I have been thinking about Lost alot and this is what i think is happening. First Ben is playing dumb with regards to floke, he knew what was going on. He was fully aware of what Floke was doing. He did his part to bring the Oceanic 6 back to the island so that MIB could take over locke's image. Jacob was apart of this. He knew the only way to trick MIB was to let him think that ben was killing jacob because he was mad. Jacob was in on it. It is going to a big laugh on MIB when he realizes that he has been played again. Why would the others build a landing strip for Ajira 316 to land if they didnt know what was going happen. As far as the sideflashes go it is the result of the bomb going off but fate is going to course correct and all the losties will end up on the island one way or the other. As Danial sad what ever happened happens. I think the flashbacks are Jacob doing his research on his canidates. Jacob has to make sure he has the right people. I am not sure what the island really is but there is a religous meaning to it.