When the prophet Joel stated And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call (Joel 2:28 -32). He expressly noted that when this time should come God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh.
Peter stated on that Pentecost Day some 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus, This is that which had been spoken of by the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16). Referring to the sound that had caused the multitude to come outdoors and gather in the early morning; and then hearing the Twelve Apostles of Jesus speaking in languages they could not know and could not have learned overnight, he said, Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He hath shed forth this, which you now see and hear (Acts 2:33).
Peter clearly stated by the measure of the Holy Spirit that he and the eleven apostles had earlier received, and which was acting through him as an Apostle of God, that on his ascension Jesus had received the promise of the Holy Spirit, and that he, that is Jesus, had become the donor of the Spirit upon all flesh: all mankind. While his address was to those collected together that day, Peter plainly said that the Spirit of God, had beginning that very day, been poured out on all flesh. The collective “we” that is made up of all believers from then to now have therefore received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Those standing there that day were the first recipients. We have been greatly blessed to be able to read of those events and also come to follow Christ and have the Word of God lead us home.
To continue: the Holy Spirit was the herald of the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven. He was the confirmer of the plan of salvation and of the Word of God. He acted as the Comforter of the Twelve Apostles and those first disciples. So, without making any leap of faith: the Holy Spirit was the gift. It is not about the working of miracles; and it is not about the speaking in languages – those were signs that the donation had been made, confirming what had been said long before. It is about the giving of the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the gift. Salvation had been brought down to man.
Search the scriptures from end to end and you will never find where the Holy Spirit gave himself out to men or women on his own, or by his own will. The pouring out is always directed by the Holy Father. The Lord God Almighty gave the promise of the Holy Spirit to the Christ, God the Son; and Christ having received it in turn gave the offered and promised gift of the Holy Spirit to all who would be called.
As a side point, this is the philosophy that notes why no inspired man, no prophet or Apostle such as John, no saint or early Christian, and not Christ himself, was ever recorded praying to the Holy Spirit, or thanking the Holy Spirit for the things accomplished through him. That is why the scriptures are silent on giving place to the Holy Spirit in worship or in song (a phenomenon found in another enlightened age and state). We simply have no call to worship the Holy Spirit, only to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).
The Holy Spirit was the donation; he was not the donor.
The simplest understanding is The Lord God Almighty was the devisor and creator of the plan of salvation, The Christ was the executor of the Will of God, and the Holy Spirit applied the confirmation through signs and wonders and in the compilation of the Word of God.
It is written that John the Immerser possessed the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15), but …never did a sign (John 10:41). Jesus gave a measure of the Holy Spirit to his disciples when he sent out the seventy two, and to the twelve. But only Jesus possessed the Holy Spirit without measure (John 3:33, 34). That is said of no one else in the scriptures at any point.
There is some fumbling about with that last scripture and statement; so I should suggest that the implied form is – Whoever receives His testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the Words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure (to Him). As has been identified by others – this is the required implication. The outcome of some other rendering would be that God always gives the Spirit without measure. Even the uninitiated knows that is not the case. And only the most modern sort of worshippers, those who listen to whispers in dark places, and who seek signs and follow after vapors, or who heed to calls on the top of mountains, can hear such things or ever find them written in God’s Word. It is also useful to note that this word “measure” in reference to the Spirit occurs only in this single passage. Perhaps we ought to look closer and spur ourselves on to examine these scriptures to see if these things are so.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”