Few prophets in the Old Testament teach us more about covenant making and personal revelation than Jacob, the father of the Twelve Tribes. . . . Jacob was the son of promise of the promise. His own father was the meek and obedient Isaac, whose willingness to be offered as a total sacrifice in the presence of God (Gen. 22) forever stands as an exact similitude of the atonement of God's Only Begotten Son. . . .
Before Jacob left his home to go to Padan-aram, his father, Isaac, blessed him in accordance with patriarchal privileges and reconfirmed to him the opportunity of receiving the blessings and covenants of Abraham. (See Gen. 28:2-5.)With this blessing fresh on his mind, Jacob left Beer-sheba on an unforeseen journey of many years. What Jacob thought about on this first leg of his travels we do not know, but one supposes it was about the covenants of the Lord and promises of obedience. For when he came to the place he would later name Bethel, he settled down to spend the night and, while asleep, a marvelous vision was opened to him. (Gen. 28:11-15.)
Jacob saw a ladder on the earth reach to heaven. Ascending and descending on the latter were the angels of God, sentinels to the portals of heaven. Above the ladder was the Lord Himself, whom Jacob heard and with whom he would make the very same covenant that his grandfather, Abraham, had made and the same covenant his father, Isaac, had prepared him to receive. (Gen. 28:13-15.) When Jacob arose in the morning, he sanctified the site of his vision with anointing oil and vowed or covenanted to live in complete harmony with God's will, concluding his affirmation with a promise to tithe all that he would come to possess. (Gen. 28:18-22.)
This was Jacob's opportunity to begin to comprehend for himself "the mysteries of Godliness." (History of the Church 1:283.) From this comment we also know that Jacob was a righteous Melchizedek Priesthood holder since the Doctrine and Covenants teaches "this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God." (D&C 84:19.) This is a key which Jacob would later use to unlock a spiritual door.
Jacob's status as a prophet was confirmed. He heard the voice of the Lord Jehovah, the pre-mortal Christ, and, as the Apostle John later taught, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Rev. 19:10.)