Cornelius, the Roman army officer posted to the military HQ for the occupying forces, wanted to know God. He was kind, generous and God-fearing: but he was a Gentile. But God knew his heart's hunger to know Him. An angel spoke to him in a vision, telling him that God knew all about him, and then told him what to do. It was not a vision of God or mystical experience of His presence; it was a set of instructions which set the pattern for Gospel ministry for the church.