Do Leviticus 23 and Romans 14 contradict each other? 

Before we address this question about Romans 14 and Leviticus 23, please note that the Bible presents two separate laws: Moses’ laws and God’s laws.

MOSES’ LAW

Called “the law of Moses” (Luke 2:22).

Referred to as “law … contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15).

Written by Moses in a book (2 Chronicles 35:12).

Placed outside the ark (Deuteronomy 31:26).

Ended at the cross (Ephesians 2:15).

Added because of sin (Galatians 3:19).

Contrary to us, against us (Colossians 2:14).

Judges no one (Colossians 2:14-16).

Carnal (Hebrews 7:16).

GOD’S LAW

Called “the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:24).

Also known as the Ten Commandments-“the royal law” (James 2:8).

Written by God on stone (Exodus 31:18; 32:16).

Placed inside the ark (Exodus 40:20).

Will stand forever (Luke 16:17).

Points out sin (Romans 7:7; 3:20).

Not grievous (1 John 5:3).

Judges all people (James 2:10-12).

Spiritual (Romans 7:14).

Perfect (Psalms 19:7).

The Mosaic law was the temporary, ceremonial law that pointed to the coming of a Messiah. It regulated the priesthood, sacrifices, feasts, rituals, meat and drink offerings, etc., all of which foreshadowed and ended at the cross. This law was added “till the seed should come,” and that seed was Christ (Galatians 3:16, 19). The rituals and sacrifices of Moses’ law pointed forward to Christ’s sacrifice. So, when He died, this law came to an end. There were seven yearly holy days, or holidays, in ancient Israel which were also called sabbaths. These were in addition to, or “beside the Sabbaths of the Lord” (Leviticus 23:38), or seventh-day Sabbath. That there are two laws is made crystal clear in Daniel 9:10, 11.

God’s law has existed at least as long as sin has existed. The Bible says, “Where no law is, there is no transgression [or sin]” (Romans 4:15). According to the Bible, “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). The Ten Commandments (God’s law) “stand fast for ever and ever” (Psalms 111:8). Paul made it clear that God’s moral law is still binding today: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7). And he adds, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law?” (Romans 3:31).

Now back to Romans 14. Here, the apostle Paul discusses the observance of the yearly feast days of the Mosaic law which were a cause of dissension and confusion among believers in Rome and in the churches of Galatia (Galatians 4:10, 11), and in the Colossian church (Colossians 2:16, 17).

Paul taught that Christians are not obliged to keep these yearly feasts which ended at the cross but those believers whose faith enables them immediately to leave behind all ceremonial holidays should not despise others whose faith is less strong. Nor, in turn, may the latter criticize those who seem to them lax. Each believer is individually responsible to God (Romans 14:10–12). And what God expects of each of His servants is that he shall “be fully persuaded in his own mind” and conscientiously follow his convictions in accordance with the light he has received and understood so far.

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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