"They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." (John 16:2-3)

Here Jesus, in his continuing lecture to his close disciples following the 'last supper,' explains how and why the ecclesiastical Jewish leaders and their followers will be treating Jesus' disciples following the coming murder of Jesus' physical body.

"They will put you out of the synagogue" clearly explains that the leaders of the ecclesiastical Jewish temples will excommunicate Jesus' students who were to carry on his teachings.

This excommunication from the Jewish temple is being taken from the Greek word ἀποσυνάγωγος (aposynagōgo), which means to be kicked out or excommunicated from the synagogue.

Just the very fact that there was a specific word for this - just as the word "excommunicate" is used in ecclesiastical sectarian institutions - tells us that the ecclesiastical Jewish teachers of Jesus' day wielded excommunication as a weapon against those whom they wanted to isolate and brandish as heretics. And this excommunication often came with brutal consequences.

Excommunication is a technique that is in fact the flip side of the politically-oriented appointment of teachers, typical of ecclesiastical religious institutions around the world.

To excommunicate a person through a politically-oriented process using either committees or specific announcements by those elected to their posts is solely based upon the political expediency of these institutions. It has nothing to do with whether the person being excommunicated is indeed representing God or not.

And the flip side: The appointment of a teacher through an organizational process dependent either upon the election by committees or other bodies of men; or the appointment as successor; specifically abandons the process the Supreme Being ordains as identifying who truly represents the Supreme Being - that of becoming a student of a bonafide teacher and then simply and humbly passing those teachings on to others.

Jesus is confirming this here, as he states that once his students are excommunicated from Jewish temples they will face violence committed by followers who - by virtue of the excommunication - will see themselves as serving God.

This indicates the purpose of their excommunication: to brandish them as heretics so they would not threaten the followings of those ecclesiastically appointed Jewish leaders.

You see, ecclesiastical religious leaders seek large followings in order to retain their professional salaries and positions of power. When a teacher threatens these by offering a teaching that represents the message of the Supreme Being contrary to these ecclesiastical teachings, ecclesiastical institutions typically react by going on the offensive. They will find some means to discredit the teacher in order to turn people against them.

In ages past, this was often much easier to accomplish because the ecclesiastical religious institutions often had some governmental leverage over the population in addition to their followers' attendance of their temples. The notion of 'separation of church and state' was rare in many societies, including the era of Jesus and his disciples.

As a result, in the century following Jesus' departure, countless early Christians and their teachers - Jesus' students and students of his students - were tortured and slaughtered at the hands of the Romans, often after being excommunicated and accused by ecclesiastical Jewish leaders and their followers.

And in the centuries following, the Romans and their ecclesiastical Roman Catholic Church became the standard-bearer of intolerance as they excommunicated many teachers and followers that did not comply with the rituals and philosophies of the Roman Catholic Church and its Nicene Creed.

And like those ecclesiastical Jewish leaders of Jesus' day, the Roman Catholic Church - partnering with the Roman government - were responsible for the excommunication and eventual slaughter of many innocent people just because they believed or taught a different philosophy.

Today, ecclesiastical religions utilize their political clout within their assemblies and through media. Some modern religious sects will even threaten former "rogue" teachers with litigation and sometimes - but more rarely - even physical violence.

While physical violence may be rare in western societies amongst religious institutions, there are still some parts of the world where ecclesiastical religious institutions commit brutal violence against those who teach or believe philosophies different from their own.

As a result, we see terrorist attacks and torture against those who believe differently, and amazingly, just as Jesus states above, they will actually state their acts of terror and violence are done as "a service to God."

Yet we can easily understand from the life of Jesus and his teachings that these are not acts of service to God. They are perverted activities spawned by the teachings of ecclesiastical religious leaders who seek to retain their power and followings through their institutions. They seek to secure those institutions that provide a basis for their authority and professional compensation.

And through their perverted teachings, these ecclesiastical teachers within these institutions convince their followers that maintaining the institution's political power at all costs is "offering a service to God."

All of these activities, from excommunication to violence, are the result of these institutions appointing teachers through a process rife with favoritism and politics. This process spawns fanaticism.

In his statement above, Jesus explains the fundamental reasons for fanatical intolerance and sometimes brutal activities by ecclesiastical religious institutions:
"They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me."
Here the word "known" is the operator of Jesus' statement. "Known" is being translated from the Greek word γινώσκω (ginōskō), which means, according to Thayer's lexicon, "to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of, perceive, feel" and "to understand."

In other words, the kind of knowing Jesus is talking about here is not a superficial knowledge. It is not the kind of knowledge one might have, say, about a state or country. It is not knowing a few facts about God or Jesus.

For example, we might have read a full biography of the president of a country. We might know who their father and mother were, what school they went to and their military service. But knowing them in the way Jesus is speaking of with the word γινώσκω (ginōskō) means to know them from a personal perspective. It means to understand what drives them, what motivates them, what excites them and most importantly, what pleases them.

Those who commit terror upon others in the name of religion - whether it is by excommunicating someone, molesting someone or committing physical violence upon someone - quite simply do not know the Supreme Being or Jesus - God's confidential loving servant.

Furthermore, the use of the word οὐδέ (oude) - here translated to "or" - is a conjunction of separation literally meaning "neither" or "nor" according to the lexicon. This indicates Jesus really said something to the effect of "they have known neither the Father nor me."

This indicates two things: First, that Jesus is identifying himself as distinct from God; and secondly, knowing God is related to knowing Jesus.

Jesus' statement illustrates that really knowing Jesus leads to coming to know God, because Jesus' mission, motives and purpose are directed towards pleasing the Supreme Being. His purpose and mission is inseparable from the Supreme Being's, because Jesus' whole life was centered around pleasing God.

This is why Jesus said:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
The key statement here is "only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Doing God's will means knowing what God's will is. It means knowing God.

This of course was Jesus' purpose. To not only introduce his students to God, but to inform them as to what God's will is. How to please God, in other words.

We know from Jesus' other teachings that knowing and then coming to love God was his primary directive:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)
Love cannot be forced. No one can be forced to love someone else. The freedom to love God or not, in fact, is granted by God Himself. God does not force us to love Him or even worship Him.

Therefore, those who try to force others to practice their religious rituals, or to wear a certain type of clothing, or to join their institution - whether it be forced through the threat of excommunication or actual violence - do not represent the will of the Supreme Being. These fanatics are not providing a service to God because quite simply, as Jesus says above, they "have not known the Father or me."

(The NIV is utilized for Biblical quotes here. For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of John without sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus  - translated from the original Greek texts.)