avoid cultural and even churchian authority which encourages fornication, adultery, sexual deviancy, holding up the things of the world as idols, STDs, abortion, and the deceptiveness of equalism and progressivism.
- Sardis — Be prepared for the coming of Jesus by giving your all to the Great Commission.
- Philadelphia — If you’re doing what is right, hold fast and keep doing it.
- Laodicea — Don’t be a lover of riches and persevere in serving God. Do not be a Sunday only Christian but live your life as to be worthy of ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’
- Love God with everything
- Avoid the pitfalls of riches
- Avoid the pitfalls of your own desires, especially sexually
- Avoid the pitfalls of turning to the culture over God
- Avoid causing others to stumble
- Be prepared for the coming of Jesus by persevering in evangelism and building up the body of Christ
- Don’t be a Sunday-only Christian or give half-heartedly to God
A pretty solid set of vetting standards to ensure that the Church, a potential husband, or a potential wife is a true Christian.
Also, remember that this is an admonishment the Churches. If the Churches do not turn from their wickedness or half heartedness, Jesus is willing to remove them from contention to be His bride.