As He had done with His apostles in Jerusalem, Jesus instituted the sacrament among the Nephites in the New World. Thus, He ended the law of sacrifice, which was part of the law of Moses observed both by the Jews in Jerusalem and by the Nephites on the American continent.
In a Feb. 9, 1873, sermon, President Joseph F. Smith explained:"[The sacramentT was instituted by the Savior in place of the law of sacrifice which was given to Adam, and which continued with his children down to the days of Christ, but which was fulfilled in His death, He being the great sacrifice for sin, of which the sacrifices enjoined in the law given to Adam were a similitude."Sacrifice, President Smith said "was for the purpose of reminding [mankindT of that great event that should transpire in the meridian of time, whereby He and all his posterity might be brought forth by the power of redemption and resurrection from the dead, and partake of eternal life with God in His kingdom."
When Jesus came, the law of sacrifice was fulfilled, "and instead thereof He gave another law by which His life and mission, His death and resurrection, the great sacrifice He had offered for the redemption of man should be kept in everlasting remembrance, for, said He, `this do ye . . . in remembrance of me, for as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death til he come.' Therefore this law is to us what the law of sacrifice was to those who lived prior to the first coming of the Son of Man, until He shall come again."
Because of the sacred nature of this ordinance, Jesus warned the Nephites: "Ye shall not suffer any one knowingly, to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; for whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul. . . . " (3 Ne. 26:28-29.)
The same warning is given by Paul in the New Testament:
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
"For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
"For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." (1 Cor. 11:26-30.)
Prayer provides a shield to withstand temptations
Jesus warned the multitude, "Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always lest ye enter into temptation; for Satan desireth to have you, that he may sift you as wheat." (3 Ne. 18:18.)
"No fewer than five times in the Book of Mormon we are told to watch and pray to overcome Satan (3 Ne. 18:18-19; Alma 13:28; 34:39; 15:17)," commented Clyde J. Williams of the BYU religion faculty at the 1991 Sidney B. Sperry Symposium on the Book of Mormon.
"The act of watching might be visualized best by comparing it to being a goalie in soccer or hockey. The goalie is continually on the alert for scoring attempts by the opposition. Just as he cannot afford to relax in his defense of his goal, neither can we afford to flirt with temptation, expecting to come out victorious. Elder Harold B. Lee used the same type of analogy in the following insight about Satan and his forces: `There are carefully charted on the maps of the opposition the weak spots in every one of us. They are known to the forces of evil, and just the moment we lower the defense of any one of those ports, that becomes the D Day of our invasion and our souls are in danger.' (Conference Report, Sept. 30, 1949, p. 56.) Thus, we have great need to watch and be on the defensive against the adversary.
"Prayer is the means we have of communicating with our Heavenly Father. We are not capable of overcoming Satan by ourselves."
Becoming one with the Father and Son means making oneself pure and worthy
Christ prayed that the multitude may be one with Him and the Father. (See 3 Ne. 19:23, 28-29.)
In A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, Daniel H. Ludlow explains: "Because of certain statements in the New Testament indicating that members of the Godhead are one, some theologians have taught that the members of the Godhead are one in substance. However, a careful reading of the New Testament indicates this is not the meaning."
As an example, he cites John 17:20-22.
"It is clear from this scripture," he continues, "that the Savior is not praying for the people to become one in substance with Him and the Father. This statement is further clarified by the Savior in the Book of Mormon where He indicates again that He is praying for all those who will believe on Him. Then He adds: `Father, I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world, because of their faith, that they may be purified in me, . . . that I may be glorified in them.' (3 Ne. 19:29.)
"Thus the way we may become one with the Father and the Son is to keep the commandments of the Lord so that we might be sanctified or purified and be worthy to have their presence with us." (pp. 276-277.)