this theory isn't much of a prediction but more of a reevaluation of events that have taken place since season two.

sometime in the island's distant past the MiB and Jacob have a heated conversation regarding loopholes and people coming to the island. "they come. they fight. they destroy. they corrupt. it always ends the same." and Jacob says in response, "it only ends once. anything that happens before that is just progress."

flash-forward to the crash of oceanic flight 815.

the smoke monster, who i am assuming to be the the MiB, has a couple encounters with Mr. Eko. the first being in season two, when we witness the monster almost examining Mr. Eko, it flashes moments from Eko's past. I believe Smokey was determining whether or not Eko was a candidate worthy enough to carry out his "loophole" plan, to murder Jacob.

the next meeting between Eko and the smoke monster occurs after a scene in which a delirious Eko rummages though the Nigerian drug plane for his brother Yemi's dead body, which isn't found. Eko chases what appears to be Yemi into an open field screaming "you say you want to hear my confession."

when they meet, Eko says "i ask for no forgiveness, father. for I have not sinned. i have only done what I needed to do to survive."

"Yemi" replies, "you speak to me as if i were your brother." soon afterwards Eko is killed by the smoke monster. i believe this was the monster testing Eko's loyalty to the island. The monster failed to sway Eko and killed him, but it wasn't in vain. Eko's dying words to John were "we're next." Which i'm going to assume was actually "you're next." speaking directly to John.

in the next episode, John says "i believe Eko died for a reason, i just don't know what that is yet."

later as John is hammering Eko's scripture stick into the ground he says, "rest in peace, mr. eko. thank you for helping me find my..." and then Locke notices an engraving on the stick "lift up your eyes and look north"

this sets John on a path leading him to blow up The Flame, a submarine, but eventually find Ben. Ben leads him to Jacob's cabin where Ben fakes his relationship with Jacob. Now, based on the assumption that the man in the chair was in fact the smoke monster pretending to be Jacob, it's evident that the smokemonster set things in motion at that moment when he said "help me" to john. this set john on a quest to "protect the island."

he visits "Jacobs" cabin once more in the episode cabin fever. Christian appears and explains to John that he must move the island. Christian claims to be speaking on behalf of Jacob, but i suspect this is also the smoke monster. Ben ends up causing the time shifts.

in season 5, when John falls down the well, Christian appears again confirming to John that he will have to die, saying "well, i suppose that's why they call it sacrifice." This is the monster testing Locke's loyalty to the island, exploiting it as he would have done to Eko, for his loophole.

Ben brings Locke back to the island, "resurrecting" him to set in place the events that must happen to secure Jacob's death. most importantly instructing Richard to tell Locke he must die, giving Locke the compass, and treating his wound.

also the events in "dead is dead" take place and Ben is instructed to follow Locke's every command. insuring that Ben will kill Jacob.

apologies for the length, and the organization. with the assumptions i am making it seems likely, and i'm sure i'm forgetting a few instances that might help my suspicions, but the only quarrels i have with this are...

1) the ring of ash around Jacob's cabin. it's evident from LA X that the ash is suppose to offer protection from smokey. but we still don't what the significance of the ash around the cabin. is it keeping something inside? or outside?

2) Ben. the smoke monster quite possibly could have been appearing to a young Benjamin Linus as his dead mother. luring him to the path he eventually took. but why hasn't Jacob ever tried to sway Ben? was he unworthy? was his death inevitable?

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