"I am God. I have called you to live right and well. I have taken responsibility for you, kept you safe. I have set you among my people to bind them to me, and provided you as a lighthouse to the nations, To make a start at bringing people into the open, into light: opening blind eyes, releasing prisoners from dungeons, emptying the dark prisons.... (Isaiah 42:6-7, The Message).

"Yes, you know what he wants; you know right from wrong because you have been taught his law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a beacon light for people who are lost in darkness without God. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that in God's law you have complete knowledge and truth. Well then, if you teach others, why don't you teach yourself?" (Romans 2:18-21, NLT).

There is a reason several churches and Christian artists cling to images of the Lighthouse in their name, mission, purpose, and imagery. The beacon on the hill, pointing the way of truth to those lost or unsure, is a powerful metaphor. It can call some people in, or warn others away. Those who would claim the light of truth, however, carry a burden, one the Apostle Paul lays upon his Jewish (i.e. children of Jacob) brethren in the quote from Romans above. You don't get to claim without experiencing, knowing, and understanding. Such things tend to be achieved through the pain of living and communing, not just setting up shop as the lonely lighthouse keeper. This is one irony the metaphor makes upon itself.

The lighthouse from which this episode takes its title it not much different. Not only does it look like something straight out of the computer game Myst (something you've heard me harp on before) with all its gears and the puzzle of the names of so many candidates (have there been 360 of them in total, the same number of degrees in a circle? Any coincidence that our sum-of-the-numbers 108, the coordinate Hurley is supposed to enter, goes into 360 3.333333 times for an endless recurrence of the sacred triune number three?), but it would seem it has the power to call people in (Hurley's appointed task), and to freak people out. Poor Jack. That had to be spooky. Still ticked at you for breaking the mirrors instead of spying out more houses, though.

Now that we've seen a literal lighthouse on LOST, it's something of a wonder to me we've never seen one before (just as it is to Jack, who asks Hurley how they missed it), as obvious an archetype it is in stories about those who are lost.

Let's also do a quick comparison and contrast between the Lighthouse scene in this episode and the Ladder scene from the previous episode:

Lighthouse: On a cliffside overlooking the sea, goes up.
Ladder: On a cliffside overlooking the sea, goes down.

Lighthouse: Light, open-air.
Ladder: Dark cave, enclosed, in the earth.

Lighthouse: Symbols of truth, light, reflection, finding one's way.
Ladder: Symbols of balance, imbalance, justice (the scales), learning one's way.

Lighthouse: Names of the candidates, most scratched out, our Losties corresponding to their same numbers.
Ladder: Names of the candidates, most scratched out, our Losties corresponding to their same numbers.

Lighthouse: Jack, led there by new Man-of-Faith Hurley, contemplates next step, learns how important he is.
Ladder: Sawyer, led there by former Man-of-Faith "Locke," clings to the answers he's given, not caring if he's being deceived or used.

So here's my first question - is Jacob SO obsessed with his candidates and this group of them that he scrawls their names in several places? We've been led to believe he wrote the names in the caves, as well as in the lighthouse. From here, it looks like overkill. I'm not sure the cave and the names there are Jacob's. We've known him to live in and occupy man-made structures (statue, cabin, lighthouse, perhaps Temple as well). It's Smokey who we know dwells subterraneously. I suspect MIB has used the cave as his own base, his own headquarters from which to track and cross off the names of Jacob's candidates as he defeates them in their little game. Jack sees the names same as Sawyer did last episode. But here, Jacob lets him take it all in after Jack got angry, where before, MIB bottled Sawyer's anger, used it, and led him straight into what he wanted him to do...