Locke was identified at birth as a potential chosen one. Later, the method that Alpert used is similar to the way the Tibetan monks choose the Dalai Lama. After the Dalai Lama passes, a search ensues for his reincarnation. When a potential is found, articles that belonged to the previous Dali Lama are mixed in with other items. If the child is the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, then he would correctly identify the items that belong to him. So it happened with the current Dalai Lama, who demanded the rosary from one of the monks that belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. The child also identified the servant by name correctly.
Locke can be identified as special by the drawing of a tornado or a black cloud that stood over a fallen body. Locke chose items that tie him back to his later days on the island, sand, a compass and a knife. Alpert was disappointed, but Locke chose the correct items for him. He was special by the very fact that he was alive in the most difficult of circumstances. A premature baby at that time with those illness should not have made it. He should not have survived an 8 story fall, but he did. We also see his precognition on the island. The forcasting of the weather. The natural connection that he seems to have for the island. He was born for this.
Unlike the search for the Dalai Lama, the successor for island protector does not necessarily follow the death of the previous protector. Is Ben on par with Locke? Is Locke the true protector and Ben an interim? It is obvious that the torch has been passed. It was seen in the selfish motives of Ben that essentially brought danger to the island. It is seen in the Jobian loss that Ben has suffered. The failure of his health, even the loss of his child. Ben has been rejected. And, if the island is no longer protecting him, what does that mean for his future. Is he as unable to find the island as Widmore or the rest of the Oceanic 6?
Prophets are rarely respected. The Old Testament prophets routinely brought messages to the people that they simply did not want to hear. Hurley told John that maybe the only reason they can see the cabin is “because they are the craziest.” The prophets message was often mistaken for lunacy. However, Locke has certain lucidity about the island that even escapes his own perception. He was rejected by Jack. Jack even called Locke crazy. But Locke is the one that is trying to protect the island and its inhabitants just as the prophets were doing in their time. They had communion with God. They saw visions and could interpret dreams. Ben told Locke that he had dreams once. Prophets are castigated, ostracized and often put to death for their faith. The path of the prophet is exceedingly difficult.
Which brings us to Ben’s conversation with Locke about destiny. Ben was able to say that his losses were a requirement for destiny to be fulfilled. What a difficult concept to wrestle to try and grasp. When at a funeral of a loved one, someone will say, in an attempt to comfort, there is a reason, or God has a purpose. What an awful thing to hear while in the middle of grief. For some, it is comfort to know that there is a greater purpose. For others, it is reminder that they have received back hand of destiny once again. Locke has received a beat down from destiny his entire life. When Ben said that there is a price to pay for being chosen, it seems like Locke has been paying that price from birth.
Ben’s closing remarks before Locke enters the cabin are, “because, John, Destiny can be a ficle bitch.” That is the attempt to marry suffering with predestination. How can a loving God allow bad things to happen? In the context of the show, it is so the right person will be ready when the time comes to step into destiny’s spotlight.