Ahupua’a is commonly known in Hawaii as a land division, from the mountains to the sea. However, the literal meaning is a compound word with two parts, Ahu (meaning a mound of rocks, an altar, to commemorate a person or event), and Pua’a (meaning a pig, which was the largest source of meat in ancient Hawaii). Put them together and you have an altar of which a meat offering was offered, or a sacrificial altar. There is a type of Christ in the concept of an Ahupua’a, …people/land as a meat offering to God.
Temple of Jacob: In the Old Testament the location that the Lord visited man, an altar (Ahu) was built. When Jacob (Israel) had a dream of the heavens and was visited by Christ at Shechem, the stone he used as a pillow was the foundation of a pillar, signifying a sacred place, in other words an Ahu. Since the stones commemorated Jacob’s visit with Christ, the location of the Ahu became sacred ground. A Hawaiian temple was made of an altar (Ahu) of stones, just like Jacob’s. In Hawaiian, a sacred location where Christ (Lono) appeared to man would be called a Heiau (hey-e-ow), or temple. Jacob’s Ahupua’a was in his land of inheritance. That specific location (Shechem) was Jacob’s Heiau (temple).
Living Waters: After Christ visited Jacob at Shechem, a natural spring of water, or a well came up there. The story of Christ and the woman at the well is the very same setting at Shechem, Jacob’s Heiau (temple). At that well Christ claimed Himself as the living waters. The symbol of Christ is the living waters from the well, or the life giver of all things, a symbol of the creator. Christ’s ability to walk on water is an Egyptian expression of the creator. Surfing, in ancient Hawaii, was a sport for the gods and the Ali’i (who was considered to be a god in the flesh). This was an act of walking on water. In ancient Hawaii, the wealth of an Ahupua’a was based on its water source. A fresh source of water was considered a gift from wao akua (the realm of God) to the wao kanaka (the realm of the people). The symbolism of water and Christ was preserved in the Hawaiian Ahupua’a.
An Acceptable Offering: It was no coincidence that an Ahupua’a is a land stewardship, designated from the mountain to the sea, in a pie shape, …and that its literal translation is a “meat altar,” The entire land formed the shape of an altar, and was an offering to God. The meat offering on the altar was the people of that Ahupua’a. It was the responsibility (or kuliana) of the people of that Ahupua’a to work the land and sea, so that it was productive and fruitful. Only a fruitful offering was acceptable to God. If the people were bad stewards, stealing, greed, contention, and war were the result. If that land was divided against itself, they would be preoccupied with war that it would not produce fruits. Such an offering was not acceptable. However, a producing land was peaceful, hard working, and joyful to live in. Such a land was considered sweet. The condition of the land was greatly dependent upon the people and the Ali’i (Chief).
The Responsibility of a Chief: A chief, or Ali’i, of an Ahupua’a was responsible for the fruitfulness of the land. A chief was one who knew God, and was considered a god himself. A good chief had strong relationships with God, the people, and the land (in that order). The chief wore a rainbow on his head (Mahiole) as a symbol of one who received a covenant from God. His divine connection was intended to teach the people how to produce an acceptable offering, to offer up an offering, to receive their own covenant, and to obtain their own land (Ahupua’a). Soon the entire Island would be fruitful under the hand of God. The people were free to choose which Ahupua’a they wanted to live. They voted with their feet. If they were not satisfied with the way things operated with one Ali’i, they simply moved themselves to another. The people went where they could trust that the Ali’i had their best interest in mind. In a producing Ahupua’a, it was the people who were sweet, that produced fruits of labor that were sweet.
Substitution of Capitalism: This concept of Ahupua’a and personal responsibility (kuliana) has been replaced with capitalism. In Hawaii, the transition to capitalism is called “The Great Mahele.” Mahele means to divide or portion the land. This movement toward capitalism and government dependency placed the stewardship into the hands of the government (not the people), and turned the people into consumers, rather than stewards and producers. Now the people blame institutions for the problems of the land, rather than seeing their own reflection. Politicians exploit that dependency and profit from greater regulations. They are the modern Gadianton robbers, along with lawyers and merchants, just like the scriptures state. They positioned themselves as the decision makers to control the flow of the tax revenues. Charity, medical and academic institutions have become government regulated bodies, and have reduced actual charity, health and education as a result. Government regulates charity, so people become even less charitable. Picketing, petitioning, sign holding, complaining, and fighting has become the way to compel people to produce fruits. Those fruits are always bitter!
How Does One Return to God’s Ways?: God’s ways are not our ways. Christ told us, “…return unto me, and I will return unto you.” To some, Christ’s presence isn’t necessary. But I read the scriptures and it tells me that Christ desires to return to us, to bring us into His presence so that He can intercede and bring us unto the Father. He’s trying to help us make our ways His ways. Christ has promised that if we return to Him, He will return to us.
3 Nephi 24:7-8
“7. …Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?
8. Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.“
The Lord of Hosts has provided a way for us to return unto Him so that He can return unto us. Tithes and offerings were meant to progress the saints from 10% tithes, to the consecration of 100%. When the people offer up all things, then will the sons of Levi offer up righteous offerings unto the Lord. The land will be fruitful, and the fruits will be sweet. The people are the sweet fruits that make the land fruitful. The connection of people and their land returns to the concept of the Ahupua’a. An acceptable Ahupua’a will have a sacred temple, or Heiau, a source of sacred water, the land will flourish, and Christ’s presence will dwell there. And they shall be called Zion.
What Makes Zion?: Zion is only Zion when Christ dwells amongst us. Enoch walked and talked with Christ for 365 years before his city ascended. Christ has always taught that if there is a clean temple unto God, Christ would come there and dwell with His people. Nauvoo was instructed to build such a temple, in sufficient time, so Christ could dwell among them and restore “the fullness of the priesthood,” which was lost and taken away from the early saints (D&C 124:28).
We must seek a presence with Christ once again. It will probably be in the top of the mountains that this will occur. And when He visits you, the place in which He visited you, you build a stone structure, a Heiau. From that place will flow living waters, to bless your Ahupua’a. Your water will flow from the top of the mountains to feed the land below, and lift and nourish all people of your kuliana (stewardship). Such a land will be priceless, and ought not to be darkened by capitalistic profiteering, land lording, and exploitation. It will become a refuge from the world, as the wicked kill the wicked.
Conclusion: If we choose to return unto our Lord and Savior, it will require us to be familiar with His ways. Institutionalizing and regulating is not the same as order. All the laws of heaven were intended to lead us to Christ. The laws themselves are dead (2 Nephi 25:27). Christ is the source of life, that is why He is the living waters. Tithes and offerings must lead to consecration, or else the only restraint for the Lords blessings from heaven will be the lack of room we have provided for us to receive. As we make greater sacrifices, we make greater room to receive His blessings, He will pour out more blessings, and the windows of heaven will reveal the heavens to us. The fruits of your labor is the law of the harvest. What you sow, you will reap. Capitalism is not a good seed, but the words of Christ is (Alma 32:27-43). The words of Christ will swell, sprout and begin to grow into a mature tree, whose fruits will cause you to never hunger or thirst (only Christ offers meat and water that if you eat and drink, you will never hunger or thirst).
Where is your Ahupua’a? Who is your Ali’i (Chief). What kind of offering do you offer? Where is your Heiau? What is your source of water? If you choose to connect your salvation to an institution and symbolic ordinances, then your salvation is tied to the entirety of that institution. Whatever the fruits of that institution will be accounted as your fruits. However, many have been called, but only a few are chosen. Those who are chosen are not chosen by institutional officers. Christ does the choosing. When you have entered into His presence, He has chosen you. His institution is only important to point all men to Christ (not only to the scriptures, the ordinances, the symbols etc.). Christ must be the objective. He is the mark. Statistics, home teaching and visiting teaching only offers salvation when it produces the presence of Christ. If you haven’t had it, you have little to offer, but to say, “Help me find Christ!” Christ is the mark that we continue to look beyond. Let us look to Christ and live.